Contentment  (Are You Satisfied?)
Adult/Junior Level Lesson Plan

Today’s lesson is focused on contentment and learning what God’s word says about being satisfied.  I hope that after this study, we will understand more about being content and rejoicing in all things. 

Handout:  Contentment

We will be starting our lesson in the book of Philippians.  The book of Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul as most of you already know.  It was written at approximately A.D. 61 from Rome while Paul was in prison there.  Paul writes this letter to the Philippian church to thank them for the gifts they had sent to him and to encourage them in their faith.  He wanted to stress in this letter the true joy that comes from Christ alone.  
Paul wanted people who read this to understand that contentment cannot and should not be based on our possessions, our status in life, or our circumstances.  Our contentment, our joy comes solely from the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians is a joyful letter.  The concept of joy or rejoicing is mentioned sixteen times in only four chapters.  The pages emit this positive message to rejoice in the Lord always. 

Philippians 4:4 “ Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say Rejoice.”
Paul, in his dedication to serving the Lord, had faced good and bad times just as we do today.  Paul had faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth, and the things in between the two.  He had been beaten, he had been shipwrecked, and he had seen happy times as well.   Now even in his imprisonment, he writes with joy.  Whatever the circumstances, Paul had learned to be content. 

Philippians 4:11-12 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound:  every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which stengtheneth me.”
How was Paul able to be content even in prison?  How was he able to be joyous even in times of suffering?  How was he able to rejoice in times of sorrow?  We find the answer to these questions in Philippians chapter 3.

Philippians 3:8-9 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

Philippians 3:10-12 “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;   If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
Paul made it his mission in life to pursue and to know Christ.  His mission was to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord.  This is why Paul could be content in all things good or bad.  In this is the secret to contentment.  You and I can learn to be content in all things as well. 
In life, we all go through many different seasons just as Paul did.  This is a fact of life.  Solomon writes about this truth in Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;  A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
In all of our lives, we go through seasons just as the seasons of nature.  There is a time of winter, spring, summer, and fall.  What season are you in right now?  Maybe you are in a season of spring, a season of planting, a time when God is placing those seeds in your heart that will bring forth fruit.  Perhaps you are in a winter season and all seems dead, lifeless and cold.  Beloved, whatever season you are in, know that you are not forgotten of God.  If you are His child, He’s all seeing eyes are upon you and whatever you may be going through; it is for your good if you trust and keep seeking His face.  (Romans 8:28)
Whatever season we are in, whatever our circumstances, we can rejoice!  We can choose to wake up every morning and be content.  We can wake up and choose to trust God and know that whatever is happening in our lives right now is for our good and for His glory.  Even if it is something that feels horrible, even if we are suffering, God knows and He is working behind the scenes for our good and to bring us into the plans He has for us.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”
That makes my soul LEAP for joy!  God is so good and His mercy does in deed endure forever!  Paul was no doubt loved by God.  God used his life for a great purpose.  His life and his work goes on today hundreds and hundreds of years after his death.  His life meant something and God had a plan for him just as He has a plan for each of His children.  Still Paul endured many hardships.  Sure, God could have taken him out of prison, and did when he and Silas were imprisoned once, (Acts 16), but during the time of writing Philippians, Paul is in captivity.  Why didn’t the Lord free him?  We don’t know all the reasons to that but we know that Paul was loved by the Lord and that his life here left a legacy of following Christ that generations have benefited from.  We know that God had a reason for everything that happened in Paul’s life just as there is a reason for everything that happens in our lives as well.
Paul didn’t let his joy depend upon his circumstances.  He knew that his life here was to be spent on making a difference for Christ.  He knew that his work here for Christ was eternal and the things he did for the Lord would last forever.  We should learn the same lessons!  Our short times on this earth should be spent on a lasting work and service to God that will be eternal and only through Christ.  Our life should be spent on pursing an intimate relationship with Christ and with Him our lives can be for good and not in vain.  Christ is the only one that can accomplish good through us and we through Him.  What a beautiful concept.

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.”
Rejoice!  Our circumstances do not define our joy!  Praise the Lord for that!  In joy, in pain, in sunshine, in rain, we can rejoice in the Lord, the God of our Salvation.  Know Dear One that God knows what you are in need of today and always and He will supply it!  Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice!

Philippians 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father,
We bow before You today saying Hollowed be Your name!  The name above all names.  Lord we praise You and we worship You and all You are.  Father we thank You for the many blessings You have bestowed upon our lives.  We desire to see Your face and to worship at Your feet.  Father, we thank You for all things You bring into our lives be they joyful or sorrowful because we know that everything You allow to come upon us, is for a beautiful plan and purpose.  Father we ask today that You help us to be content in all things.  We ask that You help us to rejoice in all seasons in our lives.  Father we ask that You continue to bless this ministry and to help us to reach all the world with the good news of Your Son Jesus.  Father thank You for always supplying our need and for loving us as You do.  There is indeed none like You.  We love You and we praise You in the Lovely name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

July 20, 2014