Battle for the Mind
INTRODUCTION: We again come to the 4th chapter of the book of Philippians where we read from verses 5-9.
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (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.”
We can truly say that we worship a great God whose greatness is unsearchable, Amen!! As such, our God has numerous concerns.
God is concerned about the universe He created and its orderliness.
God is concerned about His own heavenly home. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you." And He is doing just that, right now.
God is concerned about His Word. God is concerned this morning that His Word is being rightly divided (interpreted or spoken).
God is concerned about His prophetic agenda, that all the details He has foretold are being carried out.
God is concerned this morning about the souls of men and women, and boys and girls, here and around the world who have yet to respond to the gospel and be saved.
God is concerned this morning about His church, even about this church, about the growth of this church, about its development and the warmth that ought to be found in a body of believers.
In Philippians 4:1-9, Paul expresses some of God’s concerns for the ministry of God's people within the local church.
In verse 1 God is concerned that believers STAND FAST in the Lord.
In verse 2 God wants in our church a HARMONIOUS relationship.
In verse 3 God wants in our church an INDUSTRIOUS relationship.
In verse 4 God wants in our church a JOYFUL relationship.
In verse 5 God wants in our church a CHRIST-LIKE relationship.
In verses 6-7 God is concerned about our PRAYER LIFE.
In verses 8-9 God is concerned about our THOUGHT LIFE.
It is here that we need to pause, and examine closely this morning God’s concerns about our THOUGHT LIFE and our ACTIONS resulting from that thought life. In verses 8-9 God is concerned about the HEAD, the HAND and the HEART of the child of God.
In Psalm 199:113; David said, "I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love." Now by vain thoughts, I would image the Psalmist was referring:
to lustful thoughts, and he had them, and
to vengeful thoughts, and he had them too, and
to hateful thoughts, and
to immoral and evil thoughts.
Why did David say, "I hate vain thought?" Perhaps it was because they had a negative influence upon his mind and did damage to his life. You see, negative thinking leads to negative action. That's why we must realize that thoughts are real, and they are powerful.
In II Corinthians 10:5; Paul said we are to be
"Casting down imaginations (all those vain appeals and vain thoughts presented to us by Satan to control our minds) and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God (that is, prideful thoughts), and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
When we come to today’s passage in Philippians 4, the thoughts we are to think upon are just the reverse of vain thoughts. Paul spells out six thoughts on which the mind is to dwell:
Whatsoever things are TRUE. Think upon things that are true, genuine, and sincere.
Whatsoever things are HONEST. Think upon things that are noble, that are worthy of respect rather than things that come from being dishonest.
Whatsoever things are JUST. Think upon things that are fair and righteous by both divine and human standards.
Whatsoever things are PURE. Think upon things that are of moral purity. Thinking purely in this very sinful, contaminated, and corrupt world of ours is one of the consistent themes of the New Testament. In I Timothy 5:22; Paul challenges us to "Keep thyself pure."
Whatsoever things are LOVELY. Think upon things that are pleasing, orderly, beautiful, and attractive.
Whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT. Think upon things that are positive and noteworthy, things that are appealing.
These thoughts will have a positive influence on our lives. They can be characterized by the words "virtuous" and "praiseworthy."
If it is "virtuous," it will motivate us to do better.
If it is "praiseworthy," it is worth commending to others.
Someone said, "no Christians can afford to waste "mind power" on thoughts that tear him down or that would tear others down if these thoughts were shared."
When Paul said, "think on these things," it was not the first time in Philippians that the thought life of the believer was brought into the conversation.
Notice verse 2:2, “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”
Notice verse 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”
Notice verse 4:2, “I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.”
As we read God's Word, what should our thought pattern be? If God’s primary purpose of providing the Bible is to get us to think the way God thinks, then we should be determined to do just that. Our thoughts should be on:
WHAT God thinks about our life.
WHAT God thinks about our sins.
WHAT God thinks about our history and our destiny.
God wants us to think of life the way He thinks about life. He want us to have the mind of Christ. God is not the author of anything that is impure, unjust, dishonest, or of bad report. Those thoughts are authored by God's adversary, the Devil. On the other hand, as we read God's Word we discover:
God is the source of truthfulness.
God is the source of honesty.
God is the source of things that are just.
God is the source of purity.
God is the source of things that are lovely.
