Summary: The grace of God operating in our lives overflows in gratitude - here's why and how...
Every now and again someone will post a meme saying that there are 365 times in the bible that God says "Do not be afraid" or "do not fear" one for each day of the year. Absolute nonsense sadly. It's actually only 126 times! Sentiment is good God does want you to overcome fear and go in His strength.
The words around gratitude - grateful, thanks and giving thanksgiving appear nearly as much as do not be afraid - 106 times. There are so many Scriptures about being thankful - so it's pretty obvious that one of the transitions that God makes in our hearts as we follow Jesus is gratitude!
We're going to look at one passage that right at the end connects grace with gratitude!
We'll get the context by reading the whole paragraph so it makes sense
2 Cor 4:1-15
Paul is describing his ministry
v1 By the mercy of God
v2 It is full of Integrity and sticking to Scripture - lots of people throwing out Scripture as our authority. Even in Paul’s time, people did that.
v5 Servant of Jesus - servanthood is so important. Christians serve one another and the broken world out there.
v7 Needs God's power - we are jars of clay, so we need God’s power
v8-9 Fraught with trouble - if you became a Christian thinking it will give you an easy ride and parking spaces when you pray. Here Paul - afflicted, crushed, perplexed, but not despairing. Persecuted and struck down, but keeping on keeping on because...
v10-11 The troubles allow Christ's life to shine through
v13-14 His faith sustains him in the mission - faith knowing that because God raised Jesus from the dead, everything is possible.
You can see he is longing to stand before Jesus with all his spiritual children “bring us with you into his presence”. What an amazing thing that will be on the last day to be surrounded by people whose lives you have affected and transformed with the Gospel.
v15 key verse for today
All for your sake - all for God's sake
All for the glory of God
Key thing for this morning is that gratitude is the key for all of life and ministry that you do!
"so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase in gratitude"
Play of words in Greek there -
grace = charis
gratitude = eucharistain
Gratitude has grace as the root!
Gratitude flows from God's grace
Oswald Chambers said the thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin.
It’s interesting that one of the words for breaking bread used in many churches is eucharist - giving thanks. That most holy moment when we take bread and remember Christ’s body broken and drink wine, remembering Christ’s blood shed for us, we are giving thanks in the most profound way.
The gospel is incredible
We were born in a state of inescapable guilt - lawbreakers, under the condemnation of a holy God, attempting but unable through our own efforts to make ourselves worthy and acceptable to God, good enough to earn his favour.
Jesus rescues us from that hopeless situation with his undeserved grace. Jesus unlike us perfectly fulfilled the law on our behalf, died in our place as a perfect substitute, taking the judgement we deserved. We don’t need to jump through hoops or manufacture our own righteousness. In that spectacular event of the cross and resurrection, everything we need to live in an amazing relationship with our creator has been provided.