Summary: In this message, I want us to consider specifically the words “Thanks be to God.” Let’s see what Paul said we were to be thankful for. 1- Thanks be to God for victory over sin 2- Thanks be to God for victory over death 3- Thanks be to God for victory
Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
INTRO.- Many people don’t give thanks to God. They may be thankful, but not to God, which is a big mistake.
ILL.- I used to be a member of the River to River Runners of Southern IL. Every year near Christmas they would have their annual banquet and recognize certain runners: those with high mileage (3000 to 5000 miles per year), those who ran marathons (or fast marathons), etc.
At that banquet, they always had an invocation or opening prayer. One year they asked me to offer the prayer. Before I stepped to the microphone, the President of the club whispered in my ear, “Make it generic and make it short.”
We understand why he would want it short. Most people don’t want to listen to a long prayer but what about this generic business? What he meant was this: (even though he didn’t come out and say it) DON’T PRAY IN JESUS’ NAME. Just pray and say Amen.
And, of course, I remembered the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:32-33. “Whoever confesses me before men, him will I confess before my Father who is in heaven and whoever denies me before men him will I deny.”
So what kind of prayer do you think I offered? It was short but I did ask the Father in Jesus’ name. And several of my Christian friends said out loud, “Amen.”
The next year at that banquet the board had asked a man of Jewish faith to give the opening prayer AND IT WASN’T A PRAYER!
It wasn’t a prayer in the sense of what I would call a prayer. He spoke about several things (that we had good health, good food, etc.) and then said, “let us be thankful....” BUT NOTHING WAS SAID ABOUT BEING THANKFUL TO GOD! He never said anything about God (never mentioned His name) and of course, He WOULDN’T say anything about Jesus since most Jews don’t believe in Jesus as the Messiah.
There are many people in our world who see the good stuff in their lives but they don’t give thanks to the ONE person who gave them all that good stuff! They are grateful people but not to God! They recognize that they are blessed but they don’t recognize where those blessings come from!
James 1:16-17 “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
How does that go? IF IT’S GOOD, IT’S FROM GOD! And we all have a lot of good stuff in our lives: mate, family, friends, material provision, the church, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the many promises in the Word and the ultimate promise of eternal life! I would say that God deserves our thanks and many times over! Many times a day!
PROP.- In this message, I want us to consider specifically the words “Thanks be to God.” Let’s see what Paul said we were to be thankful for.
1- Thanks be to God for victory over sin
2- Thanks be to God for victory over death
3- Thanks be to God for victory over life
I. THANKS BE TO GOD FOR VICTORY OVER SIN
What’s the big deal about sin? What’s so bad about sin?
ILL.- One time a prominent novelist who was a skeptic of Christianity visited a revival meeting out of curiosity. When the invitation time came a member of the revival team approached the novelist and asked, “Are you saved?” He said, “No.” Then he was asked, “Don’t you want God to forgive you of your sins?” He replied, “No, I like my sins.”
Many people don’t come to Christ for salvation because they like what they are doing. They like their sins. How could this be? Well, to some people, certain sins are very likeable or enjoyable.
Hebrews 11:24-25 “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”
The pleasures of sin. Some sins are more pleasurable than others, of course.
ILL.- Occasionally, I will call on Marian Griffin who is widow of Ben Griffin, the uncle to our Bill Griffin. In the past, Bill and Dorothy Griffin would take Ben and Marian to Newport to a pizza place which they liked very much. While calling on Marian, I would say to her, “Well, have you and Dorothy been to that beer joint in Newport lately?”
You see this is big joke that we have going on. Apparently, they do sell beer at that pizza place but Marian told me she’d never drank a beer in her life or any liquor for that matter.