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Think on These Things- Part 1

David Shin

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David Shin

Dr. David Shin is the President of Ouachita Hills College.

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  • April 2, 2014
    7:00 PM
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Our Father in heaven we are thankful for this opportunity that we have to come apart from the cares of this life and the business of this week and to pause for a few moments as we reflect as we consider and contemplate heavenly trues and we pray that you would speak through me this morning you know that my feet are made of clay you know my faults and I think you that you have chosen the foolishness of preaching pray that you hide me behind the cross and make Christ be uplifted for we see sings in Jesus' name amen today we're beginning a new series of messages 3 part series of messages that we've been titled think on the things we're going to be thinking about thinking the relationship of the Christian experience and the thoughts of the Christian experience as well and I want to invite you if you have not already to turn with me in your Bibles to our scripture reading for Libyans chapter 4 and verse 8 this is one of the Bible texts that I have put to my memory and I'll be honest with you that this was a challenging sermon and I was in the beginning of this week tempted to change topics because there's something about a verse when it's so familiar I'm thinking I I don't have anything to preach about because everyone knows what this verse is saying in Philippians Chapter 4 verse 8 before we get to the heart of it this text comes from a book or a letter written by Paul while he was in prison to the church at Phillip I It is a prison letter now if I was a prisoner in a jail cell on death row. I'll tell you that my letter would be tempted to be written in a very melancholy mood the food is terrible. Help me you know I don't know when I'm going to get out of here it would be very melancholy depressing and so forth but this letter is unique in that it is one of the most optimistic joyful upbeat letters you wouldn't know that he was in prison aside from the historical context and the content of the letter itself and in Philip Ian's chapter for he says things like rejoice in the Lord how many times all ways and again I say rejoice he says I have learned in whatsoever state I am there with to be content I praise God for you he is modeling the Christian thoughts he talks about the mind of Christ in Philippians Chapter 2 The attitude the mindset of the Christian and he ends on a joyful note and in Philippi in chapter 4 verse 8 the Bible says I'll be reading from the Pew Bible 1351 finally brethren scholars say that the word finally can also mean in summary in conclusion finally brother and he's talking to the Christian individuals the people that have accepted Christ this is counsel to individuals that are believers Finally whatever things are true whatever things are noble whatever things are just whatever things are pure whatever things are lovely whatever things are good report if there be any virtue and if there be anything praiseworthy meditate on these things Paul exhorts the Christian to meditate to think on these things. The word meditate to dwell upon to ruminate that's where we get the word for where a cow ruminates about something it is not talking about a passing thought it is talking about the thoughts that we choose to think about on a regular basis you have something that you just can't get out of your head it just goes over and over and over and over again that place in your mind that you live to go in your leisure that spot between your ears the thoughts and intents of the heart where do we go to when we think our savor it thoughts this is what Paul is talking about to ruminate to go over again and again and again in your thoughts I want to make a few observations about this passage to get before we get to the heart of the thesis here today he says finally brother and he's talking to Christians. Now the fascinating thing about this passage as you study it and as you make a few observations is that Paul uses a proportion of adjectives to describe the content of our thoughts this was so important to Paul that he did not just say I think heavenly thoughts you can just move on but he goes on in a repetition adding different adjectives to describe the nature and the quality of our thoughts this is so important to Paul he doesn't want us to miss this and here we have something that we should always do in Bible study look at the proportion of adjectives all right just by the proportion of adjectives he does not give one adjective 2 or 3 he gives 6 attributes 6 adjectives to describe the way that we should evaluate our thought so here it is whatever is true this is from the N.A.S. be whatever is some translations say honest but the Greek equivalent is actually on real bold whatever is right or righteous whatever is pure whatever is lovely whatever is of good repute or literally worthy of praise if there be any excellence virtue if there be anything worthy of praise think on these things will be interesting to know that this phrase right here actually summarizes what's up here these things are virtues. If anything worthy of praise is actually a repetition of that portion so Paul is saying that the way that you analyze your thoughts is through the filter of these things these virtues these things that are worthy of praise true honorable righteous pure lovely good repute 6 distinct adjectives describing the quality and the nature of our thoughts one way to break them down is to look at them in sets of 2 there's actually 3 sets of 2 when you look at them categorically the 1st set is the intellectual criteria is it true is it worthy of respect the 2nd criteria is the moral criteria is it right or is it righteous is it pure and the last criteria is the aesthetic criteria is it a lovely And is it praise worthy these are the criteria that Paul elaborates upon that we should use to evaluate our thoughts now for those of you that know me or have been around. Me for a little bit you'll notice