As Godís people we should be thankful for everything, and to everyone to whom thanksgiving is due; whether men or God. We should be thankful to our fellowman when he shows us good will and favor, and helps us along lifeís way. Above all we should be thankful to God for all things because all things come from Him. Every good gift, whether physical and spiritual, comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.
Thankfulness is a healthy virtue. Thankfulness to God is not only pleasing to God, but thankfulness is like a cure and medicine for our souls. When we spend our time giving thanks, many of our trials and hardships will go away, or else they become easy to bear. In view of all the grace and blessings that our God pours out upon us unworthy sinners, the less significant and less worthy our troubles and cares seem to be in comparison.
Who is thankful to God this morning? Only those who know the Lord in the free pardon and remission of sins are truly thankful to God. Only the saved by grace can be thankful for His spiritual blessings of salvation and the hope of an eternal inheritance in Heaven.
Lost sinners, on the other hand, are not thankful to God.
Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
This verse is speaking about all lost humanity since the fall of Adam. Unthankfulness is an inherent flaw of the natural depraved human heart. One of the most apparent evidences of total depravity is manís unthankfulness to God.
Not only are lost sinners unthankful to God, but their unthankfulness will intensify in the last days. Speaking of the last days, Paul said:
2Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Among other evil traits, lost sinners in the last days will be blatantly unthankful. I believe this is largely owing to the teaching of humanism. The more people glory in their human ability and their human reasoning, the less thankful they are to God for His provisions. People today are not thankful to God for the sunshine and the rain, and the food on their tables, because they attribute these blessings to natural processes, and to random chance, and human ingenuity.
That is what the teaching of evolution and naturalism have done for mankind today, they have made men unthankful to God for all the blessings of life.
This morning we want to consider just 10 of the many, many things that Godís children should be thankful for. We are going to take our thoughts from the writings of Paul, who is an excellent example for his thankfulness to God.
1. We should be thankful for Jesus Christ, and the free gift of salvation by grace.
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
This verse is speaking about Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, and the blessed privilege of hearing the Gospel of Jesus, and the sovereign grace of God that enables men to receive the Gospel and be saved.
Jesus is Godís unspeakable gift to His people. There are not enough words, or enough paper and ink in all the world to fully describe or give adequate thanksgiving for what Jesus did for sinners on the cross, or for the sovereign grace of God that enables us to repent and believe in Jesus and be saved.
2. We should be thankful for election unto salvation.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
If it were not for God electing sinners unto salvation in eternity past, there would not be one depraved sinner ever saved. Not one of us here this morning would be saved, because the Bible concludes all under sin, and all are worthy of the righteous judgment of God.
People who hate the doctrine of election donít understand the serious of their error. By hating the doctrine of election, they hate and despise their only hope of salvation. By hating election they count themselves unworthy of the grace of God in salvation.
Please, if you donít understand election, or it just doesnít agree with your old sinful flesh, please donít despise this teaching, because it is your only hope of salvation this morning. If you are ever to be saved, it is because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.
We should not despise this teaching, but rather we should be exceedingly thankful for it.
3. We should be thankful for the grace of God in salvation.
1 Corinthians 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
Grace is defined as the unmerited favor of God. We cannot say just how unmerited Godís grace is this morning. We do not have time to preach on the depths of human depravity. All I will say is, we are all worthy of the eternal fires of hell! We were all wicked, rebel sinners. We are all law breakers. We were all enemies of God and children of wrath by nature. But thank God that He is the God of all grace. Thank God that He showed favor on vile sinners who are worthy of the fire!
Paul said the grace of God is given unto us. It is not earned, or bought, or sought, but it is freely given, and divinely bestowed upon sinners who were His enemies, who hated and despised Him, who all their lifetime rebelled against His Holy Word. Yes, thank God for His unmerited favor- thank God for His free and sovereign grace!
4. We should be thankful to the Father for making us fit for Heaven.
Colossians 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
We preached about this Wednesday evening, but it is worth mentioning again here. In salvation God changes us from depraved sinners into saints and children of God. This, beloved, is at least a two-fold transaction.
In salvation, we receive the imputed righteousness of Christ by faith in His blood that was shed on the cross for us. This righteous standing is imputed to our spiritual account in Heaven, so to speak, and we are thereby made perfectly righteous, and we stand completely justified in the eyes of God by faith in the blood of Christ. Thank God for the blood of Jesus this morning!
Not only this, but we also receive a new spirit and a new nature in salvation. We are made new creatures in the new birth. Old things are passed away and all things are becoming new. And as we travel this pilgrim journey, we are progressively being sanctified, and changed more and more into the image of Christ.
