Friday, August 17, 2018
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is admirable…think about such things.
Matthew 25:21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!”
The Apostle Paul says that we are to conform our thinking and our behavior after the pattern of Christ, and the specific challenge today is that we are to think only about those things that are admirable. Like yesterday, the word Paul uses appears only here in the entire New Testament. It is a compound word that is translated in the King James Version of the Bible as good report. It literally means to speak auspiciously of another person.
One part of the word is used to describe the growing popularity of Jesus in His early ministry when Luke says that a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. But all reports may not be about things that are admirable. Every day we hear reports of bad news. As Christians this should not cause us alarm. We are reminded in Psalm 112:7 that a righteous man will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. We have a wonderful privilege of choosing to focus our minds on things which are admirable rather than things which are of bad report, because we trust in the God of infinite power and good. Nothing of bad report can change the final good report that will be issued when Jesus returns and takes us all to glory.
The other part of the word Paul uses here in Philippians 4:8 is used by Jesus when He commends the faithful servants who invested their talents well and produced a commendable return for the Master. Jesus is describing the Kingdom of God in parable form. He tells the disciples that the citizens of the Kingdom will each be given specific talents, skills, and abilities. They are to use them to serve the Master and bring growth to the Kingdom. Two of the men in the parable do just that, and the Master praises them with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” The third servant in the story hides his gifts. His intention is to protect what he has and return to the Master only what he was given. He is condemned in front of all the others as wicked and lazy.
Each man in the story had a report issued about his life. Two reports were good, and one was bad. Good reports are admirable: bad reports are not.
What kinds of reports are being made about our lives? We could probably spend a lot of time looking at a variety of personal issues:
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about how I use my finances?
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about my work ethic?
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about my language and how I speak of others?
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about how I treat my spouse or my family?
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about my sexual preferences and purity?
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about my honesty and personal character?
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about the priorities of my life?
- What kind of report is the Master compiling about my commitment to His kingdom purposes above all else in my life?
It is this last issue that I want to specifically address for a brief moment. Each of us as born-again followers of Jesus Christ is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and is equipped for specific tasks in the local church. We have been given talents, skills, abilities, and resources to invest primarily in the growth of the Kingdom. When the Master returns we will each have to give a report to Him of how our investments turned out. What will your report be? Are you using your gifts to serve Jesus Christ admirably? If He were to return today would His report about you be, “Well done!”?
I think for many of you it would be. You serve faithfully and humbly. You give generously and sacrificially. You have prioritized your lives around the things of God and you have remained faithful by sacrificing your personal goals for the sake of Christ’s goals. I praise God for His work in your life to accomplish that.
But for some, there is still a very selfish nature to the faith. God is a part of life, but He is not yet your whole life. You serve Him when it is convenient and comfortable, but the word sacrifice cannot yet be used in the report of your life. The report of your life is not yet admirable.
But it’s not too late. Start today. Be willing to invest every part of your life into the cause of Christ. Deep inside of you there is a still small voice that speaks to you. You can hear it right now, can’t you? It is the Holy Spirit graciously reminding you of the glory you could receive one day when Jesus says, “Well done!” That day is worth far more to you than anything you can accomplish for yourself today. Listen to Him and obey Him. Start thinking about what is admirable, and live your life in such a way that you are assured of Christ’s good report.