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Philippians 4:8-9: A Gospel-Shaped Perspective

March 1, 2012

During World Wars I and II, citizens on the Allied home front were asked to make major sacrifices. In the U.S., basic goods like coffee, sugar, gasoline, clothing, shoes, meat, cheese, canned foods, and all sorts of other things were rationed since resources and funds were being directed to the war front. People were encouraged to plant victory gardens to offset the war’s impact on the food supply and to invest in war bonds to support the effort. Every day was lived with an awareness that the country was at war, and that everyone had a role to play.

As the people of God living on mission for Christ amid a fallen world, we too live in wartime (cf. Phil. 1:27-28; Eph. 6:12). And so we need a wartime mentality. To put it another way, we need a gospel-shaped perspective—a way of thinking that focuses our minds and hearts to live faithfully as God’s people on mission for Jesus. We need to know how to think and what to do. And that is what Paul lays out for us in Philippians 4:8-9.

Knowing how to think is necessary for knowing what to do, and it’s crucial for completing any mission. In v. 8, Paul lays out eight virtues for us to think about and dwell on: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy.” And this is so that we can do our task and follow Paul’s example as the people of Christ laying our lives down for the gospel (v. 9; cf. 1:12-26; 3:4-21).

The question is, do we live with a wartime mentality? And if not, then what are thinking about? What is it that consumes our imaginations and shapes our actions day in and day out, if it’s not the gospel of Jesus? And what impact does thinking about those other things have on our faithfulness to our mission?

Join us this Sunday (March 4) at Westgate Church to listen to Paul’s exhortation to think and live out of a gospel-shaped perspective, that we might be useful servants of Christ.

Update: Sermon text and discussion questions are available here: Phil 4.8-9 Westgate 3.4.12

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