Summary: Four things that will help us grow in gratitude.

“The ABC's of Gratitude”

November 21, 2010

Romans 1:8-25

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

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. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

A sinner is an ungrateful person. A sinner is an unaware person. A sinner is a self consumed person. I know that was so for me. My focus was on how ‘I’ felt; how ‘I’ was treated; how ‘I’ benefitted from something.

What a miserable way to live. And I was an unhappy, ungrateful person. I saw all I wanted – and didn’t have; not the blessings I did have. I was sensitive to how people treated me – not how I treated them or made them feel. I used people to bless me. I didn’t care about blessing them. Consequently, I was a miserable wretched human being. Only God (and Mom filled with God) could love me. Life is so very hard as a sinner. There is never enough – no matter how much you have or what you get. You are always hungry for more. You are always thirsting for something new, something exciting; something that will make life worth living – and you can’t find it in the world.

Sinners are often despondent and depressed and ungrateful – and many of them commit suicide. Many of them sink into drugs and alcohol. Many choose a hedonistic life style and use people sexually for personal gratification. Since none of these things can fulfill you – they keep trying different things, strange things, perverted things, abominable things to find that missing thing.

That was the case with these people in our Scripture. These were Roman people, in particular, Paul was talking about. They were known for denying themselves nothing. They were rich and powerful and could make happen just about anything they could dream up. So they indulged in every kind of sexual sin and sexual experience imaginable. Homosexuality was rampant among them. Men burned with lust for men. Women burned with lust for women. Their affections were unnatural and perverted. Someone said: "Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you intended to pay."

Proverbs 15:13 says that the way of the transgressor is hard – and it really is. It SEEMS exciting and fun – but the pain always outweighs whatever pleasure there may be in a sinful act.

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