Thanksgiving oh

Uploaded by mdhottenstein on 01.12.2011

Well, Good Afternoon
If you're a guest
with us let me just
add my welcome. We are so
glad you're here. In fact if you're visiting
family here this holiday weekend,
we hope you'll consider this
your church home away from home.
I have prayed a number of ways for this meeting.
One of my prayers is that you've had enough time to process all the food.
Ah... that you have eaten over this weekend
particularly the turkey because it has that substance in it that
makes you feel drowsy
and it wouldn't serve either one of us
if we fell asleep in the next forty minutes or so
so that's one of my prayers. You can open your Bible to First Thessalonians
chapter five.
We've taken a short break from our series in Malachi.
Last week we had the Sovereign Grace Ministries Mission presentation,
and this week Jared, our senior pastor, is preaching in our sister church in
He's asked me to preach on the topic
of Thanksgiving,
so we are going to focus on just one verse:
First Thessalonians five verse
The apostle Paul writes this
"Give thanks in all circumstances
for this
is the will of God
in Christ Jesus
for you.
Would you say it out loud with me?
Give thanks
in all circumstances
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus
for you.
Let me pray.
Father, we want to begin right there and give thanks
to you in this circumstance: the preaching of your word
God, we thank You that You have called us together to be together as a body
and that You were here with us right now by your spirit
not simply to
to oversee,
but Your present here to bless
Lord, as the Word is preached, I pray that You would open ears and open
spiritually that we would hear
and see
what You were saying to us
Lord, we do this so that Your name would be glorified,
and we would be built up
in our faith.
We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Well, something that we've all been observing over the past ten weeks
has an official name.
It's the reason why we saw a blow-up Santa Clauses at Lowes
back in September.
It's the reason that we saw Rudolph the red nose reindeer plush toys
in Wal-Mart
next to the back to school supplies.
The folks at the Wharton School of Business
at the University of Pennsylvania
have given a name. It's called...
ready for the title...
Christmas Creep.
Christmas Creep, apparently retailers are trying to extend the shopping season.
They want to begin earlier. They wanted to kind of creep into all of our
to have it begins sometime in
the fall.
What they want us to do is to see something
that is for Christmas
sometime in October and pay full price
rather than wait and say
oh, I could get on sale in December
when there's a chance we might not be able to get it.
So, they want us to buy earlier. Christmas Creep
was visible to all of us
this past Friday.
uh... For the first time in history,
Toys R Us...
I'm not going to ask who was there,
but at nine P.M. Toys R Us on Thanksgiving
opened their doors for the first time
in history.
In fact this year
is the first time I noticed that maybe you noticed as well
Thanksgiving was being referred to
as Black Friday Eve.
Did any of you catch that?
There were graphics over the news anchor's shoulders Black Friday Eve
I thought that's interesting,
that's new.
Well as Christians, it can be easy for us
to criticize the culture that is redefining
Thanksgiving. We can easily
get all self-righteous and say look at all those people
turning this holiday into shopping.
It is suppose to be about thanks and pass me some turkey
and turn on the football game
I think we're supposed to look at the mirror.
I think we could take this opportunity
to ask the question with those of us those who know us the best,
consider us a thankful person?
Think about that.
When people use words to describe you would
be one of them?
I pray it is.
The title of this message
Oh, yeah that!
There are three questions that this verse
for us.
The first one is simply what is Thanksgiving?
We are not talking about the holiday now
not the Pilgrims and Squanto
I'll leave that to the history books. We are talking about the Biblical
of giving thanks.
Well, apparently its one of Paul's favorite topics.
Out of the sixty two times
giving thanks is mentioned
in the New Testament,
more than forty five times
it comes from Paul.
Why is that?
Was he just a man who is
kind of naturally wired to be grateful
for all things he's walked around saying oh thank you, thank you, thank you,
thank you.
No and it could have been, but I don't think so.
I think Paul recognized that thanksgiving
is a choice
to be around Paul was to be an around a man who was
regularly grateful.
He was taking opportunities
and choosing to
So thanksgiving is something we choose to do more specifically it is something
that we
or can withhold.
This verse begins
it costs us something
to give thanks and this goes back all the way to the Old Testament in
Leviticus chapter twenty-two it talks about a sacrifice
of thanksgiving.
The people would
would take one of the animals out of their flock and bring it
to the temple to be sacrificed
an act of gratitude a way to express gratitude
to God.
It cost them something. It cost them financially. It cost them
one of their flock.
This theme is taken to another level in the New Testament, but instead of
it costing financially.
It cost something of us. It comes not from the flocking comes from
our hearts.
Hebrews thirteen fifteen
in the New King James Version puts it this way it says

