Sunday, November 27, 2016

Things That Paul Was Thankful For

Temple Baptist Church - 11-27-2016
Ephesians 5:18-20

A.  For the past 5 weeks, I have been preaching on some spiritual things that I am thankful for.  The Bible says much about thankfulness.  One of the problems with our society (which has also infiltrated the churches and God’s people) is a lack of thankfulness! 
2 Timothy 3:1-5  This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  (2)  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  (3)  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  (4)  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  (5)  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
B.  Writing to the church at Thessalonica, Paul said, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
1.  Paul was thankful for His great salvation based upon the finished work of Christ!  1 Timothy 1:15-17  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  (16)  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.  (17)  Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.  (I am so thankful this morning that I am saved graciously, wonderfully, and eternally!)
2.  Paul was thankful for the amazing, marvelous grace of God!  2 Corinthians 12:9  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (I am so thankful this morning that God’s grace has been and is always sufficient!)
3.  Paul was thankful for the call of God placing him into the ministry!  1 Timothy 1:11-12  According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.  (12)  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;  (I am so thankful this morning that God called me into the ministry on March 17, 1983!)
5.  Paul was thankful for the people who loved him and whom he loved!  1 Corinthians 16:23-24  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  (24)  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. (I am so thankful this morning for Temple Baptist Church and the precious people that God has placed into our lives!  You are “Number One!”)
6.  Paul was thankful for meeting his temporal needs!  Philippians 4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  (I am so thankful this morning for the many temporal blessings that God has bestowed upon my family!)
7.  Paul was thankful for his eternal heavenly home! Philippians 1:21-23  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  (22)  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.  (23)  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  (I am so thankful this morning that one day like today, and it could be today, I will be finally home!)
C.  We have so much to be thankful for this morning!  God’s children should be grateful for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon us, both temporally and spiritually. 
1.  For the privilege of being born in America, the land of the free and home of the brave! 
a.  You and I could have been born in some 3rd world country where freedom is only something to be dreamed of.  We are free this morning to do as we please within the realm of the laws of the land. 
b.  We can come and go; we can worship as we believe; we can attain our goals; we can dream our dreams and live them.  This is the greatest nation on the face of the earth and we live here.
c.  For the jobs that we have.  So many people do not work because they will not work.  I have pumped gas, mowed lawns, raked leaves, along with a myriad of others menial jobs to put food on the table.  Dad taught us to work!  He would not take “public assistance.”  He was a proud man in a right way.  I thank God that I have always had a job.
2.  For the homes in which we live!
a.  Safe homes.  We sleep in peace instead of in fear; quiet instead of in war.  In many countries, war is a way of life and no one is safe anywhere but our homes are safe and quiet.
b.  Comfortable homes.  Central air and central heat that are almost unheard of in other countries.  I know what it is like to “burn up” in the “ovens” that some people call home.  They sleep on the roofs because the concrete block homes are ovens in the summer.  The same homes are refrigerators in the winter.  We grip if the church gets out of our personal comfort zone.
c.  Convenient homes.  I heard a Chinese man once say that the perfect home was an American kitchen with all appliances, a Japanese wife who is trained to take care of her husband, and Chinese cooking.  I am no agreeing with him on two of these and am sure that, if his wife who was standing beside of him understood English he would have had knots on his head, but he was correct.  We have every gadget in the world in our homes to make life easier for us.
3.  For the bounty that God has provided! 
a.  Money to put groceries in the fridge, freezer, and cabinets.  The hardest decisions that we make each day are what to have for breakfast, dinner, and supper.  (Notice it was not breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  It is the Marriage SUPPER of the Lamb, not dinner.) 
b.  People all around the world are not blessed to have even one good meal a day, much less three.  Their choices are extremely limited while we cruise down the road and “cherry pick” which restaurant that we want to visit.  Our problem is dieting instead of fasting, enormous instead of emaciated, stuffed instead of starving.  Thanksgiving is over but the feasting goes on.
c.  For the clothes that we wear.  Our closets are full of “big” sizes and “little” sizes for when we expand and contract.  Clothes for winter, summer, seedtime, and harvest! 
d.  For the automobiles that we drive.  Many of you remember the “hill staters” and “tree breaks” of our childhood.  Cars that had to be replaced or rebuilt at 100,000 miles.  Cars with little windows called “vents” or “wind wings” that were the source of A/C.  Cars that needed keys to start.  Now these cars are a lot smarter than this preacher.
4.  For the blessing of the gospel. 
a.  We have heard the message of salvation all of our lives.  So many people have missed the message because their churches have changed it.  Now, going to heaven, is who you are—who you know—and what you do, instead of repentance and faith in the finished work of Christ at Calvary. 
b.  We have believed the message of salvation.  I am so glad that my faith is in “The Way” and not in “a way!”  Salvation is found singularly in the Person of Christ and His gospel.  Most denominations have a “mixed faith” which will not save.  I am so glad that I know “whom I have believed” instead of just “what I have believed.”
c.  Heaven is our final home! God has been so good to us!

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