in the Christian Library
John L. Kachelman, Jr.
I. General remarks on the lesson text.
1. These verses follow Paul's exhortation in v. 4-7 to
cast aside worry and anxiety.
2. For one who desires to possess this peaceful freedom
from worry Paul's words in v. 8-9 are a welcomed answer. One is able to
escape and be kept from anxiety by living a life which is acceptable to
3. In our text Paul discusses how one can enjoy life and
be joyful in living each day. It is tragic that many view living as a burden
-- they never find joyous living. Thus they live miserably the majority
of their years.
4. God wants us to enjoy life. He wants us to be happy
and contented (1 Ti 6:17; Eccl 3:12-13). The misery of life is often our
own doings, not God's! In Philip 4:8-9 we find a lesson on joyous living.
II. In our text we note that joyful living is dependent upon two things -- thinking and doing.
1. "These comprise the whole of life, and to have these
twin-springs pure and sweet is to have the character unsullied, or as James
I. 27 would say, 'to keep himself unspotted from the world'" (King).
2. "Thinking and doing are the conditions on which the
God of peace will tarry in the heart...these will bring the blessed dove
of heaven to brood in the nest of your soul" (Meyer).
III. Consider what all must be performed if we are to
experience this joyous living in our life.
I. Joyous living depends upon our thinking (v. 8).
A. The Scriptures often stress the importance of our thoughts.
1. Ps 19:14; Pr 23:7; Mt 5:28; Ps 119:113; 139;23, 24.
2. Impure thinking will lead to impure conduct. Those
whose thoughts are wrong can never be acceptable to God (Ro 1).
3. Is 26:3 -- "Stayed" -- a wall built on a sure foundation.
Peace comes by being solid in our thoughts of the Lord.
4. It is clear, there can NEVER be holy living without
holy thoughts! Are we truly aware of this vital connection with joy!
B. This exhortation of Paul's enjoins the following kinds
of thinking in our minds.
1. POSITIVE THINKING (Pr 17:22a).
a. Paul urges his readers to take a positive line and
cultivate good thoughts.
b. Paul was a great positive thinker because he held the
secret to joyous living (Col 1:24; Philip 1:12, 18-21).
c. The Christian should be a positive thinker because
of his relationship with God (Ro 8:31).
d. To find the secret of joyous living, begin looking
for the positive points in events and persons. Neglect the negative, nagging,
2. CAREFUL THINKING (Hb 4:12).
a. We had better exert strong care because evil thoughts
will condemn us before God (1 Co 4:5).
b. To impress his readers Paul lists six specifics and
two general points which are to govern our thinking." Here (v. 8) Paul
has set forth in memorable words a veritable charter for Christian thought"
c. "Let these six sisters stand at the gateway of your
soul, and challenge every thought as it offers itself, admitting only those
thoughts which approve themselves as true, just, pure, lovely, and of good
report. O God, let these six angels come into our souls, from now until
we meet Thee, let us give the entire control of our nature up to their
serene, strong, wholesome restraint, that all that is inconsistent with
them may be abashed, and everything which is consistent with them admitted
to infill and dwell within us" (Meyer).
d. Friends, careful thinking is a must you have to develop
if joyous living is to characterize your life.
3. GUARDED THINKING (2 Co 10:3-5).
a. Bunyan -- Ignorance was walking with two elder pilgrims
and said, "My heart is as good as any man's . . . As to my thoughts, I
take no notice of them." There are scores who are life this, they take
no precaution to guard their thoughts.
b. Paul says -- "Think carefully, take care what you allow
into your mind."
c. Great precautions are taken to protect the President
of our nation. We would do well to take special precautions and place a
guard at the door of our hearts to examine every thought.
d. What should we do with the stray evil thought that is bound to wander in? (2 Co10:5). Do not ever allow such to remain!
II. Joyous living depends on our application of God's
truth (v. 8b, 9a).
A. Knowledge alone is never sufficient (Jas 2:19). Knowledge
burdens one with responsibility to respond to the truth realized. In our
text Paul points our that there are two duties which must be performed
if we are to share in this joyous living.
B. The two details discussed.
1. We MUST "THINK" (v. 8b). "Think" -- to meditate, to
dwell on, to give continuous attention to, to mull over, to focus on. This
will result in the shaping of conduct.
a. "Let such things shape your attitude" (Foulkes).
b. Ps 1:1-2 uses this word. If one is to be kept in righteousness,
his mind must be occupied with God's Word.
c. Ps 1:2 -- "meditate" -- originally meant "chew the
cud." One takes a portion of the Word and then goes quietly aside to dwell
on that over and over until he has fully digested its meaning. Such is
the first duty that is enjoined by Paul here.
2. We MUST "DO" (v. 9a). Put into practice your knowledge.
a. Knowing is not enough, we must do! (Jn. 13:17; I Jn
1:6). "The Truth is not simply something to be discovered, to be understood,
to be admired, to be preached -- it is something to be done!" (King)
b. Jas 1:22 -- Blessings result when we are able to translate
our knowledge into actions.
c. Mt 23 -- The rulers were condemned because they failed
to translate our knowledge into actions. They were hypocrites! Such is
true of many today who refuse to translate knowledge into actions. If we
store up knowledge but it is never allowed to filter to our hearts and
hands, we are no better than the pharisaic hypocrite!
d. We discover a most important point -- God measures
maturity not by what we know, but by what we do with what we know! (Hb
e. Don't overlook this serious point, until what we know
and have been taught is translated into actions, it is worthless!
III. Joyous living will result in glorious fellowship
WITH God (v. 9b).
A. For all who will combine knowledge with practice there
is a wonderful promise. Not only will we share in the peace of God (v.
7), but the very God of peace will be with us always!
B. There is no higher blessing and no greater motivation
for us "to think on these things"!
I. Application of this lesson is clear to all.
1. We need to guard our thoughts! Few have any problem
with murder, adultery, etc., but we all share problems with our thinking!
What about lust, discouragement, gossip, etc., sins of the mind process?
We sin in these areas because we have failed to think!
2. The one who shares in this joyous living will be free
from complaining, arguing, fretting, moping, self-pity, etc. They will
look at all things in a positive way.
3. Joyous living results only when we think on the right
things and when we do what God has commanded! Should you fail to have joy,
it may very well be due to the fact that you are not doing these things!
4. May we all strictly guard our thoughts, arresting immediately
all that are not compatible with the six items of v. 8. One drop of contaminated
water into a pitcher of pure water will result in damage -- the cool, pure
water will never purify the defilement, but the defilement will corrupt
the pure. So Satan seeks to corrupt our lives by introducing just one corrupt
II. May we enjoy life! Joyous living is available to all
who will submit to our Heavenly Father's Will!
Copyright 1998 by John
L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no
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