Good Thinking (Philippians 4:8-9)
Topic: Philippians Scripture: Philippians 4:8–4:9
First Scripture Reading: Proverbs 4:1-27
Second Scripture Reading: Colossians 3:1-17
Sermon Text: Philippians 4:8-9
Our society is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of a proper diet. Restaurants are listing the ingredients in their food and noting the calories in each of their entrees; the words “healthy” and “fresh” are plastered on their walls; and people are more willing than ever to pay a little extra for healthier meals. We care about what we put into our bellies. But do we care as much about what we put into our brains?
Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 4:8 is about our thought-life. Dennis Johnson writes, “Paul knows that the thoughts that occupy our minds and the images that capture our imaginations shape our characters and find expression in our behavior.” The word “think” in Greek means to give careful thought to a matter, to consider it at length, to let your mind dwell on it. What should we be thinking about? Whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
1. For review, read Philippians 4:5-7. What do we learn from these verses about prayer? In what sense does God’s peace “guard” us?
2. Read Philippians 4:8 and discuss each of the virtues listed. Where do we find these virtues in our society and culture today?
3. Why is it important for us to focus our minds on things that adhere to these virtues? Compare Philippians 4:8 with Colossians 3:1-3 and Romans 12:1-2.
4. What are some of the challenges we face in seeking to “think on these things” in our daily lives? What particular temptations do you face in seeking to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5)?
5. How were these virtues perfectly modeled by the Lord Jesus? Can you think of instances in the gospels that illustrate how they were present in Jesus’ life and ministry?
6. In Philippians 4:9, Paul exhorts us to practice the pattern of the Christian life that he has modeled. What are some aspects of Paul’s life and ministry that you find particularly worthy of imitating?
7. In preparation for next week, read Philippians 4:10-13. What do you think it means to be content? How did Paul learn to be content?