Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon on the theme of God
The pastor’s points
Cedar Lodge Baptist Church
Dr. Russell Brownworth, Pastor
He Is Good
Psalms 136.1 November 19, 2000
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Thanksgiving is nigh! For many it will mean a day of family gatherings, turkey, dressing, chestnuts roasting, and apple pie with ice cream melting all over the dish. Can you smell it?
Whatever view of God you hold will determine whether this will be a day of successfully rationalizing the forsaking of your diet – or if it will be a day of Thanksgiving to God. Consider several views of God; there are those who say…
I can’t believe in him – is the cry of the humanist/atheist. The thankfulness of a humanist who sees no God is ultimately directed at himself. He is thankful he provided so well for his needs. It is a day of full plates and empty platitudes. There are also those who say…
I guess he’s there, but you can’t know him. This is the helplessness of the person who would like to be thankful. There is something inside that tells him that thankfulness is appropriate – but he just can’t figure out what to do with it. This person will even offer up a prayer over the turkey (if he’s a religious type, he’ll make it long enough to let the gravy and dressing get cold!). There are even those who say…
I suspect god is there, but even if you can know him you cant trust him. The hopelessness of the current generation figures God is capricious, and if you get close enough to Him you will probably get toasted. It is as if the deck is totally stacked against humans, and God is just waiting to pull the rug out from underneath where you’re standing.
Years ago, the story goes, a San Diego bank hired a private investigator to track down a bank robber and retrieve stolen funds. The search led to Mexico. The investigator crossed the border and then, realizing he would need a Spanish interpreter, opened up the telephone book and hired the first interpreter listed in the Yellow Pages.
After many days, he finally captured the bandit and, through the interpreter, asked him, "Where did you hide the money?" In Spanish, the thief replied, "What money? I have no idea what you're talking about."
With that, the investigator drew his pistol, pointed it at the suspect, and said to the interpreter, "Tell him that if he doesn't tell me where the money is, I will shoot him where he stands."
Upon receiving this message, the bank robber said to the interpreter, "Señor, I have hidden the money in a coffee can, under the fourth floorboard, in the second-floor men's room of the Palacio Hotel on Via Del Rio in La Paz."
"What did he say?" the investigator asked the interpreter.
"Señor," said the interpreter as he thought for a moment, "he says he is prepared to die like a man!"
Q: What is the Biblical View of God?
A: He is Good, you CAN Know Him and Trust Him.
He is Good
Our primary understanding of the goodness of God is simply a matter of observing the creation. God, Himself, looked around after creating (Genesis 1), and stated, It was very good.
Apart from the creation, we have the words of Jesus. A rich young ruler once came to the Lord and addressed him as good teacher. Jesus’ reply…
And Jesus said unto him,
Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
Dante Alighieri said The Infinite Goodness has such wide arms that it takes whatever turns to it. The word from Scripture, and nature, is that God is Good.
A second word from Scripture is…
You CAN Know Him
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Mercy is what you have whenever the truth is told. The truth is that everyone is a sinner, and Jesus didn’t have to die for any of us. But He did! And the purpose is so that we can know God, have a close relationship with Him.
20Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
He is good, and you can know Him, and
You CAN Trust Him;
The fear of man bringeth a snare:
but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
Knowing God, and Trusting God are two distinctly separate and different realities. The Bible says that the devils also believe, and tremble (James 2.19b). To trust Him means to come to the Thanksgiving table. It means to place all of your life at His disposal. It means to give up that life apart from Him, and be adopted as one of His children.