Think on Beautiful Things
A few weeks ago I gave a lesson based on Philippians 4, verse 8, which says; “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Have you done that? Have you spent some time thinking about those kinds of things. I have. And the lesson that I have for this morning, is based on some of those things that I’ve thought of. You know, the bible can tell us what we need to be doing, like thinking about those kinds of things, but it’s up to each one of us, to actually DO what it says. So if you have thought about those things these past few weeks, then good for you, and I hope you don’t stop thinking about them. And if you haven’t done that yet, well, I hope that you’ll decide to do it.
But what I’ve been thinking about lately, are things that are beautiful. Actually, thoughts, that are beautiful. And words, that convey beautiful thoughts. There’s lot’s of “things” all around us that are beautiful.. Like the beauty of the mountains, and the crystal clear streams. And the beauty of the grassy plains, and the rivers, and the oceans, and the sunrise, and the sunset, and the beauty of all nature!
God has completely, “outdone” Himself, hasn’t He? But there are thoughts, that are every bit as beautiful, and maybe even more beautiful, than all that God has created. And the beauty of all these physical things, is going to end, isn’t it? According to the bible it is. 2 Peter 3, verse 7 tells us that “..by His word, the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
It’s all gonna be gone some day. Everything that is seen, will be gone! 2 Corinthians 4, verse 18 says; “While we look NOT at the things which are seen, but at the things which are NOT seen. For the things which are seen, are tem’poral; But the things which are not seen, are eternal!”
And so I thought that today, we’d think about some things which, although we can’t see them, they have a beauty, which no doubt, is eternal. And I thought we could think about a few words, and of the beautiful thoughts that they convey. And the first word that I wanted us to think about, is the word “innocence”. That’s a beautiful word that conveys a beautiful thought.. the thought of innocence.
My friend Doug always mentions how seeing little children, makes him so happy. And not only seeing little children, but even just thinking about them. And what is it about those little children, that makes you smile, and that’s so beautiful to see, and think about? Isn’t one of those things, their innocence? They’re just so innocent, and pure, and blameless. It’s just a joy to think about, and a joy to see! Innocence is simply a beautiful thought!
I was talking to some people this past week, about the subject of Adam and Eve, in the garden. And about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And someone asked the question; “Why were they forbidden to eat, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?” Why could they eat of all the other trees of the garden, but not of that one? And one person said; Because God didn’t want them to lose their innocence.”
I don’t know if that’s the answer. I can’t say with 100% certainty. But what I do know with certainty, is that before they ate from that tree, Adam and Eve were 100% innocent! Beautiful, pure, and innocence, from the day they were created. It’s a lot like the scripture in Ezekiel 28:15 which says; “You were blameless in your ways, from the day you were created, until iniquity was found in you.” You were blameless until you sinned, by disobeying God.
Eating from that tree, took their innocence away didn’t it? But what a beautiful situation they had, before they disobeyed. That beautiful garden, which is sometimes compared to a “paradise”; And two beautiful people created by God, created in pure innocence, to enjoy fellowship with God, for as long as they chose. For eternity if they had chosen to! But they choose to disobey, and when they did, they died, that very day!
God had told Adam, and it’s recorded for us in Genesis 2, verse 17; “For in the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die!” And both Adam and Eve, died a spiritual death, that very day. They possessed eternal life, by virtue of their innocence, from the day they were created. And they would have never had to die physically either, because right there in the garden, in the midst of the garden, provided by the hand of God, stood the tree of life, with no restrictions attached. The Lord told Adam, in verse 16; “Of every tree in the garden (of every other tree) you may freely eat.”
Adam and Eve weren’t created, physically immortal, but they had physical immortality at their fingertips. If that were not the case, it would have been pretty redundant, to have a tree of physical life, if you had already been created, immortal.
And that tree of life, could have kept them alive physically, forever. But when they were expelled from the garden, they lost that opportunity. It’s just like God said in Genesis 3, verse 22; “..Behold, the man has become, as one of us, knowing good and evil; And now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever;” Lest that were to happen, God drove OUT of the garden. Once they had died a spiritual death, they were no longer allowed to even have the chance, to live forever, physically!
They had it all! But they lost it all! And why? Simply because they disobeyed. They didn’t believe God! They didn’t believe the word of God. They didn’t believe that they would surely die, in that very day! And so they lost it all. They lost that beautiful innocence that God blessed them with. That innocence that would NEVER have gone away on it’s own.
Think of all the ways in which this story applies to our lives. The innocence, the blessings from God, our own unbelief, and our own disobedience. Our own sin!
