Calvary Road Baptist Church

“THE THOUGHTS OF THE GODLY” Part 3

Malachi 3.16

 

Please turn to Malachi 3.16: “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.”[1]

One of the chief characteristics of the godly is their thought life. Godly people think about different things than do the godless, or at least the focus of their thinking is different, the majority of their thoughts are directed differently. Among the things godly people focus their attention on, the last phrase of Malachi 3.16 reads, “and that thought upon his name.”

Why should you think on God? Why should you think on the name of God? Last week I mentioned seven reasons to encourage you:

·   First, God gave you the mental capacities you have, the intellectual acuity you have, is so you can think on God.

·   Next, thinking on God and His name is absolutely required in order to be a good Christian.

·   Third, we are obligated to think on God and His name, not only because He made us, but also because He has so abundantly blessed us.

·   Fourth, thinking on God and His name shows sincerity. No one whose thoughts are not frequently fixed upon God is a sincere believer in Jesus Christ.

·   Fifth, thinking on God and His name displaces our tendency to harmfully and illicitly love this wicked and God-opposing world.

·   Sixth, in conjunction with what I just referred to, thinking on God and His name would also cultivate those kinds of thoughts that crowd out thoughts of sin, which inevitably lead to acts of sin.

·   And seventh, last week, I pointed out that thinking on God, because of the beauty of His holiness, is a wonderful way to improve your love of God.

 

The remaining six encouragements to thinking on God and on His holy name:

 

Eighth, THINKING ABOUT GOD WILL GRADUALLY MAKE YOU MORE LIKE HIM

 

What your mind is fixed upon your mind begins to conform itself to. That which is the object of your affections you will become the most like. Think about it. Do not happily married couples seem to look alike after being together for years? It is not because they physically look so much alike, but because they have gradually come to unconsciously imitate each other’s mannerisms and facial patterns over time.

There is a spiritual counterpart to this physical and emotional phenomenon. By contemplating God’s holiness, we are in some measure changed into his likeness: “Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [we] are changed into the same image,” Second Corinthians 3.18. Did not the face of Moses shine when he had been on the mount with God, Exodus 34.3-5?

As well, this is why the writer to the Hebrews writes, in Hebrews 12.2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” You become like the One your mind is fixed on.

Think about it for a moment. What is godliness but God-likeness? As well, who are so like God as those that think on His name, who contemplate His greatness, who long for a glimpse of His glory, who frequently and intentionally look to His precious Son?

 

Ninth, THINKING ON GOD IS ENJOYABLE, DELIGHTFUL, AND ENRICHING

                                                                                             

The psalmist wrote, “My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD,” Psalm 104.34. Thomas Watson wrote that, “He whose head gets above the clouds has his thoughts lifted high, has God in his eye, is full of divine raptures, and cries out as Peter at the transfiguration, ‘Lord, it is good to be here.’”

Some people complain that they have no joy in their lives. I talked to Sarah last night about Pam’s family and their reaction to the extreme negativity of Pam’s mom as they mourn the death of Pam’s father. Sarah told me that the entire family lives under the dark cloud of the discouragement and antagonism of Pam’s mom. Nothing new. My friends, it has been like that for more than thirty years, with no hope of improvement. No wonder, considering what they think about so often. Their thoughts are only rarely about God.

Would you have God give you comfort, and never think of Him? Israel had manna dropped on the ground for them to gather six days a week for forty years, and they never thought of it. Do not think God will drop heavenly joy on you so long as you seldom or never think of Him. Would you have your spirits cheerful? Let your thoughts be heavenly. The higher the lark flies, the sweeter it sings. The higher a soul ascends in the thoughts of God, the sweeter joy it has.

 

Tenth, THOUGHTS OF GOD WILL BENEFIT YOU GREATLY

 

Thoughts spent on the world are often thoughts that are vain. Think about the world and the things of this world all you want, but it will not help you in the long run. How can it help you? Suppose you work hard to build a better life for your kid. Then you child either grows up to be terribly burdensome to your soul, a wicked reprobate who spits in your face instead of honoring you, or he gets sick and dies. Then where are you for all your thoughts being focused on this world?

