Summary: Thanksgiving is the holiday where everyone gets on the road of thanks, but then too often don’t remain on it to go deeper into the grace of God. But we can get on the road and stay on it.
Intro: read Robert Frost: “The Road Not Taken”
1. as I advance in years, I understand this more.
2. and as I advance in years and find deepening satisfaction with the road God has called me to, I find myself wanting it not only for myself, but for others.
3. it is a road certainly less traveled, and certainly has many challenges.
4. and yet I would think that if you spoke to people who have traveled this road longer than I, you would find even a deeper satisfaction.
5. but there are two types of celebration, because there are two roads that can be taken.
6. one road is static, leads nowhere.
7. the other leads into deepening grace, growing thanksgiving, a change of heart, mind and action.
8. as we look at these steps today, I encourage you to either stay on the road of deepening thanks, or get on it.
I. Thanks for Common Grace.
1. common grace is a wonderful doctrine which explains why we have a Thanksgiving Day in the first place.
PP) Common grace is the…
2. the Bible has many references to this kind of thanksgiving, many in the Psalms
3. this is the way God treats us, even when we deserve His judgment.
4. Psalm 136 tells us why:
5. God is a loving God, loving to those He has made, even when they remain in sin against Him.
6. and here is the fork in the road, the presentation of two diverging paths.
7. God has given us the wonderful world and called us to place our trust in Him.
8. and it is at this place of common grace that He calls us to the path of deepening grace.
PP Romans 1:20
9. v21 makes clear what happens when the response to the clear grace of God seen in nature is not appreciated.
PP Romans 1:21
10. when this happens, a step is taken on the road of deepening judgment, not deepening grace.
Il) like the kid who begins to hang out with the wrong group of friends, involved in petty crimes that go deeper and deeper.
11. on the other hand, some respond to God’s grace with thanksgiving.
12. they recognize by grace that these gifts of God are not deserved, but manifest the character of God, and they desire to thank Him.
13. when this choice is made, the deepening circle begins.
II. Thanks for Saving Grace.
1. the person who thanks God for His common grace finds that he has opened the door to great wonders.
2. this God, instead of being the ogre Satan has presented Him to be from the first days of human history, is just the opposite.
3. In the person and work of Jesus Christ, the inquiring person discovers the greatest possible statement of love.
PP Romans 5:8
4. he finds that even though his sins have marked him for the righteous wrath of God, that wrath has been absorbed by the Lamb of God.
5. and he finds that if forgiveness of sins is not great enough, God has now put him in a place where he can be showered with unimaginable riches.
6. at this point, as we begin to wallow in the deep grace of God, thanks becomes the most natural response of the transformed heart.
7. now we know the joy of reconciliation, recognize the depth of our past sinful state and the undeserved nature of God’s grace.
8. and the deeper we go in our understanding, the greater our thanks becomes.
9. we realize the eternal nature of our salvation, the assurance with which we face life and death and eternity, and we cry out with Paul…
10. the saving grace of God has convinced us that God is loving, forgiving, gracious, tender, merciful.
11. and recognizing who we were and who He has made us by the blood of the Lamb, thanksgiving pours out of our mouths and our hearts.
12. but it gets deeper.
II. Thanks for Sanctifying Grace.
1. The thanksgiving to this point is for things that are clearly beneficial to us.
2. but we know the true nature of the transformation when we see a thankful response to trials.
3. focus on Romans 5:1-5, which starts with thanks for saving grace,
PP Romans 5:3-5
4. then adds this intensifier, “Not only so”
5. “we rejoice in our sufferings”…this is a uniquely Christian response to a universal human experience.
6. we “rejoice” is this some kind of brainwashing? Why would we rejoice, give thanks, for suffering?
7. because it is producing something in our lives that could not be produced, and which God has tremendous interest in.