that I carry a black bag and in the bag I have this huge water bottle OK It's like a mammoth I mean it's like this big and one of the church members actually said David it seems like your water bottles growing every day because I started with one of those little silver a clean canteen 16 ounces and then I got a different one and then I finally settled with the 64 ounce one all right I am a stickler for water and the reason why 64 ounces is because I know that if I drink that that's 8 cups in a day OK and I am very. Particular about my water. OK it's got to be a certain taste all right just call me a water snob whatever it may be but I just I just can't drink tap water it's like got this metallic taste and I just can't drink it it's got to be reverse osmosis OK. So I have I pay money every week to get reverse osmosis water and it's just one of those things my water has to be filtered now even if you get it from the tap it is filtered and you would not go to a river can you imagine this go to Grand River grab a cup have been in there and just drink it. That water could do some incredible things to you. Now this is something that is unique I bought a filter like this when I went overseas but this is something that came out it's a filter All right so you do not want to do this all right before you allow that water into your body I would highly recommend that if you want to do this to pass it through a filter this is a filter that the water passes through before it comes into your system All right very important that before you accept something into your body that it passes through this screen this filter you do not just accept anything into your body praise the Lord all right this is the marvels of modern technology now in Philippians chapter 4 were say it is a spiritual filter a man. A spiritual filter that's what this is now Paul goes through great lengths to help us to evaluate to filter things before it gets in and ruminates and contemplates and cogitates and bounces around in your head all right this is the assumption of many Christians they think it is more about what I do then what I think this is a misconception no God cares about what we do but what did Paul what did Jesus say in the Beatitudes if you look at a woman to a lost after her in your thoughts you are what guilty of adultery if you hate someone you are guilty of murder so the Bible goes from the actions he cares about those but he goes to the content of your thoughts and we many times as Christians have this misconception as long as I don't do it but I can think it and here Paul is saying Look before you drink that water pass it through the filter Amen everything should be passed through the filter before you start tossing it around in your head you should always pass it through the Libyans Chapter 4 verse 8 Ask yourself the question is this true there's a lot of things that are not true you ever hear a rumor about you are right 4th hand passed down through the line and you just have to ask yourself Is this true have I verified this before you start letting it jump around in your head is it true there's a lot of things that are in the news that are true but is it honorable is it uplifting is it righteous is it pure or is it a static only lovely is it praise worthy filter it. Before you think it that's what the Bible is saying evaluate before you contemplate Amen praise the Lord so evaluate before you contemplate evaluate before you ruminate before you allow something into the recesses of your inner sanctum of your mind filter it through Philippians Chapter 4 verse 8 Ask those diagnostic questions and if they do not fill filter or do not make it through that criteria don't think about it that's what Paul is saying is a true isn't honorable Is it right is it pure is it lovely is it praiseworthy one of the things that we have to deal with now since 911 is the joys of trash all right when we fly we have to go through security screening OK now as challenging as inconvenient as it is I praise the Lord for T.S.A. OK because what it is it's a filter in order to get into the main terminal everyone has to pass through the filter and these are signs are I got this from the T.S.A. website OK these things you know since 911 including box cutters are not allowed through the security screening they are caught all right I had a precious pocket knife. At my bag. It is now at some warehouse of T.S.A. All right these are things that are not allowed and I praise Laura for that as difficult as it was this is security screening because they do not allow harmful things into the inner saying that terminal and on to the plane because bad things happen when these things come into that area that is screened it's a filter and this is the assumption that Paul uses regarding our thoughts why is Paul so concerned about the filter about what we allow to bounce around in our heads to ruminate to cogitate about to dwell upon and to ponder we need to evaluate our thoughts now I have a simple question for you today don't answer me but if there were adjectives to describe the content of your thoughts just this past week What adjectives would be Use Oh heaven forbid or if on the screen I would flash your thoughts from this past week what would be What adjectives would we use why is Paul so concerned about our thoughts because the Bible says for as he thinks in his heart why so is he this is the biblical principle that our thoughts and feelings make up our moral character the things that happen in our brains the things that are tossed around the things that we meditate upon the things that we dwell upon determine our character this is the bottom line if you are a happy person you are thinking happy thoughts if you're depressed person you're thinking depressing thoughts if you're a critical person you're thinking critical thoughts if you're an uplifting person you're thinking uplifting thoughts. If your person like one pastor says that acts like they're baptized in lemon juice you're thinking sour thoughts OK whatever that is are so this is the thing have you ever walked up to someone and it's just like fresh. All right it's like uplifting Well that really calm is not like they have this aura around