Central Christian Church
St Petersburg, FL
November 21 2001
Tonight’s theme is "Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart"
According to my Funk and Wagnall’s College standard Dictionary grateful is defined as having a due sense of benefits received; thankful.
For the Christian in light of every trial, test, tribulation or suffering one huge benefit remains from the sacrifice of Christ and that benefit always present, never changing is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
If there is any single thing that stops us from giving thanks it is an attitude of discontentment.
The problem is a simple one- we have simply failed to join Christ in His death, so that we no longer live, but it is He who is living us.
It is a simple problem to define, but requires tremendous effort and self-discipline to cure.
We forget Rom 6:4 that says: Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
We complain about anything and everything, and so instead of putting on the attitudes of Christ Jesus and being grateful, we are discontent and by so doing we actually wear the mark of the beast.
Paul understood this simple principle, and taught extensively about it, because he knew it did not always flesh-out
Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
Paul shows us by his life as Christ did by His how we need to live to give thanks gratefully!
Nobody I know in the church has had it any harder than the apostle Paul.
2 Cor 11:23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
2 Cor 11:24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.
2 Cor 11:25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
2 Cor 11:26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
2 Cor 11:27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.
2 Cor 11:28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.
And yet He urges us in Phil 4:6 To be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Phil 4:11 Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
Phil 4:12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
To give thanks with a grateful heart the Christian needs to understand that he is living in the bonus round. We need to understand that we were dead in our sins, that we deserve death and the life we have been given, we have been given by GRACE. When we die to self the way Christ died to self- the "what I want- part of the fleshly life" is crucified and we become very content with whatever we are given and then and only then can we give thanks with a grateful heart!