Summary: Those who have the mind of Christ are to think and act like He did! Read this sermon to find out how.

Needing an Attitude Adjustment?

Philippians 4:8-9

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The moment you said I believe in Jesus (John 3:16) and asked Him to be the Lord of your life (Romans 10:9) a radical transformation occurred … you became a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), born again, not of flesh and blood (John 1:13) but of water and the Spirit (John 3:5-8)! You have been adopted into God’s family as heirs (Romans 8:16-17) with a glorious inheritance to be received partly now but fully in His presence (Ephesians 1:15-23). As one of His children He expects you to become holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). While that might seem impossible (Hebrews 11:6) for those who start off as mere babes in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1), the chains of sin that so easily entangled you (Hebrews 12:1-2) have been broken by the Spirit who is far more powerful than your unbridled passions and the Prince of the air (Ephesians 2:2) who enslaved you (1 John 4). While God has enabled and expects you to live the rest of your life obeying Him (1 Peter 4:2-5), He has given you free will (1 Corinthians 6:12) and as such there will always be a struggle within you between your old nature of sin and your new nature (Romans 7) of Christlikeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). However, being bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20) you are expected through the power of the Spirit to put off evil desires (Colossians 3:5) and to run the race to please God and one day receive crowns of righteousness (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). Do you disagree with all the above?

Problem: You are What you Think

Since most Christians would wholeheartedly agree that their earthly goal is to be transformed into Christlikeness through strict obedience to His will, then why do so many choose to glorify the old self and obey the Prince of this world? I believe it is because we often forget spiritual battles are not against flesh and blood but against established strongholds of evil desires in our minds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Even though everyone born again has overcome the world and therefore has the power of the Spirit to obey God (1 John 5:3), this does not mean that the old self no longer has evil desires that flood our minds (James 1:14)! And while an evil thought entering a person’s mind in not necessarily a sin, entering a fantasy world that honors the ways of the Price of this world certain is … for as you think you will become (Proverbs 23:7)! To win the battlefield of the mind Paul says we must not merely let our thoughts happen but take each one of them captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). And with these thoughts of holiness we are to live our lives walking in the steps of Christ!

Taking our Thoughts Captive to Obey Christ

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8, NIV

Paul wrapped up his directive to the church of Philippi by first telling them to train their minds to think and reflect about virtues that come from God. For Paul, to obtain the mindset of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5) is not only attainable but, as good food is necessary for bodily health, so are holy thoughts necessary for mental and spiritual health. While many of the virtues Paul talked about overlapped with those of the Greco-Roman world and other moral philosophers of his day, Paul chose these virtues, gave them a new sense of meaning and in doing so painted a “stark antitheses between the mind of Christ and the mind of the world” (Philippians 1:27-30). By thinking about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, one will be drawn into the presence of God and as such enabled to live out and act on the “basis of the fruit of what the Spirit is producing in the believers.” Let’s look at each of these eight virtues in more detail.

Think Truthful Thoughts. While “truth” could be defined in relation to a “warning against indulgence in mental fantasies or baseless slanders,” or a reference to what is authentic reliable and real or a reference to what is “sincere in thought, attitude or action” as the Greeks have defined it; Paul sees the term “truth” as being grounded in God’s holy Word. He who created and sustains all things seen and unseen (Colossians 1:16) alone gets to decide what is true or not. The truth that sets a person free (John 8:31-32) “has its focus in God (Romans 1:18) and the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:8; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 11:10; Galatians 2:5). It is though meditating on His word day and night (Psalms 1:2) that one’s eyes are open to see and confess the planks in one’s eyes so that one might stay on (Matthew 7:5-5) the narrow path, walking in the footsteps of one’s Master (Psalms 119:133)!

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