And then one day He is going to change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto His glorious body, and we shall be perfectly and eternally fit for Heaven, and fit to stand and live in the presence of God forever.
Beloved, thank God that He makes us fit for Heaven. We were all unfit as unfit could be, and we could not make ourselves fit for Heaven. But God the Father, by His marvelous grace and power, has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
5. We should be thankful for deliverance from the old sinful nature.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Paul wrote this passage years after that he was saved by the grace of God. Beloved, the old Adamic nature doesnít get any better as we get older. If anything it only gets worse. It still needs to be mortified. Paul said ďI die daily.Ē We need to put this old man back in his grave every day. All the old man wants to do is give us constant trouble.
Beloved, it is only by the power and grace of God that we are delivered from the body of this death each and every day. If the Lord were to take His mighty hand off of us for just one moment, we would presently fall into the passions and lusts of our old man.
And one day beloved, God is going to deliver us once and for all from the body of this death. One day we shall drop this robe of flesh and rise in a perfect, glorified resurrection body, and weíll never be plagued with this sinful flesh again.
And beloved, God alone is to be thanked for salvation complete, through Jesus Christ His Son. Thanks be to God for deliverance from our own sinful selves!
6. We should be thankful for victory in Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Beloved, the natural destiny of lost sinners is death, hell, and the grave. The natural destiny of fallen man is eternal torments in the lake of fire. But thanks be to God this morning for giving us the victory over all of these. Thank God that through our Lord Jesus Christ and faith in His work on the cross, we have the victory over our sins, over Satan, over death and the grave, and over the eternal torments of the second death in the lake of fire!
7. We should be thankful for the ability to effectually receive the Word of God.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
As a pastor of one of the Lordís Churches, I am thankful to God for those who can receive the Word of God in truth. I am thankful to God when the truth works effectually in His people and brings forth fruit unto the glory of God.
Did you know this morning that you and I could not receive, or believe, or even understand the Scriptures without the power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God would do us no spiritual good if it were not for the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.
If we do understand the Bible, and if the Word of God works effectually in us, then we ought to bow down on our knees and thank God this morning. It is not because of our own understanding that we can receive and believe the Word of God. The Bible says that there is none that understandeth spiritual things!!! But it is only by the divine privilege and power of God that the Word of God works effectually in us. Thank God for spiritual understanding this morning!
8. We should be thankful for the ability to serve the Lord.
Romans 6:17-18 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Are you saved and a servant of God this morning? Then God be thanked!!! It wasnít because of our freewill, or our decision to choose God and to serve Him. Rather, it is because God chose us, and made us His servants.
By the power of sovereign grace we were rescued out of the bondage of Satanís kingdom, and were made bond slaves in the kingdom of God. We were slaves to the taskmasters of sin and Satan, but now are we freemen, and servants in the house of our God, and our Savior Jesus Christ.
Yes, God be thanked for the will and the ability to serve the Lord with our lives.
9. We should be thankful for fellow helpers in the work of the Lord.
Romans 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
Paul was not only thankful to God for his helpers in the work of the Lord, but he was also thankful to them. As we mentioned from the book of Philippians, missionaries and pastors should be thankful for those that help them with the work of the Lord. We need help and we appreciate all who help with the works of the church.
I have never believed that the work of the church is a one man job, but itís the work of every member of the church, to do the works God has given each of us to do. But I just want to thank all of our members for your help in the work of our church, and may God reward you richly according to your works.
10. Finally, we should be thankful for our church.
Philippians 1:3† I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
Paul was deeply thankful for this church and for there help and support of his ministry.
I hope that we can all say this morning that we are thankful for our church. I hope that we are thankful for our church because of the truth that she stands for and preaches without compromise, and for the God that she represents, and for the Gospel that she preaches and holds forth for the world to see.
I hope we are thankful for our church because of the fellowship and mutual love that brothers and sisters have for one another, and for the common concern and care that the members have for one another here at Calvary. Yes, may we be thankful for our church this morning. It is a good church. It is a sound church; and best of all, it is the Lordís Church. May we be thankful for our church!
In conclusion this morning, there are many, many other things that we should be thankful for as Godís children. There are so many things in fact, that we couldnít begin to name them all in a month of Sundays. But we will just conclude this part of our sermon on thanksgiving with the following verse:
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
This is the best way I know to sum up our message. We as Godís children should be thankful at all times and for all things. Whether they seem to be good of evil at the time, we should thank God for them all, because all things are working together for our good.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior this morning? Can you truly and earnestly thank God for your salvation? If not, repent and believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day for you to save your soul and give you eternal life.
