Summary: To be thankful is to acknowledge that God’s “grace” is “good” and that He has given it to us as a testimony of His love for us.
Introduction: We have tried to focus everything in our time of worship today on the importance of being thankful. This is the last of the qualities that bring unity within the church that we have been studying over the last two months. We began with love and then moved through compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, acceptance, forgiveness, and then we talked last week about peace. Now we come to the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle of unity—thankfulness.
Text: Colossians 3:16-17
Here are some questions that came to my mind as I prayed through and prepared my message for today:
What does it means to be thankful?
What do we have to be thankful for?
How do we show that we are thankful?
What expectation is there if we truly are thankful?
Hopefully as I try to answer those questions it will help each of us take inventory of our spiritual lives.
The words thankful, and thanks in our text today are a compound words that comes from two Greek words; the word for “good” and the word for “grace.” That is the background behind what we refer to at our mealtime prayers when we ask someone to “say grace.” To be thankful is to acknowledge that God’s “grace” is “good” and that He has given it to us as a testimony of His love for us.
What do you and I have to be thankful for today? First, and foremost, we have the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. God’s “good grace” is seen fully in Jesus Christ who willingly gave His life on the cross so that you and I could be forgiven of our sins and receive the promise of heaven. When Jesus rose from the dead He conquered sin and death and has offered to all people the greatest gift of all—salvation of our souls. He didn’t die and rise again so that people could be “religious” He gave His life so that we could have a personal “relationship” with Him!
Do you have that assurance? Can you with certainty today give thanks because you know that Jesus is your Lord and Savior? If not, then right now you need to humble yourself before the Lord, confess your sins, and open up your heart to Him. It doesn’t matter if you have been a member of this church for 30 years; your salvation is not based on your church membership. When you face the Lord at the end our your life He isn’t going to ask you what church you were a member of, He’s going to ask you what you did with His Son Jesus Christ! There is a huge difference between knowing “about” Jesus, and knowing Jesus “personally.”
I was listening to some tapes as a traveled to Montana and back and one of the preachers made a statement that I believe we all need to deal with today:
“If Jesus hasn’t changed you, He hasn’t saved you!”
Some of you sitting here today need to ask yourself, “How has Jesus changed my life.” If He is not shaping you into His image on a daily basis…If His Holy Spirit is not guiding you and teaching you to live like Him…then you need to ask yourself: “Do I know Jesus, or do I know about Jesus?”
Here’s another way to look at this—if everyone here today who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ truly is a believer, then why aren’t we seeing the power of God displayed in our lives and in the life of this church? I’m not saying that God isn’t working, or that there aren’t some good things going on, but come on, if everyone who is a “member” of FBC has truly surrendered their heart to Jesus Christ, don’t you believe “HE” would be doing as He said, “even greater things than these.”
How do we “show” our thankfulness for who God is, and what He has done for us and in us? Paul summarized it with these two thoughts:
The message and the music need to be all about our gratitude to Jesus Christ!
I like the fact that Paul laid out several different “types” of music: Psalms, Hymns, & Spiritual Songs. What that tells me is that Paul wanted us to understand that the “heart” of the worshipper is way more important than the “style” of the music. If our worship is not centered in genuine thankfulness to the Lord it doesn’t matter what kind of songs we sing!
The other side of this coin of gratitude is the message—the Word of God. What are we supposed to do with God’s Word? Paul says it should “dwell” among us. That means it should “take up residence” within our lives and the life of the church.