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July 22, 2020 4:00 am
We live in a world filled with illness, corruption, economic turmoil, and it's easy to be discouraged or disillusioned. So it's more important than ever that we develop a mindset that is centered on Jesus.
That's our topic today on Truth for Life.
Alister bag originally delivered this message to a group of college students is titled it. Thinking like Christ, can I invite you to take your Bibles and turn to Philippians chapter 4 Philippians chapter 4 in verse four rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again rejoice, let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or inherited from me, or seen in me put into practice and the God of peace will be with you. You and I this morning are what we think about our minds form the root of it all. All of our human actions.
Unless there is something physically or mentally wrong with us in marriage.
As a result of thought processes.
It is in our minds that affections are stirred, it is by our minds that our wills are directed. It is in the mind that we conceive of and produce every action. It is therefore imperative that we learn to think about the right things and that we learn to think in the right way, is there a Christian way of thinking and if so what is it a Christian mind is not one that is trained to think only about Christian topics. It is a mind that is learned to think about everything from a Christian perspective and find it is too bad when those who profess Christianity seek to influence others by blustering attempts at persuasion, which give the impression of being in themselves pretty mindless proper use of our minds not only glorifies God.
It also strengthens our ability to be able to persuade others concerning the truth of the gospel and here on this particular morning at the start of this academic year, and for some of is the start of our academic careers where introduced by Paul in what is for many of is a familiar section of his letter to the Philippians introduced to what we might refer to as the power of proper thinking the power of proper thinking some of his this morning have arrived in this day and we are anxious we are beginning already to worry about things the peace of God which passes all understanding. Somehow or another, never seem to reach as in the middle of the night when we awaken thinking just whether we would be able to call with this particular year of study and therefore it is important to recognize that what follows the exhortation to don't worry and be happy. Rejoice in the Lord and pray about everything that follows that is of crucial importance. The temptation is that in expounding.
Philippians 4 we divorce all these little paragraphs from one another, but in actual fact if you look at what he says in verse eight, a mind that is filled I'll have their say will have little time for anxiety producing peace disrupting joy destroying files and Paul has no problem about being direct. It is very challenging in a culture that has embraced the refrain. Don't tell me what you think.
And Paul says let me tell you what to think about in verse eight I want you to think about such things and he mentions a list of six of them and he seems to deciding that rather than extend the list. Beyond six.
He will sum up all the other virtues that it might've included in the words if there's anything excellent and if there is anything praiseworthy is a great catchall summary phrase recognizing, of course, that there is much that is excellent, and praiseworthy, which is to be the focus of Christian thinking when Jimmy Phillips paraphrases these verses.
The actuator reverses the order and begins with verse eight he says if you believe in goodness and if you follow you the approval of God. I want to encourage you this morning to make a commitment to excellence.
The word here in Greek is added to a is the most comprehensive Greek term for moral excellence moral excellence in what Paul is saying to his readers. Is this in a world that is full of things that are sordid and shabby soiled and smarting the Christians preoccupation is to be that which is virtuous, and which calls down the approval of God and which deserves the praise of men and called to think in verse eight issues and are called to do in verse nine that is not our concern. This morning, but we should remind one another of this.
The Bible is not concerned with mere mental reflection for its own sake.
The Christian is not a call to sit on a high hill and think blessed thoughts in abstraction from the warp and move of everyday existence and your sojourn here in this academic institution is in order that your mind may be thoroughly Christian leg trained in order that you might then go out to live in that way the logic that is attached to it is framed even in the Greek verb login so my bring your faculties to bear upon these things as Paul rooted in making your continual habitual action. The human mind is always going to attach itself to something. It is therefore imperative that we attach it to the right things you come to morning like this music that is so much to think about so many things dancing around in my mind. I got all of these classes. All of these challenges. So my more fearful of than others.
