“Jesus Is Enough” – Hebrews 13:4-6

March 10th, 2019

Hebrews 13:4-6

“Jesus Is Enough

Aux. Texts: 1 Tim 6:3-19

Call to Worship: Psalm 145

 

Service Orientation: Finding contentment in Jesus and His promises empowers us to love others by being faithful in our relationships and promiscuous in our generosity.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the WeekI know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. —  Philippians 4:12

 

Background Information:

  • The connection between Heb 13:4-6 and 13:1-3 is obvious: unless uncleanness and covetousness be mortified there can be no real love exercised unto the brethren. (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1124)
  • (v. 4) At the time of the writing of Hebrews, many held a low view of marriage. Ascetics like the Jewish sect of the Essenes despised marriage as an indulgence of the unholy flesh, emphasizing celibacy instead.  On the other hand, many in the immoral society that surrounded the original Hebrew audience of the letter would have treated marriage as an irrelevant commitment, preferring to engage in fornication and all sorts of deviant practices destructive to marriage and the family.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 214)
  • (v. 4) “Bed” is used here as a euphemism for sexual intercourse, and in demanding that it be kept “pure” “our author is referring in sacrificial terms to married chastity.” The bed–the sexual relationship–is an altar, so to speak, where a pure offering of a couple’s lives is made to each other and to God.  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 217)
  • (v. 4) The former word, “adulterers” (moichoi), is more focused than the latter, referring specifically to those who betray their marriage vows.  The latter, “the sexually immoral” (pornoi), refers to all those involved in sexual activity apart from the sanctity of the marriage relationship.  Together the two words cover the gamut of illicit sexual behavior.  For those so involved in dishonoring marriage and defiling the marriage bed, the judgment of God awaits.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 437)
  • (vss. 4-5) The sins of sexual impurity and covetousness are linked in several NT passages (e.g., 1 Cor 5:10-11; Eph 4:19; 1 Thes 4:3-6), probably because their prohibitions are given side by side as the seventh and eighth of the Ten Commandments.  Both the sexually immoral and those greedy for money pursue a myopic self-gratification that takes them outside the bounds of God’s provision.  Such greed amounts to accusing God of incompetence as a provider of one’s most basic needs and, therefore, is incompatible with commitment to God himself (cf. Mt 6:24).  Consequently, Christians are exhorted to keep their lives “free from the love of money” and to “be content” with what they have.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 437)
  • (v. 6) It would hardly be possible in English to give the full weight of the Greek. We might render it, “He himself has said, I will never, never desert you, and I will never, never, never abandon you.”  Though that would be not a literal, but rather a free rendering, yet, since there are five negatives in the Greek, we do not know how to give their force in any other way.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 449)

 

The question to be answered is . . . What is the writer of Hebrews trying to get us to see in these 3 verses?

 

Answer: That saving faith in Jesus empowers us to love others by guarding our sexuality and being promiscuous in our resources because we are content with God and His promises.

 

But exactly what is “covetousness”?  It is the opposite of contentment, a being dissatisfied with our present lot and portion.  It is an over-eager desire for the things of this world.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1135)

 

The fall of our first parents originated in covetousness, lusting after that which God had forbidden.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1136)

 

“Thou shalt not covet” (Ex 20:17).  “The commandment requires moderation in respect of all worldly goods, submission to God, acquiescence in His will, love to His commandments, and a reliance on Him for the daily supply of all our wants as He sees good.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1137)

 

Thus, not only is covetousness a fearful sin in itself, but it is also the prolific mother of other evils.  In the poor, it works envy, discontent, and fraud; in the rich, pride, luxury, and avarice. (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1141)

 

There is a very real sense in which you will never be fully content in this world because this world is fallen and you are fallen.  Our present reality keeps intruding and interrupting our eternal, authentic reality.  So we need to learn to be content in our present discontentment knowing we’ll one day enjoy complete contentment. This I call discontented contentment!  — Pastor Keith

 

The opposite of covet is contentment.  –Tim Keller

 

The Word for the Day is . . . content

 

Envy is the art of counting another’s blessings instead of one’s own!  — Ruth M. Walsh

 

Content makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.  — Benjamin Franklin.

