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ES/PHIL/28 Philippians 4:8-9

Philippians  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:12
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Philippians 4:8–9 NKJV
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
We have an amazing machine inside our heads we call the brain. We may have an high IQ or average or below average intelligence. But all our brains are still something amazing. Did you know that inside the skull of your head is more information than is stored in the British Library that stores every book, journal, newspaper and database published in the UK besides manuscripts and other books published outside of the UK – a total of 56m items?! It seems impossible but nevertheless it is true – it is a pretty amazing little machine that only weighs about 2 kilos or 3 pounds. Psychologists tell us that each person has about ten thousand thoughts per day. Did you realise that many thoughts go on inside your head each day? Do you know what that means? We must have at least a one in ten thousand chance of having a good thought every day!
And just because there is a small chance that some random thoughts we have may be good we need to be more deliberate and increase the number of good thoughts hence our reading today. It is not only mentioned here but also in:
Romans 12:1–2 NKJV
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Our thoughts have a direct correlation with our actions so that we have to think to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. As our minds are renewed then we have personal revivals and the way ahead becomes clear with God. We will be transformed as we think upon and obey His Word. In 1 Samuel 18 we find a story of Saul’s jealousy of David who was a rising star in his administration. On two occasions Saul tried to kill him with a spear. Then tried to use the marriage to his daughter to get him killed and so on.
It is really important that we see the thought life of Saul. It started with the pang of jealousy, the single thought, pride that was damaged, and it led to several occasions where David’s life was put in danger. One thought led very soon to attempted murder. One thought led to obsession with David.
Of course as we read on we find that David himself with a single thought for a particular woman named Bathsheba led him to actually murder her husband by the hand of another.
The lesson from this is that our thoughts are very important. One thought can become many thousands and can lead to action that you would not thought yourself capable of doing at the very beginning.
This is a key saying: Sin is the manifestation of what has already taken place in the mind. Our thoughts become actions then habits and then form our character.
In the verses we read at the beginning in Philippians it says that we need to put our thoughts on things which true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of any virtue and anything that is praiseworthy. To sum this up this means to think on things which are excellent and praiseworthy. It is not an exhaustive list but demonstrates what we should be thinking upon.
Broken down these things mean:

True (alēthē) things are of course the opposite of dishonest and unreliable things (cf. Eph. 4:15, 25). Noble refers to what is dignified and worthy of respect (this word semna is used in the NT only here and in 1 Tim. 3:8, 11; Titus 2:2). Right refers to conformity to God’s standards. Pure (hagna) refers to what is wholesome, not mixed with moral impurity. Lovely (prosphilē, occurring only here in the NT) speaks of what promotes peace rather than conflict. Admirable (euphēma, also used only here) relates to what is positive and constructive rather than negative and destructive.

