The Benefits of Thanksgiving
Intro: Thankful Video. We are told to give thanks always but what exactly does that mean? Do we lay everything down and just say thank you 24 hours a day 365 days a year?
Ephesians 5:17-20 (read) 5:20 “giving thanks always for everything to God the Father.” Emphasis mine
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you (insert your name here) in Christ Jesus.
God’s will is for you to give thanks. Isn’t it nice that God saw fit to personalize this for every believer?
Thanksgiving grows from a heart that is overwhelmed at what God has done, is doing and ultimately will do for His children and creation.
I. Be thankful you don’t get what you deserve – judgment
The modern catch phrase is “don’t judge me.” The sad thing is that it is according to Hebrews 9:27 appointed unto men to die and then the judgment.
John 3:16-18 (Read) We have much to be thankful for if we are saved and sealed by Jesus Christ. Those that have never confessed Jesus as Lord and received Him as savior are already judged and condemned. We can be thankful that according to Paul and Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. The most mature believers are warned that they will experience conflict with sin’s nature until Jesus returns. The weakest believers who stumble and fall into sin are promised that they will experience victory over sin in the life to come. Sin no longer has dominion over those in Christ Jesus. Even when sin strangles us there is no condemnation if you are in Christ Jesus!! Make sure that you have received Jesus and confessed Him as Lord and you have reasons to give thanks!!
When you struggle with some sin begin to give thanks to God for your victory over it. Praise, pray with thanksgiving and God’s power will strengthen you!
II. Be thankful you are not alone
Exodus 3:12, Joshua 1:5, Matthew 28:19-20, Hebrews 13:5
In a time when people are fickle and abandon children, family, friends, responsibilities God clearly and loudly tells us from the pages of His word. I will never leave you!
Thank and think come from the same Greek root. If we were to obey God and think about the promises tied up in His being present with us we couldn’t help but be grateful.
Practice by saying, “Thank you Jesus that you are always near.”
III. Be thankful everyone doesn’t know what God knows about you
God is a revealer of the unseen. Proverbs 28:13 clearly tells us if we confess our sins God gives us mercy. The one who conceals his sin will not prosper. God covers what we confess but uncovers what we hide. God reveals Himself through His word and His Son. When we come in contact with God’s Spirit and word He reveals who we are as well.
We should be very grateful that God doesn’t on a daily basis reveal to those around us the depths of our heart. There would be no way for any of us to have friends, families or relationships of any kind if God were to allow others to know everything He knows about us.
. IV. Be thankful you can enter God’s presence
“Enter into my gates with thanksgiving”
A grumbling spirit guarantees and opportunity for the devil. When grumbling begins the gate is opened wide for the devil and his deception, destruction and division. The children of Israel complained about no water, no bread and finally no meat. This lead to them worshipping an idol and being judged by God. Prayer is unfortunately minimal today but our own desires and plans will lead us to prayer. Thanksgiving will come from only one place, Love of God!
We have a priceless opportunity before us. We can act like the Israelites and grumble and gripe about everything and make no difference for the kingdom of God or we can be grateful and open the gates of heaven to those around us. (I’m thankful for challenges)
Philippians 4:5-6 “with thanksgiving let your requests be made known.”
A) A grateful heart is a sign of a Spirit filled believer (Ephesians 5:18-21)
Paul clearly tells us that a sing of the Spirit filled believer is a grateful attitude toward God who gives us everything.
B) A grateful heart is powerfully developed as you learn to depend on God’s Spirit
Gratefulness grows the more we think about what God has done for us. The reason that more of us are not grateful is because we focus on what we think we have missed or we deserve.
The optimist says, the cup is half full. The pessimist says, the cup is half empty. The child of God says; My cup runs over.
It is not only the sign of a spirit filled believer to give thanks. Praise, prayer and thanksgiving are strong vital signs of a vibrant spirit filled church.
A thankful heart is recognition of God’s good hand and presence in whatever situation we face. We often ask God to change the circumstances and forget to thank Him for being with us in every circumstance.
V. Be aware of what keeps you from being thankful
A) A critical spirit
A bishop was invited to dinner. During the meal he was astonished to hear the younger daughter state that a person must be very brave to go to church these days. “Why do you say that?” asked the bishop.
“Because,” she answered, “I heard Dad tell Mom last Sunday that there was a big shot in the pulpit, the canon was in the vestry, the choir murdered the anthem, and the organist drowned everybody!”
B) A prideful spirit
Pride is a sign and a symptom of an unbelieving unregenerate heart. Read Romans 1:21
Those that will not bow their lives before the gracious hand of God will certainly not give thanks to Him.
The Scottish preacher George H. Morrison said, "Nine-tenths of our unhappiness is selfishness, and is an insult cast in the face of God." (Bible Exposition Commentary - Old Testament)
VI. Be aware of the benefits of thanksgiving
A) If you are giving thanks you are in God’s will
B) If you are giving thanks you are living in God’s presence
C) If you are giving thanks you are overcoming circumstances
What are some ways we can give thanks?
Share what you have with others
Spend time in the ministries God has grown in this body
Steward what you have for God’s glory
Share the gospel with those that don’t know Jesus
Surrender you plans, desires and opinions to God’s will and His mission for Immanuel
Shout thanks to God.
Conclusion: Forgive Me When I Whine
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her -- she seemed so gay, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet -- the world is mine.
And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, "It's nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find"; he turned and said, "Oh, thank you sir." And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, and the world is mine.
Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, "Why don't you join the others, dear?" He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.
With feet to take me where I'd go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine. (Source unknown)