 

How does an informed saving faith help us love others?:

I-  We can limit our sexuality because we are content in Jesus. (Heb 13:4; see also: Prv 5; 1 Cor 5:10-11; 6:9-10; Gal 5:16-25; Eph 2:1-6; 5:3-5; Col 3:2-5; 1 Thess 4:3-7; 2 Pt 1:4)

 

His view coincides with that of Paul who taught that Christian marriage pictured the relationship between Christ and His church.  Therefore, it was to be preserved in purity, each partner faithful to the other.  This meant no wife-swapping, no sex parties, and no third-party allowed to intrude.  Christian love made marriage a holy thing.  This high view of marriage caused the early church to stand out boldly against the immorality of the world around it.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 324)

 

The pagan culture at the time, and our modern, especially New York culture today; puts those two things (money and sex) in opposition.  For us today, sex is just a means to an end.  It is not a holy, sacred thing.  So you do it with whomever.  But, money is very, very sacred and so you don’t share it with anybody.  But you see, Christians are the opposite.  Because in Christianity, sex is seen as a holy thing in itself.  Something that you don’t share with anybody but your spouse.  But money is not big a deal.  You share it with whomever. (Tim Keller; Money and Your Faith)

 

It is astonishing that in this Psalm (51), David never prays directly about sex.  His corruption all started with sex, leading to deceit, leading to murder…or did it?  I don’t think so.  Why isn’t he crying out for sexual restraint?  Why isn’t he praying for men to hold him accountable?  Why isn’t he praying for protected eyes and lust-free thoughts?  The reason is that David knows that sexual sin is a symptom, not the disease.  People give way to sexual sin because they don’t have fullness of joy and gladness in Jesus.  Their spirits are not steadfast and firm and established.  They waver.  They are enticed, and they give way because God does not have the proper place in their feelings and thoughts. (John Piper, Shaped By God, 37)

 

He places the adjective “honored” at the front of the sentence in a position of emphasis.  In contrast to the triad of asceticism, immorality, and indifference, Christian marriage should be honored.  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 215)

 

There is nothing wrong with money, sex and beer.  The problem is avarice, lust and gluttony.  (David Fagerberg; Mars Hill Audio Vol 139, Disk 2, Trk 3)

 

The institution of marriage was assaulted from two sides in the ancient world.  Some felt chastity in marriage was unreasonable.  For example, in some corners of Greco-Roman culture men were expected to take mistresses as their confidants and sexual partners.  Others felt marriage stunted spiritual devotion and thus held asceticism as the ideal.  As the verse develops, it is clear that the former, rather than the latter, error is in view.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 436)

 

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.  — Socrates

 

Talk-show host Dennis Prager wrote about an ad he read for a sex therapist in Los Angeles: “If you’re not completely satisfied with your sex life, give us a call.”  The more he thought about it, the more he was struck by the brilliance on the ad, all because of two words: “completely satisfied.”  Who is ever completely satisfied with anything?

Imagine these ads:

If you’re not completely satisfied with your spouse, give us a call.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your body, give us a call.

If you’re not completely satisfied with your church, give us a call.

We are completely satisfied with nothing.

Why are we completely satisfied by nothing on earth?  Maybe it’s because we are too demanding.  Maybe the answer is to bank our desires, settle for what life gives, and try to keep ourselves from wanting.

Or maybe it’s because we were made for something earth does not have to offer and we’re playing life’s game in a way it wasn’t designed to be played.  (John Ortberg, When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box, 193)

 

Who is not happy at not being a king except a deposed king.  All of these miseries of man prove man’s greatness.  They are miseries of a deposed King.  — Blaise Pascal.

 

The terminology of (Mt) 5:28 is quite clear if we will but attend to it, and many translations do get it right.  The Greek preposition pros and the dative case are used here.  The wording refers to looking at a woman with the purpose of desiring her.  That is, we desire to desire.  We indulge and cultivate desiring because we enjoy fantasizing about sex with the one seen.  Desiring sex is the purpose for which we are looking.

