Think And Do Whatever Is True
Text: Philippians 4:8-9
Whether Christian or not, how you think determines what you love, and what you love determines how you live, especially how you live in secret.
The only way to change what you do is to change how you think. And when you change how you think you will change what you love. Speaking of the man that has the evil eye, Solomon said, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Prov 23:7.
Thus, the transformation of life is determined by the renewal of the mind, “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” Rom 12:2. You will become what you think about, and so Paul exhorts the believers at Philippi on this crucial matter.
I. THE CHRISTIAN’S MEDITATION v8
“think on these things” – The grammar is in the imperative and the idea is dwell on these things, take them into account, evaluate these things. This is to be habitually our practice during every hour of the day. Outside these things is off limits for the Christian. How you think steers the direction of your life.
“true” – i.e. real, genuine. That which isn’t false or fake. Meditating upon what is merely a deception leads you to think and act according to that deception.
“honest” – i.e. honourable. That which can be venerated or revered because of its character. Worthy of respect. Get your mind of dishonourable things. Get your mind out of the dirt and place it upon that which is exalted and elevated.
“just” – i.e. righteous. That which is according to God’s law. That which is fair, virtuous, accepted before God.
“pure” – i.e. chaste. That which is wholesome, untainted, and uncontaminated. We are to think on that which is flawless.
“lovely” – i.e. pleasing. That which is sweet, attractive, beautiful in God’s eyes. That which is attractive to God.
“good report” – i.e. well spoke of. That which has a positive reputation and credible.
“virtue” – i.e. morally excellent. That which is reflects the holiness of God.
“praise” – i.e. commendable. That which can be lauded without shame before God. If you can’t bring it before God as a matter of praise, then put it away.
The problem we face is that the opposite to these things are all around us. Not merely do we live in a fallen world, but we live in a morally broken society. Civilization has never faced the complexities of moral corruption that we face today. And if we aren’t serious about obeying this instruction, we are going to get eaten alive and your mind will never let you forget it.
These are the parameters for all conversation, media consumption and entertainment. But this is not an exhortation merely to mediate on their moral quality. Paul preached the gospel of Christ, and everything leads to Him. Thus, we are to remember that these virtues find their perfect fullness in Jesus Christ.
II. THE CHRISTIAN’S OCCUPATION v9
There is a clear connection between v8 and v9. The living example of v8 for the Philippians was the apostle Paul. “learned” – what Paul taught them.
“received” – what Paul wrote to them
“heard” – what they knew about Paul from the testimony of others.
“seen” – what they observed in his life.
“do” – i.e. don’t just know this stuff, practice it yourself. This is basically Paul saying, what you know about me that is Christlike and honourable to Christ, copy it.
He is reiterating 3:17. It’s about following those who pursue Christlikeness. Who are you copying? Do you copy the Christian that gives you the most freedom to exercise your own carnal desires? I am greatly concerned by Christian leaders today who are so desirous for the everyone else to know what liberties they have that they’re in bondage to their liberty. So they’re constantly referencing the fact that they drink beer and smoke from a pipe.
Do you listen to Taylor Swift because your Christian friends listen to her? Why do you read what you read, watch what you watch, do what you do? Is it all praiseworthy? Does it pass the test of being for the glory of God?
III. THE CHRISTIAN’S RECONCILIATION v9
The great blessing of the gospel is the sense of reconciliation with your Maker. That you no longer stand condemned. That you are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
And what happens is, when we trifle with sin and make allowances for carnal things it’s not that we lose our salvation, but we lose the sense of our salvation. We lose the presence of the God of peace with whom we’ve obtained peace.
Without God’s presence, there is no peace, and sin grieves the Spirit of God.
Now Paul has said in v6-7 that if we pray we will know the peace of God. But now he adds a caveat to that. We cannot be those who pray and hold on to our sin. This is why many believers struggle with assurance of salvation. They are not casting off the habits of their sinful nature. They never purse holiness with ambition and intent.
And if you’re here this morning, struggling with a lack of peace, could it be because you have been harbouring or practicing something that isn’t praiseworthy that the Spirit of God has a problem with?
Has peace moved out of your heart?
Close One of the muscles we fail to exercise frequently enough is the muscle that denies self. The muscle of the mind that says, no, I’m not going down that road.
The mind is the primary place of assault for the enemy. If he gets your mind he will get your heart, and if he gets your heart he’s got your life.
v8 is a final exhortation to the believer that in dealing with life’s problems, think on these virtues as we find them in Christ.
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.” 1 Pet 1:13
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Col 3:1-3
Live like this and you can be free in prison. Don’t live like this and you can be imprisoned by your mind.