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Summary: Sometimes, special day services can be difficult to preach. It’s like saying the same thing in different ways. This sermon, on giving thanks will fit Thanksgiving Sunday or a general thankfulness sermon.

"TODAY IS THE DAY FOR HAPPY

CELEBRATIONS OF JOY"

(Thanksgiving Sunday)

Hope Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Dr. David L. Haun

Thursday is Thanksgiving. It was intended in the beginning to be a day to give thanks to God for all of his goodness and blessings to us. Today is Thanksgiving Sunday. So let’s consider the message of God in the 100th Psalm as we think of Thanksgiving happiness and joy.

Psalm 100:1-5 (RSV)

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the lands!

2 Serve the LORD with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the LORD is God!

It is he that made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him, bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;

his steadfast love endures for ever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

I. JOY COMES FROM HOLDING TIGHTLY

TO GODLY FAITH

Vs. 3 Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

A. Remember that the Lord is God.

1. God is the creator. We are the created... God made us.... God is in charge...

2. Sometimes we forget this. Adam and Eve did. They and we begin to live as if we are in charge. We begin to believe we "own" the universe.

3. We don’t "see" God, so we forget him. However, the goal for our lives was spelled out by Peter

Without having seen him you love him; though you do not now see him you believe in him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy. As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:8-9 (RSV

B. Remember that we are his sheep.

The Bible indicates that we are "dulos" - servants, or slaves. We are sheep, not the shepherd. As the Bible says,

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...." (Ps 23)

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the heep. "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:11,14-15(NIV)

Vs 5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

C. Know that the Lord is Good

Things go wrong and we blame God. But that falls short of truth...

He is Hope for the hopeless,

and love for the loveless.

He is help for the helpless,

and strength for the weak.

He is rest for the trying,

And peace for the crying.

He is hope for the dying,

And the one whom we seek. (1)

D. Know that his love and faithfulness never ends.

A Christian Theologian, J.I. Packer wrote a book titled "Knowing God." In it he makes this statement: God controls all that happens in His world, every meal, every pleasure, every possession, every bit of sun, every night’s sleep, every moment of health and safety, everything that sustains and enriches life, is a divine gift. And how abundant these gifts are!" (2) (p. 147)

II. JOY COMES FROM FULFILLING OUR

PERSONAL FAITH

Vs. 1-2 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the lands! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!

A. Joyfully respond to God in our daily lives.

C.S. Lewis, a well known Christian author has stated: I was not born to be free. I was born to adore and to obey.

Paul said it to the Romans: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Rom 12:10-12 (NIV)

Whether we do respond to God, or don’t respond to God, we do respond to God." Sometimes we think we can just not decide whether to respond to God. Just put it off, and maybe it will "go away." But that won’t work. Because if we delay our response, that delay becomes our response. It’s like the fellow sitting on the railroad track debating whether or not to move as the train comes. While he debates whether to respond, he is responding. And he’ll no doubt be sitting there deciding when the train runs him down. (3)

B. Gladly serve the Lord in our daily lives.

"It is a rare person who, when his cup frequently runs over, can give thanks to God instead of complaining about the limited size of his mug!" (4)

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