Another NT passage very graphically speaks of those who have “eyes full of adultery” (2 Pt 2:14).  These are people who, when they see a sexually attractive person, do not see the person but see themselves sexually engaging him or her.  They see adultery occurring in their imagination.  Such a condition is one we can and should avoid.  (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, 165)

 

The certain deterioration of life is the judgment of God when sex standards are violated.  It is the brutalization of humanity, so men become like animals and live on the level of animals.  This is so apparent in our day.  (Ray C. Stedman, How to Live What You Believe, 184)

 

The heathen world needed to be told that marriage was God’s institution, given, governed and guarded by him.  Even before sin’s entrance it was there, but sin has stained marriage and sullied the marriage bed.  “Honored by all,” the author urges, but what God gave as a precious gift is downgraded, disgraced, and discarded.  The gift of sex brings blessings only in the marriage bed.  Those who would defile it outside of marriage will be judged.  Human courts may allow and human eyes may not see, but God will certainly see and relentlessly judge every violation.  Let the church bravely proclaim God’s holy will in this vital area even when most of the world doesn’t want to hear it.  Let the believer find power to swim against the present tide of immorality and be blessed by God.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 172)

 

II-  We can be promiscuous with our resources because we are content in Jesus.  (Heb 13:5; see also: Job 31:24-28; Prov 16:8; 23:5; Eccl 2:24; 3:12-13; 4:6; 5:10, 18; 8:15; 9:7-9; Isa 55:2; 58:10-11; Mt 13:1-23; Mk 4:1-20; Lk 12:15; 16:13-14; 2 Cor 9:6-11; 1 Tim 3:3; 6:3-19; 2 Tim 3:2)

 

 

We are to be promiscuous with our money, not our sex.  — Pastor Keith

 

When you see a Christian grasping after money, it’s clear he doesn’t have a good view of what lies ahead of him.  When a person is truly born-again he already has the wealth of heaven awaiting him (1 Cor 2:9).  A good view of his future wealth and glory should release him from the love of money or any advantage money would give him in this life.  As a result, the Christian’s attitude toward money is a good barometer of his spiritual development.  It tells exactly how real or unreal the promises of God are to him.  The more real the promises, the more content he is with what he has.  (C. S. Lovett, Lovett’s Lights on Hebrews, 325-6)

 

Our contentment should be in what Christ gives, not in what we can achieve for ourselves.  Money cannot save a soul from God’s punishment.  Money cannot even bring contentment.  Rather than bring contentment, most people find that money often fails to live up to their expectations.  Money is also difficult to keep.  Where money fails, God does not.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 233)

 

Trust in money is distrust in God.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 433)

 

Materialistic cravings and greed are a great evil because they show dependence on money rather than on Christ.  Materialism is the antithesis of chapters 11-12, where a life pursuing heavenly rather than earthly rewards is extolled.  Materialism also demonstrates that someone cares more about items they can see than about spiritual promises that they cannot presently see.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 233)

 

Mercy to the full range of human needs is such an essential mark of being a Christian that it can be used as a test of true faith.  Mercy is not optional or an addition to being a Christian.  Rather, a life poured out in deeds of mercy is the inevitable sign of true faith.  (Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy, 35)

 

The only true and enduring motivation for the ministry of mercy is an experience and a grasp of the grace of God in the gospel.  If we know we are sinners saved by grace alone, we will be both open and generous to the outcasts and the unlovely.  (Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy, 58)

 

Christians must give sacrificially, until their lifestyle is lowered.  However, giving must be in accord with calling and ministry opportunities.  Also, every believer must be a steward of possessions so as not to become a burden and liability to his or her family.  (Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy, 67)

 

Wealth is to be accumulated strictly for doing works of mercy and spreading the kingdom.  Wealth is not to be stored up “for yourselves (Mt 6:19-21).  (Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy, 72)

 

If your giving to the needy does not burden you or cut into your lifestyle in any way, you must give more!  (Timothy J. Keller, Ministries of Mercy, 75)

 

Covetousness, either of another man’s wife, or someone else’s property, is a perilous snare.  The Christian believes that in his providential goodness the Lord will give him what is good for him.  He will work hard, be generous with his possessions, and leave the rest with God.  He certainly does not spend his precious time fretting about how he can collect more money, or acquire more valuable things.  This is the way the godless behave.  The believer is grateful for those material necessities he already possesses and rejoices in far more satisfying spiritual possessions.  His heart is set on those riches, not on the perishable things which have no value beyond death.  Covetousness is born of doubt; contentment is the child of faith.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 254)

 

That which most effectually strikes at our innate selfishness is the love of God shed abroad in the heart.  A generous heart and a liberal hand should ever characterize the Christian.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1139)

 