them that is just this atmosphere where does that come from it it comes from the thoughts these people are thinking along those lines you just get uplifted like to the very throne room of grace I've been in the presence of those people I want to be around them you know in their presence and it's just like. Lifting and then you go in someone else's presence and it's like I get depressed you know storm clouds doom gloom that's because the thoughts the character is is exemplified by the thinking that takes place in the mind and so Paul says look before it gets in evaluate before you contemplate our brains are not just to allow anything in this is not open access everything needs to pass through the filter evaluate before you contemplate filter it before you think it passes through the Libyans chapter for ever see the thoughts and the feelings come bind make up the why the moral character in heavenly places when 62 even the thoughts he goes on must be brought into subjection to the will of God and the feelings under the control of reason and religion are imagination was not given to us to be allowed to run a riot and have its own way where am I. Oh thank you very much without any effort I think and you see Marsha Brandon here OK for my eyes without any effort add restraint and discipline if the thoughts are wrong the why the feelings will be wrong and the thoughts and the feelings make up the WOD the moral character in other words our minds are not just run riot go everywhere you know and just be allowed to think about anything and everything just as long as we do not practice it the Bible says look pass it through the filter the altar it before you think it evaluate before you contemplate I want to touch on something here talk a little bit about media now we are in the midst of something called the great controversy between good and evil between Christ and Saint and the Bible tells us in the Book of Revelation that there will be a group of people in the end of time that have the father's What name written in their foreheads they're going to have the character of Christ there is going to be a people a generation before Jesus comes that are going to be just like Jesus Amen which means they're going to be what thinking like Jesus there's going to be another group of people in the end of time that can have the mark of the beast they're going to have the character of the devil I want you to think about this is going to a group of people that are just like Jesus is going to be another group of people that are just like the devil and which means they're going to what think like the devil. And I would conjecture here today that the majority of things that are being piped through the media through television the Internet through Hollywood would not pass through the filter of the Libyans Chapter 4 verse say it would not make it through the screening process all right which leads to the assumption or the implication that what the devil is trying to do through the media is get you to think just like him we need to be careful friends because right now the media is in a freefall the things that are going through the airways today the Boche aree the depravity the licentiousness that is coming through the airways is training and transforming a generation to think just like the devil and we need to be on guard there is going to be 2 groups in the end of time and friends the devil is not playing games this is an issue of eternal implications the media is the medium in which the devil's thinking is transmitted via the airways 2 characters in the end of time the other thing is the things that bounce around in our head we have to deal with the media but we also have to deal with life have you ever been in a situation where you're talking with somebody as happens and then they say something OK they say something and perhaps it's a little bit passive aggressive not overt but it's just like this little thing there and you don't catch it at 1st but it just kind of. Just sits in there you know talking about OK they say something in passing and I just like who just sits in there and it's so small Ok so ignorant insignificant but then it just lodges in there and it starts bothering you a little bit and I'd only one that this afternoon OK yeah it just lodges and bother and you're more bothered then that you're bothered OK and you're trying to shrug it off but then you just start thinking about it all right you know you don't pass it through the filter it just sits in there you start thinking and then you're like who does that person think they are anyway I mean what did they mean by that statement All right I had one pastor who bought a new car church member came up to and said Pastor see that you've got a new car and he's just like like what does that mean you know you thinking in his head and he said you know I'm sorry my donkey broke you know and this is the thing you know it's just like this this thing where it's weighted it's loaded and it thinks and it starts to go in your mind and ruminate and before long you have a dissertation building in your mind about what that person is and you can angrier and angrier and more upset and more upset and then you say you know I'm just in a bad mood today and it began with that irritant that you did not allow to pass through the filter and get caught and allowed to bounce around in your head and it steals your joy this is the challenge of Christians after we accept Jesus is the battle for the mind now this is an illustration I've used before birds fly over our head everything good day but we by choice can choose to not let this happen. OK. Birds fly overhead every day but you can keep them from building a nest in it all right so if if a big hawk swoop down on my head you better believe I would be like you know just doing everything in my power to just try to get that thing off OK you don't sit there and go all right come on and you know I shampooed today just please build a nest here you get the thing off now this is the thing every single day we have birds flying overhead we have thoughts that come in now sometimes crazy thoughts all right sometimes a thought pops in my head I'm just like man this is crates OK all