Thankfulness

Psalm 100  AMP

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing!

Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!

For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.

Key verse :

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!

Theme: Being thankful

Introduction

So many times we are stuck in traffic, complaining and forget that we are blessed to have transportation. The saying goes: “ Attitude determines altitude” But I’d rather say: Thankfulness determines altitude in life…

How often do we give thanks for the little things in life? Our health, our family, the roof over our head, our transportation, and employment I can go on and on…

And of course, our salvation. Do we ever give thought to the price Jesus paid for us to be saved? Are we thankful that He died in our place?

Recently, God has been dealing with me and teaching me to be thankful for the little things, the things I take for granted: the value of a loaf of bread, a liter of gasoline a cup of sugar… We are so use to our groceries just being in our cupboards and yet for some people, this is a luxury, a blessing… So often we are impatient with a beggar or we walk the other way when we see someone coming asking for something… I know I am guilty …But thank God for His amazing grace each and every day!

 Sermon message

1 Thessalonians 5 NKJV

16 Rejoice always,

17 pray without ceasing,

18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Why do we complain? We often complain because we want a life without obstacles. We want self-parenting children, we want a marriage without work, we want our cappuccino without waiting…we want an obstacle-free life. But God works through obstacles as a way of maturing his people. God didn’t transport the Israelites across the Red Sea; he walked them through the miracle of divided waters and dead Egyptians.

*In the book of Exodus chapter 16 we find Moses being instructed by God regarding the feeding of the Israelites with manna & quails and specific instructions around the gathering of the food God provided.  God provided their daily food and yet they still complain and longed back to their life of bondage in Egypt. They did not comprehend that God was feeding them angel’s food, as God calls it in Psalm 78:25, the best possible diet they could get in their circumstance. Would we expect God to supply anything less than the best for the situation? Because He is a God of love, He will always do the best for us in every circumstance – not for our comfort but for His glory and our growth

*In contrast to the complaining Israelites,  we find Hanna, the wife of Elkana, king David, Daniel and Paul And Silas as prime examples of individuals that took the practice of thanksgiving seriously:

*In 1st Samuel chapter 2 Hannah made a promise to God to give her son Samuel back to God for His service when she could not conceive a child and she kept her promise with thanksgiving

*No matter in what season he found himself, King David always had the perspective and attitude of praise and thanksgiving

*Daniel gave thanks to God for protecting him from the mouths of lions and for giving him wisdom and great influence

*Paul & Silas, while in prison [in pain from being beaten], did not complain about the unfair circumstances or treatment [no human rights here] but rather sang hymns and gave thanks to God and they were delivered.

Now think of this: when you are in pain and suffering, the last thing that you want to do is sing songs of praise and give thanks BUT Paul & Silas knew the power that gets released in praising God. Paul lived Philippians 4:6-7 way before he actually wrote it down years later:

Philippians 4:6-7

6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.

 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

*Then we find Jesus our Shepherd always gave thanks:

John 11:41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.

Paul the Apostle reminds us in:

*And Jesus reminds us in Luke 6: 44-45, that [what is in our hearts] will eventually come out of our mouths – Complaining or thankfulness. Our words reveal our heart. Our words say more about us than we think:

Luke 6:44-45

44 For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil [a]treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

*We find an excellent example of gratefulness in Luke chapter 17 verse 11 through 19:

11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him

ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

This is a demonstration of grace – non deserving, free grace!  They could never heal themselves, no Dr was able to heal them, they were waiting to die slowly while being outcasts and then Jesus saves them, preforms a miracle in their lives – imagine that was you!

Why did only one cleansed leper return to thank Jesus?  The following are nine suggested reasons1 why the nine did not return by Charles L. Brown:

*One waited to see if the cure was real.

*One waited to see if it would last.

*One said he would see Jesus later.

*One decided that he had never had leprosy.

*One said he would have gotten well anyway.

*One gave the glory to the priests.

*One said, “O, well, Jesus didn’t really do anything.”

*One said, “Any rabbi could have done it.”

*One said, “I was already much improved.”

Leprosy is a metaphor for sin which invades us and destroys our lives.