God is the source of things that give a good report.
Now the word "Think" that Paul uses in Philippians 4:8; is a word which means, "to ponder, to consider, to meditate upon." In Psalm 1:1-2; we read,
"Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he MEDITATE day and night."
If we are to keep ourselves from
Following the counsel of the ungodly,
Standing in the way of sinners, and
Sitting in the seat of the scoffer,
our MIND must be occupied with the Word of God. The word meditate simply means that I take what I have read and go over it again and again and again in my mind, as I ponder its truths.
What Paul has in mind when he says to "Think on these things" is to mull these things over and over again; to let your mind be constantly occupied with these things.
For example, let's pause and look at that phrase "Whatsoever things are of good report." Now a "good report" is the opposite of a "bad report" and a "bad report" might be, for example, TALEBEARING, or GOSSIP.
Proverbs 17:9, "He that covereth a transgression seeketh love, but he that repeateth a matter separateth friends."
Proverbs 18:8, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds…"
GOSSIP has been the favorite indoor sport of some Christians. They don't call it gossip; they call it sharing prayer requests.
GOSSIP is passing on information about a person. Whether the information is true or not, much damage can be done.
Illustration #1: "Oh; did you hear what I have just heard? Someone just told me this in confidence, but I thought you should know about it also, so we can pray about it." The result is moving lips and loose tongues starting another fire of gossip.
Illustration #2: When we don't see eye to eye about a matter, we run to others spelling out the difficulty instead of solving the problem between us. So again, some groundless information is passed on as time is wasted and friends are separated.
Illustration #3: We happen to find out about a problem in a person’s life. Now instead of going to that person and consoling, or helping, or finding out from them the true story, we pass on whatever information we have to others. Gossip would soon DIE OUT if we all refused to entertain it in our conversations.
Listen to these chilling words. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are numerous, and often innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip.
We somehow entertain the mistaken notion that gossip and criticism is only wrong if it is untrue. “TO ADVERTISE THE SINS OR MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF CHRISTIANS BEFORE THE WORLD DOES NOTHING BUT BRING FURTHER REPROACH TO THE NAME OF CHRIST. LIKE POISONED WATER, IT CANNOT CAUSE ANYTHING BUT HARM.” If you know:
something that is between two others, or
something in which you are not personally involved, or
something of which you do not know the other side,
do the Lord a great service and yourself a favor by KEEPING IT TO YOURSELF! Most of what we repeat does not bring one iota of glory to God, but it sure makes the Devil happy when others hear bad news.
Jesus did not tell the sin of one person to another, even when He knew it to be true. How can I know that? Because in Hebrews 10:17; we can read, "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more." “Long after God has forgotten the sin of another Christian, many of us are still bringing it up for discussion.”
Why not think upon things that are of “good report" rather than of those things that are evil. Ask yourself:
First: Is this any of my business? If it is not, then politely tell the other individual you need not hear of the matter.
Second: Do I know all the facts in this situation? If you don't, then stop right there and go no further.
Third: Have I taken up this matter with the individual involved? Matthew 18:15 tells us if it's a PRIVATE MATTER, "Go and tell his fault between thee and him ALONE."
This verse tells us that Christians are never to tell others about someone else’s offences. Great good can be done by a Christian who uses a quiet, private approach to another Christian. EVEN IF NO OTHER GOOD IS ACCOMPLISHED, YOU MAY FIND OUT THE FULL TRUTH, HEAR THE OTHER PERSON’S VIEWPOINT AND FEEL CONTENT THAT YOU HAVE HONESTLY TRIED TO BE HELPFUL.
Beware of those often-repeated phrases like:
"Can you believe __________"
"Please pray for so-and so because I found out…"
Someone said, "There is so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us that it doesn't behoove any of us to talk about the rest of us."
If you have been involved in gossip, you have been involved in doing the Devil's work.
If you have not gone to an individual about a known matter, you are involved in the Devil's work.
If you have not solved a problem between two of you, and you are talking about it with others, you are doing the Devil's work.
Oh, that you and I would have our speech burn with love and praise for God and even hatred for sin, but also love for one another. Our prayer ought to be,
"Lord, teach me to hold my tongue. Teach me to set a watch at the door of my lips that my speech may always be seasoned with grace. ALLOW MY TONGUE TO NEVER BE A SWORD. My speech should always be edifying, uplifting, and contain that which glorifies God."
