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Paul was a man God used mightily to give us insight as to how we are to live so we may be pleasing in His sight, walk in His presence, and rule and reign with Him for all eternity. Paul was required of God to suffer many things to give us this revelation of living an acceptable life. At Paul's conversion, God spoke to Ananias:
". . .Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake." Acts 9:15-16
When Ananias came to Paul, he was to show Paul all the things he would be required to suffer for the name of Christ. A name sake is one who is named after another. We must remember it was because of Paul's work in Antioch that God's people were first called Christians (Christ-ones or in-Christed ones). When we accept God's free gift of salvation and are baptized with the anointing of Christ, then we become His name sake. Many call themselves by the name of Christian, but they do not bring glory to the name of Christ because of the way they live. Paul had to suffer greatly because of His name's sake.
Many today who are called by the name of Christian believe they have a free ride. Their ticket is punched and they are heaven bound. When suffering is mentioned, they express their belief in false hopes and false doctrines such as the rapture, once saved - always saved, and eternal security, which states you cannot lose your salvation, etc. What a blight they are on the name of Christ.
"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;" Romans 5:2-3
Paul knew the calling God had in his life, therefore he could glory in his tribulation. Paul knew tribulation worketh patience. By the words of Jesus, Paul understood:
"In your patience possess ye your souls." Luke 21:19
The word possess means "to take control of and have dominion over." Paul had taken authority over his soulish man. This is why he could glory and rejoice in the great things he had to suffer for the cause of Christ. Paul also knew:
"And patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:4-5
Tribulation is the process needed to save the soul of man. Without tribulation there can be no patience, experience, or hope. Only by tribulation can God shed abroad the Holy Ghost in our hearts. In the last letter Paul wrote, he informed us:
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:12
Paul knew, and he wanted us to know, that if we live Godly in Christ Jesus we can expect persecution. Persecution comes in various forms. It might be verbal or mental, or perhaps physical. But persecution always means separation - - - separation from family - - - separation from friends - - - and most of all separation from the spiritually dead who want nothing to do with God or God's chosen. Paul also wrote to Timothy:
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us:" II Timothy 2:12
Many have the mistaken idea they are going to rule and reign with Christ because they have made a verbal confession of believing on His name. But if they have not proven themselves worthy of their name sake through suffering, there will be no reigning with Christ. Paul, through much suffering, has given us the revelation of the life we must live for our name sake. Paul wrote to the Philippians:
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, rejoice." Philippians 4:4
Paul's life reveals how we can rejoice, even in our tribulations. When Paul and Silas were in prison, they sang praises unto their God at the midnight hour. Because of their rejoicing and singing praises to their God, He opened the prison doors and set them free.
We have come again to the midnight hour. A new day is about to break forth. If we are not singing praises to our God in this hour, we will not be set free from the bondages of this life. Paul continued:
"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." Philippians 4:5
Our moderation is our temperance. Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. If we are to bring glory to the Lord's name, then all the fruit of the Spirit must be evident in our lives. Paul tells us to . . .
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Philippians 4:6
The word careful should have been translated anxious. Paul tells us to be anxious for nothing. Yet anxiety fills the hearts of many of those who call themselves Christians. All our anxiety should be taken before the Lord in prayer. Our supplications should come before God with thanksgiving, not with anger, malice, or being fearful. Our trust must be totally in the One who called us to be partakers of His glory. Paul further informs us:
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
Today the whole world is clamoring for peace, but there can be no peace without the Prince of Peace. Today we have our peace committees, peace conventions, and peace treaties which mean nothing because they are agreements of man which have always been broken. We send our government officials to try to negotiate peace. They return disillusioned. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of our day when he wrote:
"Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly." Isaiah 33:7
Our ambassadors of peace weep bitterly in their frustration, knowing their labor is in vain. The world is looking for man-made peace, instead of the peace of God which passeth all understanding. Paul continues his revelation of what our life in Christ must be:
"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." Philippians 4:8
Paul listed eight different things we should be thinking upon. God does nothing by chance. Everything has a time and a purpose. Eight is the number of new beginnings. When change comes forth we think (concentrate) on these things, and our minds will be renewed. Praise the Lord! The Bible speaks much about the renewing of the mind. When David sinned with Bethsheba, he cried out to God:
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
David's mind had been corrupted by the lust of the flesh, and he had grieved the Holy Spirit. Because of his sin, David had lost his close relationship with the Father. We never realize what we have until we lose it. Our only concern then is how do we get it back. David's heart was broken because God had turned His face from him. God can never look upon our sin. Paul informed the Romans:
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2
Paul warned us about being conformed to this world and the world system. Instead, we are to be transformed. The word transformed is the Greek word MEAMORPHOO.
