Summary: A Thanksgiving sermon listing three ways that we may try to repay the Lord for his priceless blessings.
When we go to the grocery store we watch and wait while the clerk rings up our orders. When they finish they tell us the total amount that that we owe for our purchases. A trip to the doctor usually ends with the words, “How much do I owe?” When our teenager smashes the fender of our car on the side of our garage, we take the car to the body shop to be repaired. The body shop manager gives us an estimate of the cost of repairs. We learn how much we owe before we authorize the body man to begin work on the automobile. Unless we are skilled handymen, we then have to get a carpenter to repair the garage door. Our first question to him is, “How much will I owe you for labor and materials?”
In Psalm 116, the Psalmist relates that God had delivered him from physical death(V.3); that God had saved his eternal soul from spiritual death(v.8); that God had dried his tears and steadied his stumbling walk(v.8); that God had freed him from the chains of slavery and sin…(v.16) Because of God’s compassion, grace, mercy and love the Psalmist said, “I love the Lord…”(v.1) In a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving he asks: “How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?”(v.12)
This Thanksgiving in the United States of America, every American is wonderfully blessed. Modern medicine, clean water, better diet, etc. have raised the life expectancy of every American.(I am still not sure why a majority of men die before women… Would it be politically correct for me to make a joke about this phenomenon?) We live longer. We have freedoms that are only dreams too much of the world’s population.
This Thanksgiving in the church, every born again from above Christian has been blessed in ways that the sinner does not experience or even comprehend. God has delivered our souls from eternal suffering and death in hell. Through faith alone in Jesus Christ he has given us eternal life, both now and in heaven. His compassion comforts us in trials and he wipes the tears of hopelessness from our eyes. We have all been sinners stumbling hopelessly and sinfully through our lives… But when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Messiah he picked us up out of the muck, mire, quagmire, the ooze and shameful slime where our sins had dragged us and he set us on the firm, solid, straight and narrow highway of holiness.
When we love someone, we want to do good things for them. Out of genuine love, the Psalmist asked, “How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?”(v.12) We New Testament Believers, Christians, ask, “How can we repay the Lord for all of his goodness to us?” Certainly, we can follow the example of the Psalmist who said: 1. “I will lift up the cup of salvation.”(v.13) 2. I will “call upon the name of the Lord.”(v.13,17) 3. “I will fulfill my vows to the Lord.”(v.14,18) Let us apply his repayment plan to our modern lives.
I. I WILL LIFT UP THE CUP OF SALVATION.(v.13)
Sadly, many people have heard the gospel and know that Jesus promised that if we accept and obey him that we will never thirst again. They see the cup of salvation, but they never lift it up to taste and see that the Lord is good. We could never repay Jesus for his death on the cross for our sins. He loved and died even when we did not care or seem to notice. He is the living water, our river of life. He satisfies our desires in ways that this world never could offer. He gives us life and makes us produce good fruit. The fruits of the Spirit. His satisfies our every need with good things.(See Psalm 37)
(Illustration: “Some time ago I saw a travelogue on television concerning a group of explorers who were searching in Africa for a vanishing tribe. In the course of their travels they came across some natives who for centuries had made their home on the banks of this one particular river. This in itself did not cause wonder, until they were showed the polluted stream. It was filled with dirt and every contamination imaginable. The natives had developed a method of swishing over the top of the water to get the bigger chunks out before scooping it up to drink. One of the explorers took his canteen and poured out a large cup of crystal-clear water and handed it to one of the aged women of the tribe, whose face was as wrinkled as a prune. She took the cup, pressed it to her lips, and didn’t put it down until she had drained it. Then through an interpreter she said that she had never dreamed that there was anything in this world as sweet and wonderful as that. I thought then: how like the world without Christ! They too drink from polluted streams—just swishing the ‘chunks’ out of the way because they have never known anything better. However, when they finally taste the crystal waters of eternal life, they proclaim that they never before realized there was anything so sweet and wonderful That old woman was forced to go back to her polluted waters. But, thank God, we who have partaken of the ‘living waters’ of salvation need never go back.”(Our Daily Bread)