Summary: Thanksgiving message based on Colossians 3:15-17

Effects of Thankfulness

Colossians 3:15-17

November 23, 2008

Me: I think I’m like most people in that during this week in November, thoughts turn to how thankful I should be for all of God’s blessings in my life. And I’ve had more than I can count.

But as I was working on this message, the thought kept pounding in my brain, “There’s got to be more to thanksgiving than just having a grateful feeling in my heart.”

Granted, we need to have a grateful heart. And I don’t want to minimize that.

But is it enough to acknowledge our blessings and give thanks for them – whether in November or all the time?

So I struggled with the question, “What should I do with my gratitude?”

In other words, how should it affect my daily living and my daily interactions?

We: Have you ever wondered, “What should I do with my gratitude?”

Maybe you’ve thought along with me that our thankfulness to God should have implications in other parts of our lives.

If that’s you, then I have something that might help you in that regard.

If that’s not you, then my prayer is that by the time Thursday comes, you will sense God’s nudging you and that you’ll submit to that.

God: Turn in your Bibles to Colossians 3:15-17 (p. 834, and also on the screens) –

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 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. 17 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.

This is one of those passages that, if you had to choose just one passage to live your life around, this would be a good one. It’s just a great encouragement to live for Christ.

Today I want to use it to show us three areas where true thankfulness will see its effects.

I think that if we’ll take this whole “thanksgiving” thing seriously in terms of these three verses, we’ll go a long way to being a truly thankful people who are thankful not only with our lips and in November, but all the time, and with all our lives.

Here’s the first way that true thankfulness will have its effect:

> True thankfulness will promote peace in the family of God.

Look back at verse 15 –

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Circle that phrase, “called to peace.”

If you are part of the family of God, you are supposed to live a life of peace within that family.

It’s an unfortunate characteristic in parts of the family of God that peace doesn’t rule – either in the hearts of the people or in the hearts of an entire church.

Chaos and selfishness rule. That’s the cause of so many church splits, isn’t it?

But Scripture says that peace should rule in our hearts. The peace of Christ.

A peace that reflects that we have peace with God through our faith in Christ who paid the penalty for our sins.

Just being part of a fellowship of people who have been forgiven of their sins and have a home in heaven should be enough of a basis for peace in the family of God, don’t you think?

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” That wasn’t just a nice thing to say. He was actually serious about that. Go figure!

We promote peace in the family of God by putting the needs of others ahead of our own, considering them better than ourselves, as Scripture says.

We promote peace by forgiving those who have sinned against us and by seeking forgiveness from those we’ve sinned against.

I came across the prayer of a married woman.

“I pray for - Wisdom - to understand my man; Love - to forgive him; Patience - for his moods; Because, Lord if I pray for Strength, I’ll beat him to death. Amen.” ( Submitted by Russel Brownworth)

We promote peace by praying for people and with them.

We promote peace by speaking well of them, especially behind their back.

We promote peace by refusing to gossip, backbite, and grumble, which the Scripture calls sin, but that some folks in churches are really good at, for some reason…

We promote peace by seeking the good in people and praising them for it.

When we are truly thankful to God, we become people who promote peace in the family of God.

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