Summary: Conclusion of two-part Message in Pursuing Holy Thoughts, distinguishing between that which is presented as truth and truth as Scripture accurately presents it.
PURSUING TRUTH, Part Two.
*INTRO> A seminary professor in London once talked about a section of London called the White Chapel District, where old and used clothing is sold. There are signs there which read, "Slightly Soiled--Greatly Reduced Price." Th professor teaches his students in their first class every semester how these signs are sadly an accurate description of some Christians who "dabble" in that which isn’t pleasing to God. He tells them, "The sign of their lives would read: ’Slightly Soiled--Reduced In Spiritual Power--Reduced In Effective Service’ because we get soiled by gazing at a vulgar picture, reading a seedy book, or indulging in dishonest or lustful thoughts. Then, when we encounter difficult times we wonder why our spiritual power seems reduced from what it ws in the past. The answer to why is because we’ve conformed to the world."
You see, dabbling in such things means we’ve chosen to lead a compromised life. We’re no longer pursuing holiness, no longer pursuing God’s pleasure. And, as a result, if we continue in that condition, we’ll miss out on God’s blessings He has in store for us, and miss out on the joy He alone can give.
I invite you to open a Bible and turn to 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
Last week we began our focus on this topic. To summarize, we recognized these things...
-->Holiness is not a matter of never cutting your hair, wearing high-necked shirts even in summer, or priding ourselves on being more "godly" than others.
-->Instead, the standard of holiness is not how we compare to others, but how we compare to God and His standard.
-->Holiness is being set apart, sanctified. It means complying with God’s standards, thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills.
-->Holiness begins with our thoughts, how we think, because our actions are a response to our thoughts.
<>PURSUING HOLY THOUGHTS is a 5-Fold Process.
<>Last week we looked at the first two steps:
-->We begin with concentrating on that which is pure, that which is holy, edifying and pleasing to God.
--->Philippians 4:8 -- "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."
--->Concentrating on that which is pure is itself a two-fold process, involving:
----->a) Filling our minds / focusing our attention on that which is pure, holy, edifying and pleasing to God.
-------->Controlling where we focus our attention, on what we listen to, read, watch, etc.
-------->However, sometimes there are messages that come to our ears from outside stimuli we have no control over, so we have to do more than just present a strong offense; we need to also be prepared and know how to defend ourselves, defend our thoughts against outside intrusions, and that which is not edifying.
----->b) Forbidding, eliminating from entering into our minds that which is impure, not edifying, not pleasing to God.
This brings us to the 2nd step:
2) CAPTURING and COMPARING.
--->2 Corinthians 9:5 -- "...we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."
--->1 John 4:1 -- "...do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
--->We’re to be on the alert and skeptical of anything presented as truth until we have examined it and compared it to what the Bible says and unless it pleases God.
We also talked last week about recognizing Satan’s favorite tactics in presenting untruth as truth, etc., but today our focus moves to the final three steps.
3) CAST AWAY.
-->We are to cast away from our thoughts anything that is not pure, which does not glorify God.
--->2 Corinthians 10:5 -- "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ...destroying (casting down) speculations (imaginations) and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God."
Simply put, there is a REAL BATTLE going on...a battle for your mind...a battle for your thoughts...a battle being waged by Satan and his unholy spirits, the forces of evil, against the influence of the Holy Spirit of God.
As we’ve said earlier, living a holy life, a life pleasing to God, BEGINS with thinking holy thoughts, guarding our minds from that which is unholy, not pleasing to God, and which would inevitably lead to unholy actions.
-->ILL>A fatal dose of botulism bacillus is .00003 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. That’s the equivalent of a flea derailing a 100-mile freigh train. Such a tiny amount can bring tragic results.
-->The same is true in our pursuit of living a holy life...a life that brings God glory...a life without compromises, without any mixture of error. Even the slightest impurity will hinder our effectiveness and stymie our pursuit.