Good Thought, God's Peace, God's PresenceBy Pastor Boffey on Sunday, April 15, 2012.
Good Thoughts, God's Peace, God's Presence (Philippians 4:8-9) A. These verses are actually a continuation of Paul's prescription for peace (vs. 6-7), introduced by the adverb, “Finally.” 1. finally: In the end, lastly, at last, ultimately. b. Indicating the last point or conclusion of a discourse, treatise, etc. 2. These are Paul's closing arguments on attaining the “...peace of God which passeth all understanding...” (PHIL 4:7). B. He starts by addressing the believer's thought life. Recent messages dealing with the importance of regulating our thought life touched on this. ISA 55:7; 2CO 10:5. 1. This is obviously relevant to the mind. 2. It is also relevant to the heart, since the heart is a seat of thought. HEB 4:12. 3. That which occupies our thoughts is borne out by our conduct. PRO 23:7; LUK 6:45. 4. The heart and mind that are preoccupied with wrong thoughts will struggle to be at peace, will struggle to be kept (per v. 7). C. With the mind uncluttered with anxious cares (based upon vs. 6-7), Paul is here advising that the mind be filled with profitable thoughts. 1. Attaining the peace of God is not just a matter of surrendering negative thoughts; it requires positive thoughts instead. 2. Negative conducted eliminated is inadequate to perfect the saint; we need positive conduct to replace it. EPH 4:21-24. 3. (ROM 12:21) Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. D. Paul here lists eight positive things and exhorts, “...think on these things.” 1. think on: To exercise the mind upon, or have the mind occupied with; to meditate on; to consider; attend to mentally, apply the mind to. 2. This is a list of things that should occupy our minds/thoughts. 3. This list is important for what it includes and what it ignores. 4. Check each thought against all the criteria in the list. a. Our past sins are true, but because they are not just, pure and lovely, they should not occupy our minds. b. It is true that there is much injustice, conspiracy and treachery in the world, but because such are lacking virtue or good report, our minds should not be over much occupied with them. ROM 16:19. c. The world commonly praises the wicked (PRO 28:4), but such praise is inconsistent with what is just, pure, virtuous or of good report. Therefore such praise should not occupy our minds. d. Something can be lovely to us yet not be consistent with what is true, honest, pure, of good report or virtuous. EZE 33:32. 5. God Himself is the definition and source of all that is good (JAM 1:17). The things which are genuinely good to think upon will ultimately point us to God, His works and His Son. E. Consider these things: 1. true: Loyal, faithful, reliable, sincere, consistent with fact or reality, lawful, right. (This is a summary of the definitions). a. We know God Who is true. 1JO 5:20; JOH 14:6. b. We have a Bible which is true. PSA 119:160. c. We practice a faith that is true. 2TH 2:13; 1PE 1:2 c/w 1PE 5:12. d. We embrace a heavenly estate which is true. HEB 9:24; COL 3:1-2. Good Thought, God's Peace, God's Presence 4-15-12 Page 1 of 42. honest: Of persons: Held in honour; holding an honourable position; respectable. Having honourable motives or principles; marked by uprightness or probity. Of things, conditions, actions, etc.: Worthy of honour, honourable, commendable; bringing honour, creditable; free from disgrace or reproach; respectable, decent, seemly, befitting, becoming. a. Honesty is to characterize Christian life. 1TI 2:2. b. In this age where indecency, dishonor and disrespect abound, a reminder to think on honest things is most appropriate. c. Jesus Christ is the model of honesty, being crowned with glory and honor. HEB 2:9. d. God's word is to be highly respected and honored. PSA 138:2. e. God's house is to be honored and respected; His honor dwells there. PSA 26:8; 1CO 3:17; HEB 10:25. 3. just: That does that which is morally right, righteous. Righteous in the sight of God; justified. a. Jesus Christ is the Just One. ACT 7:52. b. God's people are called just. ACT 24:15. c. God's law and His ways are just. ROM 7:12; REV 15:3. 4. pure: Free from corruption or defilement. Free from admixture of anything debasing or deteriorating; unadulterated, uncorrupted, uncontaminated; Free from moral defilement or corruption; unstained or untainted with evil; guiltless, innocent; guileless, sincere. a. We are a purified people. TIT 2:14. b. We worship a pure Savior with pure hearts. 1JO 3:3; 2TI 2:22. c. We study a pure word of God. PSA 119:140; PRO 30:5. d. Thinking on pure things guards us against the pervasive filthiness of the world in which we live. 5. lovely: Loving, kind, affectionate. Friendly, amicable. 