Sermon for Saturday

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

We arrived at our friends’ home to a warm greeting. The atmosphere in the home was pleasant, with soft music playing and a cheery fire crackling in the grate. A beautiful table was set, and we sat down to a bountiful and delicious feast, made all the more pleasant by the engaging conversation with friends we deeply appreciated. When we finished our meal and a few hours of visit and prepared to go home, we told our friends that we had enjoyed a lovely evening. Lovely, the same word used in today’s text, what does the word ‘lovely’ mean? And were we using it correctly to describe that visit with our friends?

Only once does this particular word appear in our Bible. Its meaning combines the ideas of acceptable and pleasing. One source I checked even rendered this term ‘lovable’. What a splendid filter for our thoughts! If we kept our minds trained to follow along these lines, we would surely be better testimonies for our Lord, who demonstrated loveliness in His words and deeds.

The unsaved folks all around us do not think about acceptable things, at least not much. We can tell, because their speech contains that which is unacceptable. We hear blasphemies, smutty and potty talk, lies, slander, gossip, and much more pouring forth in unacceptable verbal stream. As Christians, we ought never to let these things escape our lips. And if these things are not in our minds, we won’t be talking about them. Pleasant speech is also not practiced much by the world. Hateful, hurtful, and degrading words come from hearts that are occupied by prejudice, malice, cruelty, and lust. Such motives are surely not for the Child of God! Our thoughts ought to banish these altogether. And we do so by filling our thoughts with lovely things.

There is no shortage of loveliness for our minds to take up. We begin with the Person of the Lord Jesus, Who is altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:16). That topic will take an eternity to explore. The majestic splendours of the Scriptures are also lovely to consider, another eternity of perusal for our hearts. Some other lovely things to take up our thoughts by times are the wonderful Christians you know and love, the beauties of nature all around us, the delightful presence of little children, and so much more.

With so much lovely all around us, let us forget about those things that are not. And we will be more like Jesus. -Jim MacIntosh

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