Our lives will be transformed if we think upon these kinds of things. And the best way to keep bad thoughts at bay is to concentrate upon good thoughts. The New English Version says: Fill your thoughts with these things. Our thoughts have to be filled with things that honour God.
This for me means to think more upon God’s Word.
Psalm 1:2–3 NKJV
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
For me it also means to think upon what God has created.
Job 37:14 NKJV
14 “Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.
Psalm 111:2–4 NKJV
2 The works of the Lord are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them. 3 His work is honorable and glorious, And His righteousness endures forever. 4 He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
Keeping our minds on Scripture and His works are to think entirely about what are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy.
We are to remember that we are in a battle. Our thoughts are very important – it can lead us down a path to destruction or down the path of God’s good and perfect will and purpose.
In the battle between Jesus and Satan in the desert, Satan withdrew when he was tackled with the Word of God: “It is written”, Jesus said. This means we need to memorise Scripture, to hide it in our hearts so that in the heat of battle we will remember and think upon those verses that will keep us from sin. If we do not then the battle will constantly be lost. And the boundaries we have set could move in a coup d’état against us because we were not prepared and ready.
2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NKJV
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
If every thought that we had, all ten thousand of them, were brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ then we will have a personal revival. It is too easy to be lazy in our thinking when our thoughts have to be continually upon good and worthy things.
Colossians 3:1–4 NKJV
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
If we obey and set our minds upon the things of Christ, upon good and praiseworthy things then we will have His peace. We are not to dwell upon the negative or the impure but to swap those thoughts out with positive and pure thoughts for how we think affects our behaviour and forms our character. We are to think about godly things.
We who are Christ’s are in a privileged situation:
1 Corinthians 2:16 NKJV
16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
Romans 8:5 NKJV
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
According to Romans, if we belong to God we do live according to the Spirit.
Let’s get it together and replace our thought life with godly thoughts. Wrong thoughts will lead to a wrong path and can catch us out but right thoughts will lead to the right path. And of course, if we love Him we will obey Him.
Matthew 22:37 NKJV
37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
In verse 9 Paul continues and says do what I do and you will have peace. What I have told you about what you think about and its result, I am the embodiment of fulfilling this, this is why I know what I am talking about. And so he could say
1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV
1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.
So what is it that we have to learn, receive, hear and do?
We owe our everything to God.
Romans 14:7–9 NKJV
7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Plainly when we consider the works that Christ has done for us in, loving us, which is what Paul had adequately grasped for himself he knew that he was no longer his own to do what he liked. And to this end we also have to realise that we do not belong to anyone except Jesus. We do not belong to ourselves or to the flesh or to anyone or anything except God in Christ Jesus. We can therefore no longer live for ourselves because we have been bought with the blood of Jesus, this Jesus who was crucified for us.
Imitate me, Paul says, for
2 Timothy 3:10 AV
10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
The summation of Paul is found in:
Galatians 2:20 NKJV
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
He could not glory in anything other than in the cross of Christ. To say that Paul was zealous is putting it mildly. His life was not dear to him for he was ready to die.
Acts 20:24 NKJV
24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Not only that he had such great love for others and wanted to see his own people saved.
Romans 9:1–3 NKJV
1 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
He so wanted them saved that he would have been willing to suffer hell if such an exchange could be made.
Can we be like Paul? Obviously the standard is very high but we should not be looking to be any less than for our aim to be “perfect even as our Father who is in heaven is perfect.” Paul makes it clear that we should be those who follow in his footsteps in this regard.
What is the reward of living such a life? That the God of peace will be with us. What a promise for this was the very experience of Paul. Live like him and it is guaranteed!
Peace is such a great promise from God in the tumult of a world full of arguments and fear and worry, war and terror but the God of peace invites us to that most secret place, under the shadow if His wings, where there is shelter from storms, where there is peace.
Paul sets himself up as an example, not because he is proud but because of what God had made him. His life changed the course of history. Some say that Christianity would not exist without Paul – I think that is over the top, however it is clear that his writings especially Romans changed the course of Christianity. What to add: Throughout this letter to the Philippines we have found a man who is as passionate as he was at the beginning of his Christian walk, he kept the level that he had got to and did not backslide. His life was full of troubles on every side: from non-Christians and from Christians, from within and without. Yet despite it all he maintained his joy in the Lord and held onto Him with all His might. His strength did not come from within but from the Lord in whom he put his trust.
Sure, we must follow the Lord but let us be those who can also be set up as an example of the godly, Spirit filled life as Paul was. We have recorded in Scripture his letters that are so full of doctrine and we see the manner of life he led both in his letters and in the Book of Acts. For us to get Phil 4.9 we have to be completely conversant with his life and doctrine and that is upon each of us to do. We bear in mind though that we are imitators of Christ first and foremost because even Paul was a sinner for it is to Christ that Paul always pointed.
When we walk in the Spirit rather than the flesh we will be spiritually minded and do the kind of amazing things Paul did. He yielded completely to God and his Lord Jesus Christ and peace was the result.

Benediction

1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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