Others I'm looking forward to while in the midst of all of that which can so easily produce anxiety, deprive you of peace, stultified your commitment to prayer. You will be aided and abetted in the totality of your academic challenge by thinking along these lines in the brief time that is before us. Let me point you to them virtually without elaboration. First of all, he says, whatever is true, whatever is true in a different context. We would start on this for a long time because the challenge of relativism is striking in our day. Alan Bloom in a book which is now an old on the closing of the American mind says there is one thing, a professor can be absolutely sure. Almost every student entering the University believes or says he believes that truth is relative know clearly that is not the case in an institution such as this, but it beholds us to tackle the issue so that we have like 1 foot firmly grounded in the revelation of God in Scripture, strengthened by our academic studies in a variety of areas and another foot firmly planted in the culture which is where we live our lives and the context in which we will return after these few strange years so that we may be able to speak of that which is true in a world that is given up on the very notion of absolute truth Jean Veith captures the lostness that accompanies this perspective when in postmodern times.
He quotes the words of a young woman. She says I belong to the blank generation. I have no beliefs. I belong to no community tradition or anything like that. I am lost in this vast, vast world I belong nowhere I have absolutely no identity in any given afternoon, you beasts may be sitting next to her on a bus, you may meet her in the park, you may encounter her in the coffee shop. It's not going to be enough simply to blurt out a few versus your mind needs to be trained down the lines of what is true. So when you hear the words of oasis singing at one of their old songs and all the roads that lead me there are winding and all the lights that guide me. There are blinding good able to say no surprise. Let's talk about what is true also noble, noble, wonderful word is not nobility that which is majestic and awe-inspiring. It is the opposite of that which is frivolous and trivial. It connotes a driver tests seriousness about all things and if there is one area in which the Christian young person may establish their deportment in our frivolous society. It is by thinking down the lines of that which is noble. Thirdly, thinking about what is right, namely morally pure and undefiled in order that this may direct our choices not making our decisions on the basis of what is expedient or convenient or what provides for is the most immediate gratification but asking of every decision we make along the journey of our academic career. What is the right thing to do. That is always the first question you may ask what is helpful. What is meaningful what is experientially gratifying, and so on, but only after you've asked the question what is the right thing to do. It will save you in the round of cheating or plagiarizing. It will save you in the realm of relationships from compromising. If you market as a fixed point in your journey.
I will always train my mind in the groove of that which is right. Don't you think that that was somehow or another been instilled into the life of Joseph. We have no record of it.
He looked after the sheep. He was the youngest of the group.
The favorite of his dad snatched away as a result of the malevolence of his brothers and flushed into this amazing experience in Egypt when the evil day arrives and is confronted by the alluring charms of his bosses wife, he says. How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God. What happened simply punched in the mind and he went down true, noble, right when he punched on right. It came first question.
Joseph, what is the right thing to do and he said the right thing to do is to make a run for the rent for in a society that is become increasingly desirous of making decisions on the basis of what is profitable or expedient.
The Christian is to stand out by deciding on the basis of what is admirable and noble. Fourthly, pure mind that is grooved in the realms of purity and undefiled approach to our thinking we won't be able to avoid everything. If you're going to read literature. It's impossible to stand back from the thought forms of an alien world. By the way in which we read that distinguishes us from our friends recoiling from it rather than rejoicing in turning from it with sadness rebuking every inclination in our own hearts, to go down that road because we remember that Paul was so concerned and that's why he reminded his young friend Timothy.
Keep yourself pure and lovely, whatever is lovely, lovely press file concentrate on things that promote brotherly love is not talking about looking at architectural looking advisors are looking at attractive scenery. What Paul is dealing with here is the antidote to friction. Friction is easy to produce, but we are to be those who are pursuing that which is acceptable and pleasing in the realm of grace and peace and blessing and harmony.
Let me tell you it's a very important word is in it because in the realm of academics, especially those of us who are motivated, we can find the seeds of jealousy, enmity, bitterness, rise immediately in our mind when we realize that the grade that we hope for is not the great regard and furthermore that fellow that we thought was a real no brains actually came out ahead of the process on the first day that happens to you.
