4-25-2020 THINK ON THESE THINGS
Paul wrote to the church at Philippi encouraging words:
Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice
Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, 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, or if there is any virtue or if there is any praise, think on these things.
Those things which you have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, do and the God of peace shall be in you.
1 Corinthians 10:23-24
All things are lawful for me but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful for me but all things don’t edify.
If so that you have heard Him (Jesus), and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus.
That you put off concerning former conversation of the old man, which is corrupt according to deceitful lusts
And be renewed in the Spirit of your mind,
That you put on the new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Therefore putting away lying, let every man speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members, one of another.
Be angry and sin not, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.
Neither give place to the devil.
Let him that stole, steal no more, rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good that he may give to him that needs.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.
And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
And be kind, one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, has forgiven you.
Let’s talk a little about what should be driving our actions, what we say, what we think.
Be cheerful, well-off, joy, God speed (Strong’s 5463). I might add “be happy in our heart. Let the Lord know you appreciate all that He is and has done!”
Let our moderation be seen before men
Appropriate, gentle, patient (Strong’s 1933). Let’s be patient in all situations, with all people. The Lord is always near and ready to help us. He is our strength (Phil. 4:13)
Be careful for nothing.
Don’t be anxious rather think it through (Strong’s 3309). Don’t worry about things rather pray about them and thank God for what He is going to or has already done.
Let God’s peace reign in our hearts because of our Lord, Jesus Christ
Quietness or rest (Strong’s 1515). Let God’s peace (like a river) rest in our soul (Isa. 48:18). Remember Jesus says He is always with us and will never forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Who can fight against God and win (Acts 5:39)? God is in us! Quit worrying about things! It’ll only give you an ulcer. But do take appropriate action!
Not concealed (hidden) (Strong’s 227). Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t blow any smokescreens hiding your true intents. Be ‘open’, ‘transparent’.
Grave (serious)(Strong’s 4586). Let’s be straightforward and not deceiving. If you can’t say something good or true about someone, keep the lip zipped. We can always say good things yet, don’t flatter just to get people to agree with you or do what you want. Don’t lie, even the inner person can be beautiful!
Innocent, holy, proper (Strong’s 1342). ‘Nuff said? Do that which is the right thing to do or say. Don’t condemn, but, as led by the Spirit, correct and direct. Helping a brother walk closer with the Lord is better than a ‘slam dunk’. (hah, I’m right!)
Modest, chaste, perfect, clean (Strong’s 53). When we live in God’s love, we find ourselves being as the definition describes. Or at least, we are working in that direction. Following Jesus’ example for living and confessing our sins (immediately) goes a long way in maintaining spiritual purity.
Friendly (Strong’s 4375). That is we should always take a non-violent, congenial approach to everything. I’m not saying wishy washy. Assertive is being strong yet not aggressive. Stand your ground (when right) but, to get your point across, don’t snarl and punch him in the nose! Love, be pleasant, you may gain (or regain) a friend.
Well-spoken, reputable (Strong’s 2163). Paul encourages us to always do that which edifies (1 Thess. 5:9-11). That means we don’t gossip about or tear down others. Rather we do or say that which helps another person draw closer to Christ. As we draw closer to Him in our own lives, it makes it difficult for others to, in truth, speak ill of us. God blessed Joseph right into 2nd only to Pharaoh in Egypt because he was of ‘good report’ (Gen. chptrs 37-47).
Excellence, praise (Strong’s 703). We have Jesus in our heart, we do our best to live right, do right and be right. We live by God’s standards. It ain’t easy, but we do our best (thank You, Holy Spirit). Live our lives so that people can only say good things about our example. Let them see the love of Christ alive and well in our own lives.
Laud (Strong’s 1868). I may expand this to include lift up, glorify, magnify, even exalt (we’re talking about our relationship with our Father). How many good things can we think of who He is and our gratitude for what He has done for us? When we can no longer think of anything to say, we can always ask the Spirit to help us out. We can also speak good things of others but let the praise be true. Also consider, our actions can speak louder than our words. We go bonkers over entertainers, does God deserve less?
Be sad or sorry, make heavy [as burdened] (Strong’s 3076). We grieve the Holy Ghost when we do things contrary to God’s word and will. The Spirit is grieved when we credit to anything else with what Father has done. If you will, His heart cries at our disobedience. Jesus didn’t just cry for Lazarus, but as he entered in, He cried for all Jerusalem (John 11:35). Think how we might feel if we saw a car strike and kill a puppy. Sadness fills our heart. Jesus knew that Jerusalem yet was rejecting His free love!
Evil, wickedness, (Strong’s 2549) When I first read this I said that doesn’t make any sense because I read ‘with’ to mean as to ‘how’. Then the Holy Ghost had me read it a little differently –‘’malice’ along with these other things’. Then it made sense!
Now, go back and reread our passages. Do you see them any differently?