Him meaning Jesus

so as Christians
giving thanks costs us as well,
not an animal, but our feelings our affections our time
our energy.
To say thank you,
it requires not mindless rote routine but something
of expression of emotion
it is setting our minds
to saying thank you
even when we don't necessarily
That's what Paul is getting at here.
We also see that verse in Hebrews is that thanksgiving and praise
go hand-in-hand
the fruit of our lips, our words
become a sweet sacrifice
to God.
Our words matter to Him,
and this I think points to a subtle difference between
thankfulness and gratefulness.
If Jill makes uh... a marvelous a meal for us Thanksgiving for instance.
I can be
enjoying that meal
I can be grateful while enjoying that meal. I can be thinking to myself,
Boy, she's spend a lot of time going to all the grocery stores and
pushing around carts and filling the carts getting it in the van and bringing it home
and be thankful,
and I can be grateful in my heart. I can also be thinking about how
she sliced and diced and sautéed and basted and baked
and did all these things to present
this delicious meal
and be grateful in my heart,
but it doesn't really moved to thanksgiving until I give her thanks.
You see that
we can be grateful
and not say anything,
but thanksgiving requires us to give
something. We give thanks. We tell the person thank you. Jill, thank you that was
a delicious meal. Thank you for all your hard work. Thank you for
braving traffic and the crowds at Acme,
and thank you for making this meal
for us.
The same principle applies in a relationship with God. Are we to be grateful
to God for who he is and what he's done? Absolutely
but the way Paul uses the word thankful
over and over and over again
tells us, no we are also to give to God
the thanks that He deserves
or to speak to Him
God, thank You.
It becomes
the stuff of our prayers. It becomes the stuff of our worship,
a sweet sacrifice to Him. 0:10:20.710,0:10:23.050Y You may remember the story of the ten lepers
in Luke chapter seventeen Jesus
was traveling between Judea and Samaria and ten men who have this
dreaded skin disease
saw Jesus and called out to him
have mercy on us,
and Jesus did. He stopped
and He spoke to them and He said go
show yourselves
to the priests
because the priest would be the one to declare them healed,
to declare them clean.
As they were going,
Luke seventeen says,
they were healed.
Ten guys healed in an instant together,
and one of the men,
a Samaritan
when he realized he'd been healed
his hands no longer
his body
no longer racked with pain when he realized what had taken place in his
turned around
and went back to Jesus
and verse sixteen says
at His feet
giving thanks to Him.
That's a very
act picture.
You see the other ten
lepers or the other nine lepers. Were they grateful?
Well, quite possibly. Their lives were changed. They were no longer lepers. They were
no longer outcasts.
They didn't take the additional step of going back to Jesus
and giving him the sacrifice
of thanks,
the sacrifice of praise
that was due Him.
Even as I
say those things and I am...
aware of the many times that I've been grateful
but not allowed that
gratitude to move to
from my mouth.
So thanksgiving is expressed gratitude.
It also
has an object.
It is directed to someone.
I was watching parades on Thursday,
and it's
apparently now become very customary that on live television during
Thanksgiving Parade you go to people and you ask them,
so what are you thankful for
and quite often it catches people unaware
and they're like oh um let me think about this uh...
I'm thankful for my family
I'm thankful for my friends, I'm... thankful for the nice weather. Wow, what
beautiful day
uh... thankful for my health.
Those are all wonderful things to be thankful for
but I always thought what would happen if
Al Roker or
the host would then followed up and say To whom are you thankful?
Who's that thanksgiving directed towards? I'm sure there would be a lot of
stunned faces.
Well, oh boy, I never really thought about that. I don't know...
for Paul
just being generally thankful, uhh I am thankful for the nice day...uh, I am thank you for
for my
friends, my family,
just being generally thankful was not sufficient.
Paul knew that it was connected to people.
That to be truly thankful is was to be directed to an object to a person
and to the ultimate source God himself
In Romans one eight, he says this...