Remember, your mind is to be grooved into thinking of what is lovely, and then of what is admirable, admirable things that are of good report, listening to reports that build up as opposed to that which tears down listening to that which encourages rather than that which disappoints listening to that which leads into the foundations of our friends and our colleagues on the journey rather than what destroys the know in this very simple little section you have from Paul a list that will establish for each of us our motives are manners and our model's our motives are manners and our morals. Be skeptical about your motives. Young people doubt yourself before you doubt your friends if you find yourself saying I'm rocksolid on this. Be careful, because he who thinks he stands should take heed lest he fall's what you manners, take your hats off indoors. Fellows look people in the eye when they speak to you.
Everyone shake hands with firmness, gentlemen.
Nobody wants to shake a dead fish stand up for ladies give up her seat on the shuttle bus at the airport for the elderly respond in kindness when you receive a greeting and as you do.
People say he or she must be one of those Philippian 48 kids. This list will establish her motives. Constrain your manners and Gardner morals here is a pastureland in which we are to grace unless any of us think that this is just some great heartache to recall, you know, pull yourself up by your straps. There's a list tears put them on your mirror and try one of them every day and try harder for the rest of your life and maybe by the time you've reached the end of your academic career you will be there.
No know the virtue of which Paul is speaking here this multifaceted virtue is the fruits which grows on the tree of salvation.
This is not sanctification by self effort. This is the indwelling power of the spirit of God, bringing the word of God to us and channeling us in the paths of righteousness for his namesake here is fruit that grows on the tree of salvation the trunk of the tree is faith and its roots are embedded in grace. Step back from the canvas for just a moment. If we see the big picture, then we learn this, that if were going to enjoy the power of God at work within us, if were going to know his piece upholding us if we're going to know his presence, securing eyes than to go section that we read surround our circumstances in prayer we can do more than pray after we prayed, but not until drill our minds in godly thinking subject our lives to the word of God and become in this academic community a great gallery of living experience. It's a call to each of us to live in the realm of the real versus the phony the serious, not the frivolous, the writings another convenient clean, not the dirty, the loving, not the discordant the helpful, not the critical and short.
It is a reminder to us that we are supposed to be like Jesus earthly pleasures vainly call me says the hymn writer, I would be like Jesus. Nothing worldly shall enthrall me I would be like Jesus be like Jesus.
This is my song in the homeland in the throng and be like Jesus all day long I would be like Jesus and not to take the cornerstone out of all that I've said indeed to leave it securely where it needs to be long after human eloquence has been forgotten and long after mental brilliance has been set assigned the ultimate mark that you and I may leave as a legacy to our children. And if God spares us to our children's children will be the life that is enlarged from a mind that is being grew in that which is true and noble and right and pure and praiseworthy and admirable.
May all of your classes and all of your studies help. To that end, amazing, thought are studying God's word can have a far-reaching impact for generations to come. Listening to Truth for Life, and Alistair Beggars titled this message.
Thinking like Christ at closing point by Alister really gets to the heart of this ministry. We provide clear, relevant Bible teaching every day on the radio online through our podcast apps, trusting that God will work through these messages to shape and strengthen the faith of those who listen as you hear this program. Each day we prayed that your mind and heart are renewed through God's word so that you can think like Christ and if you believe that it's important for these messages to be available free of charge. We'd like to invite you to reach out with a donation today so that your fellow listeners can continue benefiting from Alister's teaching and when you give. We've got a book we'd love to send you as an expression of our thanks. It's an encouraging and really a unique book called is this it, the author Rachel Jones talks about the challenges and disappointments that people in their 20s and 30s are facing today with school usually in the rearview mirror. Many young adults are finding themselves feeling directionless and sometimes let down.
This is especially true right now as covert, 19 is thrown a wrench in the plans of many young people all around the world.
Weddings are being delayed career plans interrupted school plans being challenged. If you can relate to this feeling. Regardless of your age or if you have a young adult in your closest circle who's been disillusioned by the realities of life. Request a copy of the book is this. It you'll find biblical hope and purpose for every season of life. Request a copy of the book when you give online at truthforlife.org/donate or call 888-588-7884 can also mail your donation along with your request for the book like to Truth for Life PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139 Bob Lapine hope you can join us Thursday. Alister will talk about the importance of fixing our eyes on Jesus, rather than being distracted by the world Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by truth for where the Learning is for Living