Summary: Great Object Sermon! Inspiration and main points for the sermon came from a sermon by Bruce Howell-"Five Kernels of Corn" found here on SermonCentral. I handed out five kernels of feed corn in wedding rice style to all in attendance.
Psalm 103:1 – 22
The observance of Thanksgiving is a tradition that we hold near to our heart as Americans. The tradition of gathering together with friends and family for Thanksgiving began almost 400 years ago at Plymouth Colony. The Pilgrims uprooted themselves and sailed for America on the Mayflower seeking religious freedom and a new way of life for their families. Through what they endured, it is amazing that we ever came to have this holiday at all. First, instead of landing in Virginia where others from England had already established settlements, the Mayflower was blown off course and landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts just in time for winter to set in. What ensued next was enough to break the will of even the strongest of people, terrible storms and sickness ravaged the settlers. Gov. William Bradford described this first winter as, “That which was most sad and lamentable, was that in two or three months time, half of the company had died.” He went on to describe how that sometimes two even three people died each day. Shelter from the harsh winter was scant as the Pilgrims spent their time digging seven times as many graves for their dead as they built homes for the living. When the ship arrived which was to bring food for their relief they found that while it brought 35 more mouths to feed it brought not an ounce of provisions. The very fact that the tradition of Thanksgiving originated from this band of beaten brothers is amazing indeed!
Yet, in 1621, Edward Winslow, one of the fifty or so members of the Plymouth Colony wrote these words describing the first Thanksgiving. “Our harvest of corn came in well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn and our barley crop was also good… And although our harvests are not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often with that you could be partakers of our plenty.
Wanting never to forget how God delivered them from their want the Pilgrims and their ancestors developed a tradition to remember the hard times from which they had been delivered. Whenever the Pilgrims gathered for a dinner of “thanksgiving” they had a custom of placing five kernels of corn upon an empty plate before the meal was served. Each member of the family would pick up a kernel and tell that for which they were thankful. This was a reminder to them how during that first winter at Plymouth food was so scarce that each individual was rationed only five kernels of corn each day.
As Christians we should always remember, even in the most dire circumstances, to place our reliance upon God. Today, as we look forward to Thanksgiving, let us take five kernels from Psalm 103 for which we can be thankful toward God.
I. The Kernel of Forgiveness (Psalm 103:3a)
A. God’s forgiveness is not something we can earn.
1. Psalm 103:10
2. Eph. 2:8 – 10
B. God’s forgiveness is complete forgiveness.
1. Psalm 103:12
2. Acts 3:19
II. The Kernel of Healing (Psalm 103:3b)
A. All healing is divine healing and the direct result of God’s work.
1. The healing properties God built into our bodies.
2. Medicines, the knowledge of Doctors are extensions of God’s healing.
B. God does not promise to heal everyone’s diseases, but that he has the power to heal all diseases.
C. God is the only one who can cure our spiritual diseases.
III. The Kernel of Redemption (Psalm 103:4a)
A. Illustration: The Governor of Texas once spoke to groups of convicts incarcerated in the state penitentiaries. He finished by saying that he would remain to listen if any man wanted to speak with him. As might be expected, when the meeting was over, a large group of men remained. One by one, they each told the governor that he was there through a frame-up, injustice, or a judicial blunder. Each man asked to be freed. Finally, one man came up and said, “Governor, I just want to say that I’m guilty. I did what they sent me here for, but I believe I’ve paid for it. If I were freed, I would do everything I could to be a good citizen and prove myself worth of your mercy.” This man was the only one the Governor pardoned. Why? Because he admitted his guilt.
B. We can’t pay for our sin, but for redemption to take place we must confess and repent from our sins.
IV. The Kernel of Love and Compassion (Psalm 103:4b)
A. God’s compassion for us is like a father to his child. (Psalm 103:13)
B. God’s love is unmatched in heaven or on earth. (Rom. 5:6 – 8)