The English word for METAMORPHOO is metamorphis which means "to be changed into another form." The new form has no resemblance to the old form. The process of metamorphosis turns the ugly worm into the beautiful butterfly.
Paul used the word METAMORPHOO to reveal the change we witness when our minds are renewed. This is a regenerating process which can only come through the Word of life. To the Ephesians Paul revealed:
"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24
We are to put off our former conversation. The word conversation not only means what we say. The word conversation means "the way we live, or our way of life." Our old man nature was corrupt because of deceitful lusts. In the past, we corrupted ourselves to fulfill our selfish desires and our fleshly lusts. There is only one cure for our old, corrupt nature, and that is the renewing of the mind. Unless our mind and spirit are renewed, there can be no change. Only then can we put on the new man which is created in righteousness and true holiness. Paul informed the Corinthians:
". . . though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."II Corinthians 4:16
The old man must die daily if our new nature is to come forth. Just as the butterfly comes forth as a beautiful creation, we too must allow the old man to perish so the new man can come forth in all the glory of God.
Paul listed eight things in Philippians 4:8 that our minds should be dwelling on.
Whatsoever Things are True
The first thing Paul listed that we need to think upon is truth. Truth should be the center of everything we say and do. Many treat truth as intangible, but in God's Word, truth becomes very tangible.
"Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth." John 17:17
The word sanctify means "to set apart in the Spiritual realm." We are set apart in the Spiritual realm when the Word of God becomes the reality in our lives. Truth will stand by itself. It needs nothing added. Only when we take away anything from the truth, does it become error. The Word of God is truth. It is the only absolute truth we can know and understand. Everything outside of God's Word becomes error. The beloved John wrote:
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." III John 1:4
Our whole walk in God must be in truth. The only way we can walk in truth is to walk in the way God directs in His Word. If we walk in the truth, then we become pleasing in His sight, and bring glory to His name. As we seek God's truths in His Word, we discover many things. John further reveals:
"We are of God: He that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." I John 4:6
As John relates, those who are of God hear and receive the truth. Those who are not of God refuse to hear God's truths. If they would hear God's truth, it would change their lives. Those who hear God's truths have the Spirit of truth. Those who refuse to hear God's truths follow the spirit of error. All who dwell on the earth fall into one of these two categories.
Before Jesus ascended off the earth, He promised His disciples He would send them the second Comforter. Who was the second Comforter?
". . . The Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:17
The world is unable to receive the Spirit of truth because they have chosen to only listen to the spirit of error. They cannot know the Spirit of truth because they have no relationship with the truth. Jesus declared:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." John 14:6
Jesus is the truth, and those who have no relationship with the truth cannot receive the Spirit of truth. And if they do not have the Spirit of truth, then they cannot understand God's Word which is truth. Because of this, they continue in their error. We have Jesus' promise:
"Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come." John 16:13
When we have a relationship with the truth, then the Spirit of truth will lead us into all the truths in God's Word. He also gives us one further promise - - - He will show us the things coming upon the earth. This is the sure word of prophesy. Jesus also gives us the assurance:
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
When we know the truth, then the truth will truly make us free. It is impossible to enslave a person who knows the truths in God's Word. We are to be the servants of God, not man. Man can only enslave the body, but the soul and spirit is not under their control. As Paul related to the Corinthians:
"For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth." II Corinthians 13:8
Truth is always truth, and we can do nothing against the truth. We can only cooperate with the truth. To be in line with the truth, we must allow our minds (our hearts) to be saturated with the truth. As Paul related, we are to think on the things that are true.
