Thursday, June 27, 2013

a study in Philippians 4: whatever is true (part 4)

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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 heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)

We've reached the section of Paul's letter to the church at Philippi where the apostle instructs his fellow believers on what to focus their thoughts and energy. Essentially, Paul has listed what a Christian's walk in glorifying Jesus should look like. You see, only what is true, noble and right... only what is pure, lovely and admirable can exist in the eternal kingdom of the Holy of all Holies. So, our Heavenly citizenship and new life in Jesus' Name must embrace and promote all that is excellent or praiseworthy to Him. Why? Because these things are blessings of a good and perfect God. They are His Way. As such, they promote His peace both within us and through us. So, we are to think about such things always and rejoice in the Lord!

Whatever is true...

When we stop to think about whatever is true, we must step back and consider God's definition of truth rather than what this evil-infested world may pose to us. For only God is holy and without sin. Only God is authentic and unchanging. So, only God can be relied upon to be 100% genuine and truthful. Fortunately, He loves us enough to tell us so. Jesus came to earth and announced that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He did this for our benefit. He did this so that we might know how to be saved... and Who could really save us. Then He demonstrated His love for us by dying on the cross and overcoming death. A feat no other could accomplish. Jesus fulfilled every prophesy and all requirements as our Messiah. And this makes total sense because truth is narrow. No matter how loud man may protest, there is indeed only one direct Way to what is true. And that Way is Jesus Christ.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

Yes, Jesus is the only Way to know God. And God always equates truth with His righteousness. In contrast, whatever is false is unrighteousness and not of God. Righteousness entails upholding God's law. Unrighteousness entails breaking God's law. That is why Satan is always a liar. Everything the enemy does is against God and in violation of God's law. Satan is anti-christ, a counterfeit, and there is no truth in him. He desires to separate man from God in any way possible. Why? Because Satan hates God. And since God loves us, Satan hates us. He wants us dead. He wants us destroyed. He wants us outside God's kingdom. This is why every follower of Jesus must guard themselves with biblical protection and avoid Satan's trappings.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)

Here especially, knowledge is power. Truth brings us freedom in Christ. So, we must live forever thinking about God's truth, forever meditating on His Word, and forever practicing His Way. Our new life is about knowing God intimately and obeying His law so that we won't run after the false teachings of the devil. This is a challenge that we alone cannot accomplish without the aid of the Savior. Alone, our human nature is not strong enough to overcome cravings of sin and lawlessness. The devil will bait and deceive those without God and lead them into chasing after their own selfishness. This is why the sinful world will one day perish - because they refused to love God's truth.

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)

Ladies, "love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." (1 Corinthians 13:6) So, let us live as Paul recommends and rejoice in God's truth with our whole heart. Again, let me say it - REJOICE! Let us follow the narrow, truthful path of our Savior until we see His throne with our own eyes.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:6-8)

Just like Paul, I bid you to think on these things as you claim Jesus as Lord and King!

Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1 John 2:3-6)



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