Philippians

Philippians 4:8-9 True Meditation.

Paul’s ‘whatevers’ are no mere sentiments. First of all, they must be true. If the things we meditate on are not true, then everything is meaningless. God alone defines what is true (Dt. 32:4; Jer. 10:10; Mt. 22:16; Jn. 7:28; Rom. 3:4; I Jn. 5:20; Rev. 3:7). His truth preserves us (Ps. 40:11), it is also what the LORD desires in our core, our hearts (Ps. 51:6). Truth is our shield (Ps. 91:4), and what we are to gird our waist with-it holds everything else up and together (Eph. 6:14). Truth is what we are to speak to each other (Eph. 4:25). His law-word is truth (Ps. 119:142, 160; Rev. 21:5). The truth is also what sets us free (Jn. 8:32). Christ is also the truth (Jn. 14:6), as is the gospel (Col. 1:5). Mediate on the scriptures and one will inevitably meditate on what is true. The truth is what sets Christian meditation apart from all other “meditation.”

We should also meditate on what is noble. Giving gifts to support others is a noble or honourable thing (II Cor. 8:21). Noble things are things worthy of respect. The name ‘Christian’ is a noble thing, worthy of respect (Js. 2:7). The LORD’s works are honourable (Ps. 111:3). The wisdom of not quarrelling is an honourable thing (Pr. 20:3). The Sabbath day is honourable (Is. 58:13). Marriage is honourable (Heb. 13:4). Good works are honourable (I Pet. 1:12). We should also meditate on what is just (Dt. 16:20). Being just is what ought to characterize a bishop or overseer (Titus 1:8). Jesus is the Just One (Acts 3:14), as is the Father (Rom. 3:26). Their ways are just (Rev. 15:3). The saints are also just, made so by faith (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Lk. 14:14; Heb. 12:23). Again, the law-word of the LORD is the only standard of what is just.

It is also important to take all these things together. Nothing is noble or just if not true. Also, what is true cannot be separated from what is pure. “The words of the LORD are pure words. Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Ps. 12:6) God’s wisdom is pure (Js. 3:17). Pure things are things which have integrity, they are not mixed with what is not true, noble, or just. This is why the word itself declares that it is inerrant. We are called to be pure as He is pure, based on the sure hope that we shall be like Him (I Jn. 3:3). Those who are pure, recognize that God is pure (Ps. 18:26; Titus 1:15). We should also meditate on that which is lovely, and that which is lovely is also that which is true, noble, just, and pure. Paul gave us an excellent list of what love is (I Cor. 13:4-7). The psalmist also described the LORD’s tabernacle, the place He chose to dwell in, as lovely (Ps. 84:1).

Paul actually instructs his readers to remember the things he both taught and lived. People should be careful that those they follow actually walk the talk. Paul was not perfect, for he saw the place and need for forgiveness. In fact, being willing to forgive is one of the things to learn and do. They may have wondered what things Paul had in mind, and so he refers them to the things he knew they had “learned and received and heard and saw” in him (v. 9). All things, received in many different ways, of his words and deeds, were things to meditate upon. When we mediate on these things, then the God of peace will be with us. Peace comes with God’s presence, when we think His thoughts after Him. The call to obedience is not exhausted by what is listed here. Furthermore, biblical meditation is not an end in itself. We must live what we know.

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