Philippians 4:8 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.
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.
We began to look at these verses yesterday. We noted the challenge to think on things that are true. We are also commanded to think on whatsoever things are honest. Honesty is an important quality. Honesty is the quality of something that is consecrated to God. It is that which should be treated with awe and treated with reverence (Websters).
We live in a corrupt world. We can no longer trust our governments to look out for our good. God has brought His timetable to the place where the intent of all governments is to push for a one world government. God is moving things closer to the coming of the antichrist. Sadly, it is also becoming more difficult to trust the doctors and nurses. Doctors and nurses are trained in the lies of evolution. Most of them accept that false teaching as the truth. That false doctrine teaches that there is no God. It teaches that things have been “evolving” over billions of years. They no longer believe that they need to protect life. For many years too many doctors and nurses have been involved in the murder of unborn children. Now we also have doctors and nurses who are willing to put elderly and infirm people to death.
It is sad that people have chosen to remain lost and are choosing to pursue wickedness in a much greater way than in earlier times.
In the midst of the wicked world, God directed Paul to remind us that the way to know God’s peace is by thinking on things that are honest. We can know that God is always true and right. We can know that God created man and He breathed into man the breath of life. God designed man to live for ever. Man chose to sin and thus he died spiritually and also dies physically. God provided the only way for a person to be saved. That way is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. We can know that this is God’s only design. We can have complete confidence in following God’s way. His way works every time.
The word translated as just means to be equitable. It speaks of being fair and impartial. We hear of politicians who claim that after they win they will govern for all the people. We know that those are just words they say to get elected. We know they do not follow through with that. The reason they cannot follow through is because most, if not all of them, are lost and so they favour the ungodly. True saints get in the way of the devil’s plan.
God is just and we can know that He will always deal in an equitable manner. The Godhead is just in all their dealing. Jesus Christ treated all people with love while on earth. That love was interpreted differently by certain people. However, His rebuke of the Pharisees was in love. They needed to know that even though they could justify themselves with their hard hearts, they were not justified in God’s sight.
Jesus’ dealings with the Samaritan woman were done in love. He knew the life she had lived and He knew that she needed to know the truth to be set free from the bondage she was under. He provided the truth for her so that she could know His peace.
Born again Christians need to think on those things that are just. We need to pattern ourselves after that which is just. Again we see the challenge that Paul has made throughout this letter. We need the mind of Christ in order to think on those things that are just. Lost people need to see what true justice looks like. Christians are the only ones who can provide justice in a wicked world.
We are further instructed to think on those things that are pure. The word translated as “pure” speaks of that which is clean.
II Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
In this verse the same Greek word is translated as “clear”. It speaks of the absence of any stain. The saint is instructed to think on those things that are pure. That does not mean we look at lost sinners as being pure. It speaks of thinking pure thoughts in our dealings. One of the things that we hear of is pastors who have a “secret” porn life. They think no one sees it but they tend to get caught because what is in the heart and mind will come out in the life. When we think on whatsoever is pure, we will be guarded against the lust of the flesh.
King David had a problem with this. He lusted after other women and he took another man’s wife and committed adultery in his heart and then in his body. He then had the man murdered to try to cover his sin. It did not work because we have a God Who is pure and He will not allow His name to be slandered by His children. Purity in thought will lead to purity in action.
We are also instructed to think on whatsoever things are lovely. Things that are lovely are things that are acceptable and that are pleasing. There are many things that are not acceptable to the child of God. We can judge music by this standard as well as language and all things. It is a lovely thing to be in the presence of fellow saints who can talk about things without having to guard against bad language or have ungodly music playing in the background. It is a lovely thing to be able to walk in the bush and hear the birds sing and the squirrel chattering and hear the leaves rustling in the gentle breeze. There are many things that are lovely and the greatest are the Words of God. They are lovely. If we memorize His Word, we will always have something lovely to think on.
We are also told to think on whatsoever is of good report. That would certainly eliminate gossip. David wanted to hear a good report after the battle with his son Absalom. The problem is that his idea of a good report was not God’s idea of a good report. A good report would have been that his son had surrendered and confessed that he was wrong. If that battle could have ended with Absalom calling his followers back to the truth, that would have been a good report. God’s people need to have their ears tuned to a good report. We need to be drawn to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. That is a good report. We do not need to question anything that God says. We can trust Him at all times.
The word translated as “virtue” speaks of “manliness” and “excellence”. It is interesting to note that manliness and excellence are used here to describe the Greek word for virtue. True men are virtuous men. They are not satisfied with a half-job. They are not interested with half-truths. They want to succeed. Many people want to succeed, but we also know that many try to succeed by less than honest means. Our elections are won through corruption, not honesty and purity. Our country is run by people who are dishonest. This week we learned that at least one item line in the “arrive/can” app development stated that 1.2 million dollars was paid out to a company that does not work in the tech field. That company claimed they never received 1.2 million dollars. Someone did some “fancy” accounting to try to slip that money in there. Another company was paid at least 9 million dollars just to line up ‘IT’ people to develop just a portion of that useless and intrusive app. The Liberals have once again proven themselves to be less than virtuous and less than lovely.
We need to be aware of these things, but we are not obsessed with these things. We need to pray for the salvation of these corrupt politicians and those that will slither up to the trough to get as much as they can from this corruption. Those who are saved will not accept these types of things. We are challenged to think on those things that have virtue. Christians must have a higher standard than the world. Christians need to live by that higher standard and show others the better way of living.
The last quality listed in verse 8 is praise. Praise has to do with that which is praiseworthy. It does not help to commend a bank robber because he did not fire his gun. It does not help to praise someone who cheats on a test because his handwriting is neat. Christians can learn what is praiseworthy if we think on whatsoever things are worthy of any praise. The standard is God. It is always right and good to praise God. We sometimes sing the song: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.” It is true and it is important to remember that all blessings do flow from God. There are many things that we can complain about. Some people say they do not listen to the news because it is too negative. We need to live in the real world. We need to be aware of what is happening. We need to be sure that the bulk of our time is spent on those things Paul has mentioned here in this verse. If we keep a right balance then we will not forget to remind those around us of the importance of knowing the true God. We will be ready to direct them to the truth at all times. Lost people will not appreciate this, but this is what we need.
Jesus Christ always gave the right response to every situation He faced. He healed the paralytic, but first forgave his sin. He told the woman brought to Him, accused of adultery, to go and sin no more. He wrote on the ground and all those men who brought this woman to Him had to leave in silence and in shame. The “religious elite” hated Him because He would not endorse their corruption. The people came to Him and listened to His Words with amazement. Most did not take His Words as truth and thus they were led to cry out “crucify Him, crucify Him.” In the book of Acts we read of thousands who were converted because the apostles reminded them of the truth that Jesus had spoken. Many were saved. The false teachers now had even more hatred for God and they tried to kill the apostles. They also persecuted the newly saved people. God saw all of that and He continued to do His work and at least one of the false teachers, Saul by name, was converted.
In Acts 12 we read that king Herod was eaten by worms, but the Word of the Lord grew and multiplied.
God is good. We can be encouraged today that He is still good and He wants to bless His children with peace and He wants to see lost people come to know His peace. Let those of us who are saints today think on these things that Paul was directed to write about. Let us turn our world upside down as we do so.