So terrible is this sin and so great is its power that, one who is governed by it will trample upon the claims of justice, as Ahab did in seizing the vineyard of Naboth (1 Kgs 21); he will disregard the call of charity, as David did in taking the wife of Uriah (2 Sm 11); he will stoop to the most fearful lies, as did Ananias and Sapphira; he will defy the express commandment of God, as Achan did; he will sell Christ, as Judas did.  This is the mother sin, for “the love of money is the root of all evil.”  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1140)

 

It is possible to love money without having it, and it is possible to have it without loving it. —J. C. Ryle  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 233)

 

In money itself there is no sin.  Is it not one of God’s good gifts?  May not the possession of it be the proof of honest labor and diligence and forethought, of self-denial and wise economy; a token of God’s blessing on our work; a power to help others and benefit society.  Is not poverty frequently a sign of sloth and sin?  Is not money one great means for attaining God’s purpose, that man should bring the whole world into subjection to himself?  (Andrew Murray, The Holiest of All, 522)

 

Covetousness is an inordinate desire of the heart after the creature; which is a fruit of man’s apostasy from the Lord.  No longer finding in God the supreme object of his soul’s delight and confidence, fallen man loves and trusts in the creature (mere things) rather than the Creator.  This takes on many forms: men lust after honors, wealth, pleasures, knowledge, for Scripture speaks of “the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Eph 2:3), and of “filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2 Cor 7:1).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1137)

 

The chief pang which pierces the heart of the lover of money is gnawing anxiety.  The greedy person can never be happy, but the opposite of covetousness is contentment.  Here too there is a close affinity between this passage and 1 Timothy: “There is great gain in godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Tm 6:6-8).  Behind both documents lies our Lord’s teaching: “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat? or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt 6:31-33).  “Be content with what you have,” says our author.  (F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Hebrews, 374)

 

Contentment means more than passive acceptance of the inevitable.  It involves a positive recognition that money is relative.  (Donald Guthrie, Tyndale NT Commentaries: Hebrews, 269)

 

What is to be the standard of contentment as to food and raiment?  The Apostle furnishes us with it in the words before us: “Be content with present things.”  Indeed, if we do not make this the standard of contentment, we will never be content at all.  (John Brown, Geneva Series Commentaries: Hebrews, 682)

 

If there be those who condemn the miser for his stinginess, often they are guilty in turn of wreckless prodigality.  That which ought to be saved for a rainy day, is used to gratify a desire which covets some unnecessary object.  But let us not be misunderstood on these points.  Neither the possession nor the retention of wealth is wrong in itself, providing it be acquired honestly and preserved with a justifiable motive.  God is the One who “giveth thee power to get wealth” (Dt 8:18), and therefore is His goodness to be acknowledged when he is pleased to prosper us in basket and in store.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1138-9)

 

To lay up for a rainy day is quite permissible: see Prv 6:6-8.  Neither idleness nor extravagance are to be condoned.  Those who through indolence or prodigality waste their substance and fail in business cannot be too severely censured, for they not only impoverish themselves but injure others, becoming the pests of society and a public burden.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1139)

 

Worship Point: Worship the God Who will one day blow us away with contentment.  But, for now, He encourages us to be content with so very little, which empowers us to enjoy life so very much.  (Ps 17:15; 73:25; 90:14; 104:28; 132:13-15; Mt 6:19-33; Jn 10:10; 1 Cor 2:9; 2 Cor 2:9; Eph 3:20-21; Phil 4:10-13; 1 Tm 6:3-19)

 

The more we focus on Him the less we will be concerned about anything material.  When you are near Jesus Christ, you are overwhelmed with the riches that you have in Him, and earthly possessions simply will not matter.  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 435)

 

Why is integrity in marriage so important for the church?  Honesty, moral purity, and faithfulness are essential to the proper worship of God (see also 12:16).  Because the marriage relationship often illustrates the relationship of God with his people, a relationship on earth with one’s spouse ought to illustrate the love, trust, and devotion available with the Creator (see the book of Hosea; Rv 18:23; 19;7; 21:2, 9; 22:17).  Also, in times of persecution and pressure, a believer needs help and encouragement from his or her spouse.  A good marriage relationship provides one of the best deterrents against apostasy.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 232)

 

Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in thee, O Lord. — St. Augustine

 

There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any other created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus.  — Blaise Pascal

 

Covetousness is desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God.

