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The Money Pit 02/28/2011
 
Why are so many families over-extended financially?
• Are you in a position where things are really tight financially, or are you about to drown in financial debt?
• Does it seem as though your paycheck is getting dumped into a big bottomless pit?
• You are you are not alone.
• According to Money-zine.com Americans carried approximately $886 billion in credit card debt, and that number is expected to grow to a projected $1,177 billion by the end of 2010. This works out to over $5,100 in credit card debt per cardholder (not household) and that number is expected to increase to over $6,500 by the end of 2010.
• That is only CREDIT CARD DEBT, not cars or other issues.
• Statistics also tell us that the average new car loan is over $27,600,http://www.money-zine.com/Financial-Planning/Debt-Consolidation/Consumer-Debt-Statistics/
• The question gets to be “how much is enough?” How much would does it take to make a person happy?
• Life has become a money pit for many. When you have an insatiable appetite for things, you will NEVER be happy no matter how much or little you have.
• Our life becomes about trying to pay for all the stuff our appetite demands.
• Why do you thing many if not most families up to their eyeballs in debt? They are missing something!
• Let’s get personal for a minute.
• How many of you like being in debt up to your eyeballs?
• What if through God’s Word you can transform life from one of being a worry infested money pit to a life with less stress and more joy filled?
• Would it be nice to have less financial stress and to have the ability to more deeply participate in taking care of the needs of others along with being able to participate in furthering the ministry of God’s Kingdom?
• Today turn in your bibles to Philippians 4:11-15
• SLIDE #2
• Philippians 4:11(ESV) 11Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
• If we want life to stop being a money pit we need to:
• SLIDE #3
SERMON
I. Learn how to be content with your life. (11)
• Paul had some very rough times AFTER he became a Christian.
• Before he was a Christian he was a Pharisee with an excellent pedigreed.
• He most likely was doing pretty well from a material standpoint.
• People looked up to him, they envied him, and they wanted to be like him.
• As a Christian, Paul did not always have it easy, shipwrecked, beaten, and let out of town in a basket among other things.
• In the previous passage Paul speaks of being blessed by the fact that Philippian Christians were concerned about him especially since he was in prison at the time.
• Throughout it all Paul learned something very important. He learned how to be content with whatever he has and whatever circumstance he was in.
• The word “content” in original text means “self-sufficient” and independent of others.
• As a matter of fact, this word is only used in the place in the New Testament.
• In the ancient Greek world the word was used to describe the independence that WISDOM brought, however; this is not what Paul had in mind with this word.
• He gives it a new meaning. It now gives the idea of independence of dependence on Jesus.
• In other words being content biblically is knowing your sufficiency comes from being in Christ. Being content is like being Jesus-sufficient instead of self.
• Remember how last week we examined the fact that Jesus will take care of us if we put Him first.
• When we lack contentment, we are never satisfied.
• We see life in the wrong light. The chief end of man is not to have all his needs and desires filled, but rather it is to glorify God.
• Solomon was a man who seemed to have it all, wealth, power prestige. He had the ability and means to do anything he wanted. AND by the WAY HE DID.
• SLIDE #4
• Ecclesiastes 12:13(ESV) 13The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
• Notice that Paul says he LEARNED to be content. Why did he have to learn it? Because contentment is not natural for us.
• If we do not learn to be content with God and what He is blessed us with, we will never be at peace, nothing we do; nothing we buy will fill the void in our heart.
• Does being content mean that we do not desire some things? Not necessarily.
• Just because we may desire things does not mean we are not content. It boils down to; are we joyful and blessed over what we have from God NOW?
• I have had times in my life when I did not know what contentment meant. I would want something to the point that I felt cheated with what I had at the time.
• I would love to have some of the money and resources I threw down the money pit in my life because I was not content with my current blessings.
• Let’s look at verse 12
• SLIDE #5
• Philippians 4:12(ESV) 12I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
• SLIDE #6
II. Learn how to live above your life circumstances. (12)
• How many of us are victims of circumstances. We allow circumstances to control our emotions, relationships, faith, and our finances.
• Paul knew how to live with little as well as lot.
• He even experienced living life in hunger.
• It is so easy to feel blessed when all is well, but how easy is it when you just lost your job or just had your house foreclosed on.
• True contentment transcends circumstances. Contentment does not mean you LOVE losing your job and your house, but it means that you know God is still in control, that He is still your Lord.
• There is an art to being able to do this, notice again this word LEARNED is used.
• Who wants to be hungry? Even during lean times we can be content.
• The word “abound” means to overflow.
• Now, as hard as it can be to be content when we have little, have an overflowing abundance can also present challenges. (AS FOR ME, I THINK I WOULD RATHER…) 
• When we do not know how to live with little, all we will be able to think about it getting more, we will be discontent with God and we will spend what we have foolishly on items we cannot afford.
• When we do not know how to live with much, we will not be satisfied until we have more and more and more.
• SLIDE #7
• Luke 12:15(ESV) 15And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
• Are you discontented because you don’t have what you want? Learn to rely on God’s promises and Christ’s power to help you be content.
• If you always want more, ask God to remove that desire and teach you contentment in every circumstance. He will supply all your needs, but in a way that he knows is best for you. (Life Application BIBLE)
• Let me tell you something from personal experience. Until I learned to be content with what I had and where I was, I did not experience peace.
• When I finally started to get a grip on contentment, it really changed how I saw things.
• The desire for more and more was under control, I was no longer willing to put my family at financial risk for stuff.
• Let’s see what we gather from verse 13
• SLIDE #8
• Philippians 4:13(ESV) 13I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
• Slide #9
III. Learn where your strength really comes from. (13)
• Paul’s contentment was not gained through self-discipline. Instead, it was through Christ alone, literally “the one empowering me”
• In context, the all things refers to the list in 4:11-12. In every possible circumstance, Paul could truly be content because he did not let outward circumstances determine his attitude.
• This verse is not about saying I can do ANYTHING I WANT; it is about being able to accomplish all things for Him through Christ and His power.
• Think of the issue of forgiveness. When YOU do not think YOU can do it, you can do it through CHRIST who strengthens you.
• What seems impossible, contentment in all circumstances can be done through Christ who strengthens us!
• This happens when we are in Christ.
• SLIDE #10
• Galatians 2:20(ESV) 20I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
• When we really get into a relationship with Jesus you will be amazed at what God can do through you, you will be amazed at what can change in your life through Christ.
• Many times we fall short because we rely on our own strength to get through issues we were not meant to deal with on our own.
• Contentment can be achieved through your relationship with Christ!
• Let’s look at our final thought in verses 14-15
• SLIDE #11
• Philippians 4:14-15(ESV) 14Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.
• SLIDE #12
IV. Learn to be a blessing to others. (14-15)
• When we start to be content in life, we will realize that God put us here to also be a blessing to others.
• When we are not throwing our finances down the money pit of discontent, we will have more finances to help others and to be more involved in the advancement of the kingdom.
• The Philippian Christians were a blessing to Paul and his ministry. Then were one of the first to support him.
• Imagine where we might be today if there were not folks who could finance the work Paul did on behalf of Jesus.
• When we are not so focused on self, we will be able to be a blessing to others. When we are content with what we have been blessed with, when we are thankful for what we have been blessed with, we will be more generous with what we have.
CONCLUSION
• Contentment will keep us from throwing our finance and ourselves down the dark, lonely money pit.
• This is one lesson that if we will prayerfully implement into our lives, it will change our lives and how we see life.
• A lot of the stresses we face will disappear over time!

 


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