Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
What to Think?
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  • What to Think?

    The capacity of the human brain is truly amazing. It has 12-14 billion cells. A single cell may be connected with 10,000 neighboring cells, each of which is constantly exchanging data. The brain’s capacity has been compared to 1,000 switchboards each big enough to serve New York City.
    In today’s verse we are told to give careful attention to what we think about. This is because what we think about impacts how we feel and what we do. Let’s take a look at these verses.
    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.
    In verse 9, Paul says “Do what I do.” He puts the emphasis on action. But in verse 8, he puts the emphasis on thinking. The right thinking must precede the right action. Jonathan Edwards said, “The ideas and images in men’s minds are the invisible powers that constantly govern them.”
    Jesus taught that all sin begins in our thoughts. The Bible often refers to our thinking as “the heart of man.”
    Let’s think about Philippians 4:8 in light of the context. The theme of the whole book of Philippians is “rejoice in the Lord always.” We find the words “joy, rejoice” or some form of that word over and over. We are to find our joy in Christ, and in the Gospel, not in our circumstances. The key to displaying God’s joy is to have a mindset like Paul is talking about in this verse.
    In verses 2, 3, Paul tells two women in the church to agree together in the Lord and to work out their conflict. The reason we have personal conflicts is because we think wrongly. When we are letting the Holy Spirit control our thoughts, we will live in harmony with other believers. If Euodia and Syntyche had been thinking thoughts that were true, honorable, pure, lovely, and commendable, they would not have continued their conflict. They would have reconciled their differences.
    In verse 6, Paul tells us not to be anxious (or worried) about anything. Why do we worry? Because we think wrongly. Our minds are not under the control of the Spirit of God. In verse 7, Paul talks about the peace of God. He talks about the God of peace in verse 9. God wants us to have peace, but peace is only ours when we have a mind that is focused on these qualities in verse 8.
    Later, in verse 11, Paul is going to talk about learning to be content in every situation in life. Why are we not content? Because we think wrongly. Our thinking is key to living a joy-filled life.
    This verse has been used to promote such ideas as the power of positive thinking, the prosperity Gospel, name it and claim it theology, and other false ideas. The Bible never teaches if confess something positively by faith, God is duty bound to give it to us. It never says we must claim our healing and say “I am well.” Then, God will heal us.
    This verse is not promoting positive self talk where you tell yourself how good you are and how beautiful you are and how smart you are and how successful you are. And the more good things you say about yourself, the more you will believe it, and the more you believe it, the more it will come true. Our minds cannot create reality. We don’t need any kind of teaching that appeals to our flesh, or promotes self.
    This verse is about thinking Biblically. Every one of the characteristics mentioned in verse 8 are true of the Word of God. Essentially, Paul is telling us to think in accordance to God’s Word. Think Biblically.
    So what to think?
    Philippians 4:8 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.
    First, we are told to think on whatever is “true.” The Word of God is the only truth in this world. (John 17:17) The Holy Spirit that lives in us “guides us into all truth.” (John 16:13) Satan, on the other hand, who is the prince of this world, is called “the Father of Lies.” (John 8:44) Satan deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he is constantly trying to deceive us with the ideas promoted in this world. (2 Cor. 11:3)
    Next, we are told to think on whatever is “honorable” or “noble.” The Greek word means “honorable or noble or dignified”. The same Greek word is translated as a character quality required in deacons when it says they are to be “dignified.” 1 Tim. 3:8, 11. It is the opposite of “shameful, twisted, or foolish.” We are to think about that which is honorable and noble.
    Think on whatever is “just.” Another word is “righteous.” It is the opposite of “rebellious.” If we are thinking thoughts of rebellion against those God has placed over us, it is not pleasing to the Lord. Think about righteous things. God is righteous. Jesus is righteous. And we who are saved are to live righteous lives. But we will never live righteous until we think righteous.
    Think on whatever is “pure.” The Word of God is pure. It is not contaminated. It is morally pure. It leads us to a life of purity. Ephesians 5:3-5, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
    Think on whatever is “lovely.” This is the only time in the NT this Greek word is used. It means “pleasing and attractive.” The Word of God is pleasing and attractive to all believers. The Word of God teaches us to be attracted to holiness and not evil. When we are thinking about violent thoughts, that is not “lovely.” We should think about what is pleasing to Christ.
    Think on whatever is “commendable” or “of good report.” This means to speak well of something or to give something a good reputation. This is what Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 13:7 when he says that love “rejoices with the truth.” That means it believes the best about someone. If you love someone, you don’t believe evil reports about them until there is certain evidence to establish it. God’s Word teaches us to think the best of others.
    Think on what is morally “excellent” or “virtuous.” Paul uses this word in case he has left anything out. This word is a broad word that just means “what is the best thing I can think about?”
    Think on things that are “praiseworthy.” God is worthy of our praise. We should daily think about how great God is and how marvelous His works are. We should look for good qualities in others, especially other believers that are bearing the fruit of the Spirit. We should give God glory as we see others reflecting the image of Christ.
    Let’s now consider several steps to victory in your thoughts. These points are not going to blow your mind. You have doubtless heard them over and over. Yet, I believe they are helpful.

    You need to be born again

    You must be saved. Before salvation, our minds are depraved. You need to believe the Gospel. Believe that you are a sinner and that Jesus died on Calvary to pay for your sin. Repent of sin and rely totally on Christ to save you.
    John 3:5–8 NKJV
    5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
    We can’t think right without a renewed mind.

    You must clean out and block out sinful thoughts

    Don’t allow thoughts to enter into your mind that are sensual, greedy, impure, violent, hateful, selfish, etc.
    Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
    23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
    Psalm 101:3 NKJV
    3 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.
    Regardless of how much we try, bad thoughts will come into our minds. Our nature is sinful and the world around us is getting worse. But as soon as a thought comes into our minds, it must be filtered through this list in Philippians 4:8.

    Take in plenty of God’s Word.

    Read it daily. You do not need to read the newspaper everyday, but you do need to read your Bible every day. Listen to God’s Word on your phone. You cannot be profoundly influenced by that which you don’t know. Memorize the Word of God. Listen to podcasts or online sermons to fill your mind with Scripture.

    Read theologically sound books.

    There are many books labeled as Christian, but they are not sound theologically. Some people are against reading books at all. They think all they need to do is read the Bible. But I think that is like someone saying they don’t need to go to church and listen to someone preach or teach. They just can sit at home and read their Bible and that’s good enough for them. There’s a certain arrogance about that way of thinking that I am not comfortable with. Good books have been very helpful to me to learn who God is and challenge me to walk with God.

    Listen to wholesome music and hymns.

    The book of Psalms is an anthem of songs. Music has always been important to mankind. When you begin to get “stinkin’ thinkin’” just pop in a CD or listen to Christian radio and get a dose of encouragement or praise to get your mind right. It works wonders.
    Conclusion:
    Paul is telling us here to feed our minds with the good stuff, the Word of God. Think Biblically. Think about what you think about. Do a "check up from the neck up.” Be careful about what you put into your mind.
    I am sure that many people in the world today who have problems with depression, problems with anger, problems with resentment, problems with worry and fear, could all be helped immensely if they practiced this verse and this sermon.
      • Philippians 4:8–9NKJV

      • Philippians 4:8NKJV

      • John 3:5–8NKJV

      • Proverbs 4:23NKJV

      • Psalm 101:3NKJV

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