Whatsoever Things Are Honest
Paul continues to list the things we need to think upon. We are to think on the things that are honest. Honesty and truth go hand in hand, but honesty goes one step further, and that is to be honorable. The word honest is the Greek word SEMNOS and means "to be venerated for character." The word venerated means "worthy of respect and dignity." When the early apostles chose men to become deacons, there instructions were:
"Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business." Acts 6:3
All these men were to have an honest report. This would seem to be their first qualification. These men handled money, they were responsible for purchasing food, and also for seeing to the needs of the widows. The men the disciples were to choose were to be men of unquestionable honesty. Honesty and honor go together. Because of these seven men's honesty, they were given the honor to be chosen as the first deacons of the newly formed church.
Stephen was given even more honor when he became the first martyr of the church.
Philip, who baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, had the honor of Christianizing the whole nation of Ethiopia. Paul informed the church at Corinth:
"Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." II Corinthians 8:21
Paul stated we are to provide things honest. The word provide means "to foresee, or think beforehand." We are to provide for honest things. All things we provide for our lives must show and prove our honesty, not only before God, but before all men. To the Romans, Paul wrote:
"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men." Romans 12:17
When we are wronged, we are not to revile back. We are to ponder our actions, and know our response to the injustice we suffered before we react. Our response needs to bring glory to the name we bear. Is our testimony honest before all men, or is our testimony a lie? Paul continued his revelation to the Romans:
"Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." Romans 13:13
We are to walk honestly in the day. The day represents light. Paul told the church at Thessalonica:
"Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night nor of darkness." I Thessalonians 5:5
When the children of light are involved in rioting, drunkenness, chambering(which is cohabitation, whether lawful or unlawful;) wantonness (which is unbridled lust), strife, and envying, they are no longer children of light, nor of the day. They have become children of darkness because there is no light in them. Their testimony of the name they claim has become a lie. Their walk before God and man has been dishonest and a reproach upon God's good name. Another area of our walk we need to be especially honest in is our business life. Paul admonished the Romans:
"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;" Romans 12:10-11
We are to be kindly affectioned to one another. The phrase kindly affectioned means "to love tenderly." The phrase brotherly love means "to cherish above all others." We are to honor one another with tender love, and cherish our brothers and sisters in Christ above all others.
Then Paul reminded the Romans not to be slothful in business. There are several ways one can be slothful in business. We can be slothful by being backward in our adherence to absolute honesty. We can be slothful when we do not keep our word completely. We can be slothful when our employees do something dishonest, and we do not correct them or the situation they have created.
In all areas of business, we must uphold the honor and dignity of the name of Christ. Honor should be the cornerstone of our business. One may say this is not the way the world does business, and we must compete with them. Once we understand our source, we quit competing with the world, and our reliance is only on Christ.
Paul tells us we are to be fervent in Spirit. The word fervent means "to be red hot." When we are red hot for God and His ways, we will never fail in business, or anything else. As Paul informed the church at Thessalonica:
"That we may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing." I Thessalonians 4:12
If we walk honestly with those who are without (those without the body of Christ)there will be no lack of anything in our lives. But our thinking must change. We must think honestly in everything we do. When we think honestly, our minds will never be defiled, and we can hold our heads high, knowing we have nothing to hide from our God, our family, or the world.
When we walk honestly in the world, we can only expect honor and respect from those without, and those who are part of the body of Christ.
Whatsoever Things Are Just
Paul also informed us to think on the things that are just. The word just was also translated "righteousness." In the true sense, it means "being justified before God in everything we think, say, and do." Jesus was our example. When the Jews sought to kill Him because He had broken the Sabbath, Jesus replied:
"I can of Mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My justice is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me." John 5:30
All who have the Spirit of God have the Father dwelling with them. Once we learn we can do nothing for God without the direction of the Spirit, we will quit serving self. When we judge by what the Father speaks, then our judgments will be just. All judgments of life must be brought before the Father. As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:
"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God." I Corinthians 4:5
We are not to judge anything until the Lord comes into every situation. He will bring light or understanding into that which is hidden from our natural senses. We know God searches the heart of man to know his intentions. He does not listen to our mouths; He checks the counsels of the heart. When we wait upon God's judgments, and make His decisions in every thing we do, then we will have praise of God. Speaking to His disciples, Jesus disclosed a truth we should all understand:
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works." John 14:10
Jesus asked His disciples if they knew that He was in the Father and that the Father was in Him. Jesus was saying He and the Father were one. Jesus' Father is the Holy Ghost. It was the Holy Ghost which overshadowed Mary, and Jesus' was conceived in Mary's womb. The Scriptures are very clear concerning this. Matthew recorded:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:18 & 20
Luke also declares this truth:
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35
When Jesus spoke, He only spoke what the Father had given Him to speak. Also, as Jesus related, it was the Holy Ghost who did the works through Him. Jesus took no glory for anything He did. He knew His power, His authority, and His ability was not of Himself. He only did as the Holy Spirit (the Father) directed in His life. Jesus was justified because He depended totally upon the anointing in His life to accomplish what the Father had given Him to do.