The opposite of covetousness is contentment in God.  When contentment in God decreases, covetousness for gain increases.  That’s why Paul says in Col 3:5 (RSV) that covetousness is idolatry.  “Put to death what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”  It’s idolatry because the contentment that the heart should be getting from God, it starts to get from something else.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 221)

 

Hebrews quotes two great OT passages–Josh 1:5 and Ps 118:6–to show that the man of God needs nothing more because he has with him always the presence and the help of God.  Nothing that man can give him can improve on that.  (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, Hebrews, 194)

 

The weakness of the church is due in large part to the failure of Christians to be content with what God gives them.  (Ray C. Stedman, How to Live What You Believe, 184)

 

Dead orthodoxy is being content with where we are in our relationship to God (D. Martyn  Lloyd-Jones; Revival, 68)

 

Wouldn’t it be great if God always gave you what you would have asked for if you knew everything He knows?  We do have a God like that.  — Tim Keller

 

I know of no other way to triumph over sin long-term, than to gain a distaste for it, because of a superior satisfaction in God.  (John Piper; Desiring God, 11)

 

After all, when I am perfectly satisfied, then what can tempt me?  When I am perfectly loved, then what else do I desire?  When I am eternally secure, then what can threaten me?  (Bryan Chapell; Holiness by Grace, 109)

 

We keep thinking that a train called more will get us to a station called satisfaction.

What if trying to pursue satisfaction by having more is like trying to run after the horizon?  Why would we ever expect more to be enough here if this is not our home?

What if the train is called contentment?  What if the station is called heaven?

What if the station is real and is to be the object of our truest and deepest longings?  Then we will see God face-to-face.  Then our longings for glory, beauty, love, and meaning will be fully realized.  Then the restless human race will finally cry out, “Enough!”

And God will say, “More!”  (John Ortberg, When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box, 200)

 

The Christian Way — The Christian says, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists.   A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food.   A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water.   Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex.  If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.  If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud.  Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.  If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.  I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.  (C. S. Lewis; Mere Christianity, 120)

 

We can become so shallow and “content” with the addiction to things that we cease to look for anything deeper and more satisfying (Deuteronomy).  We no longer groan (Romans 8) looking forward to a heavenly kingdom and a heavenly world (Hebrews and 1 or 2 Peter).  In fact, we can become so content with this world that we are dull and anaesthetized to all that God has for us.  We fail to be repentant because we are confident we have all that life can offer.  — Pastor Keith

 

Discontent, though few appear to realize it, is sinful, a grievous offense against the Most High.  It is an impugning of His wisdom, a denial of His goodness, a rising up of my will against His.  To murmur at our lot is to take issue with God’s sovereignty, quarreling as it does with His providence, and therefore, is a being guilty of high treason against the King of the universe.  Since God orders all the circumstances of human life, then every person ought to be entirely satisfied with the state and situation in which he is placed.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1144)

 

Gospel Application: Jesus perfectly demonstrated faithfulness in His relationships and promiscuity with His resources.  Submit to Jesus.  He’ll guard your heart.  (Prv 4:23; Lk 12:15; Gal 3: 16-17; Eph 4:22; Col 3:5; 2 Tm 2:22; 1 Pt 1:14; 2:11)

 

The Christian life is a broad road of happiness, joy, peace, blessing, success, significance, and contentment, which is ironically gained by choosing the narrow road of surrender, obedience, self-denial, self-sacrifice, truth, worship and service. (Patrick Morely; Ten Secrets for the Man in the Mirror, 185)

 

But it is not until after a person is regenerate that he takes notice of the inward motions of sin and takes cognizance of the state of his heart.  Then Satan will seek to persuade that he is not responsible for involuntary thoughts (which come unbidden), that evil desires are beyond our control–infirmities which are excusable.  But God says to him “Keep thine heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” (Prv 4:23), and makes him realize that every lusting after what He has forbidden or withheld is a species of self-will.  Therefore we are accountable to judge the first inclination toward evil and resist the very earliest solicitations.  The fact that we discover so much within that is contrary to God’s holy requirements should deeply humble us, and cause us to live more and more out of self and upon Christ.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1142-3)

 

Spiritual Challenge: Learn to trust in Jesus and His promises so you can beat greed, envy, lust, pride, and covetousness and be content in whatever circumstances the God of the Universe providentially ordains.  (Mt 13:1-12; ; Mk 4:1-25; 7:20-23; Lk 4:4-18; Phil 4:10-13; 1 Tm 6:3-19; Jam 4:1-10; 2 Pt 1:4)