David said in Psalm 19:14; "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer."
May God grant us the heart of Jesus who spoke words of grace, truth, and compassion.
May our tongue be used by Him to bring healing and blessing to many FOR HIS GLORY.
May our minds be on "Whatsoever things are of GOOD REPORT."
Returning to Philippians 4:8; we discover that right-thinking is the result of daily meditation on the Word of God. Now having said that, we move into verse 9 where Paul moves from the HEAD down to what we do with our HANDS, "Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, DO…"
We have progressed from RIGHT-THINKING in verse 8 to RIGHT-LIVING in verse 9. And the key word here is "DO." In verse 9 Paul tells us that we should be doing something about that which we have LEARNED and RECEIVED and HEARD and SEEN. Facts being heard are not enough, we must put those truths into action.
No one can receive truth from God without assuming a responsibility for the truth he has been taught. While you are sitting here, you are receiving some truth. It is now your responsibility when you leave here to DO what you have been taught to do. In James 1:22; we read, "But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
Our problem is not IGNORANCE of the scriptures; it is failure to translate what we KNOW into DAILY LIVING. You and I can store in our minds lots and lots of knowledge of Bible Doctrine.
But if what we receive with our mind does not filter down into our hearts and out into our walk, we will go on our way leaving others to wonder if we are for real. What the unsaved world is looking for today is a FLESH and BLOOD, REAL CHRISTIAN. They say, don't tell us what one is, show us one.
When we come to the house of God, it's not our purpose to just sit here and listen to the preacher, or evaluate the preacher, and evaluate the quality of the message. That's not it at all.
We should say, what is being spoken by the preacher from the Word of God needs to have an impact on my life. This message from God needs to become an objective in my life. Our goal is to have someone point to us and say:
There is a real Christian.
There is a model of the Christian faith in action.
There is a model Christian mother or model Christian father.
There is a model Christian young person.
Now I wonder how many of us have that as our goal. Paul said, "Think upon these things, and Do." The world in which we live sees so much that is plastic, so much that is artificial, so much that is hypocritical, so much that is phony, what a refreshing breath of fresh air to see:
Someone that is for real as a Christian.
A Christian that is genuine in their Christ-like behavior.
Our Christianity is not a philosophy of life nor is it a mentality, but it is a commitment that DEMANDS us to DO something. Jesus said in John 13:17; "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye DO them."
We are not only to THINK right, we are to DO right. We must apply what we know. Truth is not something just to be discovered, something to be understood, admired, or preached. Truth is something to be DONE!
Since God's Word tell us we have a responsibility to "love one another" then let's DO it.
Since God's Word tell us we are to "pray for one another" then let's assemble ourselves together to pray for one another.
Since God's Word tells us to have a harmonious relationship within the assembly, then let's DO it.
Since God's Word is emphatic about compelling people to come into the house of God, our responsibility is to DO it. Let’s reach out to our world with the gospel, sharing it with men and women.
Until what we know is assimilated into our lives through our actions, it counts for nothing. There is a song that goes
All for Jesus,
Let my hands perform His bidding.
Let my feet run in His ways.
Let my eyes see Jesus only.
Let my lips speak forth His praise.
That's what we are to do. In so doing, we become the example, the model of what a believer is.
Let me call to your attention one last thought as we conclude this passage.
In verse 8 we have God's concern for our HEAD, how we are thinking.
In verse 9 God is concerned with our HANDS, how we are doing.
Then in the last part of verse 9 we have God's concern about our "HEARTS," how we are feeling. It says, "And the God of peace shall be with you."
A consecrated, dedicated, spirit-filled believer not only HEARS, and OBEYS what he hears; he also puts his faith into practice. Such a believer enjoys the presence, power, and purpose of God unknown to the average Christian. It is "the peace of God."
In Romans 5:1; we read, "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Peace with God becomes ours by faith in the finished work of Jesus at the cross. Perhaps you are here this morning and you need that peace in your soul. You need the peace that comes from assurance of eternal life in heaven. So why not his morning pause and ask God to save you? “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13
However for believers who are obeying God’s Word, by doing those things God has directed us to do, then the God of peace walks with us, day after day and moment by moment. We commend God’s people to continue to "Think on these things and then DO them this coming week."
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon, "Battle for the Mind," then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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