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Rev. Carl H. Kemp, Pastor

THANKFULNESS

November 19, 2006

 

How important is it to express thankfulness? 

BIBLE READINGPsalm 92:1-15

KEY BIBLE VERSE: (Psa 92:1 NIV)  A psalm. A song. For the Sabbath day. It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High,

(Psa 92:2 NIV)  to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night)

There are four significant aspects of thankfulness. Four elements of true thanksgiving are found in this song (psalm): (1) remembering what God has done, (2) telling others about it, (3) showing God’s glory to others, and (4) offering gifts of self, time, and resources. If you are truly thankful, your life will show it.

 

Thankfulness ought to be a major ingredient in all our relationships. During the Thanksgiving holiday, we focus on our blessings and express our gratitude to God for them. But thanks should be on our lips every day. We can never say thank you enough to parents, friends, leaders, and especially to God. When thanksgiving becomes an integral part of your life, you will find that your attitude toward life will change. You will become more positive, gracious, loving, and humble.

 

BIBLE READINGRomans 1:18-23

KEY BIBLE VERSE: Yes, they knew about him all right, but they wouldn’t admit it or worship him or even thank him for all his daily care. And after awhile they began to think up silly ideas of what God was like and what he wanted them to do. The result was that their foolish minds became dark and confused. (Romans 1:21tlb)

One of the first marks of rejecting God is forgetting to thank him. How could intelligent people turn to idolatry? Idolatry begins when people reject what they know about God. Instead of looking to him as the Creator and sustainer of life, they see themselves as the center of the universe. They soon invent “gods” that are convenient projections of their own selfish plans and decrees. These gods may be wooden figures, but they may also be goals or things we pursue such as money, power, or comfort. They may even be misrepresentations of God himself—making God in our image, instead of the reverse. The common denominator is this—idolators worship the things God or man made, rather than God himself. Is there anything you feel you can’t live without? Is there any priority greater than God? Do you have a dream you would sacrifice everything to realize? Does God take first place? Do you worship God or idols of your own making?

 

BIBLE READINGEphesians 2:1-10

KEY BIBLE VERSE: Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it. (Ephesians 2:8-9tlb)

Thankfulness ought to be the prime characteristic in a Christian’s life. When someone gives you a gift, do you say, “That’s very nice—now how much do I owe you?” No, the appropriate response to a gift is “Thank you.” Yet how often Christians, even after they have been given the gift of salvation, feel obligated to try to work their way to God. Because our salvation and even our faith are gifts, we should respond with gratitude, praise, and joy.

Thankfulness can take on a variety of effective expressions. We become Christians through God’s unmerited grace, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or act of service on our part. However, out of gratitude for this free gift, we will seek to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness. While no action or work we do can help us obtain salvation, God’s intention is that our salvation will result in acts of service. We are not saved merely for our own benefit, but to serve Christ and build up the church (Ephesians 4:12).

 

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