God's Word informs us that Jesus was given the Spirit without measure, John3:34. At the present, we only have the firstfruit or the earnest of the Spirit, IICorinthians 1:22. This firstfruit anointing we receive is to teach us and cleanse us so we can receive the double portion anointing, promised by God before the foundation of the earth. When we receive the double portion anointing, then we will do the greater works as Jesus promised. [see "The Double Portion" by G. Kirkpatrick]
The All-wise Solomon wrote:
"The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him." Proverbs 20:7
Just men walk in integrity. The word integrity means "uprightness in character and honesty, being complete and undivided." Their minds are single, having no corruptness in them. This describes our example, Jesus, perfectly. When we walk in integrity, then our children will be blessed after us, because we will have given them our example to live by.
John was the voice of the Holy Spirit crying in the wilderness. John told Herod it was wrong for Herod to have Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. Because of this, Herodias wanted to kill John, but Herod would not allow her to do this.
"For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly." Mark 6:20
Herod was not a believer, but he knew John was a just and holy man. Even with all his power and authority at his disposal, Herod feared John. Herod must have known John served a higher power than himself, and that he had no control over this power. When our lives exemplify this same justness and holiness, even those in power will fear and respect us.
The Psalmist asked the question:
"How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah." Psalms 82:2
We should never forget the name of the one whom we represent. All our thoughts must be just, and justified before our God. We are not to accept the person of the wicked. The word accept means "to exalt or lift up." Many exalt and lift up sports stars, movie stars, politicians, and men in higher positions. They give honor and glory to these who are not justified before God.
As Paul directed, we are to think on the things that are just. This includes those who are just and justified before God.
Whatsoever Things Are Pure
The next thing Paul informed us to think upon are those things which are pure. The word pure means "chaste, modest, immaculate, clean, and free from carnality." In His sermon on the mount, Jesus informed us:
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8
The heart is what we think with. It is the center of all emotion. By Jesus' words, we know the pure in heart are blessed of God. When our thinking processes are pure, then all our actions will be acceptable in the sight of God. David the Psalmist asked the question:
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place?" Psalm 24:3
His answer verifies the words of Jesus:
"He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully." Psalm 24:4
Only those who have clean hands and a pure heart will stand in the presence of God. Those who continue to exalt vanity, lying, empty words, and worthless thoughts will not see God or stand in His presence.
The same is true for those who have sworn(taken an oath) deceitfully. Those who use words to deceive are an abomination in the sight of God. Deceitfulness is the lowest form of lying. Those who deceive others only deceive themselves. God checks the thoughts and intents of the heart. When deception is present, so is God's judgment. The all-wise Solomon asked the question:
"Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from sin?" Proverbs 20:9
A clean heart is one that is free from all deception and corruption. Who can say,"I am pure from my sin?" Paul related:
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23
All have sinned and come short of God's glory. If we are to enter into His glory, stand in His presence, and see Him, then we must deal with our deceitful heart and the old sin nature resident in all the Adam creation. The only way to accomplish this is by cultivating a pure heart and a clear conscience. The apostle James gives us insight in overcoming the old, Adam nature:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5
If we are to overcome as God directed, then we must have the wisdom of God resident in our lives. To have God's wisdom, all we need to do is ask. But we must ask with a pure heart. If we only want wisdom to look good in the sight of men, then our heart is not pure. James goes on to explain:
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:17
The wisdom we receive from God is pure (undefiled). It is not tainted with man's wisdom. We know it is from God when it is peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated (obeyed). God's wisdom is full of mercy, good fruits, without partiality (being uncertain in its intent), and without hypocrisy (insincere in its content). When we seek, ask for, and accept God's pure wisdom, it can only build our relationship with our God. Paul summed up to Timothy all he had learned of the Lord in the years he had served Him:
"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:" I Timothy 1:5
The end of God's commandment to all His creation is charity (agape love) out of a pure heart. Agape love is a benevolent love which is manifested from God within. God is love, I John 4:16. It does not say, God loves. It says God is love. When we have a pure heart, then our love is pure, and we will manifest God from a pure heart. In Paul's epistle to Titus, he gave us God's plan for man from the beginning:
"Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Titus 2:14
Jesus came to have a people --- a peculiar people, purified from all carnality, whose hearts are only toward Him. The word peculiar is especially interesting. Many believe it means a bunch of odd balls. The true meaning is "a people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession." This is not only the Jews. It is anyone who has a pure heart toward God, who have clean hands, and whose whole desire is to see God, and stand in His presence.
