Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Contentment in God

Below are the notes from a talk I gave this morning at Olivet English language school. Comments and criticisms are encouraged!

This morning I want to think about being content in God. Everyone wants to be content. Everyone wants satisfaction. The problem is that we naturally (because of our sin-nature) hate the most satisfying and amazing person; God. And we fall in love with everything other than God as if it were as beautiful as the real God.


Read: Hebrews 13:5-6

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’’

1) We can only become content in God when we see how wonderful God is

Why is God a wonderful God for humans? God is a wonderful for humans because He wants what is best for us with more passion than anything or anyone else.

So what is best for us? God is best for us.

The Bible is the message of a God who has constantly giving Himself to a people for His own glory- to make Himself look great. Ultimately this happens in Christ (1 Peter 3:18).

"I didn't understand this idea of a God who says, 'You have to acknowledge me. You have to say that I'm the best, and then I'll give you eternal happiness. If you won't, then you don't get it!' It seemed to be about ego. I can't see God operating from ego, so it made no sense to me"- Brad Pitt

Pitt’s understanding of worship isn’t right- he sees a distinction between happiness and worship. Scripture teaches that what we are happy with is what we worship.

2) Contentment in God frees people to kill the love of money
Being content in God is the God-given weapon to attack our love for money.

Verse 5 ‘Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

So the reason why we can be content and not go to money is because God is enough. We don’t need money to make us happy if we have God. He satisfies my desires. He’s my joy and my life.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.26 My flesh and my heart may fail, [money fails, wealth fails to make me content] but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26
When we see God as ultimately beautiful there’s no need to find ultimate beauty in anything else.

Money isn’t needed for our satisfaction because God says I wont leave your or abandon you. He promises to be near and next to you in everything. He promises to love as a Father- a good fair Dad doesn’t leave his kids, he promises to go and prepare a place for us so that we can be with Him forever.
Why would anyone want money and reject this God?

God is better than money. This is good news for us because God is opposed to our love of money. Jesus said more about money then He did heaven and hell combined:

"One thing you lack,"... "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Mark 10:21

‘It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Matt 19:23

‘Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Luke 12:34

Wealth is dangerous because it sucks you in. Money demands worship from people. And when you worship money all you want is more money. Brighton is sucked in. If you want to be religious in this city you need love money- you need to be greedy. Money has cursed this city.

Wealth is more of a curse than a blessing.

1 Tim 6:6-10:
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

If you want to be sure that you’re going to Hell start loving your wallet.

Love for money will kill God for us if we don’t kill it. It will consume our worship and make God look tiny and unattractive and unpleasant.

But we can kill this love or money if we enjoy the beauty of God- finding him more wonderful than life.

3) Contentment in God gives confidence in the face of man
If we are content with this God and the love of money is dieing- If we want more of God than we do money- If we want to make Him look God and not make money look good then we will have boldness.
13:6 ‘we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
The Spirit of God has anointed us for what God has for us to do and He will empower us. He gives power so that we can be His witnesses- His witnesses:
Acts 1:8 ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’
Man should be afraid when we are filled with the Spirit because no-one can God from doing what He does. No-one could stop the early church and they tried. Christian history shows that when you kill Christians, Christian’s grow- it’s strange! Normally when you kill things they become extinct- not Christians!
The apostles turned the world upside down because God they were broken people who relied on an external power. And we have the same power so there’s no reason why we can’t see the same thing happening in Brighton.

What can man do to us?
If they kill us we get closer to God.
If they don’t kill we get the opportunity of getting other people closer to God.

God is saving people because He is God and He does whatever He pleases. And usually He gets weak people who are content with Him and fills them with confidence and power to make Himself look great.

4) You can only be content in God by receiving Jesus
Jesus was absorbed loving His Father. He was the perfect example of what it is to be content in God. He was given boldness and confidence by the Spirit to win people into the Kingdom. He was the ultimate teacher on money and possessions- He was homeless and broke and at the same time more blessed than anyone else.

To become content in God you need to admit the you love to worship what God hates. You need to know that your God’s enemy; God hates your rebellion. You deserve continuous torture for offending a wonderful God. Hell isn’t the only thing God offers. He’s given us great news of hope: Jesus. He was fully God and fully content in God, fully hating the love of money, fully confident in His message.

This Jesus wants you to know His love, God wants you receive Him by admitting your sin and turning away from so that you can enjoy God and not money. Trust in Jesus He died to remove sinners by making them into worshippers.

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