Chapter 4, Verse 8-9
Think On These Things!
Review; Peace! Be Still!
Philippians 4:7) [KJV] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
QUESTION: What does “which passeth all understanding” mean?
ANSWER: Note other renderings:
* which is deeper than all knowledge [BBE],
* that no one can completely understand [CEV],
* which is far beyond human understanding [GNB],
* which goes beyond anything we can imagine [GW].
QUESTION: What does that mean in the real world?
ANSWER: God can give us a peace in our difficult times that we shouldn’t have; which we can’t figure out why we have it; which is simply beyond reason.
NOTE: This is not resignation to the inevitable that I’m talking about; but rather, it’s an amazing realization that God is in complete charge in the situation that we are facing.
QUESTION: What does “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” mean?
“shall keep” – “1) to guard, protect by a military guard,” — “to prevent hostile invasion” [Thayer].
ANSWER: When we realize the peace of God at work in our lives it is not some passive thing; it is an emboldening force that realizes God is present with us at that very moment. This “peace of God” is a resisting army that fights back fear and doubt. It overcomes those invading foes.
Verse 7 in another translation:
(ERV) And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds.
QUESTION: What is God’s promise to you if you dare to believe it?
ANSWER: In the midst of your worst fears and troubles “God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings.”
On To This Week’s Lesson, “Think On These Things!”
Philippians 4:8-9) [KJV] 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.
Whatsoever Things Are True:
John 8:26) [KJV] I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true <227>; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
John 14:6) [KJV] Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth<225>, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
“true” – “1a) what is true in any matter under consideration” [Thayer].
QUESTION: 2+2+4 is the truth; is that what Paul wants us to think about?
ANSWER: No! He wants us to think about what is “true” concerning the subject at hand; he wants us to think about Spiritual Truth.
Whatsoever Things Are Honest:
QUESTION: Don’t “true” and “honest” mean about the same thing?
ANSWER: Yes! But the majority of the translators have “honorable,” not “honest.”
“honest” – “There lies in it the idea of a dignity or majesty which is yet inviting and attractive, and which inspires reverence” [Vincent].
NOTE: Building on the first part Paul tells us why we should think about Spiritual Truth, because it is honorable. When you do this you are thinking about our “inviting” “majesty;” and that “inspires reverence.”
Whatsoever Things Are Just:
“just” – “1a) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God” [Thayer].
QUESTION: What should we learn here?
ANSWER: Again, why we should think about Spiritual Truth is because it will lead us to think about what God considers to be “just.” With all of our “political correctness” we can try to redefine what is just; but God, the Creator of all mankind, has the only true moral absoluteness to decree what is right and wrong.
NOTE: As believers our view of what is “just” must coincide with God’s righteous and just decrees in the Holy Scriptures. Like Martin Luther, our collective conscience must be held captive by the Word of God.
Whatsoever Things Are Pure:
“pure” – “Old word for all sorts of purity. There are clean things, thoughts, words, deeds” [Robertson].
QUESTION: What should we learn here?
ANSWER: Thinking about all that is Spiritually True will cause our thoughts to be filled with what is pure.
NOTE: Here is a verse that clearly tells us to keep our thoughts out of the gutter.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5) [KJV] For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
QUESTION: How do I stop thinking impure thoughts?
ANSWER: I purposely replace those thoughts with pure thoughts. I make a decision of my will to think about the very things we are talking about this morning. Our minds/thought lives never shut down. They will think about something. We have to conscientiously direct our thoughts to “pure” things. This will take prayerful determination on our part.
Whatsoever Things Are Lovely:
“lovely” – “acceptable, pleasing” [Thayer].
NOTE: We are to think about those things that Spiritual Truth tells us are “acceptable” and “pleasing” to God.
Whatsoever Things Are Of Good Report:
“good report” – “gracious (Rev., in margin)” [Vincent].
“good report” – “2) uttering words of good omen, speaking auspiciously” [Thayer].
NOTE: We should not only say nice things to people; we should think nice things about people. Sometimes that will mean we have to look past certain shortcomings of others and think about the good things we know about them; then we must hope that they will do the same when they think about us.
If There Be Any Virtue:
“virtue” – “1a) virtue, moral goodness; 2) any particular moral excellence, as modesty, purity” [Vincent].
QUESTION: What does this teach us?
ANSWER: We should fill our thought life with things that have a “moral excellence” about them.
NOTE: Good thoughts produce good actions. If we fill our minds with wrong thoughts those thoughts will be expressed by our actions.
If There Be Any Praise:
“praise” – “Anything worthy of praise, or that ought to be praised” [Vincent].
QUESTION: What is the thought here?
ANSWER: We should think about those things that if there were a mind-reader among us he would consider our thought to be praiseworthy. By the way, I know this one Guy Who can read minds. Just saying.
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.
QUESTION: What is Paul doing in this verse?
ANSWER: He is using himself as an object lesson to illustrate what he had just instructed them to do in the previous verse. He is telling his readers that the kind of lifestyle he lived out in their presence reflects the kind of thought life that they should be thinking.
NOTE: We will never fully reflect the Christian life to the lost world until we have more fully brought our thoughts into alignment with the Scriptures. Right thoughts produce right actions! The battle is in our minds.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church