Here is another consideration. Suppose you beat your brains out trying to figure out how to succeed in business, only to have that segment of the economy upon which all your hopes are built come crashing down, and not only your thoughts but also your efforts are frustrated. How often do men build such imaginary castles in the air? On the other hand, such cannot happen with your thoughts of God, because your thoughts of God are always a benefit. You see, thoughts of God always advance your spiritual progress, always augment your sanctification, and always bring spiritual satisfaction.

The psalmist wrote, “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness . . . when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee,” Psalm 63.5-6. The thoughts you have of God in during those times of health and vigor, will be a comfort to you in the time of sickness and old age.

 

Eleventh, THINK OF GOD BECAUSE GOD THINKS OF YOU

 

Has it ever dawned on you that God thinks of you? In order to conceive of God thinking of you, you must first accept that God is personal. That is, God is a person. He possesses the faculties of intellect, sensibility, and will. Thus, we have a God who thinks, who thinks about things and people, and who thinks on you.

“The Lord thinketh upon me,” Psalm 40.17. God thinks on us every morning. His mercies are “new every morning,” Lamentations 3.23. He gives us night-mercies, He rocks us to sleep every night: “So he giveth his beloved sleep,” Psalm 127.2, and if we wake up, He gives us “songs in the night,” Job 35.10.

Thus, if God is thinking of you day and night, shall you not then think of Him? How can you forget a friend who is always thinking of you? “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace,” Jeremiah 29.11. Though God is always out of our sight, we are never out of His thoughts. Think upon God, because God thinks upon you.

 

Twelfth, GOD WILL ONE DAY JUDGE YOU FOR YOUR THOUGHTS

 

God might be imagined to say, “I gave you the ability to think. What have you done with it?” If God asks a covetous man, “What have your sentiments been? Which way have your thoughts run?” He will answer, “My thoughts have focused on the accumulation wealth.”

If God asks elected officials and political power brokers, “How have you employed your thoughts?” They will say, We thought about the acquisition and the abuse of our power for personal aggrandizement and to beat down godliness wherever we find it.”

What a dreadful account these people and those like them will have to give at the Great White Throne judgment. Not only men’s actions, but also their thoughts will accuse them. Romans 2.15-16: “Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

 

Thirteenth, And Finally, OUR THOUGHTS ON GOD WILL NEVER BE LOST

 

Make no mistake about it. God accepts the thought for the deed. David had a good thought come into his mind to build God a house, and God took it as kindly as if he had actually done it: “Forasmuch as it was in thy heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thy heart,” Second Chronicles 6.8.

In like manner, when Christians have thoughts of promoting God’s glory, they would do such good acts if it were in their power to reach the lost, to disciple the young, and to in other ways glorify God, the Lord looks upon it as if they had done it, so that our thoughts of God are not lost. Of course, only a God who knows men’s hearts can so judge His creatures. However, God is a heart-knowing God, and He does know the hearts of men. Therefore, He most certainly does and can judge the thoughts and intents of your heart and mind.

 

Thirteen reasons, then, to motivate you to so control your personal thoughts as to focus your attention upon God and His name.

Where is the downside to thinking on God, or to thinking on His name? There is no downside, beloved, unless you think any interference with your plans to commit sins is a downside.

With respect to any man’s thought life, there is no topic so uplifting, no matter more noble, no person more worthy to be the object of any man’s attentions and contemplations than God. Now, to be sure, our lives should not be confined to thinking, only. Certainly, we know that God’s plan for His creatures includes a life of actions as well as thoughts. However, we are presently considering only our thoughts, and our thoughts are best fixed upon God. You simply cannot go wrong by fixing your mind upon the person and attributes of God as He reveals Himself in the Bible.



[1] Thomas Watson, The Great Gain Of Godliness, (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2006), pages 83-92.



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org