Philippians One three,

Then earlier first Thessalonians Two Thirteen

thanksgiving and God
were so connected in Paul's
heart, in his mind.
Whenever he was feeling grateful, it was a God moment for Paul.
In fact, one commentator
even said that in these words he said the heart of Paul's thanksgiving was his
God centeredness.
Oh, brothers and sisters let it be said of us.
for a moment,
what you will say to God
when you are in His presence.
When He calls us home or He comes to get us.
What will be the words you speak
when you are standing before Him?
Hello, good to see You.
No, I believe we're going to be like that
tenth leper
We are going to be falling to our knees, and we are going to be thanking Him
profusely. God, thank You for Your mercy.
Thank You for saving me. Thank you that I get to be here.
Thank You that I am with You.
Thank you that all of the suffering and trials now,
they've been put aside
and I am in Your presence. There is complete fullness of joy right here in this
moment. God, thank You.
Henry Blackaby says

Covenant Fellowship, your example in this area
has had a profound effect on my life.
uh... When Jill and I first became members here,
I was asked to serve in children's ministry like many of you
and I was in Rabbits,
the three-year-old class.
That is spunky bunch.
Those rabbits, they are aptly named
and uh...
I just remember the first couple of months of serving
in rabbits
I was taken aback
but the number of you
many of the faces I see in this room
who would come out to me
and thank me
for serving there
and not just
you know thank you for taking care of the kiddos.
I grew up in church. I had served in churches since I was a little kid.
My parents had me serve.
I had been thanked,
but this is the first church that I had ever been to that somebody stopped me
and said no wait a minute,
can I talk to you for a second?
Thank you. I want to thank you.
Because what you did served
not only my child
but served me and my family because you're here taking care of my three year old.
I am able to go in
and worship with my brothers and sisters
in an undistracted way. I able to hear the Word
of God preached
completely focused and
not trying to entertain
my three year old.
Thank you for serving.
Well, all I did was kind of put out the play dough
and uh... make sure all the crayons got back in the Tupperware.
Okay, you're, you're welcome.
Another time I was serving on the sound team doing tear down
and uh...
I remember it specifically Dave Harvey came up at the end of the service, and
there's only three or four people still in the building
and he came up to me
and asked me by name.
He said thank you.
What you're doing
is making a difference in our church.
What you're doing
has an effect on the gospel
going forth from here.
I thank God for you
I've never forgotten that.
I started wrapping up those chords even nicer and neater in velcroing them nice making
sure they all go out on the cart and put away
I was affected by that.
It built me up.
I believe it gave Glory to God.
Let now me speak on behalf of the pastors as one of them.
Thank you Covenant Fellowship
for your faithfulness in praying for us.
Thank you for how you serve here
Sunday after Sunday,
in Rabbits, and on the Sound team, and on IMAG and Ushers and in so other many ways
Thank you for how you
reach out to the lost.
We could not do this without you.
Let me say thank you.
We as your pastors are
very grateful
to God
for you. Please cultivate a
Godly habit in your life,
and also let me challenge you
over the next week would you consider expressing your specific gratitude
to someone who's made a difference in your life.
Students maybe that’s
a teacher. Would you consider going up to a professor,
or a TA or someone
and say thank you
for teaching me.
Thank you for making something that was complex and difficult
at least understandable.
Thank you for reading through that mess
of the paper
and giving me your feedback.
Thank you for just
taking time with us.
Thank you for being patient.
It will rocked their world.
I guarantee it. For the teachers in the room, they're all nodding their heads, yeah
Boy if I had a student
come up to me and thank me like that.
It will rock their world.
