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RIGHTEOUS THINKING - Philippians 4:2-9

July 24, 2017

Righteous thinking results in rejoicing, unity and peace; as we focus on the right things, from the right source, and labour together in the gospel.

 

Don’t know if you realise this, but the world is obsessed with thinking. There has been a huge emphasis in education over the last few decades that is focused on teaching thinking. How to think.

 

There is…

  • Debono’s hats.

  • Thinkers Keys

  • Blooms Taxonomy

  • and many more...

The focus of these tools is less about the outcome and more about the process. They desire right thinking. If you get the thinking right, then the outcome is justifiable.

 

The Bible is big on thinking too. There is much said about the mind and thinking. In the book of Romans as Paul moves from the first 11 chapters of his amazing theological explanation of how salvation, as planned by the Father, provided by the person and work of the Son and revealed and outworked by the Holy Spirit, is in and only through Christ. On the foundation of this amazing revelation of truth, he begins chapter 12 with…

 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world (right thinking), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

 

The focus of the Bible is all about the outcome as well as the process. God desires righteous thinking.

 

And this is the focus of passage this morning.

 

…think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

Righteous thinking results in rejoicing, unity and peace, as we focus on the right things, from the right source, and labour together in the gospel.

 

As Ross shared with us last week from Philippians 3:10:4-1, Paul is encouraging the believers to have mature Christian thinking. Diligent, single minded, perseverance in our pursuit of Christ.

 

And this morning Paul gives us a greater understanding of the focus, inputs and outputs as well as the result of mature Christina thinking, righteous thinking.

 

Righteous thinking results in rejoicing, unity and peace, as we focus on the right things, from the right source, and labour together in the gospel.

 

The way we think determines the way we act. The way we think shapes our view of ourselves, and others. Our thinking determines our actions.

 

So how is our thinking shaped? How is righteous thinking shaped?

 

What we put into our minds will determine if our thinking is righteous or not.

 

INPUT FOR RIGHTEOUS THINKING

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9

 

What are we to allow to shape our thinking? What are to be our inputs for righteous thinking?

 

What we have learned, received, heard, and seen.

 

What we have learned – been taught, understand, have come to realise.

What we have received – taken on, accepted.

What we have heard – listened too and received.

What we have seen – paid attention to and understood.

 

So is Paul telling us to cats our net wide and allow our thinking to be shaped all we learn, receive, hear and see? Whatever comes up on TV? Whatever the repeated message is from our friends? Whatever the last fad and trend is? Whatever we have always done? Are we to allow this to shape our thinking?

 

No.

…in me, Philippians 4:9

Paul again is called believers to follow his example.

 

We have heard this before in our exploration of Philippians.

Philippians 2:17-18 …likewise… - like me

Philippians 3:17 … Join together in following my example… 

 

But also the example of others.

Philippians 2:19-30 – Timothy and Epaphroditus

 

And remember that Paul is not just being prideful here.

 

That was Paul’s pattern of life, what was the pattern of life of these mature Christians – They followed the pattern of Jesus.

 

As Ross shared with us last week.

Paul calling us to imitate him as one who continues to carry his cross as he pursues Christ.

 

So what is it we have learned, received, heard, and seen from mature believers, the examples within scripture, Christ?

This is what we are to be shaped by.

 

And being shaped by it means…

…put it into practice. Philippians 4:9

 

They are to influence, and will influence our actions, what we say and do.

The analogue the youth leadership team use regularly with the young people is head, hearts, hands.

Learn, receive, hear, see, and act!

Righteous thinking that stays in our heads and hearts becomes self-righteous thinking.

 

So what we have learned, received, heard, and seen from mature believers, the examples within scripture, Christ are the inputs we need for righteous thinking which is then to lead action.

 

What are you allowing to be an input into your thinking?

 

What are you doing with your righteous thinking?

 

And where are we to go as we seek to act on what we have learned, received, heard and seen? What support do we have as we inevitably encounter confusion, uncertainty, roadblocks in our thinking?

 

God!

 

SUPPORT FOR RIGHTEOUS THINKING

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:5-6

 

We are called to have an ever-deepening dependence on God and His provision.

 

In education, there was a programme put out called “brain gym”. It was mental gymnastics for the mind. It was a way of strengthening and growing your right-thinking skills.

 

God has a programme to. A way of strengthening and growing our righteous thinking skills. It’s called ‘life’! Life with an ever-deepening dependency on Him.

 

When we are faced with anxiousness, concerns, our heads and hearts are aching.

Go to the Lord. He is near.

 

We are to bring our problems and needs to the Lord knowing that he cares for them and his care is sufficient. It’s all we need.

