Summary: Having the right spirit for thanks.
The spirit of being thankful for the right reasons
When we read the O. T. we find there are people who had a right to grumble. The most prominent one would have been JOB. He lived a righteous life better than almost any in the O. T. He lost his wealth, his children and health, yet he declared, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. When we turn to the N. T. we can see many reasons why Paul could have been a grumbler. 2 COR 11:16-28 All that happened to him and yet he opens most of his letters with thanksgiving.
1 Cor. 1:4 I can never stop thanking God for all the generous gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus.
1. He thanks God that the church had a reputation for following Christ. If we were to go out into our community and asked people where our church building is located, what would the answer be? If we were to ask what we believe, who would be able to tell us? How easy is it for you to talk about Christ?” "Let me say first of all that your faith in God is becoming known throughout the world. How I thank God through Jesus Christ for each one of you.” RM 1:8. Did you know that Paul did not start a church there? Still he knows about the church in Rome. Now listen to this about a church he did start: 1 TH. 1:8-10 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Greece, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don't need to tell them about it, for they themselves keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the true and living God. And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God's Son from heaven, Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.
This thrills me to know that we as Christians have such a great message to give. It says “for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. I know when we get excited about something it is hard to keep us quite. How excited are you about Jesus? A preacher from the past has put out a challenge to me when he said to be strong in the Lord one needs to spend each day with at least 15 minutes reading God’s word, 15 minutes praying and 15 minutes talking about Jesus to someone else. Peter and John were thrown into prison and when they could find no charges to keep them they let them go and told them they were free but they should not speak about Jesus to others any more. They replied they could only speak what they had seen and heard about Jesus. Is Jesus that important to you that you have to speak about Him? You might think people are taking little notice of you and you do not count much. God has His reputation at stake when you proclaim to be one of His children.
“Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.”
2. He thanked God for those who found favor with God. 1 Cor. 1:4-5 I can never stop thanking God for all the generous gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. He has enriched your church with the gifts of eloquence and every kind of knowledge.
PHIL. 1:3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
COL. 1:3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 TH. 1:2 We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.
2 TH. 1:3 Dear brothers and sisters, we always thank God for you, as is right, for we are thankful that your faith is flourishing and you are all growing in love for each other.
2 TM. 1:3 I thank God for you. He is the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
PH. 1:3-6 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. I always pray for you, and I make my requests with a heart full of joy because you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.