There's something about God being near in those moments
when we're being thankful.
Who knows how the Lord may use that in the life of your teacher.
Husbands, wives,
can you come up with one thing new each day?
this week maybe
that you are thankful for in your spouse and maybe tell them once or twice
in their hearing
not from the other room
Oh, thanks...thanks for doing that.
But look them in their eyes and
say thank you. I thank god for you.
That really meant a lot to me.
When was last time you
to community group leader aside and just
thanked them? Thanked them for their time. Thank them for opening their homes. Thank them for allowing
you to spill on the rugs,
Thank them for using all their toilet paper.
uh... there's a number of different things you can thank your
community group leaders for...the list is endless really.
We can do this.
I'm not here to discourage you or to condemn you if you haven't done this,
but to lovingly challenge you.
Brothers and sisters lets be a church that
is filled with gratitude.
Singles who are the meaningful people in your life? Those people who've made a
those people who have encouraged you, who have walked with you, who prayed
for you.
Would you take time maybe even this week
to express
how grateful you are to them.
Let's cultivate this attitude. Let's put it to work.
That's the substance of thanksgiving.
Expressing gratitude to God and to one another
to people who've made a difference in our lives.
Second question
that our text addresses
is this
When are we supposed to be thankful?
When is it appropriate
to give thanks to God
and to others? Well Paul couldn't be more direct.
He says give thanks
in all
If you're here two years ago you remember that we went through the Book
of First Thessalonians
in our series called Real Church,
and in this book we understood that this church
had been going through
significant trials and suffering and persecution.
In fact, Paul even say this in chapter one
of the same book. He said
you receive the Word in much
When these folks became Christians, they lost friends.
They lost family.
In fact the families would shun them.
They lost jobs....
These folks experience persecution,
yet Paul is calling them to give thanks
in all circumstances.
Wait, Paul give thanks to you mean,
When I’m rejected or ridiculed for my faith
in Jesus?
When I'm struggling financially?
When I was sick?
When my marriage is
rocky and
When there's been another engagement announcement,
and it wasn't me?
When I'm....Yes,
in all circumstances
This is supposed to hit us
brothers and sisters
It's one thing to be thankful during the happy times
when there is money in the checking account. The world is stable. It's been awhile
since we've been to the doctor,
but Paul says to give thanks in all circumstances.
His example here is compelling.
At this point in Paul's life,
he is this point he's already experienced death threats and plots to
kill him.
He's had close friends abandoned him.
He's faced opposition from the wicked people
persecution from unbelievers.
He was nearly martyred by
He was so sick,
he couldn't travel.
He had a complete falling out with his best friend Barnabas,
a partner in ministry.
They had to part ways.
He had been beaten with rods. He had been jailed.
He had been falsely accused. He had been chased out of town by mobs. This guy
knows what it means to suffer, so when he says
give thanks in all circumstances
He has some credibility.
We should listen to him.
He is not just living in
a cushy house somewhere. Somebody bringing his food to him.
You know writing books.
Someone knocks on the door brings a meal to him. No, this..he didn't know where his next meal
was coming from a times. He didn't know where you would lay his head at times. He
didn't know if he would walk into a city and he would be killed or captured
or tortured
He didn't know
so when he says give thanks in all circumstances,
he has
Book after book, letter after letter
Paul expressing
thanks to God.
He takes a step further in Ephesians five.
Ephesians five
verse twenty, this is even more
He says
this is when he is talking about addressing one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual song.
He says...

