Sermon Notes Sunday, 8.4.2019

August 4, 2019                 Sermon Notes                  “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”

I was taught by my mom and dad that when someone sends you a gift, you need to say, “Thank you!”  Sometimes, it is even appropriate to write a thank you note – like for graduation gifts, etc…  It’s just the right thing to do.  It follows a certain form.  You ask how the other person is, tell them how you are, thank them specifically for the gift, and tell them you look forward to seeing them.   It goes something like this:

Dear Aunt Kathryn –
How are you?  I am fine. Thank you so much for the nice hand-knitted scarf you sent me for Christmas.  It’s just what I wanted.  I hope to see you soon.

I was thinking that Paul’s letter to the Philippians is really a thank you note – a thank you note written to the Philippian church for their support while he was in a Roman prison.  What would you expect Paul to write in his thank you note?  Maybe something like:

Dear Philippian Church –
How are you?  I am fine.  Thank you so much for the nice gift of money you sent me.  It’s just what I wanted.  I hope to see you when I get out of prison and come to Philippi.

This is not, however, what Paul says in his thank you note.  First of all, he waits until the very last paragraph of his letter (a pretty long letter) to even mention the gift.  When he does mention the gift, he only does so in passing.  It’s not like he is “gushing” over the gift.  Listen to what he says –

10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil. 4: 10-13  NRSV)

He goes on to say, I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent.  They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. (Phil. 4: 18)
He is grateful…but he was already a grateful, content person before they sent the gift by Epaphroditus.  “I have learned the secret,” Paul said.  The “secret” is not how to get more things so you can be satisfied.  The “secret” is finding your satisfaction in the only One who can give it.  Jesus Christ!  That way, whether you have little, or have plenty – whether you are hungry or full – you can still experience satisfaction, knowing that you can do all things through Christ who strengths you!

As our Rock n Roll Summer series continues with (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, by the Rolling Stones, I wonder if you have learned the “secret” that Paul learned.

See you Sunday,

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