Summary: To show the importance of being thankful Christians.

Title: Keys to a Successful Thanksgiving

Theme: To show the importance of being thankful Christians.

Text: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

In just a few days we are going to celebrate what I consider, next to the celebration of Christ Birth and Resurrection, the most important holiday of the year. Even though America has seemed to turn its back to this holiday I still believe as a Christian this is important. We have a reason to be thankful. We have a reason to celebrate a year of thankfulness. Think back upon this last year. From November to November, has the Lord been good to you? So shouldn’t we take a day of celebration and thanksgiving and give it to him, just as David did and just as the pilgrims did.

Today what I would like to talk about is the three ways to have a thankful heart. Three ways that are built upon one another. If you would please turn in your Bibles to the book of I Thessalonians. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

1 Thessalonians 5:16. Rejoice evermore 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Here we have the answer to having a really special Thanksgiving. Let us look at these

I. 16. Rejoice evermore.

Paul explains this better in writing to the Philippians he says in chapter 4 and verse 4, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice."

The first key to a happy Thanksgiving is to "rejoice". And as the Revised Standard Version reads, "Rejoice always". Be joyous. This is not just being happy for the moment but being joyous always.

So you ask why? Just as the Thessalonian Christians ask. What is it that I have to be joyous for? Why should I walk around with a smile on my face. Preacher you don’t know my pains. You don’t know what I am going through. You don’t even understand my situation. Well I am here to tell you that you are right. I don’t know but God does. He knows and he listens and he gives us reasons to rejoice. Why rejoice?

A. We have forgiveness of sins

How about because of forgiveness of sins, isn’t that a reason to be joyous about. The world things that we are a religion of condemnation. We look at everyone as being "feeble, despicable sinners." And in one sense we do but over all we know and believe that there is a forgiver for all sinners just as he has forgiven us. He is a redeemer. Isn’t this a reason to be joyous, to be happy in Christianity.

B. Our name is written in heaven

How about because of our name is written in heaven. Luke 10:20-AV "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." We have access to a place far better than this old world. We have a better vacation than this world can offer we have a heavenly place to go to. We have a reservation.

C. We have a reward up in heaven

And when we get there we can rejoice because we have a reward up in heaven. All our pains and tribulations will all be worth it.

Matthew 5:11-AV Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12-AV Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great [is] your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

So this thanksgiving let us rejoice and be glad for what God has done for us and most of all for what he is going to do for us.

II. 17 Pray without ceasing

Also we see Paul gives us another command that goes right along with rejoicing always and is a complement to this and that is to "Pray without ceasing"

As I began to study this verse I began to look at the opinion of others to see what they thought of this verse. In each book that I read I seemed to find a different interpretation of what Paul was saying. As I studied more I realized they were all right. Let us look at these.

A. Always be in a spirit of prayer

This is a way of life that all believers should lead. Prayer is not just talking to God. I have listened to some people pray and they seem to just have a one sided conversation with God. God I need you to do this for me and oh yea bless Aunt Jane. And you know I’ve been needing a new car, a Cadallic with nice rims would work. No. Prayer should be a communion with God. It is having a relationship with God. Not only talking but listening. Have you ever just sit and listened to God. Sometimes before I pray I just get real still and focus on God and just listen. Other times I do this after I have prayed but just listening and communing with God that is praying with out ceasing

B. Give to it all the time available

Anytime you have free time pray to God. Take time to pray to God. In the morning before breakfast. On your drive to work. At the office. Find free time to pray to God. The results are rewarding. Our battles are not against each other in this world. Its not even against then sinners but it is against the spiritual realm. Against Satan and his demons.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

So let us fight fire with fire. Pray.

C. Don’t let anything come in between you and your time with God

Don’t make excuses. Let me tell you your relationship with your family, nor your job, nor your leisure time, no matter how important, will not get you into heaven. Only your relationship with the LORD Jesus Christ. He is the only way and the only answer.

III. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in

Christ Jesus concerning you.

Then we see finally and for most how to have a wonder thanksgiving. vs 18

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in

Christ Jesus concerning you.

Here we see the key not only to a happy thanksgiving but the key to a joyful and prayerful heart. That is to be thankful

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer

and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known

unto God.

It is very important in our walk with God that we are thankful. Paul even says in Romans 1:21 that it is human sinfulness if we don’t give thanks.

Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not

as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and

their foolish heart was darkened.

We see here that it is against God’s will not to give thanks so we must give thanks to God in order to be obedient to him and his word. This should be the beginning of our prayer to him. We should always begin with a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God. It puts us in the right relationship with God. We should never jump into our needs when we pray but let us come in contact with God throughout thanksgiving

But you know this also works with others also. If you thank someone you will get a lot closer to them than if you criticize them. Thanksgiving stops Criticism, Sarcasm, Complaining, Fault finding, Taking for granted, Despising, Bitterness

Thanksgiving should be from the heart. It should ring out with praises unto God. Let us make it a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Hebrews 13:15 reads," By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of

praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks

to his name."

There are times when we have to make it a sacrifice to praise and thank God but let us do it find reasons thank him. We are alive. We are healthy. We are saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost. Well praise God.

One last note we also see here the marks of a genuine church

A genuine church is a joyous church

A genuine church is a praying church

A genuine church is thankful church

So as we come to our thanksgiving this year let us make it a time of real thanksgiving. And let us continue to do this ’till next year. Rejoice evermore, pray with out ceasing and giving thanks in everything what a key to a better relationship with God.

As we stand I want to ask you, have you thanked God today. Have you given him the praise. If you would close your eyes and sing along with this chorus. Thank you Lord.