Did you hear the distinction?
He said giving thanks
not simply in every situation
but for every situation. Wow,
Joni Eareckson Tada, who many of you know
uh... through her books.
She broke her neck as a teenager
and since she was seventeen has lived her life
in a wheelchair.
She said this

That's remarkable.
That's remarkable for her to say.
Now this doesn't mean
that we thank God for sin
or the falleness of the world.
Because sin,
falleness is
part of the cursed.
It also doesn't mean we thank Him for other people's suffering.
No, God calls us to be compassionate and caring and loving and kind and seek
to alleviate suffering where we can,
but we can and
by God's grace, we will give thanks to God in our own suffering
and difficulty and trials.
When we see them in the bigger context
of God's
saving and redeeming Grace in our lives.
It means He uses His thanksgiving
He ties us back to God.
It draws us near to Him.
Now someone may be thinking right now...
how could I possibly...
these are hard words Brian. How can I possibly be thankful?
For the horrible things that have happened to me,
and I want to be very careful how I answer.
First, I don't know.
I don't know why God has allowed
these horrible things to happen to you
in your life.
God hasn't revealed that to us yet,
but what He has revealed
is that He is loving,
that He is merciful,
and that He is kind
that He is a God that cares about justice.
He has revealed that
He will make all things beautiful in their time.
That He is both Sovereign
and that He is all powerful and He is good.
Psalm one thirty-six tells us not once
not twice but twenty-six times that His steadfast love endures forever.
He does always does what is best for us.
He works all things for our good.
His goal is not worldly happiness in this life.
It is God centered holiness
because that
is were true joy is found.
One day
all of your why questions
will be answered,
and on that day
God will dry every tear,
and you will thank Him
if you're in Christ.
If you are here this afternoon and you are not a believer,
God is speaking to you right now.
He wants you to know Him this way.
Not as a God of wrath; He is a God of wrath,
but He wants you to know Him as a God of mercy
One who will forgive you of your sin
if you will turn
and trusted Him and say God I trust You. I want to know You this way.
I'll trust You that one day You will explain all of the pain and suffering
in this world.
He is calling you to come to Him,
to trust Jesus Christ.
Joni's finding grace for thanksgiving in the same place where Paul founded it in the
arms of
their Savior.
It was the same Savior who on the night
He was betrayed,
a few hours before He had nails pierced His hands and His feet,
a few hours before He was beaten at the hands of soldiers,
a few hours before He had a crown of thorns crushed into a His skull, it was the
same Savior
who when He took the wine and the bread
gave thanks
to his Father
in heaven
knowing that the wine and the bread would represent His crushed body
and His spilled blood.
He would thank His Father in heaven who
would have to reject Him to turn His face away from Him
only hours later
as the Savior became sin for us.
Jesus knew what it meant give thanks in all circumstances.
That brings us to the third question here,
in our text,
Why thanksgiving?
Why give thanks?
Again Paul answers this
For this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus
for you.
It is actually a moral imperative.
God calls us to do it.
He wants to be a grateful people who cultivate a lifestyle of expressing
gratitude, and He does this for a number of reasons.
First, thanksgiving is one of the means that God uses in our lives to protect us from
You realize this...He uses thanksgiving in our lives when we are thankful
it's a means of protection
from pride.
Proud people
are not thankful people
Thankful people
are humble people.
God opposes the proud
but gives grace to
the humble.
Paul says this in Romans one twenty one

You see that? This neglect of thanks left
mankind exposed to all manner of darkness and sin.
Brothers and sisters, we are not immune to this.
Paul told Timothy that in the last days,
people would be lovers selves, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive and
among other things. Isn't that interesting that in that list--abusive,
lover of money, lover of self,
that we find the word ungrateful?
So being
is a means of God's protection
from these sins.
It's its most clearly spoken in Ephesians chapter five
verses three and four. This is where Paul is instructing the church there. He says