As we live our life in Christ Jesus, we grow into living more and more in God’s love. Living in love IS keeping His law for His law (briefly [Exod. 20:1-17]) describes how to love Him and our neighbor for God is love. As we grow in that love we discover the things that we do are lawful because they fall into alignment with God’s love (will). That is we make the decision to move away from those things that don’t please our heavenly Father and gravitate, more and more, towards those things that do. Ergo, the things that we do ARE lawful because we do that which is IN God’s will.
Jesus is the truth so we put away the old, sinful man, and put on the new man living in God’s love. As we move into alignment with God’s love, we find our mind (our thoughts and mindset) is being led by the Holy Spirit so we are putting off those lustful and selfish thoughts that used to motivate us and putting on God’s love. truly caring for others – agape love.
Our ‘new man’ seeks after true holiness and righteousness therefore we quit lying to our neighbor and especially our Christian brother. Remember, those in Christ are one body. Would we lie to ourselves? (hope not)
Being angry at what someone has done to us is natural and we don’t have to like a word or an action directed at us. But we need to remember what motivates that action. Our fight is always against the forces of darkness, Satan and those angels who fell with him (Eph. 6:12). We take action against the root of what has been done against us then forgive the person by which that offense came (they don’t really understand) – before the day ends. Harboring anger only hurts us because it tears at our spirit and draws us away from God as we are consumed by that anger. In rebuking and resisting whatever the attack was (from our enemy) and by forgiving the one by whom the offense came, we are eliminating places in which the devil can operate in our life.
Stealing comes in many forms so let us do the works worthy of our love for Jesus. Remember, He shed His precious blood for us while our works were yet far from Him, bringing us the promise of eternal fellowship with our heavenly Father.
Malachi asks will a man rob God (Mal. 3:8-9) by not giving Him our tithes and offerings. We do, when we don’t support what God is doing through His people (church). Understand, the tithe is 10% of our increase, what we’ve earned since the last time we gave. Not only is God due our tithe but He commands it (Mal. 3:10-12). We can also rob God by not using the talents and/or gifting, which He has given us, for His glory. I’m not saying we can’t benefit from our talents or gifts, but who gave us that ability to sing, organize, play music, dance, etc.? We just need to always remember where that gift came from, thanking Him for His goodness. Not acknowledging what Father has freely given us is just like not tithing. It is stealing. We rob Father of His glory as He works through us. We just ‘take’ and give nothing back. Giving Him the glory is ‘giving back’! Amen? Oh, and by the way, we can rob people of blessings when we don’t share the talents God has given us. Think about it.
Don’t tear down, demean nor destroy others with our words. Rather let us consider what can help that other person to be a better person and walk closer with our Lord. The list in Philippians is a good place to start by putting it into practice. The power of life and death are in our tongue. We build up, not tear down. We can destroy or build by how we act or in what we say (Prov. 18:21).
Let us put an end (in our lives) to bitterness, evil speaking and the like by applying diligence and sincerity into what we say and do. When we retain evil in our heart and deny the power of the Holy Ghost, we grieve Him. As long as we are on this earth, we should never grieve the Holy Ghost. It is put this way, for when we are with the Lord in eternity, I don’t believe it will even be possible to grieve the Holy Ghost. Then we should all be walking and talking in God’s will. We will all know the role of the Holy Ghost in the Godhead. After all, then, we will be with Him, (present and accounted for) – Father, Son and Holy Ghost!
God’s love is expressed through our kindness towards others, being caring for their situations and helping them to draw closer to God. We should always be forgiving towards all men – even if they don’t repent or ask our forgiveness. As he was being stoned to death, Stephen asked God to forgive those stoning him (Acts 6:9 - 7:60). (sound familiar? Luke 23:34)
We all have an eternal judge. Jesus makes the final call who comes into eternal peace and who goes into eternal damnation (John 5:22). And remember, even when we denied and rejected God, Father came into this world in the form of Jesus Christ and shed His blood on the cross, cleansing us from all unrighteousness, iniquities, our sin and bringing all who repent, back into His fold (eternal life).
Make no mistake. All this takes effort – great effort – on our part. It doesn’t ‘just’ happen. We choose to do that which is right, then pursue it!
So, what things should we think on? Being thankful and glad for God’s love towards us, as we do our best to give our love back to Him. Jesus says that we show our love for Him by helping those around us. As we help others, we find that God fills us with Joy. Especially helping those ‘in God’s kingdom’ for Jesus says that as we do unto the least in His kingdom, we do unto Him (Matt. 25:40). God gives us joy when we give Him the glory for what He does in us and through us.
We should focus on those things that edify others, not stroke their egos, but say and do things that
will help them become better people and closer to God.
Do we seek the peace of God in our heart? As we give Father His due and respect others, we discover that we can rejoice, be glad and enter His gates with thanksgiving in our heart.
These things we think upon – then do.