Philippians 4:8 - Turning It Around - Recognizing, Regulating, and Repenting

Dr. Steve Viars January 27, 1996 Philippians 4:8

- this morning we're going to go back to this matter of being Good
   Stewards of our Thinking.
- we're studying Phil. 4:8, and we're in sort of a holding pattern as we
   try to very carefully study what God's Word says about what we're to
   be doing with our minds.

- let me try to set the stage for where we are in our study, and where we
   want to go today, by asking you a series of questions:

1) In the NT, what is the primary principle for change and growth?
     (hint - its found in Ephesians 4:22-24 and several other places)
     (putting off and putting on -- DEVELOP - the principle of

2) Philippians 4:8 is focused especially on what half of the Put Off/Put
    On principle?   (the put on -- here's the kind of thinking you ought
    to do)

3) In our lessons the last five-six weeks, we've been especially focusing
   on which half of the Put Off/Put On principle?
    (the Put Off -- the kind of thinking that is wrong)

   - now, we've needed to do that since this is such an important
     subject, but we also need to be sure that we're emphasizing that
     this is a package.
  - as important as it is to talk about wrong kinds of thinking, we
     always have to follow that up by studying what to put on in its

  - this morning, we're making that transition from the Put Off to the
     Put On "side of the equation."

- we're calling this:

       "Turning It Around - Recognizing, Regulating, and Repenting"

- you know that we don't go around trying to illiterate things just to be
   cute, but these three words do express what the Scripture would tell
   us about moving from what needs to be put off to what needs to be put
   on---so our lesson today should serve as a nice BRIDGE into a more
   formal study of the actual words in Phil. 4:8 that we hope to begin
   next week.

- let's begin with this:

I. You Must Recognize When Thoughts Are Untrue

    - here's what we're after under this point:

    - in Phil. 4:8 - a key thrust is the matter of truth.
       - thinking things that are true as opposed to thinking things that
         are lies.

    - I'd like us to take a few minutes and work back through the six
      topics we've been studying---and look at them through this lens of
      Phil.  4:8, and see how often those categories of wrong thinking
      often involve lies.

    - I imagine that if we had asked Rick and Cindy Wasson, in addition
      to handing out the attendance cards this morning, to also each
      class member the question:
         "Are you a liar?" when you came in the door....
             - the response probably would have been rather indignant.

- but the truth is -- when it comes to the way we think...the way we use
   our minds...
     - often times we do dwell on things that are lies (they're untrue)

     - and the point here is -- moving from the put off to the put on
       side of the equation requires that we learn to recognize that.

- let's go through these categories of wrong thinking we've studied, and
   put them to the test of Phil. 4:8
     - and ask -- How does this category of wrong thinking often involve
        lying?  (thinking things that are untrue)

    A. Retaliatory thoughts

        - in order to really be vindictive, you've got to tell yourself
           some lies.
        - INPUT - Possible examples?  (how this category of wrong
                  thinking might involve lying?)

    B. "Woe is me" thoughts

        - INPUT - Possible examples?  (how this category of wrong
                  thinking might involve lying?)

    C. Worry

       - INPUT - Possible examples?  (how this category of wrong
                  thinking might involve lying?)

    D. Fear

       - INPUT - Possible examples?  (how this category of wrong
                  thinking might involve lying?)

    E. Lust

       - INPUT - Possible examples?  (how this category of wrong
                  thinking might involve lying?)

    F. Pride

       - INPUT - Possible examples?  (how this category of wrong
                  thinking might involve lying?)

- so we're saying that in order to turn it around -- we're often going to
    have recognize the depth to which our thinking doesn't please God.
- I believe that most of us have the kind of conscience that if we
    recognized that we had been LYING (in this case-to ourselves)
       - we'd been very sorry, and much more prone to put that kind of
         thinking off "post-haste."