Thanksgiving is comely and pleasing to God, and we should continually give thanks for all the many things that God has done for us, as we saw this morning. And as we mentioned this morning, thanksgiving is also healthy, and helpful, and beneficial to us in our Christian lives. Thanksgiving is not only a good thing to do; it is not only a form of worship and praise to God, but thanksgiving is essential to our spiritual growth and development as believers.
This evening we want to notice 5 benefits of thanksgiving.
1. Thanksgiving is conducive to a holy, godly character.
Ephesians 5:3-5 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
The old flesh is full of fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, and jesting. One way to overcome these sins in our lives as Godís children is by giving thanks.
We canít commit fornication, and all manner of unclean acts and filthy communication with thanksgiving to God on our lips and in our hearts. These are 180į contrary to one another. When believers engage in such sinful practices, you can rest assured that the Lord is far from their hearts and their lips.
On the other hand when we are in an attitude of thankfulness, sinful deeds and words will fly from our bosom. They will not be able to abide in our thoughts and tongues when Heaven is so near to our hearts.
Beloved, no whoremonger, no unclean person, no covetous man, and no idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. And one of the best ways to keep these wicked abominations far away from us, is to wrap our hearts and lives in the warm protective blanket of thanksgiving to our God.
2. Thanksgiving helps us to deal with worry and anxiety.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
I doubt there has ever been a day and age when people have been more stressed out, and more cumbered about with worry and anxiety over the affairs of life than we are today. Even with all the wealth and prosperity that our nation seems to have today, yet peopleís lives are more tentative today than ever before.
There seems to be more instability and uncertainty in our lives than ever before. People donít know where theyíll be or what theyíll be doing from one day to the next. The cares of life seem to be taking more people down to the depths of despair than ever before. More people are nursing ulcers, and migraine headaches, and heart disease, and high blood pressure, and skin diseases and other afflictions; many of which are stress and anxiety related. I know, Iíve experienced some of these myself!
But beloved, one of the best remedies for these afflictions does not cost the child of God a red cent. All it costs is our time. This remedy according to Paul, is thanksgiving. When we spend our time meditating on the goodness, and faithfulness, and love, and mercy, and sovereignty of God in our lives, and we bow our hearts in thanksgiving for His love are care for our instate, we will start to feel better.
And when we realize that God is in control of all things, and that He is working all things for our good, and that He knows our future, and our times and our concerns are in His hands, and that our concerns are His concerns, and that He is not going to let us fail or be utterly cast down, and we begin to thank Him and praise Him for being our God and our Savior, beloved, we will begin to feel better inside.
If Godís people could have such faith and such a heart of thanksgiving to God because He is the God of the big things and the little things Brother John, then I believe that many of our anxiety related problems would go away and we would be healthier, both spiritually and physically.
Yes, beloved, thanksgiving to our great and sovereign God will help us deal with the anxieties of our modern, stressful world.
3. Thanksgiving is conducive to Christian growth.
Colossians 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
One thing that is certain this evening, believers cannot grow in the Lord if we are bitter towards life, or despondent and discouraged about life, or if we have murmuring and complaining spirits. The only way that we can be deeply rooted and built up in the Lord, and be established in the faith, is to abound with a thanksgiving heart and spirit.
You can just feel and sense when a church is on fire for the Lord. The people are full of joy and blessings and thanksgiving. They speak often one to another about the blessings and promises, and works of God in their lives. Their lips are full of spiritual words and praises and thanksgiving to the Lord for His marvelous grace and mercy.
This kind of atmosphere in the church and in the home is conducive to spiritual growth. Our spiritual growth is like the growth of a plant. Put a new plant in rich soil with lots of nutrients, where it will be exposed to lots of sunshine and rain, and it will just grow like a weed! But put that plant in poor soil with little nutrients and restricted sunshine and rain, and it will just sit there and not grow. Eventually it will wither away and die.
Believers need the good soil of the Lordís Church, and the nutrients of His Word, and the sunshine and rain of joy and gladness of the Spirit, and the warmth of thankful hearts.
We need the same conducive environments in our homes. Beloved, Christians wonder why their homes are so dark and devoid of happiness and spiritual life. If we will receive it, Iíll give us the cure for our unhappy Christian homes tonight.
First, get shed of the TV (or every sinful thing that comes through it- whatever is takes), and the internet, and all the other electronic sin generators that have infiltrated our homes these last 50 years. Get rid of all ungodly secular music. Get rid of all Satanic media, and pornographic media, and sinfully suggestive media, and all secular media that promotes ungodliness and sinful lusts in any way.
