Sermons

Summary: Message 30 from Philippians exploring Paul's admonition to think properly.

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Chico Alliance Church

April 9, 2017

“Contemplate Positive Things”

Paul’s letter to the Jesus followers living in a Greek city called Philippi presented some practical principles for maintaining the joy of the Lord no matter what.

I. ADOPT THE RIGHT AXIS – A Passion to praise Christ 1

Exalt Christ in everything

II. MAINTAIN THE RIGHT ATTITUDE – A Passion to please Christ 2

Please Christ through sacrificial service

III. PURSUE THE RIGHT AIM – A Passion to pursue Christ 3

Pursue deeper relationship with Christ above all other things

IV. PRACTICE THE RIGHT ACTIONS – A Passion to practice Christ 4

Practice Christ-like living.

Paul cited several behaviors that must become a part of our everyday life.

A.Stand firm in the Lord 4:1

B.Harmonize in the Lord 4:2-3

C. Rejoice in the Lord always 4:4

D. Cultivate the Gentleness of the Lord 4:5

E. Cultivate a life of persistent prayer to the Lord 4:6-7

Today we focus on the next behavioral admonition that relates both to joy and peace. Negative thinking will disrupt both joy and peace in our lives. Positive meditation stimulates both joy and peace in our lives.

F.Contemplate positive things 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

We learned peaceful living rests greatly on proper thinking. Paul clearly told the Romans that renewal of our thinking transforms our living.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

Any transformation in behavior requires a renewal of our thinking. Nearly every issue we battle in life stems from faulty or inadequate thinking. Anxiety stems from negative thinking. Interpersonal conflict stems from selfish thinking. Fear stems from negative thinking. Depression stems from negative thinking. Left unaddressed these patterns of thinking imbed in our personality and trigger responses like anger, fear, anxiety, depression, strive, sensuality, impurity etc.

We imbed negative or errant thinking or we lack eternal perspective. A change in our thinking causes change in our living. Thinking determines direction. In my perpetual efforts to eat healthier, I have tried many things.

This time around I grabbed on to two simple but powerful perspectives. There are certain foods that are poison to my body. Being diabetic, a high sugar and high carbohydrate diet is detrimental to my health. The second is that satisfaction and comfort is not really found in food.

Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings (thinking), for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. Hebrews 13:9

Inferiority stems from negative thinking about ourselves probably ingrained from childhood experiences and fail to recognize our wealth and worth in Jesus. Faith or trust stems from contemplation of the truth about God.

Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

It is never “blind” faith. It is a decision to trust God based on evidence. God does something in the heart to stimulate that decision to trust but he will not completely circumvent our mind. Even modern society recognizes the need for positive affirmation. The problem with some of the world’s affirmations are not based on reality.

I am the greatest. I am the most beautiful person in the world. I am strong. I am successful. Thinking so doesn’t make so. Affirming something that doesn’t correspond with reality fosters delusion. Many remember some who auditioned for American Idol. Just because we think we can sing wonderful doesn’t mean it is true. We can confidently affirm what the Bible says about us. The mind is a powerful thing. What we believe determines how we behave. If I visualize myself as a worthless sinner I will excuse my sinful behavior. If I affirm the fact that God views me a specially called and gifted child of God who indeed does, on occasion, sin, I will continually seek to live up to that image.

God continually calls us to focus on eternal things.

If then (and you have) been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4

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