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                      "THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS"

                     A Call To Be Content (13:5-6)

INTRODUCTION

1. In this final chapter of "The Epistle To The Hebrews", we have 
   noticed exhortations...
   a. To let brotherly love continue - He 13:1
   b. To show love toward strangers - He 13:2
   c. To remember those in prison and others who are mistreated 
      - He 13:3
   d. To hold marriage in honor, abstaining from fornication and 
      adultery - He 13:4

2. We now find a warning against covetousness - He 13:5a
   a. The previous verse was a warning against "the lust of the flesh"
      (immorality)
   b. Here we have a warning against "the lust of the eyes"
      (materialism)
   -- Both of which are contrary to the love of the Father - 1Jn 2:
      15-17

3. Covetousness, a strong desire for material things, is strongly 
   condemned in the Bible...
   a. Jesus said it defiles a man, and that we should beware of it 
      - Mk 7:21-23; Lk 12:15
   b. Paul taught that covetousness...
      1) Will keep one out of the kingdom of God - 1Co 6:9-10
      2) Like fornication, should not even be named among us - Ep 5:3
      3) Is nothing less than idolatry - Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
 
4. The antidote to covetousness is contentment - He 13:5b-6
   a. If we are content, then we won't be covetous
   b. Contentment is therefore an important virtue for Christians to
      develop...
      1) But what is "contentment"?
      2) What is the key to being content?
   
[In this lesson, "A Call To Be Content", we shall seek to answer these
questions, using the text of our lesson (He 13:5-6) and other 
scriptures that deal with the subject of contentment...]

I. THE VIRTUE OF "CONTENTMENT"

   A. CONTENTMENT DEFINED...
      1. The English word "content" means "desiring no more than what 
         one has"
      2. The Greek word is arkeo {ar-keh'-o}, which means "to be 
         satisfied"
      -- When one is content, they are satisfied with what they have; 
         with no desire for more, covetousness no longer becomes a 
         problem!

   B. THE VALUE OF "CONTENTMENT"...
      1. From the pen of uninspired men...
         a. "He is richest who is content with the least." (Socrates)
         b. "He is well paid that is well satisfied." (William 
            Shakespeare)
         c. "He who is content can never be ruined." (Chinese Proverb)
         d. "He who wants little always have enough." (Johann Georg 
            Zimmerman)
         e. "If you are not satisfied with a little, you will not be 
            satisfied with much." (Unknown)
         f. "The contented man is never poor, the discontented never 
            rich." (George Eliot)
      2. Paul wrote that "...godliness with contentment is great gain."
         - 1Ti 6:6
         a. Godliness, which is godly living expressed in devotion to 
            God, is of great value only when accompanied with 
            contentment
         b. For as we have seen, covetousness (a lack of contentment)
            would render any service to God of no value

   C. CONTENTMENT EXEMPLIFIED...
      1. In Fanny Crosby (1820-1925), a blind songwriter who wrote:
            O What a happy soul am I!
            Although I cannot see,
            I am resolved that in this world
            Contented I will be;
            How many blessings I enjoy
            That other people don't!
            To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
            I cannot, and I won't.
      2. In Helen Keller (1880-1968); blind, deaf, and mute, yet she 
         wrote:
            They took away what should have been my eyes,
            (But I remembered Milton's Paradise)
            They took away what should have been my ears,
            (Beethoven came and wiped away my tears)
            They took away what should have been my tongue,
            (But I talked with God when I was young)
            He would not let them take away my soul,
            Possessing that, I still possess the whole.
      3. In the aged prisoner, Paul the apostle...
         a. Who saw how his imprisonment accomplished much good - Php 1:
            12-14
         b. Who had learned contentment - Php 4:10-12

[The virtue of contentment richly blessed the lives of these and 
countless others.  But as Paul indicated, contentment is something 
"learned".  How then does one develop contentment?]