Whatsoever Things are Lovely
The next thing we are to think upon is anything that is lovely. The word lovely means "anything that is acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God." Paul writes:
"Abstain from all appearance of evil." I Thessalonians 5:22
We are to keep ourselves from all appearance of evil. No evil can be lovely, acceptable, or pleasing in the sight of God. Evil intentions come from the heart. This simply means our thoughts are not on the things that are lovely.
When Jesus told the Pharisees they could not serve two masters, the Pharisees sneered and scoffed at Him. Because of their covetous heart, Jesus replied:
". . . Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." Luke 16:15
Today many try to justify themselves before men. But God knows the heart. He knows what governs our thought processes. He informed them, ". . . what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God."
God gave us our conscience to direct the way we are to think. When our thinking is straightened out, then our walk will be straightened out also. Paul wrote to the Hebrews about our conscience:
"Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly." Hebrews 13:18
When we think on the things that are lovely, our consciences will all be clear. We can live honestly, and be acceptable and pleasing in the sight of God. Our conscience is directed by the Spirit of God. As long as we follow His direction, our thoughts will always be lovely. Jesus gave us this assurance:
"Behold My servant, whom I have chosen; My beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put My spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles." Matthew 12:18
Those who are chosen of God, and have His Spirit upon them will show judgment to the Gentiles (aliens from God). The word shew means "to proclaim, or to make known openly." Jesus promised He would show us things to come. Those who have His Spirit upon them are to proclaim God's judgment to those who remain Gentiles. Those who have chosen God's ways, instead of the ways of man, are pleasing (lovely) in His sight. Peter gives us this promise:
"Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." I Peter 2:12
If we live honestly among the Gentiles, even though they speak evil against us, our good works will bring judgment against them in the day of God's judgment. As Paul wrote to the Philippians:
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." Philippians 2:10
Yes, even the Gentiles (heathens) knees will bow at the name of Jesus in His day of visitation. Those whose way of life glorifies God will be lovely in His sight. We need to be thinking on these things now. Our way of life should always bring glory to His name.
Whatsoever Things are of a Good Report
The next thing Paul said we should be thinking on is our good report. Our good report is not what others say about us. Our good report is what we speak. Our good report is speaking well of others, and sharing with others the things God has accomplished in our lives. On the Day of Pentecost, there were Jews present from all over the known world who witnessed the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the one hundred and twenty in the Upper Room. When the people spoke, those present were amazed:
". . . we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." Acts 2:11
These were giving a good report of what God was doing in their lives. Jesus informed the scribes and Pharisees:
"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matthew 12:37
If our words do not proclaim and give a good report of the wonderful works of God, then our words will condemn us before God. Words are a powerful tool. King Solomon wrote much about our words:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
Our tongues can speak life or death. When our tongues speak life, we are giving a good report. When our tongues speak death, we are allowing the spirit of darkness access to our thinking processes, and God is not glorified. If we are to bring praise and glory to the name of Christ, then we need to be constantly thinking on the good report that comes out of our mouths. Solomon informs us:
"The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth." Proverbs 10:20
Only the choice silver which comes out of our mouths will have any lasting value. When the wicked speak, it has no value in bringing glory to God. The Psalmist wrote:
"Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah." Psalm 88:10
Those who are spiritually dead cannot praise God. Their work has no value, no good report for our God. Only words that glorify God are choice silver in His ears. Jesus informs us:
"A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." Matthew 12:35
Jesus calls our hearts a treasure trove. What comes out of our mouths determines if we have a good report or an evil report. Our heart justifies us before God, or condemns us. Jesus spoke to the religious system of His day:
"O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Matthew 12:34
We speak what we think about the most. We need to listen to our mouths to know if our hearts (minds) are giving a good report before our God, or if our words are condemning us. Jesus continues:
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment." Matthew 12:36
The word idle means "without labor." In the day of judgment, we will give account for all the words we speak that have not been weighed against the Word of God. In that day our words will produce life or death. Do our words honor His name, or are our words, idle words, bringing glory only to ourselves?
