Summary: The text offers 3 reasons to be thankful. These reasons (unlike so many other) point our worldview toward the Bible, Jehovah, and spiritual.
Reasons To Be Thankful
* Americans are, seemingly, the most blessed people on the globe. Things we take for granted are considered to be luxuries by the many on the globe. For instance, electricity is one of those things we expect to enjoy. To my generation and younger, a life without electricity is inconceivable. Yet, life is possible without electricity. Think about all the luxuries we have, motor cars, computers, health care, restaurants, etc. We are very blessed. Were I to ask this crowd, the answers for our thankfulness would be many & varied. Yet, could it be that we have been blessed for so long that we take our greatest blessing for granted? And could it be that we have become anesthetized to the blessings we enjoy? Let’s do a little personal inventory this morning about our reason’s to be thankful. (READ TEXT)
* The Apostle Paul gives us a keen reminder of our greatest reasons.
1. God’s Perfect Gift – All of us love to receive gifts. We may not like to be reminded of birthday (a sign of old age), but we like the gifts. Christmas time comes; and we like to get gifts. In fact; just about ‘anytime’ we love gifts. But how often do we receive that ‘perfect gift.’ This past Father’s day my girls put their heads together and got the perfect gift for me. It was one gift and it was perfect for where I am in life.
a. Please notice what I did NOT say. I did not say, “God’s perfect ‘gifts’. It is true that God gives us spiritual gift(s) (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, etc) when we are saved. They come from God (not our request) to empower us to perform ministry for others. The way a true believer in Christ becomes Christ-like is by serving others. It is equally true that God expects us to discover, develop, and deploy this or these gifts to find fulfillment and joy in our Christian walk. These constitute the “spiritual gifts.” In fact, my personal belief is that the reason ‘so many are so miserable’ (even to the point of walking away from the church) is they have never discover their giftedness. The result is that they miss this joy & fulfillment in Christ. It is further true that God knows best. But here is a needed warning; many believers today seem to be more taken with the spiritual gift(s) which come after salvation than they are with “THE PERFECT GIFT” (of salvation), which is, the gift of Jesus.
b. Verse 6 begins with “God said” which is a pretty strong way to begin a thought. God said, “Light shall shine out of darkness”. In Isaiah 9:2 the prophet wrote, “The people walking in darkness.” For the person in darkness, light is a very desired & needed commodity. Walking in darkness is symbolic of being lost. Because of the number of places I have lived, as a general rule, I find it easy to go to a new community, drive around (within reason), keep my bearings and not get lost; if it is daylight. HOWEVER if it is dark, that is a different matter altogether.
* Without light to see, it is very easy to get lost. In flight training, I remember my first night-time cross country flight. Even following our instruments, it took a while to find our destination. And being in a plane with a plan, even having a general idea of the location we were in, still gave the butterflies in the pit of my stomach. Being lost in darkness is scary.
* Your world & my world live in a state of perpetual darkness. Sad to say, but many do not understand this. In fact, nothing is more dangerous than walking in darkness & does not know it. To continue that Isaiah 9 passage is to read, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” Jesus responds, “I am the light of the world.”
* Our first reason to be thankful is God’s perfect gift of Jesus, who is the light of the world. In our lost condition, He lights out way. We don’t care to think we are lost without Jesus, but we are. We don’t care to think we need to lean on anyone, but we do. We don’t care to think we need a savior, but it’s true – we desperately need one. We don’t care to think that apart from a relationship with God through Jesus, we’ll spend eternity in hell, but we will. Jesus was and is God doing His perfect work in a perfect way. Without a personal relationship with God’s perfect gift, you are hopeless, helpless, and doomed because you cannot do it on your own.