2. Lovable; worthy of love; suited to attract love. a. Jesus Christ is altogether lovely and certainly worthy of love. SON 5:16; JOH 10:17; 1JO 4:19. b. God's word is worthy of our love. PSA 119:97, 113, 163, 165. c. God's house deserves our love. PSA 26:8; 87:2. 6. good report: Repute, fame, reputation. Now only with good, etc., as an echo of Biblical passages. a. Jesus Christ's public ministry was attended by fame. LUK 4:14-15. b. Saints should have a good report. 1PE 2:12; 3:16; 3JO 1:12. c. A survey of the attitude and conduct of the heroes of faith gives a good idea as to what constitutes a good report. HEB 11:39. d. How does your report card look? 7. virtue: (ad. L. virtus manliness, valour, worth, etc. f. vir man) Conformity of life and conduct with the principles of morality; voluntary observance of the recognized moral laws or standards of right conduct; abstention on moral grounds from any form of wrong-doing or vice. a. God has called us to add virtue to our faith (2PE 1:3, 5), so this certainly merits our thoughts. b. Adding virtue means being more like Jesus Christ, Who defines maturity and manliness. EPH 4:13. c. Ruth is a good model of feminine virtue to think upon. RUTH 3:11. 8. praise: The expression in speech of estimation or honour; commendation of the worth or Good Thought, God's Peace, God's Presence 4-15-12 Page 2 of 4excellence of a person or thing; eulogy; laud, laudation. The expression of admiration and ascribing of glory, as an act of worship. a. In all things good, God is worthy of all praise. 1PE 4:11. b. There may be doubts about the praiseworthiness of man's works, but never about God or His works! c. Jesus Christ has given us every reason to praise God continually. HEB 13:15. d. If you can't find any praise, do not be surprised if you have no peace! F. These things taken together make for good character and should thus be the object of our thoughts. 1. The heart and mind that are filled with thoughts of these things will have peace. 2. The heart and mind that are filled with thoughts of other things (especially of things contrary to these things) will not have true peace. G. (PHIL 4:9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. 1. Having prayed and refilled your mind with good thoughts, you must then act according to Paul's instruction and example. 2. It is not enough to resolve, pray, meditate and believe. We must also DO. PHIL 2:13; JAM 2:20. a. Prayer demands actions in harmony with its desires. b. If you pray to enter not into temptation, you must also avoid situations which make provision for temptation. LUK 22:40 c/w ROM 13:14. c. If you pray for understanding, you must also diligently study God's word---the source of understanding. PSA 119:99, 104; HEB 11:6. d. Nehemiah prayed for favor in the king's eyes and then acted accordingly. NEH 1:11-2:8. e. (PRO 21:25) The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. 3. This verse reaffirms that Paul is the example to the believer and the church. c/w GAL 6:16; 2TI 3:14. a. The God of peace was obviously with Paul or it would be pointless to follow his model of doctrine and conduct. ACT 18:10; 2TI 4:17. b. Those who desire the peace of God from the God of peace do well to follow Paul who followed Christ. 4. They had “...both learned, and received...” a. The adverb both links the verbs learned and received together. (1) Receiving is believing. JOH 1:12. (2) This confirms that valid belief comes through learning (which implies teaching), not from experience or feeling. MAT 28:19-20. b. They had not only learned from Paul. They believed what Paul taught. c. Learning without receiving yields no saving benefit. 2TI 3:7 c/w HEB 4:2. d. Many have learned and yet have not believed. e. Then there are those who have learned and believed Paul yet have not acted upon it. ACT 26:27-28. (1) It is the doing of the things learned and received of Paul that realizes the companionship of the God of peace. (2) Agrippa had high-ranking friends with him, but the God of peace was not with him. 5. They had also “...heard, and seen...” in Paul the things that deserved imitation. a. Paul was not one of those who taught others but not himself. ROM 2:21. b. What they had seen in Paul's life was consistent with what he taught. Good Thought, God's Peace, God's Presence 4-15-12 Page 3 of 4 c. “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” (Author unknown) 6. Consider the expression, “...the God of peace...” a. As wicked unredeemed sinners, He is not a God of peace to us. PSA 7:11-13; ISA 48:22. b. It is only through the blood of Jesus Christ's cross that there is peace between us and God. COL 1:20-22. c. We would have no peace of God to keep our hearts if we were not at peace with God Who through Jesus Christ is unto us the God of peace. d. Our peace flows from the assurance that our sins are forgiven. LUK 7:47-50. e. Once the war between us and God is over (and we believe it so), then the war within ourselves can be over.