Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

11/20/2016 A.M.

 

A Time For Giving Thanks

Psalm 100.1-5...136.1-3   Colossians 3.15-17   1 Thessalonians 5.16-18

James 1.16-18...Colossians 1.12-14

 

Thankfulness is a significant part of our relationship with God.

The idea of... giving thanks... Praising God... In thanksgiving is mentioned 140 times in the Old and New Testaments.

 

The word Thanksgiving is used... 25 times in the NIV... 28 times in our King James.

 

Leviticus 7.13-15 mentions an offering of thanksgiving.

 

1 Corinthians 10.16 speaks of the Lord’s Supper as a cup of thanksgiving and a participation in the body and blood of Jesus.

 

Perhaps the best known references to giving thanks are found

in the following verses... Read them with me from your Worship Bulletin...

 

Psalm 100.1-5... Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise... give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

 

Psalm 136.1-3... Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.

 

Colossians 3.15-17... Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

First Thessalonians 5.16-18... Be joyful always... Pray continually... Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

Is there any doubt that we are called to be thankful people?

 

James and Paul tell us the basis for our being thankful...

 

James 1.17-18... Every good and perfect gift is from above... Coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created.

 

Colossians 1.12-14... Giving thanks to the Father... Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption... the forgiveness of sins.

 

Next... We note reasons we should be Thanksgiving people...

 

First... Because it honors God.

Second Corinthians 4.15 tells us that our being thankful brings glory to God.

When we are thankful...

• We recognize that God exists...

• We are acting on the reality of His existence as the very source and means of our own existence.

• Genuine thankfulness recognizes our total dependence upon God and everything going on in our lives.

• We are acknowledging that all we are and all we have are products of God's... Sovereign control... Infinite wisdom... purpose... and grace.

 

Secondly... Having a heart of gratitude is commanded in Scripture.

The Book of Psalms is filled with the call to give thanks... Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

 

Paul tells us... Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you.

 

Thirdly... There are consequences to ingratitude.

Thanklessness dishonors God and leads to proud humanism.

Romans 1.21 describes those who fail to be thankful... For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 

You see... Ingratitude leads to... Bitterness... Grumbling... Complaining...And a generally joyless life... Ingratitude renders life futile... A waste.

 

• Thanklessness promotes pettiness and a preoccupation with... self... and our problems.

• It creates depression and hopelessness.

 

While being thankful leads to happiness and an appreciation of all that we are and have.

 

When we put Ephesians 5.4 and 5.20 together... We find that thankfulness is a spiritual barometer.

 

Here..Paul contends that… As children of God... We should display... No foolish talk... Or coarse joking... Which are out of place... But rather thanksgiving... Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything... In the name of Jesus.

 

So...Being thankful is our witness to the world that... We believe in... And are dependent upon God... By its very nature... Becoming thankful people is evangelistic.

 

Well... We want to spend the remainder of our lesson on

things we have to be thankful for.

 

First... We ought to be thankful for the miracle of life itself.

Paul speaking to those of the Areopagus on Mars Hill... Declared... The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said... We are his offspring.

 

Here it is church... If you need something to be thankful for this morning... Check your pulse... Always be thankful for the gift of life itself.

 

It’s easy to take life for granted... To forget how precious it is. It’s easy to forget that we would not even be here were it not for God’s giving us life. So long as we can remember... We've just been here... Being alive... We know no other state. We are so immersed in life that we only see it in the context of itself. We don't see life as compared to never having been born... Life just is.

 

But life itself is a gift... It's about...

• Feeling...

• Breathing...

• Thinking...

• Worshiping...

• Loving...

• Playing...

• Singing...

• Work and accomplishments...

• It’s about loving.

So... This week... Let’s give thanks... for life... For simply being born!

 

We should be thankful for our reasonable amount of health.

It’s hard to be thankful for life without being mindful of our health.

A desire for good health is a Biblical desire.

 

• In first Samuel 25... David wishes Nabal and his wife Abigail a long life and good health to them... Their household... And livestock.