 

The point is that we must be content to take only what God gives us.  (Ray C. Stedman, How to Live What You Believe, 185)

 

Both covetousness and discontent proceed from unbelief.  If I really trust God, will I have any qualms about the future or tremble at the prospect of starvation?  Certainly not: the two things are incompatible, opposites–“I will trust, and not be afraid” (Isa 12:2).  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1150)

 

How can we learn to be content?  Strive to live with less rather than desiring more; give away out of your abundance rather than accumulate more; relish what you have rather than resent what you’re missing.  See God’s love expressed in what he has provided, and remember that money and possessions will all pass away.

We become content when we realize God’s sufficiency for our needs.  Christians who become materialistic are saying by their actions that God can’t take care of them–or at least that he won’t take care of them the way they want.  Insecurity can lead to the love of money, whether we are rich or poor.  The only antidote is to trust God to meet all our needs.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 234)

 

What we want, or even need, is one thing; what we deserve is another.  We should confess with Jacob, “I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to Thy servant” (Gn 32:10).  The smallest good thing we have is more than we deserve.  The least-blessed of God’s saints are rich (see Mt 19:27-29).  (John MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur NT Commentary: Hebrews, 434)

 

The point the writer makes is not that there is anything wrong with what God has given.  Contentment is not having what you want; it is wanting only what you have.  (Ray C. Stedman, How to Live What You Believe, 184)

 

If you say, “I could never be that open with my living space.  I could never be that open with my social associations. And I could never be that open with my wallet. It is just too hard.”  You haven’t taken this one promise into the center of your heart.  It hasn’t caught fire there.  You want to know what it is?  I will never leave you nor forsake you.

You know what that means?  There is a negative and a positive side.  You know what the negative side is?  Everything else will leave you and forsake you.  Everything. That is the negative side of this.  If you understand it, everything else will leave you and forsake you.  Everything. . . .

(The positive side) Do you think the one who died for you and loves you and said, I will never, never, never, never, never forsake you . . .do you think He will leave you? (Tim Keller; Money and Your Faith)

 

The contentment here exhorted unto is something other than a fatalistic indifference; it is a holy composure of mind, a resting in the Lord, a being pleased with what pleases Him–satisfied with the portion He has allotted.  Anything short of this is evil.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1144)

 

“Man can do much: he can fine, imprison, banish, reduce to a morsel of bread, yea, torture and put to death; yet as long as God is with us and standeth for us, we may boldly say, ‘I will not fear what man can do.’  Why?  God will not see thee utterly perish.  He can give joy in sorrow, life in death” (Thos. Manton).  May the Lord graciously grant both writer and reader more faith in Himself, more reliance upon His promises, more consciousness of His presence, more assurance of His help, and then we shall enjoy more deliverance from covetousness, discontent, and the fear of man.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1152)

 

Sin is what you do when your heart is not satisfied with God.  No one sins out of duty.  We sin because it holds out some promise of happiness.  That promise enslaves us until we believe that God is more to be desired than life itself.  (Ps 63:3).  Which means that the power of sin’s promise is broken by the power of God’s.  All that God promises to be for us in Jesus stands over against what sin promises to be for us without him.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 9-10)

 

Contentment is a gift from God to be gratefully received, not a triumph of self-discipline or acquisition to be attained.  — Pastor Keith

 

Covetousness involves getting what you want, while contentment results in wanting what you get.  And the more you have to live for, the less you need to live on.  Those who make possessions their ultimate goal never have enough.  (Simon Guillebaud, Choose Life, 365 Readings for Radical Disciples, 7/2)

 

Be content with what you have but never with what you are.  (Sign on Rollin Friends Church 9-2-11)

 

Spiritual maturity is being content with what God has done for you but discontented with what you have done for God.   — Pastor Keith

 

Our conformity to the will of God should extend to our natural defects, mental ones, included.  We should not, for example, complain or feel grieved at not being so clever or so witty or not having such a good memory as other people.  Why should we complain of the little that has fallen to our lot when we have deserved nothing of what God has given us?  Is not all a free gift of His generosity for which we are greatly indebted to him?  What services has He received from us that He should have made us a human being rather than some lower animal?  Have we done anything to oblige him to give us existence itself?