 

We a heart of thankfulness, acknowledging God for who He is and what He has done, is doing and will do we, are to come to God with our needs and concerns.

 

And what is the scope of this support?

 

…about anything… Philippians 4:6

 

…in every situation… Philippians 4:6

 

God has the best support system in place that seeks to strengthening and growing our righteous thinking skills. It’s called ‘life’! Life with an ever-deepening dependency on Him.

 

An ever-deepening dependence on God and His provision.

 

All it requires is us …making it known to God. Philippians 4:8

 

Is God your first and ultimate support for righteous thinking?

 

Do you have an ever-deepening dependency on God and His provision?

 

So what is to be the filter, the focus of righteous thinking?

 

FOCUS FOR RIGHTEOUS THINKING

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

One of my biggest frustrations in education can be summed up by a conversation I had once with a colleague who was leading a group of principals in professional development.

 

We were doing some staff development planning and He was using some thinking tools. I asked him, so what is the end result we are aiming for here?

 

He responded, don’t know! I’m less concerned about the end result and more concerned that you are happy with where you end up.

 

The focus of worldly thinking is less about the outcome and more about the process. They desire right thinking. If you get the thinking right, then the outcome is justifiable.

 

God is interested in both process and outcome because He is interested in righteous thinking. So God lets us know what to focus on.

 

…think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

whatever is true – honest, aligns with the truth of the Word, ultimate truth.

 

whatever is noble – worthy of respect, moral excellence.

 

whatever is right – righteous, just, those things that conform to God’s standard.

 

whatever is pure – holy, undefiled, those things free from sin.

 

whatever is lovely – pleasing and agreeable to God, love motivated.

 

whatever is admirable – worthy of praise, the fruit of the Spirit.

 

if anything is excellent – virtuous, of right character

 

or praiseworthy – worthy of declaring

 

…think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

These things are to receive our concentrated and focused effort.

 

And let’s remind ourselves where such things come from…

What we have learned, received, heard, and seen from mature believers, the examples within scripture, but ultimately Christ.

 

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Philippians 2:1-2

 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus… Philippians 2:5

 

Our focus for righteous thinking is Christ!

 

It is this that is to fill our thoughts, our minds and in turn our hearts.

 

We are to look for these things, focus on these things, and seek to emulate these things in the power and provision of the Holy Spirit as we grow in an ever-deepening dependence on God and His provision.

 

What is the focus of your mind?

 

What do you seek out and spend time thinking about most?

 

So what is the ongoing result of righteous thinking?

 

RESULT OF RIGHTEOUS THINKING

 

  • REJOICING
    Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4


    In the midst of any circumstance and situation if we are growing in righteous thinking we will be able to rejoice.

    Our outlook and understand of circumstances will influenced by righteous thinking and we will see God in and above all and so be able to rejoice.

    From an attitude of joy comes thanksgiving.

 

  • UNITY
    …be of the same mind in the Lord. Philippians 4:2


    Righteous thinking grows unity.

    Not intellectual agreement (right thinking), but oneness of Spirit 9righteous thinking).


There was obviously disputes in the church in Philippi and we know that there are disputes within our own church family and across church families.

We are called to all approach these disagreements with righteous thinking.

A unity of affection – we are all in Christ. We love and are loved by the same God
A unity of mind – we are all to imitate, be growing into the mind of Christ. Same thinking.

Where there is lack of unity we need to question if there is righteous thinking.

 

  • PEACE
    And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7


    We will know a contentment, freedom from anxiety, and assurance that God is near and working. A peace from God that we cannot find, often explain or even fully understand. A peace that God provides when we have the mind of Christ, righteous thinking.

    A peace that is in itself will protect us from wrong thinking, right thinking, and rather grow in us righteous thinking.

    All from God
     

Do you see these results, rejoicing, unity, peace, in your life?

 

The way we think determines the way we act. The way we think shapes our view of ourselves, and others. Our thinking determines our actions.

 

God desires righteous thinking.

 

…think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

INPUT FOR RIGTHEOUS THINKING

What we have learned, received, heard, and seen from mature believers, the examples within scripture, but ultimately Christ is to be out input for righteous living.

 

SUPPORT FOR RIGHTEOUS THINKING

God has the best support system in place that seeks to strengthening and growing our righteous thinking skills. It’s called ‘life’! Life with an ever-deepening dependency on Him. Therefore, we need to go to Him.

 

FOCUS FOR RIGHTEOUS THINKING

Our focus for righteous thinking is Christ!

It is this that is to fill our thoughts, our minds and in turn our hearts.

 

And the result…

  • Rejoicing

  • Unity

  • Peace

God desires righteous thinking.

 

…think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

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