Summary: There are benefits to accepting God's invitation to be grateful. If we live with a grateful heart we are living in God's will, in God's presence and we will live above our circumstances. True thankfulness comes only from love of God.
The Benefits of Thanksgiving
Intro: Thankful Video. We are told to give thanks always but what exactly does that mean? Do we lay everything down and just say thank you 24 hours a day 365 days a year?
Ephesians 5:17-20 (read) 5:20 “giving thanks always for everything to God the Father.” Emphasis mine
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you (insert your name here) in Christ Jesus.
God’s will is for you to give thanks. Isn’t it nice that God saw fit to personalize this for every believer?
Thanksgiving grows from a heart that is overwhelmed at what God has done, is doing and ultimately will do for His children and creation.
I. Be thankful you don’t get what you deserve – judgment
The modern catch phrase is “don’t judge me.” The sad thing is that it is according to Hebrews 9:27 appointed unto men to die and then the judgment.
John 3:16-18 (Read) We have much to be thankful for if we are saved and sealed by Jesus Christ. Those that have never confessed Jesus as Lord and received Him as savior are already judged and condemned. We can be thankful that according to Paul and Romans 8:1 there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. The most mature believers are warned that they will experience conflict with sin’s nature until Jesus returns. The weakest believers who stumble and fall into sin are promised that they will experience victory over sin in the life to come. Sin no longer has dominion over those in Christ Jesus. Even when sin strangles us there is no condemnation if you are in Christ Jesus!! Make sure that you have received Jesus and confessed Him as Lord and you have reasons to give thanks!!
When you struggle with some sin begin to give thanks to God for your victory over it. Praise, pray with thanksgiving and God’s power will strengthen you!
II. Be thankful you are not alone
In a time when people are fickle and abandon children, family, friends, responsibilities God clearly and loudly tells us from the pages of His word. I will never leave you!
Thank and think come from the same Greek root. If we were to obey God and think about the promises tied up in His being present with us we couldn’t help but be grateful.
Practice by saying, “Thank you Jesus that you are always near.”
III. Be thankful everyone doesn’t know what God knows about you
God is a revealer of the unseen. Proverbs 28:13 clearly tells us if we confess our sins God gives us mercy. The one who conceals his sin will not prosper. God covers what we confess but uncovers what we hide. God reveals Himself through His word and His Son. When we come in contact with God’s Spirit and word He reveals who we are as well.
We should be very grateful that God doesn’t on a daily basis reveal to those around us the depths of our heart. There would be no way for any of us to have friends, families or relationships of any kind if God were to allow others to know everything He knows about us.
. IV. Be thankful you can enter God’s presence
“Enter into my gates with thanksgiving”
A grumbling spirit guarantees and opportunity for the devil. When grumbling begins the gate is opened wide for the devil and his deception, destruction and division. The children of Israel complained about no water, no bread and finally no meat. This lead to them worshipping an idol and being judged by God. Prayer is unfortunately minimal today but our own desires and plans will lead us to prayer. Thanksgiving will come from only one place, Love of God!
We have a priceless opportunity before us. We can act like the Israelites and grumble and gripe about everything and make no difference for the kingdom of God or we can be grateful and open the gates of heaven to those around us. (I’m thankful for challenges)
Philippians 4:5-6 “with thanksgiving let your requests be made known.”
A) A grateful heart is a sign of a Spirit filled believer (Ephesians 5:18-21)
Paul clearly tells us that a sing of the Spirit filled believer is a grateful attitude toward God who gives us everything.
B) A grateful heart is powerfully developed as you learn to depend on God’s Spirit
Gratefulness grows the more we think about what God has done for us. The reason that more of us are not grateful is because we focus on what we think we have missed or we deserve.
The optimist says, the cup is half full. The pessimist says, the cup is half empty. The child of God says; My cup runs over.