Sunday, April 17, 2016

IN Everything Give Thanks

Temple Baptist Church - 4-17-2016
1 Thessalonians 5:18


A.  This is one of those verses that has been greatly mis-understood because of casually looking at the verse and making a wrong interpretation.  A wrong interpretation makes for a wrong application.  The key to the verse is the word “in.”  The Bible does not say that we are to be thankful “for” everything but “in” everything.

B.  There are a lot of things in this world that I am not thankful for!

1.  I am not thankful for the sin that destroys the lives of people.  As I look around, I see people who have been murdered, raped, robbed, and otherwise mistreated and these things bring a sorrow to my heart. 

2.  I am not thankful for the sin that is bringing this nation to its knees.  The sin of rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ and His precious Word that can change things for the better.  Our nation is almost gone spiritually.

3.  I am not thankful for those of our church family that have died this year.  These are people that we loved; these are people who were and still are our family; these are people that will forever remain in our hearts and minds; these are people greatly missed.

4.  I am not thankful for the disease of cancer that has affected so many of our loved ones.  I watch and pray as they battle this terrible disease.  I wish that the cause be learned and a cure discovered for it.

5.  I am not thankful for the people who once worshipped with us are no longer here.  What a blessing it would have been if they had all remained right with the Lord and stayed.  So much more could have been done for missions; so much more could have been done for our city and county; so much more done to win souls to Christ.

6.  The list could go on but I believe that you get the point.  We are not to be thankful “for” all things.  Some things righteously anger us.  Be angry and sin not.  This tells me that we are to be angered about some things.  Some things sadden us and we wish with all of our hearts that we could change them but we cannot.

C.  This is one of the tough verses in the Bible, but one of the most blessed when we get a hold on it.  If Romans 8:28 is in the Bible and means what it says (and we know that it is and does), then God is guiding us and giving us each day that which is pleasing to Him and beneficial to us!  1 Thessalonians 5:18 is also in the Bible and means what it says.  In the worst of situations, there is still much to thank the Lord for.

D.  I have so often said that life is hard and disappointments come often.  There are so many things that we do not and cannot understand and, at that point, have to learn to trust the Lord with them.  I believe that we need to do the best that we can and then trust God with that which we cannot do.  The great Apostle Paul said that he had learned contentment in spite of his circumstances.

E.  In spite of all that seems bad, there is so much that we need to be thankful for:

1.  Our great salvation that we cannot lose!  Saved by Grace!  Saved forever!  Billions will die without Christ and we are saved and heaven bound.

2.  Our great temporal blessings that we have come to expect!  Our homes!  Our food!  Our clothing!  Our freedom!  Our transportation!  Most of the world has nothing and we have everything.

3.  Our wonderful health that we too often take for granted!  We are not in the hospital tonight!  We are not in the care of hospice tonight!  We are not at home and in bed sick tonight!  I feel good and am blessed with good health!

4.  Our wonderful church!  Good churches are both special and scarce.  The unity and peace that permeates the church tonight!  A place where we feel at home.  A place where the Bible is still upheld and preached.  A place where our children can get to know the truth without compromise.  A place of prayer where we lift up each other as well as or lost family and friends.  A place where we meet missionaries and have a small part of their ministries around the world.

5.  Our blessed hope!  This present evil world is not our home!  One day just like today and it could be today, we will be finally and eternally home.  We will not see all of the bad things come to end in our days upon this earth as things progressively get worse but we will one day see God remove the sin and restore the earth back to what it once was in the days prior to Adam’s sin.

6.  Our settled peace!  I do not know what lies on tomorrow nor do I want to know.  I do not want the knowledge of tomorrow destroy the peace that today holds.  But I am so glad that I know Who holds tomorrow and Who will hold my hand and walk with me through it!

Conclusion:  I did not make a long list but just wanted us to know that we have much to be thankful for in the midst of hard times.  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you!”

E.  We have so much to be thankful for. 
            1.  Our Great Salvation
                        a)  Saved by grace
                        b)  Saved eternally
                        c)  A wonderful life here and heaven waiting!
            2.  Our Great Possessions
                        a)  Our homes
                        b)  Our transportation
                        c)  Our every day needs
            3.  Our Great families and friends
                        a)  Your greatest possession outside of salvation!
            4.  Our Great Liberty
                        a)  Freedom of travel
                        b)  Freedom of speech
            5.  Our Great Opportunities
                        a)  You can be anything that you want.
                        b)  You life is limited by your will to accomplish

F.  We are to be thankful at all times.  I, as a pastor, have difficulties in this area.  Now, I can be thankful when the heavens are opened up, and God's blessings rain down upon me, and when everything is going well, and when there are no bumps in the road!  But when problems come, I am more likely to complain.  When things don't go my way, I am more likely to whine than to give thanks!

Just what exactly is Thanksgiving?

1.  Thanksgiving Is A Sign Of Realization - James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
            a.  If it were not for the Lord, you would have nothing.
            b.  Things could be a lot worse than they are now.
            c.  Compared to the rest of the world, you are rich.

2.  Thanksgiving Is A Sign Of Acceptance - 1 Timothy 6:6-8  But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
            a.  All that you have came from the Lord.
            b.  What you have is His will for you life.
            c.  God wants the very best for you and your family.

3.  Thanksgiving Is A Sign Of Gratitude - Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
            a.  The Lord has been so good to us.
            b.  We deserve absolutely nothing.
            c.  What He has given me is satisfactory.
d.  We can trust Him to supply our every need as they come - Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  

Conclusion:  We need to:

            a.  Learn to look for both blessings and lessons in our circumstances. 
            b.  Prayerfully accept God’s will for our lives.
            c.  Replace griping and murmuring with thanksgiving and praise.

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