- now, let's move this one step further.
- one of the reasons that many of us have trouble "recognizing lies" the
   way we've been discussing, is because we don't do the job we should at
   REGULATING what we allow in.

- so we're saying --

II. You Must Regulate The Input To Your Mind

    - Rom. 12:1-2 - READ and develop

    - this word "regulate" is one that most of us are familiar with, at
       least in principle.

    - How many of you here have a gas grill?
    - Most, if not all gas grills, have a regulator--between the propane
       tank and the burners.

    1) what does that regulator do?  (controls the flow of gas to the

    2) How important is that little piece of equipment? (very
       important, that’s why in many cases it's one of the most expensive
       pieces of equipment your grill has)

    3) What could happen if your regulator didn't work? (KABOOM!)

- we've said all that to say this...For many believers, our regulators
   aren't working very well.
- we're not as sensitive to controlling////monitoring what comes into our

- so, you need to recognize when thoughts are untrue, and you need to
   regulate what you allow in.

- let's think of some specific ways that’s true:

    A. TV

       - thinking especially here about TV programs---we'll have a
         separate category for news under media.

       - INPUT - what are some lies that a believer might allow to come
                 into their minds through the medium of TV?

       (develop - are you controlling this area of your life? -- some of
        God's children would be miles ahead if they'd turn off the TV and
        pick up a book.)

    B. Other entertainment

        INPUT - How might other entertainment be a source of lies?

        (review Rom. 12:1-2)

    C. Friends/Companions

        Prov. 27:17

        (positive side) - Psalm 119:63

        - are you bringing people around your life who's very influence
            helps you be a better steward of your thinking?

        - some Christians have made ungodly people their closest friends,
          and then wonder why they have trouble with their thinking.
             - the REGULATOR IS NOT WORKING  (cf. Psalm 1)

    D. Media

        - we ought to be thankful that we have access to so much news of
          what is happening around our world...but do you recognize that
          much of that information is coming from a perspective that is
          biased towards those who believe in God?

       - the regulator has to be going!
       - (recommend WORLD magazine)

    E. Education

        - John Vandergriff talks about this line of thinking caused he
          and his wife to make some particular education choices for
          their children.

        - now, you know we're not going to become "clique-ish" over which
           education options we've chosen for our children...
        - nor are we going to say that any one option is right for
             - or if a parent makes a choice different than ours -- then
               that’s makes us right and them wrong.

        - however, we'd be naive if we were discussing this subject
           without at least mentioning the matter of education.

        - one of the reasons we're considering having a Christian High
          School here is because is that we'd like to have an environment
          (for those parents/students that want it) where the education
          was given in the context of BIBLICAL TRUTH.

           - you know that if we decide to have a Christian High School,
             we're not going to make attendance there a legalistic
             standard of spirituality...
               - but I can tell you this...

- when I was in High School, I was at a point in my life where I
  desperately needed to be around as many people as possible who believed
  THE TRUTH, and taught THE TRUTH, and lived for THE TRUTH.

- the High School I attended wasn't exactly perfect, but they were
   committed to the PERSON who is, and the BOOK that is...and its amazing
   the impact that had on my life, and the lives of countless others.

(if time - develop the idea of our class members receiving graduate
  training -- things that might be part of that educational program that
  aren't true???)

- now, what we've talked about so far is not easy, but neither is this
   last one.
1) recognizing lies...
2) regulating what comes into our minds...

III. You Must Repent of Thoughts and Sources of Thoughts That Don't
     Please God.

     (as time allows - work through Psalm 51)

    - its not easy for you or I to admit that we may have been dwelling
      on lies.

    - its not easy to think that we may have to be more faithful at
      regulating what comes into our minds.

    - its not easy to take the steps necessary to break away from some of
      those habits.

      - but #1 – that’s what God wants us to do

      - and #2 – that’s the only way that the "put on's" that's we're hope
                 to begin studying next week are going to be effective.

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 three grandchildren.

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

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video