• Matt Beaney

#210 – WHATEVER IS EXCELLENT AND PRAISEWORTHY (9/10/20)



Have you ever had a moment when you have shouted, spoken out automatically, cried, laughed… because you were so amazed at something?


When we see someone excel in something, it usually impels praise from us. I’m sure that if we had the chance to watch a rocket lift-off toward space, we would praise; Something about the excelling power, technical skill and bravery causes us to praise such an event. Paul writes,

‘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)

Paul urges us to think about what is ‘excellent’ - that which excels in moral excellence or in worth.


Linked to this, he adds that we are to focus our minds on what is ‘praiseworthy’ - that which inspires or that which is worthy of our praise. The word ‘epainos’ (praise) has been translated: ‘enthusiastic acknowledgement for what deserves praise.’


RESPONSE - THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS

This ‘ways to think’ list ends with an encouragement to ‘think about such things’. The word ‘Think’ is to ‘reckon and reason’. This involves deliberate contemplation, but it also involves, as William Klein has written, the idea of 'taking such things into account so that one does them.’ As we think about what is ‘True, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy’, we are to ask, what does this mean for my identity and how I’m to live?


I encourage you to memorise Philippians 4:8-9 and practice this kind of thinking. You will need to become familiar with what the terms mean and learn to apply such thinking. Purposely bring to mind: what is worrying you, what is angering you, what sin is particularly tempting you, someone you are concerned about… now think about how each term informs and corrects your thinking. May we learn to make good thinking a good habit.

COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - REPLACE “WHATEVER!” WITH “WHATEVER IS…”


Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

Have you ever had a moment when you have shouted, spoken out automatically, cried, laughed… because you were so amazed at something?


Introduction - please share in your group

If we are going to enjoy God’s peace - assurance of our peace with God, peace relationally, and the experience of the peace of the Spirit, it’s vital that we not only pray and give thanks over anxiety, as we saw last week, but that we also think about and then do what is good. Paul writes,

‘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)

Too often, we don’t take responsibility for what we think about and what we allow to inspire our thinking. We say ‘whatever’ rather than think about ‘whatever is…’. These eight thinking traits have a lot of overlap, but each term encourages us to focus on what will inspire good thinking, inspired by Jesus, that will lead to peace in the fullest sense.


Discuss in your group

(Choose which questions to cover based on the time you have)

1. Which of these thinking traits do you find hardest and why?


2. It’s good to practice this kind of thinking. Let’s do that together now; how would each of these traits help you to think about a relationship breakdown?


3. How would each of these traits help you, or someone you were cancelling, if one felt deserted by God?


4. I encourage you to memorise Philippians 4:8-9 and purposely practice applying this kind of thinking.


Discuss/share/pray in smaller groups:

1. What is the Holy Spirit speaking to you about (maybe from Sunday's message or your bible reading this week)?

2. What will you do in response?

3. How can we pray for you?



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