The healed individual’s thankfulness was a key to his healing coupled of course by his faith. Dacvid Guzzik remarks on verse 19:  “Your faith has made you well: There was an extra healing for this tenth leper. When Jesus said this, He likely meant God’s work within the man’s heart. The other lepers had whole bodies, but sick hearts.” (David Guzzik Bible Commentary)2

*The healed individual, by the way, was a Samaritan, an outcast himself yet he was healed…

Spurgeon said:

“All ten were willing to do a religious ceremony; that is go to the priest. Only one was filled with true praise and thanksgiving. “External religious exercises are easy enough, and common enough; but the internal matter, the drawing out of the heart in thankful love, how scarce a thing it is! Nine obey ritual where only one praises the Lord.” (Spurgeon)3

The 9 were so caught up with their new gift of health that they forgot to give thanks and praise to the One who gave them new life and health. Their eyes were on the gift rather than on the giver. Are we the same?

*How often do we forget God’s goodness to us? Many believers will cry out to God for help and as soon as He has blessed them and provided for them, they will forget Him.

*Another way we forget God’s goodness is that in spite of all His blessings, we look at the blessings of others and begin to grumble at what we think we lack, in comparison.

*Are we thankful that our sins has been and continues to be exposed by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God? Since it is in the light of this that we can and should be thankful and grateful to our Father for sending His Son into the world to die for our transgressions, to die in our place and take our penalty for sin upon Himself.

Looking back at Psalm 100 and verse 4,

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!

Warren Wiersbe’s commentary on the Old Tetsament notes:

“It is significant that the fathers’ and mothers’ worship today will have an important influence on their children tomorrow. If we are controlled by the Holy Spirit of God and the holy Word of God, we will reveal it in the way we worship God. Instead of imitating the world, we will be led by the Word and the Spirit to be joyful in the Lord, submissive to the Lord, and thankful to the Lord, and the world will see the difference. Finally, note that a spirit of thanksgiving helps us overcome some of the “sins in good standing” that too often invade our lives:

complaining (v. 1), idolatry (v. 2), pride (v. 3), and ingratitude (v. 4). It was when our first parents became “unthankful” that the human race began that terrible

descent into sin and judgment (Rom. 1:18–32; note v. 21). Instead of being thankful for what they had, Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie that the Lord was holding out on them (Gen. 3:1—“every tree”), and this led to their sin. A thankful spirit is a triumphant spirit.” 4 Warren Wiersbe p 984

There are many amazing promises in the Word of God but the one that stands out for me, and that shouts of gratitude and thankfulness, is found in Romans chapter 8 verses 28 through 30 (AMP):

28 And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.

29 For those whom He foreknew [and loved and chose beforehand], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [and ultimately share in His complete sanctification], so that He would be the firstborn [the most beloved and honored] among many believers.

30 And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified [declared free of the guilt of sin]; and those whom He justified, He also glorified [raising them to a heavenly dignity].

*Our Father causes everything in our lives to work for good according to His plan and purpose …nothing in our lives catches God by surprise …He has our entire life planned and this should cause thanksgiving toward our Father who has us in the palm of His hand.

Colossians 2 verses 6-7 sums it up:

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], 

having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established [a]in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude.

Closing:

When we give thanks and are thankful, we glorify our Father. We have so much to be thankful for: God’s grace that has been extended to us and the role models that have helped us to see it. Every time I think of the role models in my life my heart smiles and I thank God for their presence in my life. Our role models may have been a parent, a Sunday School teacher or a schoolteacher, an aunt or uncle or a grandparent or it might have been a fellow Christian in the Body of Christ.

When we are thankful, we testify to the goodness of God our Father and it ministers to those who are not saved yet and perhaps even those who are backslidden and whose relationship with Jesus has grown cold.

Our ‘thanks giving’ should turn into a life of ‘thanks living’

Let us start the new week with thankfulness and everyday give thanks .

Amen.

Pr. Paddick van Zyl

LDMI 

End Notes:

 1 Charles L. Brown, Content The Newsletter, June, 1990, p. 3. http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/t/thanksgiving.htm

2 https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/luke-17/

3 https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/luke-17/

4 Wiersbe,W. Warren ,: The Wiersbe Bible Commentary on the Old Testament,David C. Cook, CO, USA, 2007 p. 984

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