Our thought life - Part 1

SERMON TOPIC: Our thought life - Part 1

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 7 June 2020


Sermon synopsis: A basic lesson of the Christian life is that all sin begins in our thoughts, which the Bible often calls “the heart.”

Jesus said: Mark 7:20-23 What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.

No one commits these outward sins without first having committed them in his mind. If we want to grow in godliness, we must win the battle over sin on the thought level.
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Our thought life Part 1.

Psalm 4:4

Why is our thought life so important?

Genesis 6:5.

The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Our thought life.

A basic lesson of the Christian life is that all sin begins in our thoughts, which the Bible often calls “the heart.”

Jesus said: Mark 7:20-23.

What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.All these evils come from inside and defile a person.

No one commits these outward sins without first having committed them in his mind.

If we want to grow in godliness, we must win the battle over sin on the thought level.

Our thought life.

Mark Twain (The Autobiography of Mark Twain)

“What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words! His real life is lead in his head, and is known to none but himself.

All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, (which are but the mute articulation of his feelings,) not those other things are his history.

His acts and his words are merely the visible thin crust of his world, with its scattered snow summits and its vacant wastes of water-and they are so trifling a part of his bulk!”

Jonathan Edwards put it this way:

“The ideas and images in men’s minds are the invisible powers that constantly govern them” (source unknown)

We feed our thought life.

An old Indian Christian was explaining to a missionary that the battle inside of him was like a black dog fighting a white dog. “Which dog wins?” asked the missionary. “The one I feed the most,” replied the Indian.

Patrick Buchanan has observed: “The food that enters the mind must be watched as closely as the food that enters the body” (Reader’s Digest [11/ 89], p. 203)

Frank Outlaw wrote:

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny” (Reader’s Digest [date not known])

We are responsible for our thought life.

Our thoughts are controlled by our free will.

Although we can have fleeting thoughts that enter our mind, which is how we are tempted by our sinful flesh and by Satan, we have the choice whether to accommodate them (Harbour) or to dispel them, and think of things that are edifying and uplifting.

A ship has to get permission to come into a harbour. In the same way, we grant permission for thoughts to harbour and find a place in our mind, where they fester and lead to sinful actions, worry and depression.

* Faith affects our thoughts and then our actions.

Luke 5:18-22. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus.

When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. *When Jesus saw their faith, he said, Friend, your sins are forgiven.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?

Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, Why are you thinking these things in your hearts?

Jesus holds us responsible for our thought life.

Matthew 9:4.

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Why are you harbouring evil thoughts in your hearts?

Chinese Proverb

(Sometimes attributed to Martin Luther)

You can’t stop the birds flying over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair.

We are responsible for our thought life.

James 1:13-15.

When tempted, no one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Romans 12:2. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We are responsible for our thought life.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

We are responsible for our thought life.

Philippians 4:6-8. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.

Your thoughts are influenced by what you read, what you watch on TV, the company and conversation you keep and that includes social media. These are things that you have control over.

We feed our thought life.

A number of years ago, the news media picked up the story of a woman known as “Garbage Mary.” She lived in a smelly Chicago tenement amid mounds of garbage. She spent her time rummaging through trash cans. She would beg for cigarettes from her neighbors. Police took her to a psychiatric hospital after she was stopped for questioning and found to be in a confused state of mind. When they went into her filthy apartment, they were astounded to find stock certificates and bank books indicating she was worth at least a million dollars. She was the daughter of a wealthy Illinois lawyer.

It’s a pathetic story, but it pictures the lives of many professing Christians, who could be immersing their thought life in that which is true, dignified, right, pure, lovely, of good repute; that which is virtuous and worthy of praise. But instead, they surround themselves with moral filth, wallowing daily in raunchy TV programs, polluting their minds with the sordid stories of this condemned world, rather than focusing their thought life on the things of God and Christ.

The thoughts we sow, reap a harvest.

Our thoughts lead to actions, our actions form our habits and our habits shape our destiny.

We tend to relate sowing to an action, but the seeds of doubt and lust sown in our minds, bring forth a harvest of sin.

Galatians 6:7-10.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

We "sow" to either of our two natures by the thoughts we ponder.

Backsliding Starts in Your Thought Life.

Backsliding Starts in Your Thought Life, an example of this is found in the Old Testament.

After the Israelites escaped the cruelty of the Egyptian slave masters, they actually wanted to return to Egypt!

