130901 Hebrews 13:5,6,8

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 September 2013 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Hebrews 13:5,6,8

Theme: Be Content!

Look up the word "content", and you will find definitions such as "not desiring more than what one has; satisfied." Are you someone who does not desire more than you have? Are you satisfied with your life at this point? A couple of weeks ago we talked about the Old Adam and the New Man that lives inside your heart and mine; and the struggle between the two for control of our lives. Each one of us has a sinful nature in us that is never content. The Old Adam inside each one of us is never satisfied. Motivated by greed, he always wants more and more. But, by the grace of God, and the Word of God working on our hearts, you and I also have a New Man, a New Self. This New Man is always content. He knows and is confident that the Loving Lord in heaven is watching over you and me each and every day. Rejoicing in the forgiveness of sins that Jesus won for you, giving thanks to the loving Lord for all the blessings he has given to you, the encouragement from God's Word for you and me is: BE CONTENT! I invite you to listen again to three verses taken from our Second Lesson for today from Hebrews chapter 13. I am reading again verses 5, 6 and 8:

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Throughout chapter 13, the writer to the Hebrews is encouraging his readers to reflect in their lives the love Christ has shown to them. He mentions two groups in particular that we are to love. We are to show love for our fellow believers. We are to show love for the leaders of our congregation. And in between talking about showing love to these two groups, the encouragement for all of us is: be content. As we read, "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." God's Word encourages you and me to avoid greed, which keeps on wanting more and more. At a time when so much emphasis is placed on what and how much we own, sometimes it is difficult to resist the temptation of wanting more. When bills pile up, it may be easy for us to worry about how we will make it until the next payday. When we watch the price of groceries or the price of gas or the cost of healthcare continue to go up and up, we may have fears about what impact this will have on our own personal budgets and the nation's economy. As it becomes more and more expensive to carry out our congregation's ministry, we may worry about what impact this might have on our future efforts to share the message of God's Word. However, the love of Jesus our Savior silences all fears. We hear the promise of our gracious God in heaven when he assures you and me, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

I would like you to notice something about this quote from Deuteronomy 31. Our loving and gracious Savior-God not only promises to provide for all of our physical needs while we live out our days on this earth, but he also makes us the promise that we are never alone. Our Lord will never leave our side. What a comfort this is for you and me! It is a comfort that leads you and me to be content. As we read, "So we say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'"

But someone may say, "Wait a minute here, Pastor! Look at all the heartache I have to go through day after day. Look at all the trouble in my life and in the world around us." It is true that some very sad and terrible things take place in our lives from time to time. Life can get difficult. And when it does, you and I too easily give in to the temptation of not being content. But what you and I need to remember is why bad things happen in our world today. It is not because the loving God can't control it. Rather, it is your fault. It is my fault. It is the fault of all sinful mankind. God's Word tells us that all of sinful mankind is responsible for the sin that is in the world today. You and I, allowing the sinful nature to control us, are guilty of not always being content. We are guilty of doing those things that are contrary to God's will. And this sin makes God sad. This sin makes God angry.

But, the loving and gracious God sent his one and only Son, Jesus, to pay the price for your sins, my sins and the sins of all mankind. Through Jesus Christ you and I hear the wonderful message of forgiveness for all of our sins, including those times we are not content. The love of our Savior-God causes you and me to be content as he makes us the promise in Romans chapter 8 that, because of the forgiveness won for us by Jesus Christ, you and I can be sure that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him." Commenting on this particular verse from Romans chapter 8, one author has written, "In sickness and in health, in want or in plenty, in bad times and good times, God is at work in our lives to bring about his good purposes for us. We may not always understand what that purpose is, but we can be assured that God is in control so that his good purposes will always be accomplished. That's how wise and powerful God is."

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, be content! Why? Because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." The same almighty Lord who created and controls all things, the same loving Lord who holds you in the palm of his hand, the same compassionate Lord who came to this earth once to be your substitute and who knows the exact day when he will come again, is the same never-changing Lord who makes you the promise that his great love for you will never change. Be content! You have a Savior-God who won your forgiveness. Be content! You have an almighty Lord who is watching over you day after day. Because of the love of Jesus, who promises you and me "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" so you and I are able to say with all confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Be content! Why? Because "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." So we pray:

I am content! My Jesus lives again, in whom my heart is pleased.
He has fulfilled the law of God for me; God's wrath he has appeased.
Since he in death could perish never, I also shall not die forever.
I am content! I am content! Amen.
(Christian Worship, Hymn 158 v.1)

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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