Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon
“COME, YE THANKFUL PEOPLE, COME!” Psalm 118
INTRO – One of the first things we teach our children is to say “Please” and “Thank you.” Teach them to say “please” when they are asking for something. Teach them to say “thank you” when they are receiving something.
Those are 2 good things for us as children of God to learn to say. Our Lord definitely tells us that we can ask Him and should ask Him for different things: His blessings on our lives and families; for the salvation of the lost; for His leadership in our lives; for His wisdom; for the healing of the sick.
- Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7).
- Jeremiah recorded God’s words in Jer. 33:3 – “Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.”
- John wrote these words in 1 John 5:14-15 – “And this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And we know that if He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
Asking is definitely an important aspect of the Christian life.
Saying “thank you” is also an equally important aspect of the Christian life. Ps. 118 is just one of many passages that help us learn to express our gratitude to God for all His many blessings:
- “Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done.” – 1 Chron. 16:8
- “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with t’giving and extol Him with music and song.” – Ps. 95:1-2
- “Enter His gates with t’giving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” – Ps. 100:4
- “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Cor. 15:57
- “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” – 1 Thess. 5:18
- “Therefore, since we are receiving a k’dom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” – Heb. 12:18
Taking the time to stop and say “thank you” is such a healthy thing in our Christian lives. It refreshes us. It renews us. It rejuvenates us. It restores us. That’s why we ought not just take one day out of the year to say thanks. Every day is t’giving day for the Christian!
So I say to you, as hymnwriter Henry Alford said in 1844 when he wrote these words, “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”, and let’s find some biblical reasons for thankfulness.
I. GOD’S ENDURING LOVE – v. 1-4, 29
A. This is the foundation of it all. If it weren’t for the enduring love of God, you and I would have absolutely nothing to be thankful for.
i. Wouldn’t have our salvation.
ii. Wouldn’t have eternal life.
iii. Wouldn’t have a reason for worship.
iv. Wouldn’t have a reason for life.
B. You and I are sinners deserving death and hell. Yet, b/c of His enduring love for us, we have the promise of eternal life when we place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Do we need a greater reason for thankfulness than that?
C. God’s commitment to pouring out His love into our hearts and lives is not an off-and-on commitment to us. It is a commitment that endures forever.
i. This love is His covenant-love to us, His holy promise to us that He will never break.
ii. To be merciful and loving is the very nature of God. He doesn’t just show love. He IS love. He doesn’t just show us His goodness. He IS good.
iii. That’s why His love endures forever. God endures forever, so His love endures forever.
D. Poet Ann Johnson Flint put it this way:
i. “God hath not promised skies always blue, flower strewn pathways all our lives through; God hath not promised sun without rain, joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
ii. But God hath promised strength for the day, rest for the labor, light for the way; Grace for the trials, help from above, unfailing sympathy, undying love.”
II. GOD’S PRESENCE & STRENGTH IN THE TOUGH TIMES – v. 5-14
A. This week, I was re-reading some articles in Firefighter magazine of some of the FDNY firefighters personal stories of their experiences on 9/11. Relived that dreadful day. Had that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach all over again as I remembered all that took place on that day.