Exodus. 1:11-14.

So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly.

They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.

Backsliding Starts in Your Thought Life.

How could they believe they were better off to return to such a lifestyle?

The answer is the thoughts they pondered, on the so-called "good" times they had in Egypt!

Numbers 11:18.

Tell the people: Consecrate yourselves in

preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The LORD heard you when you wailed, If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt! Now the LORD will give you meat, and you will eat it.

Memories are very selective.

People, when they choose to, only remember the bad things, or on the contrary, they only remember the good things.

Numbers 11:5-6.

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost, also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.

But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!

The devil will never remind us of the emptiness of the things of this world we experienced then or the regret, shame and guilt of our sins, but only the pleasures of sin.

Backsliding Starts in Your Thought Life.

The devil reminded them of only the good tasting food of Egypt, but not the severe oppression and bitter lives they had.

They lost sight of the Promised Land because they focused their thoughts on the present hard circumstances and past fond memories of their former lifestyle.

The thought Life of the faith worthies.

Hebrews 11:4-10.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did… By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death… By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family... By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God…

The thought Life of the faith worthies.

Hebrews 11:13-16.

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

What are you thinking of, what are you longing for?

Our thoughts determine our behaviour.

Even righteous people such as Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham, would have been adversely affected by pondering the wrong thoughts, thoughts not in accord to God's will!

God’s Word tells us how we should remember our past life, which is diametrically opposed to how the Israelites remembered it.

Ephesians 2:12-13.

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Wholesome thinking.

Wholesome thinking centers around reading and pondering God's Word.

2 Peter 3:1-10.

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Saviour through your apostles.

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

They will say, Where is this coming But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day…

Wholesome thinking.

2 Peter 3:1-10 (continued)

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief…

According to writer of Psalm 119, when we are diligent and disciplined enough to hide God's Word in our heart, it will be a safe guard against sin.

Psalm 119:11.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

How many Bible verses have you hidden in your heart lately by meditation and memorization?

God’s Word is needed to reveal our hearts.

Hebrews 4:12-13.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

God’s Word is needed to reveal our hearts.

Four ways to improve your thought life.

Pray and ask God to help you in this area.

Pray throughout the day, including mental praying.

Read the Bible, meditate upon and memorize its verses.

Keep good gospel music in ear distance, if possible, and a tune in your heart throughout the day.

Guard your thought life.

Proverbs 4:23. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.


In ancient times, there were 2 kinds of covenants:

a voluntary agreement between equals - as with David and Jonathan (1 Sam 18:3)

treaties between a great king and a lesser king (his vassal). Covenants between God and his people are always of this type. God dictates the terms of the covenant (asserting his sovereignty and kingship) and the people have an obligation of obedience. God does not enter into covenants of parity with men as we are not his equals.

Isaiah 40:25 (NIV) “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.



Parity: A covenant between equals, binding them to mutual friendship or at least to mutual respect for each other’s spheres and interests.

Participants called each other “brothers”.

This was the type of covenant entered into by Abraham and Abimelech, Jacob and Laban, and David and Jonathan.

All covenants between God and man are either of the Royal Grant or Suzerain-Vassal type, or both.


Suzerain-Vassal (conditional): A covenant regulating a relationship between a great king and one of his subject kings.

The great king claimed absolute right of sovereignty, demanded total loyalty and service (the vassal must “love” his suzerain) and pledged protection of the subject’s realm and dynasty, conditional on the vassal's faithfulness and loyalty to him.

The vassal pledged absolute loyalty to his suzerain - whatever service his suzerain demanded - an exclusive reliance on the suzerain’s protection.

Participants called each other “lord” and “servant”, or “father” and “son”.

Our thought life.

As we were busy with Bible college on Friday night and Gavin was teaching on covenants and mentioning the 2 types of covenants, my thoughts were captivated by the fact that a suzerain vassal has 2 participants and the commonly used terms for the 2 parties are “Father and son” or “Lord and servant”

Then I thought of the words of Jesus to His disciples.


I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Our thought life.

God in the person of Jesus has entered into an engagement contract with His future bride “The Church”.

What an awe inspiring thought, that God would want to be married to us, so unworthy & lowly.

1 John 3:2-3.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Our thoughts.

Psalm 4:4

Set aside time during the week to have communion with the Lord and remember what it cost Him to enable us to partake in this new covenant relationship that we have with Him.


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://www.lockman.org)

Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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