 

• David and Solomon speak of good health in Psalms and Proverbs.

 

• God promised Israel Good Health in their return from captivity...I will bring health and healing to the land... I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.

 

• Third John... verse two says... Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

 

Again...Health is something we take for granted until it is gone... And we are in pain.

 

A story is told about a blind girl who had a low opinion of herself because she was blind. She hated everyone around her... Except her boyfriend who was always there for her. She told him... If I could see the world... I would marry you. One day... Someone donated a pair of eyes to her. When the bandages were removed...She was able to see everything... including her boyfriend.

 

Immediately he ask... Now that you can see... Will you mArry me? The girl looked at his eyes... She was shocked... He was blind.  She could not stand the sight of his closed eyelids... The thought of looking at them for the rest of her life led her to refuse to marry him.

 

Her boyfriend left her in tears... Days later... he wrote this note... Take good care of your eyes... For before they were yours... They were mine.

 

How easy it is for us to forget yesterday’s pain when we are in good health... Amen?

 

Health and well being are a gift... So... Be thankful...

• Before we say an unkind word... Think of someone who can’t speak.

• Before we complain about the taste of our food... Think of those who have no taste.

• Before we complain about life’s circumstances... Think of someone who died young.

• Before we complain about how much work we have to do or how far we have to walk in the parking lot... Think of those who have lost their hands and feet.

• Before we complain about our aches and pains... Think of those suffering the pain of cancer.

 

Indeed...Being thankful for our health becomes much easier when we look around to see those who are suffering more than we are.

 

We should be thankful for God’s love.

Augustine once said... God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

 

Perhaps the best known verses in Scripture are the ones that speak of God’s love for us.

 

John 3.16... God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

Romans 5.8... God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Ephesians 2.4-5...Because of his great love for us, God,who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

 

Romans 8.37-39... We are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

I want us to consider for a moment what the love of God means to us this morning...

• It means we can be forgiven of all our sins... That we are living without any guilt.

• It means we can be saved in Heaven.

• It means that we are living today as His children...

 

I John 3.1-2 says...How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!... Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

 

It was Jesus who said...If your earthly fathers know how to give good gifts... How much more does your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.

 

James reminds us that every good gift comes down from our Father in Heaven.

 

Think of it church... What a concept... What a blessing... Being the children of God. The Creator... Provider... Protector... Sustainer... Sovereign God of the universe is our Father.

 

The love of God contains the promise of God living in us through the Holy Spirit.

 

Jesus said… If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

 

Paul wrote… Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

 

A part of honoring God is our being thankful for His presence.

 

John tells us... Those who obey his commands...live in him... and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us... We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

 

Another aspect of God’s love is that He is providentially working in our life... Paul affirms this in three different verses...

 

Romans 8.28... We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

Philippians 2.13...For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

 

Ephesians 3.20...Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

 

I hope you believe in the Holy Spirit...

 

I hope you believe God lives in you through the Spirit He gave you when you were born again in New Testament baptism.

 

I hope we will take time this week to thank God for His daily presence and his daily working in our life.

 

Well...We must know this morning that... Gratitude... Being Thanks Giving” People... Unlocks the fullness of life.

• It turns what we have into enough... And even more... An abundance.

• It turns doubt into faith and acceptance...

• Chaos into order... Confusion to clarity.

• It can turn a meal into a feast...

• A house into a home...

• A stranger into a friend...

• A church into a family.

• Gratitude makes sense of our past...

• Brings peace for today...

• Confidence for tomorrow...

• And a hope in Heaven.

 

As we close this morning... Allow me to read one more promise from our Father God... Those who place their hope in theLord... He will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles... They will run and not grow weary... They will walk and not be faint.

 

May god help us to take time for giving thanks... Amen?

 

Why not express your gratitude to God for sending His Son to save you... By faith... Repentance of past sins... Confession of Jesus... And being born again of water and spirit.

 

May we all commit and pledge to begin this week to live as Thanks Giving people... As we stand and sing this song together.