II. THE KEY TO CONTENTMENT

   A. TRUSTING IN GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL CARE...
      1. This is the reason given in our text for us to be content 
         - He 13:5-6
         a. God has promised never to leave nor forsake us
         b. With the Lord as our helper, what can man do? - 1Jn 4:4
      2. This is the reason Jesus gave for us not to worry - Mt 6:25-32
         a. We are of greater value to God than the birds or flowers
         b. He providentially cares for them, will He not do the same
            for us?
         -- The key to receiving this care is to put God's will first 
            in our lives - Mt 6:33
      3. Contentment comes, then, when we trust God will provide what
         we need!

   B. KNOWING WHAT YOU CAN'T TAKE WITH YOU...
      1. As Paul discussed contentment, he pointed out certain truths 
         - 1Ti 6:7
         a. We brought nothing into this world
         b. It is certain we can carry nothing out! (have you ever seen
            a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer?)
      2. Why then become anxious or worked up over things...
         a. That at best are only temporary
         b. That will wear out, be stolen, or left behind (or burned up
            at the coming of the Lord - 2Pe 3:10)
      3. Contentment comes, then, from knowing that material things are
         only temporary

   C. REALIZING WHAT IS TRULY "ESSENTIAL" FOR LIFE...
      1. Paul also revealed what are the only true "essentials" to 
         sustain life - 1Ti 6:8
         a. They are "food and clothing"
         b. Anything beyond this is a "luxury", for which we ought to 
            be thankful
            1) That includes "shelter", which many believe is a 
               necessity
            2) But millions live without shelter, and such is possible
               with the proper clothing
      2. Since God has promised to provide food and clothing (Mt 6:25-
         33), we can rest knowing that our "essentials" will be 
         provided
      3. Contentment comes, then, by realizing what is truly
         "essential" for life, for then we will realize how richly 
         blessed we really are!

   D. UNDERSTANDING THAT MATERIAL THINGS DO NOT SATISFY...
      1. Solomon observed this inadequacy of material things - Ec 5:10
         a. Those who love silver (money) will never be satisfied
         b. The same is true with those who love abundance (what money
            can buy)
      2. Material things do not meet the true needs of the soul - Ecc
         6:7; cf. Isa 55:1-3
         a. C. S. Lewis suggested that God placed a longing in man, 
            that man might seek for God - cf. Ac 17:26-27
         b. Sadly, many people try to fulfill that longing with 
            material things
         c. They never succeed, for only one thing can fulfill it:  God
            Himself!
      3. Contentment comes, then, from understanding that material 
         things will never provide lasting satisfaction

   E. FINALLY, TRUE CONTENTMENT IS A GIFT FROM GOD...
      1. Here is another observation Solomon made in his search for 
         life's meaning:
         a. The ability to enjoy the fruits of one's labor is a gift 
            from God - Ec 2:24-26; 3:12-13; 5:18-20
         b. On the other hand, many are allowed to "gather" and 
            "collect", but will not enjoy the fruits of their labor 
            - cf. Ec 2:26b; 6:1-2
      2. God has the ability to provide lasting satisfaction - Psa
         107:8-9
         a. He promises to give that which truly satisfies (makes one 
            content) - Isa 55:1-3
         b. And in Christ, He enables one to be content - Php 4:11-13
      -- Contentment comes, then, when God sees fit to bless us with 
         that which truly satisfies: "the sure mercies of David" (i.e.,
         the blessings promised through the coming Messiah)

CONCLUSION

1. The virtue of contentment is a wonderful blessing, one that comes 
   from God Himself...
   a. Whose Word reveals to us:
      1) The temporary nature of material things
      2) The inadequacy of material things to satisfy man
      3) The things that are truly essential in life
   b. Who has promised to us:
      1) To never leave us nor forsake us
      2) To provide the true essentials in life
      3) To fill our soul with that which truly satisfies
      4) To enable us to enjoy the material blessings we do acquire in
         life

2. But what God has promised is contingent upon what Jesus said...

   "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all
   these things will be added to you" - Mt 6:33

If you desire to be truly content, you must set as your priority the
Will of God.  Have you made His Will the primary focus of your life?
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