Now, I donít need to define all of these devices and media forms. If we are Christians, Iím sure we know what they are. We may be addicted to them and not want to give them up, but we know what they are if we are saved. And make it a clean brake from these sinful pleasures. We donít wean ourselves gradually from sin, but we must cast it off like a hand grenade that is about to explode in your bosom!!!
Next, get our families back into the Word of God, and prayer, and family devotions, and thanksgiving and praise to God for His manifold blessings on our homes and lives. Make it a habit to practice these spiritual activities in our homes every day as a family unit. Speak often one to another about the Lord and His mighty works, and His great love wherewith He loved us.
Beloved, I promise that if we will do these things, that we will begin to see spiritual life and spiritual joy spring up again in our homes. Now, we might experience some rebellion out of our children, and even some withdraw symptoms ourselves at the first, but these will subside in due time with the entrance and abiding presence of the blessed Holy Spirit of God in our homes.
Beloved, until we are willing to clean out our homes of the sin generators, and get back into the Word of God, and get back to thanking Him for all His provisions and blessings, and get back to loving Jesus again, we will never have spiritual happiness again- no never, never again!!! God will not bless a stiff-necked, rebellious, sinful people; especially a people who call themselves by His glorious Name!
4. Thanksgiving is conducive to the peace of God.
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Similar to our last point, our lives as believers are supposed to be ruled by the peace of God. Our church is supposed to be ruled by the peace of God. When believerís lives and the Lordís Churches are not ruled by the peace of God, rest assured there is something wrong.
One of the most conducive environments to the peace of God, is the environment of thanksgiving to God. A church that is in constant turmoil, and constant fussing and bickering, is a church that is not practicing thanksgiving like they should. All the things that churches fight about will seem so small and unimportant in light of all the things that we have to be thankful to God for.
The same is true of our individual lives. All the things that we get upset about, and all the things that keep our homes in turmoil and strife, will seem unimportant in light of all the things that we have to be thankful to God for.
If we want the peace of God to rule our lives, and our homes, and our church, then lets get back to being thankful to God for what we have. We will have far less complaints and contentions about the things we donít like and the things that we donít have, when we thank Him for what we do have.
5. Thanksgiving is necessary to Christian watchfulness.
Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
As believers we are to watch! We are to watch for the Lordís coming for His people. We are also to watch out for the enemies of our souls, like the watchman upon the wall of the city. The best way to stay vigil, and to stay spiritually awake and alert in this enchanted land of sin that lies just before yon celestial city, is to keep our hearts and spirits filled with the oil of thanksgiving to God. The spirit of thanksgiving is like oil in our vessels that keeps our spiritual lights burning in these dark times.
Keep thanksgiving to God upon our lips. Thanksgiving is the best antidote for that drowsy mist of sin that has rolled in like a great fog over the world today. This mist of sin that has moved in over our world in recent years, makes the child of God want of halt, and to faint, and to fall asleep on that last leg of His Christian pilgrimage.
Beloved we are in the last days. Christians are falling asleep on the right hand and on the left. It is not easy for us to stay awake in this present evil world. Jesus said, ďBecause iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold.Ē Beloved, how we need to keep the vigil of thanksgiving burning within our hearts and minds during these last days.
Thanksgiving is the best antidote for spiritual slumber, and thankfulness to God will help us to keep on watching for our Lordís return in the air for His people.
In conclusion, thanksgiving is the will of God for His people.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
We hear a lot of talk about the will of God today, and seeking Godís will, and getting our lives into Godís will. Well, here is the will of God for His people, that we give thanks to God in every thing.
If we would know Godís will for our lives, and be conformed to Godís will, then we must have an attitude of thanksgiving. An attitude of thanksgiving will rid our hearts and lives of those sinful things that we know are not His will, and it will bring us close to the heart of God where He will reveal His will to us.
One thing is for certain, if we do not have an attitude of thanksgiving, and we are living for our sinful lusts, we are not in Godís will!!!
Finally, thankfulness is a command, not an option. God didnít say ďthank me if you want to, or if and when you think to,Ē but we are commanded ďIn every thing give thanksĒ.
May God make us a thankful people. As we saw this morning, the saints of God have so much to be thankful for. How unthankful we are! How ungrateful we are to God for all He has done for His people. What wretched men and women that we are!!!
Lord God, give us a thankful spirit, and a thankful attitude, and a thankful heart for all that You are, and all that You do for us! Please, make us a thankful people.