Philippians 4:8 - Thinking Thoughts That Are Honor

Dr. Steve Viars February 17, 1996 Philippians 4:8

- we've been talking about this important matter of being better stewards
of our thinking.
- Warren Wiersbe uses this saying (not sure if its original with him --
and I know we've used it before)
- but it goes like this:

- Sow a thought, reap an action
- Sow an action, reap a habit
- Sow a habit, reap a character
- Sow a character, reap a destiny.

- point is -- what we're studying is very, very important.

- now, where we're at in this study is that --- we're looking
specifically at the meaning of each of the eight words in Phil. 4:8.
- this is the put-on side of the equation...
- and we're looking at the positive criteria to test thinking we're
trying to put on in place of what's wrong.

- two weeks ago, we studied "thinking thought that are true."

- this morning we're going to move to the second word...but we
probably need to say somewhere along the line here...
- there's obvious overlap in these eight words.

- so we're not trying to create eight separate mental pigeon holes.

- but we do want to carefully study these eight words and try to "wring"
as much trust from this passage as we can.

- this morning, we're studying the word "honest" in KJV, or "honorable"
in NASB, or "noble" in NIV.

- we're going to call this "Thinking Thoughts That Are Honorable."

- we're going to organize our time around 4 questions:

1) What kind of thinking are we talking about?

2) How is this concept emphasized in the Scripture?

3) What kinds of input might lead to this kind of thinking (positively
and negatively)?

4) What kinds of deeds will flow out of this kind of thinking (positively
and negatively)?

- and, if we have time, we may even try to tie some of this back into the

I. What Kind of Thinking are We Talking About?

- the original word here is "semna"

- it literally means "serious, of good character, honorable, worthy,

- another writer defined it as thinking and corresponding actions
that are serious and dignified.

- if you were in Men of Faith a couple of weeks ago, you know we
studied this word in a different passage.
- I mentioned at that time that this word would come up in our
SS study.
- I think the way we've got it arranged is different enough that
you might want to consider hanging around!

- INPUT - Maybe it would help us to think about this for a moment
from the perspective of its opposites. What would you say are
some opposites of this kind of thinking?

(especially hit the issue of "frivolous")

- now you know we're not saying people shouldn't laugh, or have fun,
or enjoy one another...
- but you can still do that in a way that is of good character,
honorable, worthy of respect, AND IN BALANCE WITH THE TIMES

- William Hendricksen said it this way:

"In an environment then as now characterized by frivolity,
whatever things are honorable surely merit earnest

- now, let me encourage you to even now begin thinking about areas in
which we might be tempted to think in a frivolous way, or a
dishonorable way, a way that is not worthy of respect...
- we'll talk about that more specifically a little later on.

- now, the next question is:

II. How Is This Concept Emphasized In Scripture?

- it’s one thing to see this word in a list in Phil. 4:8, but the
significance of this matter is intensified when you see how often
this comes up in scripture.

- we'll start with a general one and then look at some others that
are more specific
- please turn over to I Tim. 2:2 - READ 2:1-2

A. General principle of life

- the thrust of this passage is that we should pray for our
government so that they will protect us, and allow us to
practice our faith in a serious manner.

- the convicting part about that is that we have a government that
(to a large degree) does not persecute believers...
- and does allow Christians to practice their faith....

- yet many of God's children do not keep up their part of the
bargain (i.e. the second half of I Tim. 2:2)

- the overall point is -- this idea is important because the
Scripture lists it as a general principle of life.
- God does not want us to be frivolous people -- we're to seek to
live a "tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."

- now, as we said before -- the Bible also uses this term in some more
specific ways.
- one of them is that this characteristic is to mark the way we raise our

B. A standard for child-rearing.

- I Tim. 3:5

- this passage is one of the main places where God speaks of
qualifications for pastors and deacons.
- interestingly enough, the word we're studying this morning
occurs three times in this passage.

- one is here in I Tim. 3:5 - READ

- so we need to rear our children in an honorable way, instead of
rearing them in a frivolous way.

- lets work on that one together for a moment.

(on white board)

- Characteristics of Honorable Parenting // Characteristics of Frivolous

- we'll turn over to Titus for another use and then we'll come back to
I Tim. 3
- please look at Titus 2:7 -- READ

C. A desired characteristic for young men.

- INPUT - how might a young man's thinking be frivolous, instead
of being honorable?

D. A desired characteristic for older men.

- INPUT - how might an older man's thinking be frivolous, instead
of being honorable?

- now, please turn back to I Tim. 3 and we'll look at two more places
this word is used.

E. A requirement for deacons.

- I Tim. 3:8 - READ

- note -- this is the first biblical requirement mentioned in
this passage for deacons.
- obviously what Paul wrote back in Phil. 4:8 is important.

F. A requirement for deacon's wives.

- I Tim. 3:11

- INPUT - Why would this be especially important for deacons and
their wives?

- of course all of this leads to a very important question, doesn't it?
- how do your thoughts stack up when it comes to the test of them being
"honorable" --- over against them being "frivolous"?

- this takes us back to the words we quoted from William Hendricksen
earlier: "In an environment then as now characterized by frivolity,
whatever things are honorable surely merit earnest

- I also asked you earlier to begin thinking about some areas in which we
might be tempted to think in a frivolous way.
- INPUT - (on white board) - Examples of frivolous thinking?

- now lets push this one step further...
- some of God's children have trouble thinking in an honorable way,
because they are allowing input to their minds that is just the

III. What Kinds of Input Might Lead to This Kind of Thinking (Positively
and Negatively)?


(when TV comes up, for the sake of the German Baptists attending,
make a distinction between legalism and license)
- we're not as a church going to add to Scripture and say that
all TV is absolutely sinful and you're going to hell if you
have one...

- but nor do we say that --- because we're sure we're saved, we
can watch whatever we want.
- No, because of our love for God, and our thankfulness for his
free gift of salvation, we joyfully choose to please Him in
this area...not to earn salvation, but in love because we've
been given salvation.

- having said that -- the truth is -- Some of God's children are
not pleasing Him because they are not controlling this area of
their lives---and if there's one word that describes much of TV,
it very well may be "frivolity." (lack of substance)

- now, let's push this one step further.
- remember the quote we began with this morning:

- Sow a thought, reap an action
- Sow an action, reap a habit
- Sow a habit, reap a character
- Sow a character, reap a destiny.

- if that’s true, then let's think about:

IV. What Kinds of Deeds Will Flow Out of This Kind of Thinking
(positively and negatively)?


- if time, tie to the context of this book -- why would this kind of
thinking be so important for the Philippians? (the importance of
problem solving, dealing with false teaching)

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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