Sermon Based Group Homework
For the message on May 6, 2018
Passage: Philippians 4:6-13
QUICK REVIEW: This Sunday, we took a look at how Paul learned the secret of contentment. Looking back at your notes from this week’s message, was there anything you heard for the first time or that caught your attention, challenged, or confused you?
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
1. The Apostle Paul emphasized that contentment is learned, not acquired with success or possessions. What is your definition of contentment?
2. There are many areas where discontentment can show up in our lives. One of those is in our finances. Can you think a dumb purchase you made because you thought it would make you more satisfied?
LET’S GO DEEPER
1. The book of Ecclesiastes records King Solomon’s search for contentment in a world where he had everything at his fingertips. Take a look at what he learned by reading the following passages and then jotting down his insights about the pursuit of contentment.
Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 (ESV)
1 I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But behold, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my heart how to cheer my body with wine—my heart still guiding me with wisdom—and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the children of man to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines, the delight of the sons of man. 9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 (ESV)
4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. 5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. 6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. 7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 one person who has no other, either son or brother, yet there is no end to all his toil, and his eyes are never satisfied with riches, so that he never asks, “For whom am I toiling and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.
Ecclesiastes 5:10-16 (ESV)
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. 15 As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. 16 This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?
- Is there one verse in particular that jumped off the page to you the most? How can that verse help you with contentment?
2. Biblical contentment does not mean that God wants us to check our drive or desire to succeed at the door. It means that we get our soul satisfaction from Jesus despite our success or failures. How do you balance Solomon’s prayer in Proverbs 30:7-9 with what we find in Deuteronomy 8:10-18 when it comes to contentment?
Proverbs 30:7-9 (ESV)
7 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
Deuteronomy 8:10-18 (ESV)
10 And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12 lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
- We are told in scripture to ask for God’s blessings. What warning do you think Solomon would give us as we pray for blessings, protection, and provision?
3. Biblical contentment doesn’t mean that we have to love everything just the way it is. But it does mean we can cope with even those things we most dread. How can Psalm 46:1-3, help us persevere through the tough times we’d rather avoid?
Psalm 46:1-3 (ESV)
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
- In what way do you need God to help you in a current trouble?
TAKE IT HOME
1. What keeps you from experiencing contentment the most – the culture around you, the marketing directed at you, the success of others above you, the selfish desires within you? Ask God to help you become fully satisfied in Jesus regardless of your circumstances.
2. Do you have any prayer requests for your group?