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Straight Thinking
Scripture: Mark 7:21-22; Philippians 4:8; Romans 12...
Track 13 of 15 in the Paul: Grace & Strength Mixed Together series
Running time: 1 hour, 02 minutes, 26 seconds.
Straight thinking is a valuable trait. From Gods perspective knowing truth (wisdomseeing and understanding things the way God sees them) and living it out is crucial for a dying world and in the Kingdom of God.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

What Was I Thinking?

Have you ever asked this question to someone, what were you thinking? What in your mind told you that what you just did was a good thing? What are some of the situations you might have used that question?

If you could keep track of all the things you think about in a day, wouldn’t it be interesting to know what the top 5 categories of your thought process would be? Think about this a minute, what goes through your mind on a daily basis? What do you think about and more importantly, what thoughts actually become your actions?

Mark 7:21-22 From within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness

How much of your thought process controls your actions? Are you by nature a person who is able to think first before speaking or are you by nature a person who is quick this his words and, “oops, I really didn’t want to say that” sort of a person? Why are you that way?

I did some research and learned that several scientists believe that the average person has anywhere between 30,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day and about 80% of them are negative. If this is true, how would you guess society is overall when it comes to personal actions?

What do you find yourself often times thinking about? What are your 2-3 top thoughts?

True or False: A smart man only believes half of what he hears; a wise man knows which half.

If true, how does the wise man know which half is actually true? What is critical for a person to posses straight thinking?

Philippians 4:8 Dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Well I think… This is one of the most spoken phrases known to man. When a person says this, often times their thinking relies on what two factors? For many, their thinking is driven by their emotions and their experience. But that is really dangerous because both are subjective, meaning they are usually changing.

To be a straight thinker, a wise person from God’s perspective, what is needed? Authority that is based on the facts, the truth. Everything about God rests on authority, truth, absolute truth or else what and how we think is totally subjective and this by itself leads to evil, everything that is opposite of God.

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.

Straight thinking is a valuable trait. From God’s perspective knowing truth (wisdom…seeing and understanding things the way God sees them) and living it out is crucial for a dying world and in the Kingdom of God. Did you notice Paul didn’t write “you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his WAY is. No Paul said what His WILL is? WAY assumes experience, WILL assumes authority. God has a plan for us (All man). There is the right way to live and there is the wrong way as well. Man is free to choose, however, both produce results.

Straight thinking has two halves, 8A: there is the knowledge and understanding side of truth; then there is the defense side. ..an appeal is made.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

The point is clear, we need to be ready at all times to give a defense for our faith and that requires straight thinking.

SO where are you with this issue concerning Chick-Fil-A and what we see I the news these days? The CEO of the company was asked in an interview what his thoughts were concerning marriage. Being a Christian he stated that marriage is between one man and one woman. That was it. He didn’t say gay marriage was wrong nor did he criticize the gay community. He only stated the facts as he knew them from the Bible. Where do you stand and can you give a defense by bring forth evidence? Do you spout off your opinion or beliefs or do you do as Peter exhorted; Do it with gentleness and respect.

Paul was a man who possessed straight thinking. He knew what truth was and what falsehoods were. But most of all he knew how to defend the truth of God during very hostile moments. If we look at Paul’s journeys and who his enemies were, most were Jews, people who believed God. They did everything they could to kill him and to destroy his ministry plus his influence among the churches. But their tactics didn’t work, truth always won and Paul was the defender of it.

Do you remember last week that is was the Jews from Thessalonica who really hated Paul and did what ever they could to kill him? They followed him everywhere. Our scene today takes us to the temple mount. This is after Paul’s third missionary journey and Paul traveled to Jerusalem to deliver an offering from the Gentile churches to the Christians there who were suffering. It was during this time some from Asia saw Paul and did their work to stir the people up. The scene turned into a mob action and the Roman guards were afraid the mob would kill Paul and his companions.

Acts 21:33-40 (NIV)
The commander came up and arrested him and ordered him to be bound with two chains. Then he asked who he was and what he had done. Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks. When Paul reached the steps, the violence of the mob was so great he had to be carried by the soldiers. The crowd that followed kept shouting, "Away with him!" As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, "May I say something to you?" "Do you speak Greek?" he replied. "Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the desert some time ago?" Paul answered, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people." Having received the commander's permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in Aramaic:

Look at this passage, explain to me how this took some straight thinking on his part? What was Paul after? Did his thinking succeed?

Acts 22:1-5 (NIV)
"Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense." When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet. Then Paul said: "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

Paul starts his defense by stating the facts and using his past as an advantage. His ability to speak multiple languages helped him win over the people. However, as Paul went on and he spoke the truth about Jesus more openly, the crowd became angry. So much that they wanted to tear him apart with their bare hands. But being a Roman citizen, at the right time, before his was killed or locked up by the Romans, he made this statement, “I appeal to Caesar” which basically guaranteed a face to face conversation with the Emperor of Rome (Nero).

Again, what was his ultimate plan or purpose for doing this? What did it accomplish and what good did it do for Paul? What are the dangers in telling the truth in everything? When is compromise okay? Are we to compromise or are we to tell the truth with gentleness and respect? What is the difference?