Summary: The formula for joy in a Christian’s life.
“Think of Theses Things – part 2”
June 22, 2008
”Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
You are right. I preached on this same Scripture only a few weeks ago – but I like it so much and I think it is so relevant to our needs today that I thought I would revisit it.
In my research for the message this morning I learned that Philippi was named after Alexander the Great’s father – Philip. It was a Roman city where Paul had planted a church. The reason for Paul writing them was to thank them for the financial gift they had sent to support him. Paul is in prison and in those days if you wanted food, it was up to you to provide it. The Roman government certainly wasn’t going to waste its money on low life’s in jail.
This letter to the Philippians is full of excellent truth and wonderful encouragement. It’s a reminder to control ourselves. It’s a reminder to think on the right things. I don’t know if the Philippians had a problem with negativity or if they were going through difficult times of persecution or if it was Paul that was struggling. He may have been battling negativity and depression and the blues. Wouldn’t you if you were in prison? If you were spending year after year after year in jail – wouldn’t you question why? Why is this happening to me? Why is God allowing this? What good am I doing God and the Kingdom work when I am in jail?
I think these things must have crossed Paul’s mind – just like it would cross ours if we were in that situation. So as Paul writes to the Philippians he is writing to himself - and to us. And because of it – God has given us some excellent helps. Because of the struggles Paul went through – we are encouraged even today.
In our key Scripture this morning, Paul tells us to 1. Think on the things that are true. Don’t we have that problem today? Instead of thinking on what’s true - we think about what isn’t true. Everything from how we look to “we’re all goin’ die because of global warming!” “We are never going to be able to survive with the price of gas going up so high!” “Nobody likes me! Everybody hates me!”
That’s not true. Those things aren’t true. Don’t let your mind and life be consumed with untruths. Think about what is true. Truths like: God loves me beyond comprehension. I have eternal life in Christ. Things are going to just keep getting better. God has taken care of me so far – and He will take care of me no matter what. No matter what good thing I do – God will reward it.
2. Thinking on what is right is also a good thing to do. Some versions of the Bible translate that word as ‘honest’. The instruction is to think on whatever is right or honest or correct. Jesus said,
”I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16
The philosophy of the world today is “Try it! You might like it!” That philosophy permeates all levels of learning – from preschool to graduate school. Every kind of perversion and deviant thought is taught – no matter how wrong or destructive it may be.
I suppose that thought process is logical if you have no basis for truth. But we have the truth. We don’t have to search for truth. God has revealed it through the bible. And He says,
“… I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.”
God doesn’t want you to fill your mind with garbage and junk. We are to be innocent about what is evil. Be wise about is good – like Scripture and the promises of God and God’s will. But be innocent – Yes, even ignorant about evil things in the world. Being Naive and gullible are not bad traits. They reveal innocence and trust. The Christian needs to be innocent about wrong things.
3. We are to think on things that are noble. I think the opposite of noble is gossip. With gossip we think (and share) those negative, embarrassing, wrong, bad, stuff in others – to others. Some people have a very low opinion of people because they focus on the ignoble and the worst in people. We are to think on the wonderful noble things people do. That causes us to love them and care about them.