Summary: Sermon series on gratitude becoming a way of life.
Two weeks ago we talked about being GR8ing or GR8ful where I laid out the need for having an attitude of gratitude, the science to back up the fact that gratitude leads to a better life, We looked at some of the Scriptures that command us to be thankful, grateful people. We looked at examples of ingratitude, and we looked at some tremendous examples of gratitude. We even did a gratitude dance.
Last week, we looked at the story of the 10 lepers being healed by Jesus. Only one came back to say thank you. We also looked at some practical ways to become more thankful people. How many of you DID SOMETHING NEW at Thanksgiving to try to be more thankful?
The word of God tells us that this should be a continual, daily, attitude. That it shouldn't be about thanksgiving one day a year, but thanksliving all year round.
Listen to these Scriptures that back that up:
Eph. 5:1-4 - "Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God."
Eph. 5:15-20 - "So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Phil. 4:4-7 - "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
I Thes. 5:16-18 - "Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
We need to be thankful, grateful for the everyday stuff, the small stuff as I stressed last week. But we NEED to remember to truly be grateful, truly grateful for the spiritual stuff as well. When we don't maintain a thankful attitude about Jesus sacrifice on the cross for us, we take Him for granted.
Psalm 100 - "Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth! Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation."
I have met many Christians through my years in ministry that loved to worship God, loved to be in His Presence. I certainly hope that describes me and you. However, there is a process, a procedure to enter the King's court.
Have you ever been in the presence of the President of the United States? I have had the opportunity to be in the vicinity of the President on two occasions and a former president on another. I was just a few feet from President George HW Bush at the Springfield, MO airport when Air Force 1 touched down there. I was in Busch Stadium in STL when President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch. I was at the Teen Challenge banquet last year when former President Bush was the speaker. If you are going to be anywhere near the President, there is a process you have to go through. Metal detectors, possible pat down, Secret Service watching your every move, etc. Being in the presence of the President or royalty comes with a price. The key is in the process.
The key to being in the presence of our King is found in Psalm 100. "Enter His gates with THANKSGIVING, go into His courts with PRAISE."
I have met many people that just wanted to rush into His courts and feel His peace, the awesomeness of His power, the beauty of His presence but they didn't stop to be thankful for WHO HE IS and HOW HE HAS BLESSED US.