But it is not enough just not to complain.  We ought to be content with what we have been given and desire nothing more.  What we have is sufficient because God has judged it so.  Just as a workman uses the shape and size of tool best suited to the job in hand, so God gives us those qualities which are in accordance with the designs He has for us.  The important thing is to use well what He has given us.  It may be added that it is very fortunate for some people to have only mediocre qualities or limited talents.  The measure of them that God has given will save them, while they might be ruined if they had more.  Superiority of talent very often only serves to engender pride and vanity and so become a means of perdition.  (Jean Baptiste; Trustful Surrender To Divine Providence, 65-6)

 

God keeps his covenant to provide for his people.  Therefore, believers need not worry that their needs will go unmet.  (George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary: Hebrews, 437)

 

The covetous man pursues his selfish aims, whether sexual or financial, without regard to the rights of others.  So the writer warns against the love of money and urges contentment with what one has.  In any case covetousness is needless, for the believer has the promise that God will never leave him nor forsake him.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, 147)

 

Since he has promised to help his own, covetousness in all its forms is useless.  God’s people are secure no matter what comes, because he is with them.  Beside this great fact, the petty securities of worldly possessions, position, and the like do not matter at all.  (Frank E. Gæbelein, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 12, 147)

 

Discontent is the very essence of ingratitude, and therefore it stifles the voice of thanksgiving.  There cannot be any rest of soul until we quietly resign our persons and portions to God’s good pleasure.  Discontent corrodes the strings of the heart, and therefore it arrests all happy endeavor.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1145)

 

Remember that each murmur implies unthankfulness.  Complaining is the basest of ingratitude.  If the Lord provides for the ravens, will He overlook the needs of any of His children?  O ye of little faith!  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1148)

 

Nothing will more quickly compose the mind in the face of adversity and nothing will so prevent the heart being puffed up by prosperity, than the realization that “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies” (Gn 32:10) of God.  Just so far as we really preserve a sense of our ill-deserts will we meekly submit to the allotments of Divine providence.  Every Christian cordially assents to the truth “He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Ps 103:10), then why complain if God withholds from us what he grants to others?  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1148-9)

 

Humans cannot hurt our souls or affect our salvation.  With God as our helper, we truly have nothing to fear!  Death will only bring us that much sooner into God’s immediate presence.  Believers need not be afraid.  (Bruce Barton, Life Application Bible Commentary: Hebrews, 234)

 

The appeal for “contentment” in the NT is not intended to convey the idea that ambition of every kind is contrary to God’s purpose.  Every believer ought to bring his best to his job or profession, recognizing that whatever he does in life ought to be of such quality that it can be presented as a sacrificial offering to Christ.  He does his utmost to be a firstrate worker, but he does not lust fretfully after promotion for its own sake.  He is content to leave that in the hands of a providential God who knows what is best for him.  Self-regarding ambition can be the most destructive force in the world.  Dominated by greed, it pays little attention to the needs of others, the will of God, or even personal health.  In a selfishly ambitious society Christian contentment is a quality of great evangelistic worth.  It reminds others that there is more to life than transitory success.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 255)

 

It means that in no one single instance will the Lord leave you, nor in any one particular will He leave you, nor for any reason will He leave you.  It you have cast yourself upon His infinite power and grace, He will carry you to the end.  Not only will He not desert you altogether, but He will not leave you even for a little while.  He may seem for a small moment to hide His face from you, but He will still love you and still supply your needs.  (Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon Commentary: Hebrews, 449)

 

At no time, under any circumstances conceivable or inconceivable, for any possible cause, will God utterly and finally forsake one of His own.  Then how safe they are!  How impossible for one of them to eternally perish!  God has here graciously condescended to give the utmost security to the faith of believers in all their difficulties and trials.  The continued presence of God with us ensures the continued supply of every need.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1151)

 

When you can’t have what you want, it’s time to start wanting what you have.