Is our report good or evil? The apostle Paul reported to the church at Ephesus:
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." Ephesians 4:29
The word corrupt means "rotten, putrefied, and worthless." Paul was speaking about a filthy mouth. As the wise man said, "We should let nothing come out of our mouths we would not put in it." Yet many who are representatives of the name of Christ let putrefied, rotten words come out of their mouths. These have a rotten, putrefied report before God, and will answer to Him for their idle words in the day of judgment. Paul admonished the Colossians:
"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Colossians 4:6
Our speech should always be with grace and seasoned with salt. Salt preserves. Our words should preserve our life. Our answers before every man should be with grace. The word grace means "the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace." It also has the meaning of "thanksgiving." If we are to have a good report before our God, then our mouths must be governed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our words must preserve life and edify the hearer. Then we will have a good report before our God.
If There Be Any Virtue
". . . if there be any virtue . . ." Philippians 4:8
The word virtue means "moral excellence, modesty, and purity." God expects those who have taken His name to be morally straight and modest. Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom, enlightened us to the fact:
"According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" II Peter 1:3
God's divine power is the Holy Spirit anointing in our lives. Through this cleansing power of God, He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He has done this through His Word. Through His Word and example, we can have the knowledge of Him who has called us to modesty, purity, and also to His glory, and to His moral excellence.
What Peter was saying was that we are to have the knowledge of God, not knowledge about God. We are to obtain the same knowledge Jesus had. How are we todo this? We can only do this through His Word and our relationship to Him, by and through the Holy Spirit anointing.
Solomon wrote about a virtuous woman:
"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones." Proverbs 12:4
The virtuous woman, one who has attained to moral excellence, who is modest in her dress and actions, is then a crown to her husband. A wife who shames her husband by her dress, her words, or her actions is a disgrace to him. Solomon asked the question:
"Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies." Proverbs 31:10
Today moral standards have fallen to an all time low. Now the girl pursues the boy. Deals are made before the dating process begins. If mistakes are made, abortion is the answer. There is no commitment and no responsibility connected with dating or marriage. It has only become an animalistic act to satisfy sexual lust.
Truly, when a virtuous woman or man is found, their price is far above rubies. There can be no value put on morality. It cannot be legislated. It must come from a pure heart. We read in the book of Ruth:
". . .my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman." Ruth 3:11
Ruth was a Moabitess. She was not of the children of Israel. Since she was not Hebrew, she would have been thought of as a heathen, but because of her actions, the whole city knew she was a virtuous woman. Her actions were not questioned. She held herself morally straight. She was a woman of honor and chastity. She brought praise to Boaz, and she became the great-grandmother of King David.
If There Be Any Praise
God has laid out our progression to come unto Him. If we are to come into His presence and bring glory to His name, then we must begin with faith and virtue. Peter gives us insight into coming into the full knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ:
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue: and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity." II Peter 1:5-7
As we know, faith must come first in our walk.
Next comes virtue (moral uprightness).
Then we must come into the full knowledge of the one who called us.
We must then become temperate in all things. Temperance is a fruit of the Spirit.
Next, we must learn patience. Patience is also a fruit of the Spirit.
To patience, we need to have godliness
Then brotherly kindness,
and finally charity (agape love), God's pure love.
Peter reveals: "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." II Peter 1:8
The last thing Paul related to the church at Philippi was,
". . . If there be any praise." Praise is the honor we are to show God. Our lives must display this honor seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day. If our lives do not honor God, then no matter how much we praise God with our mouths, our words will only be hollow reminders of what God desires for our lives.
