Philippians Day Eighteen
October 23, 2020, 6:00 AM

Just 4:8
Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

In my sermon on Philippians 4:8, I deviated from the majority interpretation of a Proverbs-like exhortation to become virtuous and wise. Nothing wrong with that, of course! – Becoming virtuous and wise is certainly on the path to becoming more Christ-like! However, I am under the conviction that the entire letter is seeking a Christ-likeness that models what Jesus did when he became one of us – the descent into the manger. A descent described in the great kenosis of Philippians 2:5-8. THIS is the royal mirror held before our lives: Do we reflect this, the Lord's humility? Because, His reflection is what heavenly citizenship looks like. Even a cursory read of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-16 will drive you in this interpretive direction. And… This is what Philippians 4:8 urges on those who love Him. Reflect cardiactily on these virtues, because they are the heart of Jesus. Jesus is the Way and the Truth. Jesus is Glorious. Jesus is both Just and the Justifier. Jesus is Holy. Jesus is Lovely. And, He is the Son. Look for Him. Look at Him. Look to Him. Listen to Him, for the Father commends Him to us.

In a parenthetical eulogy in Numbers 12:3, just as Moses is about “to go the way of all the earth” (die), a later editor inserts (obviously, cause Moses wouldn’t be humble if he wrote this, right?), “Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” (NIV) But it is Jesus who truly fleshes out that station most unambiguously, unapologetically, and to the highest degree –fully – from Manger to Cross.

This is what we Christians are supposed to want for ourselves. “That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:10-14). So, Philippians 4:8, everyone! Just 4:8 it all the way to the Day you stand before Him in Glory.

With that expositional thought on the believing heart, I will close this last Philippians blog entry on a somewhat controversial note— I ask your forgiveness in advance. I advocate no political causes or candidates... only Christ and His Kingdom. However, we live in a time of great political rancor. Cultural toxicity is high. The Church is not immune from the fever. As we approach election day here in the United States, I must share some thoughts that I found quite convicting, and surely germane to Philippians 4:8. Consider this my pastoral obligation to you.

John Piper just published an article on his Desiring God page that I’m sure will generate immediate heat within the Evangelical world. He doesn’t advocate either Republican or Democrat. Although he does heavily critique his own tribe’s suppport (conservative Evangelicals) of President Trump, he in fact, takes both men to task. He doesn't reveal how he's going to vote when he stands in the voting booth, but he unpacks an excruciating reflection on our present reality as Christians living in a post-Christendom world.

This is Piper’s “so then” counsel to pastors who tend flocks:

“May I suggest to pastors that in the quietness of your study you do this? Imagine that America collapses. First anarchy, then tyranny — from the right or the left. Imagine that religious freedom is gone. What remains for Christians is fines, prison, exile, and martyrdom. Then ask yourself this: Has my preaching been developing real, radical Christians? Christians who can sing on the scaffold, ‘Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also; the body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.’"

“Christians who will act like the believers in Hebrews 10:34: ‘You joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.’ Christians who will face hate and reviling and exclusion for Christ’s sake and yet ‘rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, [their] reward is great in heaven’ (Luke 6:22–23).”

“Have you been cultivating real Christians who see the beauty and the worth of the Son of God? Have you faithfully unfolded and heralded ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ’ (Ephesians 3:8)? Are you raising up generations of those who say with Paul, ‘I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8)?”

“Have you shown them that they are ‘sojourners and exiles’ (1 Peter 2:11), and that their ‘citizenship is in heaven,” from which they “await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 3:20)? Do they feel in their bones that ‘to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Philippians 1:21)?

Or have you neglected these greatest of all realities and repeatedly diverted their attention onto the strategies of politics? Have you inadvertently created the mindset that the greatest issue in life is saving America and its earthly benefits? Or have you shown your people that the greatest issue is exalting Christ with or without America? Have you shown them that the people who do the most good for the greatest number for the longest time (including America!) are people who have the aroma of another world with another King?”

I hope and pray this is what comes from the pulpit I inhabit each Lord’s Day. Philippians 4:8. Philippians 4:8. Philippians 4:8!

You may read the Piper article in full here:
Policies, Persons, and Paths to Ruin: Pondering the Implications of the 2020 Election

This is the last blog entry on Philippians.
This blog will return on Monday, November 30th with the advent of Advent Season.
Looking ahead, Ezra-Nehemiah is coming in the New Year.
Much yet to come. God Richly Bless You!


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