Summary: Thanksgiving is the natural product of a heart that is founded upon Jesus Christ. Let us preach the gospel of salvation through the blood of Jesus and then we will see a revival of thanksgiving in our churches and in the naiton.
A Foundation that Results in Thanksgiving
By Rev. James May
Our nation is preparing for the days of feasting on turkey and enjoying a holiday weekend. In the hearts of those who acknowledge the blessings of God, it is a time to gather with family and friends and celebrate the goodness of God and to express our thankfulness for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon us.
But because our society is also trying to cast the knowledge of God out of our national conscience, for many people this celebration has little to do with a thankful heart and more to do with the fulfilment of the lust of their own hearts.
The hearts of those who are fixed on the things of this world would just as soon forget about giving thanks to God, so instead of taking the time to be thankful for what they have, the whole focus is changed to what they don’t have, and the holiday of Thanksgiving becomes just “Turkey Day” and will simply be the springboard to enter into the shopping frenzy and the race to malls and shopping centers.
It’s a testimony to the faithfulness and long-suffering patience and mercy of God that America is still a land of plenty and for that we should all be thankful.
As I was searching the Bible for a message to give this morning, knowing that Thanksgiving was upon us, the Spirit led me to a passage that spoke to me as I read it. I believe that it is going to speak to you this morning as well, but I think that it will be a little different from most sermons presented on this day across the land.
I want to take you back to a time in the history of Israel when the Jews had fallen into captivity in Babylon. Their idolatry and neglect of be thankful and worshipping God had resulted in the downfall of their nation and the destruction of both Jerusalem and the first temple. The daily sacrifices, and the offering of sacrifices at the appointed seasons by the Law of Moses had been halted. For 70 years the Jews were not free to worship God as they pleased but were forced to observe the laws of their captors in Babylon.
2 Kings 24:20 tells us why Judah fell and the Jews were taken into slavery under this heathen king, “For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence…”
After having sent prophets into Judah time and again, and watching Judah go ever deeper into sin and refusing to repent, God’s anger was kindled and he sent them out of his presence.
That’s a terrible position to be in. Lord, I know that America is following that same path; and sadly, so many in the church are leaving the Word of God to follow the teachers who tickle the ears and don’t preach repentance of sin anymore, telling people what they want to hear so they can continue to live the way they want and giving men a false hope. But Lord, we here cry out for the church and for our nation, that we will not be driven from your presence.
It’s not the sin of the world around us that’s the problem; it’s the sin in the church that has turned her back on the very God she claims to worship.
Thankfulness for the great salvation that is offered through repentance of sin and acceptance of the Blood of Jesus has given way to the fulfilling of the desires of the flesh and worshipping of wealth and the enjoyment of the pleasure of sin and these have become our idols.
During this time we see that the Jews were forced to bow to the golden image of King Nebuchadnezzar, a statue that had been built for the express purpose of making the king to appear as a god; and the only one worthy of praise.
Most of the people bowed in obedience. It wasn’t hard for them to do so because they had long ago lost their faith and had accepted idols as the focus of their worship.
Thank God, there were a few who stood faithful through it all. They didn’t give up so easily, even though they knew it meant persecution and death. I know you remember the story of Daniel and the Lion’s den, and the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego who went through the fiery furnace.
I hadn’t thought of it much in this manner, but the true church of today that is holding on the Word of God and uncompromising with the world, is identified with Daniel and those three young men who stood firm through the fire.