Summary: If our giving thanks are functional, perfunctory, ho-hum, half-heartedness, and joyless, it is because we have ceased pondering the specifics of just what God has done for us in salvation at the cross.
1. Title: It’s a Miracle!
2. Big Idea: We can be captivated by joy rather than captured by unworthiness.
a. Read: Colossians 1:12-14
c. We are continuing our sermon series from the book of Colossians. So far we have applied the gospel to vision, mission and ministry, our parenting (Father Knows Best), our heavenly hope (This is not my home), and last week (by Pastor Simpkins) our fruitfulness as Christians as contrasted with the lusts of the flesh (Living Worth of the Lord). With these messages so far we have learned that there is good news and bad news.
i. The bad news is that even as Christians our hearts our deceptive and desperately wicked. Is there any wonder that our attitudes and actions are a mixture of duplicity and sincerity, lusts of the flesh and fruit of the spirit, sunshine and rain? These things ought not to be, this flies in the face of reason and Christian living, diminishes our witness, damages our relationships, and discredits God’s person, and purposes. But thank God that after every storm there is a rainbow.
ii. With this rainbow comes good news. It is favorable to be struggling with sin in your life because only Christians wage this war. Only Christians have the opportunity to fight and win this war, although there are times that a particular battle is lost. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory. So if you are in a battle against sin, have hope that this is evidence of God’s grace in your life. The simple fact that you are aware of your own sinfulness should give you hope that the Spirit is actively working to root this sin completely out of your life. But if you are not waging a war against sin it is either because you’re in heaven, or you’re in denial or you’re still dead in your sin. For those of us on this side of eternity, are greatest need is for a Savior.
d. There is one more distinguishing mark of the life that is fully pleasing to the Savior which we only touched on briefly, and which we’ll give all our attention to this morning. That was the ongoing practice of giving thanks to the Father; thankfulness for salvation.
e. God shows us the type of thanksgiving worthy of the Lord and fully pleasing to Him. Not just any thanksgiving will do. We are to give thanks with Joy.
i. What does it not look like?
1. Methodology, I’m a God thanking machine (2x)
a. Not by our willpower but by His willpower
b. Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit thus says the Lord.
2. Manners, thank you, thank you, thank you
a. Not just nice mindless good manners like Gomer Pyle
b. Illustration: Saluting out of coercion not gladness
c. Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all your strength and with all your mind.
3. Misguided Emotionalism: tip-toes thru the tulips
a. Not like the careful but misguided tree-hugging Tina Tim
b. Heaven and earth, you’re the jury. Listen to God’s case: "I had children and raised them well, and they turned on me. The ox knows who’s boss, the mule knows the hand that feeds him, But not Israel. My people don’t know up from down. Shame! Misguided God-dropouts, staggering under their guilt-baggage, Gang of miscreants, band of vandals— My people have walked out on me, their God, turned their backs on The Holy of Israel, walked off and never looked back.
c. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.
ii. What does joyful thankfulness look like?
1. It’s more than good methods and good manners.
2. It’s altogether different than emotional appeal and willpower.
3. It’s giving thanks being grateful with your whole being, (mind, will, and emotions) with your whole heart because you realize what a miracle it is that you are saved at all. (x2)
4. Title: It’s a Miracle
a. Do you see your salvation and even the living out your salvation (which the Bible calls sanctification) a miracle or something else?
b. I’ll ask a series of 21 questions in which you may respond accordingly.
i. Is your salvation a mirage or a miracle? (It’s a Miracle)-unreal
ii. Is your salvation a mistake or a miracle? (It’s a Miracle)-error
iii. Is your salvation a maneuver or a miracle? (It’s a Miracle)-conspiracy
iv. Is your salvation a manipulation or a miracle? (Its’ a Miracle)-human
v. Is your salvation a guarantee or a miracle? (It’s a Miracle)-birthright
vi. Is your salvation a wishable or a miracle? (It’s a Miracle)-unattainable