In our own lives, we suffer the effects, of the sin of Adam and Eve, don’t we? Sure we do. They had a tree of life in their midst; But when they sinned, and when their access to the tree was denied, that access was denied to us also. And so we live with the truth of John 16:33, which says; “..In the world, you have tribulation..” (There wouldn’t have been any tribulation in Eden) And we also with the truth of Hebrews 9:27, which says; “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this, the judgment.”
Here’s just a thought question for you; Don’t you think that that tree of life, that was in the garden, would have healed each and every physical ailment that would have ever existed? It would have had to! Otherwise any physical body would simply wear out, and become diseased, and die. But God’s tree of life, would have healed each and every ailment that would ever exist. Now that’s a beautiful thought, just all by itself. if only there was a tree of life, right?
And there IS a tree of life, just waiting for us. Not a physical one, but a spiritual one; And it’s there to heal everything! And again, it’s in the “Paradise of God”. And Jesus assures us, in Revelation 2, verse 7; “..To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat, from the tree of life, which is in the midst, of the Paradise of God.” That’s a beautiful promise! Eternal innocence, and eternal life, in Paradise.
And here’s the beautiful word that makes all that possible; “Forgiveness”.. What an absolutely wonderful, comforting, and beautiful thought. “Forgiveness”.. What does it mean? It means restored innocence, doesn’t it? Restored innocence, and restored purity, restored life, restored happiness. It means all of that. That’s why, while talking about heaven, Jesus said; “..Enter into the joy of thy Lord!” (Mathew 25, verse 23)
It’s like the garden of Eden, only better! Better because it’s not tem’poral, but it’s eternal. The apostle John wrote, in Revelation 22:1 thru 5; “And he showed me a river.. (a torrent, that’s what the word means) ..a torrent of water of LIFE, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb. And in the midst of the broad way of it, (some versions say “in the middle of the street”. But we’re talking about a torrent of water here, not a street) and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree (the fruit of the tree) were for the healing of the nations.” The healing of any sin that could exist.
That torrent of water must go right through, and all around, that tree of life. Of course Christ is the source, of the “living water” isn’t He? Jesus said in John 4;14; “But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him, shall never thirst; But the water that I shall give him, shall be in him, a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life.”
And there it is, a “torrent of water”, pictured in the paradise of God, watering the tree of life, that heals every imaginable ailment; Just like that tree in the garden of Eden. It could have healed every ailment that a human being could have ever been afflicted with. But we’ve got an even “better” tree, waiting for us in eternity.
Now there’s just one more word that I’d like us to think about this morning; And that word is, “Faithfulness”. And what a beautiful word that is! “Faithfulness” If we want God’s forgiveness, so that we can be restored to our original innocence, then we need to be practicing a whole lot of faithfulness! Of wonderful, and beautiful faithfulness.
Just think about GOD’S faithfulness. What kind of thoughts does that bring to your mind? It makes me think of being trustworthy. If someone is faithful, then you can trust them, right? And loyalty; If you’re faithful, then you’re loyal. Those are beautiful traits to have. And those are God’s traits.
Exodus 34, verse 6 says; “..“The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” And Psalm 25, verse 10 says; “All the paths of the Lord, are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.”
Hebrews 13, verse 5 says; ” I will never leave you nor forsake you.” And Deuteronomy 7, verse 9 tells us; “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy (some versions say “love” and some say “loyalty”) He “keepeth covenant and loyalty, with them that love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
And what about OUR faithfulness and loyalty to God? Faithfulness is the way to eternal life. Jesus tells us in Revelation 2:10; “..be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” You can’t have life, without faithfulness. But what a beautiful thing it is when you are faithful. The bible says in Romans 10, verse 15; “..How beautiful are the feet of those proclaiming peace, of those proclaiming good news, of good things.”
That’s almost a direct quote of Isaiah 52, verse 7, which says; “How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
And what those two scriptures are saying, is that how beautiful it is, when YOU, share what you know about salvation in Christ, with others. How beautiful that is! God’s children, spreading God’s word, just like God intended.
Offering forgiveness of sins, and a return to the innocence that is so needed, so that we can eat of that tree of life, that stands in the midst, of the Paradise of God. I think that there’s a saying, that says; “Paradise lost, is Paradise gained.” I don’t know if that’s the way it goes, but I do know, “that’s our goal”, to gain Paradise!
“Faithfulness, Forgiveness, and Innocence” three beautiful words, and three beautiful thoughts.