 

This contentment is not at all inconsistent with a duly regulated desire to improve our circumstances, and the use of the lawful means fitted for obtaining this purpose.  It does not consist in a slothful neglect of the business of life, or a real or pretended apathy to worldly interests.  It is substantially a satisfaction with God as our portion, and with what He is pleased to appoint for us.  It is opposed to covetousness, or the inordinate desire of wealth; and to unbelieving anxiety–dissatisfaction with what is present, distrust as to what is future.  (John Brown, Geneva Series Commentaries: Hebrews, 682)

 

To inoculate his readers from the disease of doubt that drives discontent, he quotes from Josh 1:5 and Ps 118:6.  With these passages, he undergirds the faithfulness of God in the same way Paul does in Phil 4:19: “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Charles R. Swindoll, Swindoll’s Living Insights: Hebrews, 216)

 

So What?: You want to be content and free from fear and worry?  Here is where you need to begin.  (Dt 26:12; 31:6-8; Josh 1:5; Psa 23:1; Isa 26:3; Mt 6:33; Jn 10:10; 1 Cor 2:9; 2 Cor 6:10; Gal 5:16-17; Eph 3:20-21; Phil 4:10-13, 19; 1 Tim 6:3-19)

 

Constant mindfulness of God’s fatherly presence and of his never-failing promises is the key to contentment.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 173)

 

Content with God’s perfect provision, covered with God’s perfect protection, the believer walks toward heaven’s shores unafraid.  (Richard E. Lauersdorf, The People’s Bible: Hebrews, 173)

 

To Have More—Want Less.

 

Bumper sticker in Chicago – Too Blessed to Complain

 

Contentment: Realizing that God has provided everything I need for my present happiness.

 

He who is content with little has everything.

 

The avaricious man is never content: ungenerous and grasping, he always wants more and is always afraid of losing what he has.  How different from the serenity of the true Christian who knows that, having Christ, he lacks nothing that is essential for his well-being (cf. Ps 23:1).  Paul, destitute of worldly possessions, sublimely speaks of himself “as having nothing, and yet possessing everything” (2 Cor 6:10).  “I have learned,” he assures his friends in Philippi, “in whatever state I am, to be content” (Phil 4:11).  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 567)

 

The best things in life aren’t things.

 

“I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” is a guarantee of God’s continual provision and protection, and this rebukes all inordinate desires and condemns all anxious fears.  (Arthur W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, 1150)

 

Believers know that the fear of man is just as enslaving as the love of money.  When the Lord is their helper they are released from such tyranny.  Pleasure (13:4), possessions (13:5) and popularity (13:6) are all under the sovereign control of their holy, generous and loving God.  (Raymond Brown, The Bible Speaks Today:  Hebrews, 254-5)

 

With this promise, no matter how limited our earthly resources may be, we can say with the Psalmist, and we can do so confidently: “The Lord is my helper”–and having his help no other help is needed!–“I will not be afraid”–for having been freed from the greatest of all fears (Heb 2:14f.) there is no room for lesser fears!–“what can man do to me?”–he may deprive me of my belongings and even kill my body (Mt 10:28), but he cannot so much as touch the eternal life and wealth that are mine in Christ Jesus my Lord: indeed all things are mine, and I am Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Cor 3:21f.)!  (Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 568)

 

We will be content if we truly embrace the fact that we have God!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 222)

 

Lust is slavery.

If I want something to the point that I can’t conceive of being content without it, then it owns me.  One writer in the Scriptures puts it like this: “‘I have the right to do anything’–but I will not be mastered by anything.”  (Rob Bell; Sex God, 75)

 

When therefore the Apostle is seeking to cure us of the disease of covetousness, he wisely calls our attention to God’s promises, in which he testifies that he will ever be present with us.  He hence infers afterwards that as long as we have such a helper there is no cause to fear.  (John Calvin, Commentaries: Hebrews, 344)

 

Just as Chrysostom did when he was brought before the Roman emperor and was threatened with banishment: “Thou canst not banish me for this world is my father’s house.”  “But I will slay thee,” said the Emperor.  “Nay, thou canst not,” said the noble champion of the faith, “for my life is hid with Christ in God.”  “I will take away thy treasures.”  “Nay, but thou canst not for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there.”  “But I will drive thee away from man and thou shalt have no friend left.”  “Nay, thou canst not, for I have a friend in heaven from whom thou canst not separate me.  I defy thee; for there is nothing that thou canst do to hurt me.”  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Hebrews, vol. 2, 223)

 

The believer, however, need not be afraid when God is on his side.  The Scottish reformer John Knox fearlessly stood his ground against formidable opposition and said, “a man with God is always in the majority.”  (William Hendriksen & Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Hebrews, 412)

CONTENTMENT IS

FOUND IN

JESUS

 

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