An unknown Psalmist gave us our reason for praising the Lord:
"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name." Psalm 100:4
Our entrance into God's gates is through thanksgiving, and we come into His presence with our praise. If we are to have a personal relationship with our God, we must praise Him from a thankful heart. Only then can we bring glory to His name and be worthy of the name of Christ.
Many people believe they praise the Lord when they participate in the praise service in their local church or in some convention. These are necessary times to praise the Lord together, but we must praise the Lord at all times, not just in a church service.
If we are to learn to praise, we must have a good understanding of the book of Psalms. The word praise appears one hundred and fifty-two times in the one hundred and fifty Psalms. The book of Psalms is the book of praise.
In ancient times the Psalms were sung. They were the praise God put in His peoples' hearts. Their hearts cried out:
"Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" Psalm 107:8
When we give God praise and thanksgiving for the wonderful works He has done in our lives, then the whole world will know our God.
"Be Thou exalted, Lord, in Thine own strength: so will we sing and praise Thy power." Psalm 21:13
When we praise the Lord, we add strength and power to our lives. It is God's will that His people be strong, not only in praise, but also in His Word.
"In God I will praise His Word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." Psalm 56:4
We are to praise God's Word. How do we do this? We do this as we speak His Word into every situation. His Word is our guide and our source of strength. Another Psalmist writes:
"Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise and with Thy honour all the day." Psalm 71:8
We are to praise God with our whole heart, all day long. We are promised perfect peace when our minds are stayed on our God, Isaiah 26:3. When our minds are on Him continuously, we cannot help but praise and honor Him with our lives. David, the greatest of all Psalmists, who wrote over half of the Psalms, revealed:
"All Thy works shall praise Thee, O Lord; and Thy saints shall bless Thee." Psalm 145:10
David declared, ". . . Thy works shall praise Thee." God's works are evident in each life of those who will dwell upon His Word. God's whole creation also praises Him. Paul wrote to the church at Rome:
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20
The invisible things of God's creation are in the Spiritual realm. We can only understand the Spiritual realm when we look deeply into the things God created. God's beauty, order, and power are marvelously revealed in the things He created. We can understand the oneness of the Godhead when we witness one design, one order, and one expression of His eternal power. We are admonished to:
"Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord." Psalm 150:6
As long as there is breath in our bodies, we are to praise, and be a praise to our God. In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul sums up our praise:
"By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." Hebrews 13:15
Our praise is to go up continually as a sacrifice to our God. Ancient Israel was to kill animals, burn incense, and pour out drink offerings. They were to do this many times a year as a sacrifice before our God. This sacrifice is no longer acceptable. Jesus was our sacrifice for sin. He fulfilled all these physical sacrifices. Now the only sacrifice acceptable before God is our praise and thanksgiving. Our lives must be a sacrifice of praise continually before our God.
These eight things Paul told us to think upon, must be continually on our minds. It should be clear to all who read God's Word, that when we come to the Lord, the process which takes place in our lives is the changing of our minds. The things which occupied our minds in the past lose their preeminence in our lives. Our minds become, or should continually be on the things of God, not the things of this life. When our thinking changes, and our language changes, then our walk will change, our desire will change, and our vision of God will change. Speaking of our minds and our walk, Paul writes to the Ephesians:
"That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." Ephesians 5:26
Our minds can only be changed when they are cleansed with the washing of water by the Word. God's Word is our road map to bring us into an intimate relationship with the one whose name we bear.
Paul proclaimed we are to think upon the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, our virtue, and our praise. These are directions to get us through this life, and into God's presence. Paul ended his dissertation with:
"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." Philippians 4:9
Paul was our witness of a changed life. Paul informed the Philippians these thing you have "seen in me." We are to learn from Paul. Paul had all the religious credentials. He explained to the Philippians:
"Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;" Philippians 3:5
Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin. The name Benjamin means "the son of my right hand." Benjamin was a Hebrew, God's chosen people. He was a Pharisee, the most respected of all the religious orders of Paul's day. What did Paul think of all his ancient genealogy and his religious credentials?
"Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ," Philippians 3:8
Paul counted everything as dung that he could win Christ. Our religion will get us no where. Only when we have a changed mind and a clean heart will we be able to enter into the presence of the Lord.
We need to think on these things!
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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