Open your Bibles to Philippians 4:8-9. Today we continue our journey through the book of Philippians. Over the last several weeks we have slowed down somewhat due to Paul closing his letter with a series of short commands to the Church in Philippi. Today we continue examining Paul’s commands and we will focus our attention on focusing our attention. Let us read our text, pray that God would cause us to pay attention, and then let us think together.
- Philippians 4:8-9 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
To begin I want us to focus our attention on the end of verse eight. Paul tells the Church in Philippi to “think about these things.” The Greek word for think is logizomai. From the root of this word we get the word logic. Logizomai means to think, dwell, reckon, to take into account, reason, conclude. Paul is asking the Church to use their minds.
Most likely, very few of you have thought about thinking and how it relates to God. So let us begin there. First, we should recognize that humanity is like no other created thing.
- Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
The answer to this question is one we have covered many times before. We exist to glorify God. (Isaiah 43:7). Therefore, God gave us a mind so that we can glorify God. In one way, this is what separates us from the beasts. Animals glorify God in their way, and we glorify God in our way. So at the basis of who we are, we are created to think.
With this in mind, let me ask a question, what was the name of the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden? The name was “The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:16). Likewise, Satan when tempting Eve in Genesis 3:5 said, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” And finally, God when casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden in Genesis 3:22 said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.” The tree that led to the fall of humanity had something to do our minds.
So what happened to Adam and Eve upon eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?
- Romans 1:21 – “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:4 – “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.“
- Ephesians 4:18 – “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”
- Proverbs 26:11 – “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”
Mind of Christ
I am guessing that many of you don’t think about your conversion in these terms, but you should, for this is how scripture speaks of what happens when you place your faith in Christ. Listen to these text:
- Romans 8:6 – “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
- John 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:6 – “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
- 2 Peter 1:3 – “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,”
To be a follower of Jesus Christ is to think rightly about existence; to think rightly about who we are; to think rightly about who God is; to think rightly about Christ; to think rightly about our purpose; to think rightly about our mission.
Renewal of Your Mind
This mind of Christ that we have been graciously given at our conversion, however, is not a perfect mind. It still has flaws. Because we still live in the flesh, and still battle with sin, we at times, think wrongly. This is why Paul says to the Church in Rome,
- Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Church is not to be primarily about rituals and entertainment, as much as it is about pursuit of the knowledge of God and the renewal of our minds. All Christians are called to think, young and old, rich and poor, A students and D students, male and female, professors and ditch diggers.
Think about What?
So what are we to think about? Things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, worthy of praise. Let us quickly unpack each one of these.
Where would we find things that are true? John 17:17 Jesus prays to God, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” Absolute truth will not be found in the World, it is found in the Word. And it is the Word that points to the greatest truth, the holder of truth, the standard of truth, Jesus Christ, who said of himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” So where do we see truth? The Bible.
Where do we find things that are honorable? Revelation 4:11 says, ““Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” There is only one being that deserves honor, and it is God. To dwell upon what is honorable is to dwell upon God himself, and where do we find the attributes of this honorable God? The Bible.
Where do we find things that are just? Romans 3:23-26 – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” The greatest display of justice is the death of Christ. For at that moment we see God holding both sides of the bargain. He demands payment that is due his name, and then he pays the debt with the blood of His son. He is truly just and the justifier. So where do we find justice? The Bible.
Where do we find things that are pure? 1 John 3:3, “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” There is no purer thing than God. He is unapproachable light and in him no darkness dwells. Jesus Christ is the exact imprint of God and in him there was no sin, no blemish. He is the only person who has ever walked this planet as pure as Jesus. He is the perfect picture of purity. So where do we find things that are pure? The Bible.
Where do we find things that are lovely? One place we find the word lovely, somewhat frequently, is in the book of the Song of Solomon. Which is a an intimate love poem between a husband and wife with each partying gushing over one another. Saying things like this in Song of Solomon 4:3, “Your lips are like a scarlet thread, and your mouth is lovely. Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.” This fawning, however, points to the greatest love story in the Universe, Christ and his Church. There is nothing more lovely than our Bridegroom laying down his life for the sake of us his bride, so were do we find what is lovely? The Bible.
Where do we find things that are commendable? This word in the greek means to have a good report. To have done something gracious. With this in mind, 1 Peter 2:19 says, “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” The NIV uses commendable instead of gracious. If this is an example of something that is commendable, there is no higher commendability than the perfect Son of God sufferring on the cross and absorbing the wrath of his father, despite not committing one sin. Why would he do such a thing? Because his Father asked him. So where do we find what is commendable? The Bible.
Where do we find things are excellent? 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us toc his own glory and excellence. As Paul said earlier in Philippians, the worth of Jesus far surpasses anything we could ever imagine. Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God. And the Jesus is the Word who became flesh, and it is Scriptures that testify about Him, so where do we see things that are excellent? The Bible.
Where do we find things that are worthy of praise? In Revelation 5:11 we are given a glimpse into heaven and what do we see, “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” It is only God who is worthy to be praised. This God has chosen to reveal himself in his inspired Word. So where do we find things worthy of praise? The Bible.
So in conclusion, God created you to think, not about anything, but about Him. His desire is that you would set your minds upon his glory. If you do this, you will experience a satisfaction that your soul craves. I will leave you with a Bible serve that hangs on my office at work. Psalm 1:1
- Psalm 1:1-2 - “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2but his delight is in the lawb of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.“