right now those things come in from the X. here I believe that the devil many times can just like do things and circumstances and events to cost thoughts to flash in your head or we've got a wild imagination you know there's things that pop in your head now this is the key when that thing pops in your head all right there are certain things that we should never continue to think about Hey man are certain thoughts just pop in each and every day are when that bird tries to land on your head dismiss it say look I'm going to pass this through the filter I'm not going to think about this anymore we should not just be an open access vehicle for these thoughts you just pass through Alright so when that thought comes in dismiss it and replace it with something else this is where the victory lies and over time by the grace of God You can be like Paul in prison and have big surely live a life where you breathe the very atmosphere of heaven because in your thought life you have chosen to dismiss and to banish all those wayward thoughts and to think on these things this sermon I am preaching to myself. Because by the grace of God I want to live my life so that whatever happens I filter my thoughts and I choose to think on these things we need to a constant sense of ennobling power of pure thoughts and the damaging influence of evil thoughts Let us place our thoughts upon what holy things let them be pure and true for the only security for any soul is why right thinking it begins in our mind a couple years ago I the privilege of being it in South Africa at a camp meeting and I had the opportunity to meet this man Derrick Morris the editor of ministry magazine and he does hope Sabbath school by the way in the hope channel after the camp meeting they took us on a little excursion safari there in South Africa it's a real tree and I the privilege of being with him in the van in the vehicle and one of the things I noticed immediately about Derek Morris was like it was like and I was in sunshine when he got in the vehicle he get in the vehicle and it was like this was put on he would quote a song you know and he just would Scripture and we would be going through different events and it was just joy and happiness and I began to recognize that this man had put so much of the Word of God in his mind that his thoughts his words just radiated sunshine and it got to the place where I was just like this is remarkable what has happened it has been said that a man's thoughts die his soul and Derek Moritz had died his soul with the Word of God and it became evident to those that he came in contact with. And we can have this experience by the grace of God You know I put in one of my journalist a lord help me to have the experience like that of Derek Morris where I'm just Scripture because I put it in my mind keep your Bible with you as you have opportunity read it fix the text in your memory even while you're walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it does fixing it in the mind. Story of Linda Jeffrey she. Went through 3 marriages 1st 2 husbands passed away her 3rd husband abused her she was going through a traumatic experience in her life and she said the thing that Kate kept or steadfast to principle steadfast and uplifted to the very throne room of grace was that in church as a child at the age of age of 8 years someone challenge her to memorize one verse a day one verse a day since the age of 8 she says she's memorized great portions of Scripture to the place where she has memorized chapters and whole passages of the old the New Testament and she said that it was the memorizing of Scripture and the hiding of God's word in her heart that transformed her thoughts and enabled her to go through the trials of her life and she has written books she has a ministry ministering to people that are broken hearted and she says that it was because she filled her thoughts with the Word of God It's my prayer today that this year and moving forward that we will filter our thoughts through Philippians chapter 4 was a demand is that your desire to to. Evaluate before you contemplate do not allow any circumstance or any person steal your joy and then you will have bitch really think on these things I want to but you to stand with me as we prepare to close here this morning stand together every head bowed in eyes closed. You've heard the Spirit of God speaking to your heart here this morning and you've felt the conviction about your thoughts friends we can't do this alone we need divine help we can't control our thoughts Jesus can give us the victory Amen just a simple appeal here this morning I want to say Lord by the grace of God I want to have victory over my thoughts that your desire I want to buy you to come forward at this time Lord I need help that's all you're saying here today Lord give me victory over my thoughts help me to filter my thoughts through Philippians Chapter 4 verse 8 Lord I'm tired of thinking and feeling the way that I have been and I want a new beginning here today Lord help me to filter to valuate to think on these things and I want to ask Jesus here today to help me control what takes place in the inner recesses of my mind and heart and say Lord I need help I need you to give me the victory help me to think like Jesus. Spare heads together as we pray our father. Lord we cannot control our thoughts but Lord we can give you our wills and that's what we do we're doing here today we submit ourselves to you forgive us for the things that we have meditated upon forgive us. For the channel of our thoughts that we're going against the uplifting thoughts of heaven and Lord we pray for your transforming Grace today help us to evaluate before we contemplate help us to filter before we think Help us Lord to bring every thought into captivity to be a beauty and Jesus Christ we thank you for your transforming power in your transforming Grace and I pray that when you come. That way we will be like you for we shall see you and. That's our prayer and humble desire for me as he sings in Jesus' name. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more servant leader Visit W W W audio verse or.

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