Summary: 8 things we need to know
Scripture: Psalm 100; 145
Introduction: Thanksgiving is the day when we pause to reflect, remember, and respect the abundant blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Millions will use this special day, which has been appointed as Thanksgiving Day, as a day of indulgence, intemperance, and ingratitude, not respecting their Creator, conscience, or country. Thanksgiving is the act of rendering praise and thanksgiving; this praise and thanksgiving may take the form of private prayer or public proclamation as one articulates his appreciation for the blessings he enjoys. Thanksgiving is more than a day; it should be the disposition which all Christians should display every day, the attitude which should daily characterize those who are disciplined and devoted Disciples of Christ.
1. Christians Thank God for His Goodness (Jer. 33:11). God’s goodness leads men to repentance (Rom. 2:4). Thankfulness for God’s goodness is always in order. The Psalms abound with references to God’s goodness.
2. Christians Thank God for His Greatness (Ps. 48:1; 145:3; 147:5). David declared God’s greatness when he said, "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in His holy mountain" (Ps. 48:1). In Psalm 145:3, God’s greatness is described by the words "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable" (NKJV). Psalm 147:5 declares, "Great is our LORD, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite" (NKJV). The greatness of God’s person, power, and provisions should bring praise and thanksgiving from the heart of the Christian. Are you?
3. Christians Thank God for His Grace (1 Cor. 1:4). Grace is defined as unmerited or undeserved favor. Grace cannot be earned, but it can be experienced and enjoyed. Christians live by God’s grace, learn by God’s grace, labor by God’s grace, look for His coming by grace, and manifest loyalty by God’s grace. Believers are saved, schooled, sanctified, secured, and satisfied by God’s grace. The truth of God’s grace should cause praise and thanksgiving.
4. Christians Thank God for His Gospel (2 Cor. 8:18). The gospel is God’s Good News regarding the salvation provided for sinful people. In this verse, Paul gives an example of a brother whose praise is in the gospel. Paul elsewhere acknowledges preaching the gospel that is the power of God to salvation for all who believe
(Rom. 1:16). He is assured of the power of the gospel to change the lives of all who believe. The gospel, which brings the news of salvation for fallen mankind, should provoke thankfulness and praise for every Christian.
5. Christians Thank God for His Guidance (Ps. 67:4 NIV). We have no reason to fret or worry, for the Lord guides the nations! The writer of Proverbs declares, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5, 6). David declared "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way" (Ps. 37:23 NKJV). The Christian can be assured of and should be thankful for the Lord’s personal, practical, positive, and providential guidance.
6. Christians Thank God for His Government (Is. 9:6). Jesus once said to Martha, "You are worried and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:41 NKJV). How often we are the same! We should trust rather than toil. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, that the government would rest on His shoulders (Is. 9:6). The providence and sovereignty of God in the affairs of men are comforting truths. We can be assured "that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28 NKJV). The entire Book of Daniel suggests that God’s hand superintends the affairs of men. The grand pillars of God’s providence, which support the universe, should provoke thanksgiving and praise.
7. Christians Thank God for His Gifts (2 Cor. 9:13). Here, Paul gives thanks to God for a gift so incredible, that only He could be the true author of it. The Lord has given us salvation. He gave His Son to pay our sin debt. He has given us His Spirit. He has given us the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts that God has bestowed on His children are cause for thanksgiving and praise.
8. Christians Thank God for His Gospel Preachers (2 Cor. 9:13). Throughout the course of time, God has called individuals to declare His message. God has always had a person to do His bidding: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Joseph, Peter, Paul, and many others, perhaps even you. Our hearts should be filled with thanksgiving and praises for those who have faithfully answered God’s call to articulate God’s Word.
Thanksgiving truths commence with God, continue with God, and consummate in God. The psalmist expressed it succinctly when he declared, "Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations" (Ps.100 NKJV).