You see this connection?
If our hearts are filled with gratitude,
and we're expressing that gratitude, there is protection here for us.
As a married man, if I'm regularly grateful and cultivating
gratefulness for my wife and expressing my thanksgiving to her,
it's going to protect me from lusting after others.
As a single men, if you're here
cultivating gratefulness
for the season of life that God has you in and cultivating
thankfulness and expressing your thankfulness to your sisters in Christ
around you,
will protect you from seeing them as objects,
but treating them as sisters.
As a single woman,
thankfulness, expressing gratitude in your heart to God and to others
protects you from foolish talk
the gossip that can so easily spread around, the backbiting, the talking down.
As a married woman,
gratitude in expressing thanksgiving to God
for your husband,
for your children,
for others, for Him
will protect you from
and complaining
and despairing.
You'll be reminding yourself
God is good.
and He is faithful.
He has been good to me. My friends,
where there is a culture of thanksgiving
there's a culture of purity
and godliness
a heart of gratitude also helps is a battle
When I'm worried about the future, when I'm anxious for my family, when I'm
connects me to God.
It doesn't only connects me to God, it brings me peace.
Colossians three tells us this, let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts
and be thankful,
and Philippians four, this is a verse familiar
to most of you,
Philippians four verse six

What a wonderful promise.
We place ourselves in the middle of that promise when we are thankful.
When we pray with thanksgiving to God.
Christian author and speaker Nancy Leigh DeMoss
picks up on this theme in her excellent book, Choosing Gratitude
worth the read. I don't think it's in the book shop, but
it is on Amazon.
Choosing Gratitude
She says

Covenant Fellowship, let us not be a church where that persistent root
of unthankfulness goes undetected.
Instead let us cultivate this holy habit.
Let us stir one another up in it.
It has a wonderful multiplying and encouraging of affect
and let us extend out from these four walls
into our relationships, into our schools, into our homes
into our workplaces, so that
when people touch our lives, when they interact with us,
they come away saying
they were the most thankful person I've ever experienced.
My friends, it brings God
it's God centeredness on display.
May we be most thankful people that they know.
Finally, God calls us
to thanksgiving because thanksgiving
is at the heart of the Gospel.
It is recognizing...
it is certainly recognizing all of the attributes of God: His perfection, His
Loving kindness, His compassion, His provision--all of those things,
but the most
important part
is the Gospel of Grace
It's the most supreme act of love,
Sacrificing His one and only Son
to die in our place.
Let’s do a little word study here briefly.
This word, give thanks
it's a Greek word in the original language,
Now if it sounds familiar,
you're probably
raised in a traditional church or have visited traditional church.
It is the word for which we get Eucharist
uh... when they would celebrate the Eucharist,
that word simply means give thanks.
We call it the Lord's supper or communion
Now this is something I want you to notice.
At the heart of this Greek word
is another Greek word,
Charis is one of the most
important words
human beings
can ever know.
My friends at the heart of thanksgiving
is Grace.
Grace is how God relates to us.
Grace explains that this God,
this all mighty One
this all pure One
who cannot look upon sin, evil, and wickedness
Does not relate to us
in judgment.
He relates to us in Grace.
This God
relates to us in mercy, in His love, in His kindness,
and it is all found. This word Grace is all found in the person and work of Jesus
Oswell Chamber said this. He said the thing that awakens the deepest well
of gratitude in a human being
is that God has forgiven him.
Don't skip over the last two words in this text.
For this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus for
Brothers and sisters
this Jesus,
this One is at the center of thanksgiving of Grace.
He left his place in heaven.
He left His Father. He
left of the Holy Spirit
to come down to this earth for you.
He took upon Himself
human flash 0:41:35.330,0:,41:37.029 becoming a man
living in the fall of the world and experiencing
what it means to suffer
for you.
He lived perfect life, and He was sorely
for you.
He endured
the walk up the hill called Calvary
with a cross on His back
bleeding and bruised
for you,
and He said, Father it is finished
for you.
He was buried for you
and on the third day,
He conquered sin
and death
for you.
and He has ascended
into heaven
and sits at the right hand of the throne of the Father interceding
for you.
and one day...oh, one glorious day
He will return
He will return
for you
Thank you. Jesus, thank you!
If you're a Christian and you are having a hard time
coming up with something
to be thankful for
I plead with you
consider Jesus, consider your Savior
He stands before the throne of Grace
for you.
What else in creation compares to
being made right with God? What else
to having peace with God?
Brothers and sisters
for the believer, everyday
is Thanksgiving Day
because of Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God.