Dear CSOPC brothers and sisters,
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 8:1 that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Think for a moment on the significance of these words. If you are in Christ – if you are a child of God by faith – resting in Christ alone for salvation … then you are no longer under the condemnation of God. You are declared righteous in Christ. You are clothed with Christ’s perfect righteousness. You now have peace with God where before you were at enmity with God. And all this by grace. We do not deserve such love and favor from the Lord. But God justifies the ungodly because he is a God who desires to have communion with his people. Today, rejoice in the righteousness that is yours by faith. For in fact, it is Christ’s righteousness that is yours by faith!
- This Sunday we will continue our Sunday school series on the Great Truths of the Faith by looking at the worship of the church. Join us for this study at 9:45 AM.
- Also, we will continue our sermon series in the Gospel of Mark this Lord’s Day by looking at what happens to Christ immediately after he descends from the Mount of Transfiguration.
- One Sunday morning logistical note – beginning this Sunday, the coffee and refreshments will be served in the kitchen area where you first walk in the building. This will help us as we prepare for Lord’s Day worship.
- Finally, this week’s devotion (attached) is a reflection from Philippians on the subject of contentment.
God bless and I look forward to worshipping with you this Lord’s Day.
From the Pastor’s Desk
Philippians 4:11b, “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
I think it is fair to say that discontentment is one of the greatest struggles of the Christian life. How often do we find ourselves thinking, “If only … if only I had this or that … if only the Lord would remove this burden … if only the Lord would provide in this area … if only we were in that situation.” “If only … then I would be content.” Is this not a weekly – if not daily – struggle in your Christian life! It is no wonder that one of the great saints of old referred to contentment as a “rare jewel.” However, it is a rare jewel to which we must strive and for which we must pray. For to continually live in the land of ‘if only’ is to doubt the wisdom, sovereignty, goodness, and love of our Heavenly Father. How are we to grown in this area of contentment? How do we cultivate a contented heart? In Philippians 4:10-20, the Apostle Paul gives us some wonderful teaching to this end. There are several items we should note.
First, the context of contentment. In what kinds of situations are we called to be content? In v. 11 Paul references “whatever situation I am,” and in v. 12 “any and every circumstance.” Clearly Paul does not limit the scope or the context of our contentment. He speaks of being low and of abounding; and of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Simply put, in whatever condition we find ourselves, we are called to be content. There is no status or condition that falls outside of Paul’s instruction.
Second, the process of contentment. Paul states in v. 11, “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” Paul has ‘learned’ contentment. Contentment is something we learn. There is a process to growing in contentment. And this process is the process of maturing in Christ throughout one’s Christian life. Even the mighty Apostle Paul, the grand missionary to the Gentiles who was confronted by the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus, must learn contentment. And why is growing in contentment a process? Why do we not have absolute contentment the instant we are converted? Because although we are born again (John 3:3, 5) – although we are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) – although we have died and risen with Christ (Rom 6:1-4); we still battle the remnants of the old man (Eph 4:22). Until the Lord brings us to glory, we are engaged in the great battle between the Spirit and the flesh – between walking by faith and walking by sight (Gal 5:16-26; 2 Cor 5:7). Christ is always teaching us in the school of contentment.
Finally, the source of contentment. And there are two ‘sources’ Paul mentions. Paul states, “I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me” (4:13). The Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate and final source of our contentment. The Lord of glory who humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death on a cross – the suffering servant who was exalted to the right hand of the Father – the Son of God before whom all will bow … He is the source of our contentment. Christ – who does all things well – who created us and knows us infinitely better than we know ourselves – and who will bring us home to be with him – He is the source of our contentment. But also, notice what Paul states in v. 14, “Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.” While Paul is specifically referring to the Philippians’ past material support for his ministry (vv. 15-16), the broader point remains … namely, the church’s ‘entering into’ Paul’s trouble. In other words, the church and the fellowship among the saints served as a source of Paul’s contentment. Perhaps it could be stated this way: fellowship among believes is one way in which Christ grows his people in contentment (see Rom 12:9-13; 1 Cor 12:21-26).
Brothers and sisters, are you content today? Or are you running the “if only” treadmill? See the Lord of Glory who does all things well! See the King of Kings who governs all things for the good of his people. See the great Shepherd who knows and loves his sheep. And know that true contentment is found only in Him who laid down is life for us!
Rev. Robert Arendale, Pastor of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church (OPC), www.csopc.org