Give Thanks!

Pastor Terry Inman

11-23-14

 

We all like being thanked. It's a great feeling to have someone, especially someone who doesn't stand to gain, tell us that we made a difference in their lives.

 

So todays message, “Don’t be a turkey GIVE THANKS!”  

 

Thanks can be a simple wave to someone who let your car pull in front of theirs. It can be a short note of appreciation for something some one said or did. It could be just thanking someone for who they are.

 

Thanksgiving is way more than a holiday. In the scriptures it’s a life-style. I call it thanks-living. The Apostle Paul who opened most of his letters with a thank-you note says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Thess 5.18 NIV)

 

The simple instruction, “give thanks” occurs 35 times in the bible. Most of these expressions of gratitude in the Old Testament are directed to God.

 

There are at least six things we are to specifically thank God for. Very few of them have to do with what he does for us. Most of them are about his character--who he is to us!

 

We can certainly identify with that. “I am grateful for who you are”, is much more meaningful than—“I like what you do for me.” Here are the six things we are to explicitly “thank God” for in the Old Testament.

 

We are to give thanks for His name: Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. (Psa. 30.4 NKJV) His name includes his attributes and character. It is everything he is and does. Let’s stand and begin shouting his names.

 

We are to give thanks for all his marvelous deeds: Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! (1Chr. 16.8 NKJV)

 

We are to give thanks for his goodness: Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. (Psa. 107.1NKJV)  

 

We are to give thanks for his loving kindness. (12 times) It’s mentioned three times alone in the first three verses of Psa.136

 

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving-kindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of gods, For His loving-kindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His loving-kindness is everlasting.

 

We are to give thanks for his holiness: Rejoice in the LORD, you who are righteous, and praise his holy name. (Psa. 97.12 NIV)

 

We are to give thanks for his righteous decisions. At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You, Because of Your righteous judgments. (Psa.119.62 NIV)

 

All seven references to, “Give Thanks” in the New Testament are made by the Apostle Paul. They are all directed to the people of the church.

 

He “gave thanks” for the church in Rome for risking their lives for him. (Rom. 16.4 NIV)

 

He never ceased to “give thanks” every time he prayed for the church in Ephesus. (Eph. 1.16 NIV)

He “gave thanks” to God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ for the Colossians believers. (Col. 1.3 NIV)   

He did the same for the Thessalonians. He said, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.” (1Th. 1.2 NIV)

 

In his second letter to the Thessalonians he said we should “give thanks” in everything. “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1Th. 5.18 NIV)

 

Why was he so thankful for all these people? They mattered to God!

 

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Th. 2.13-14 NIV)

 

Wow that’s a mouthful of gratitude! He owed his appreciation to God who loved these people, and chose them to be saved and made significant, by their response to the gospel and their trust in the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

I am so grateful to God for who he is and what he does. He lives up to his name in every way. He does awesome things in all the earth. He is totally and perfectly good.

 

He is loving and kind because he is the highest definition of love! He alone is holy. There is nothing incomplete or imperfect in his character. What he decides and what he does are always right.

 

It is His nature to love us. He provides salvation for us in Jesus Christ. He sanctifies, or makes us significant by His Holy Spirit. Sanctify means, He cleans us up, he shines us up to serve him. He shares His glory with us.

 

It is good to give thanks to the LORD, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your loving-kindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night. (Psa. 92.1NIV) (Mention Tonight)

 

So no wonder Paul was so thankful for people. He got to see the incredible things God was doing in and through them. I can really identify with that. It has been my joy and honor for 20 years here at Harbor Light to see God’s love and goodness working in thousands of people.

 

Thank you for letting him love you! Thank you for letting him save you! Thank you for letting him change you! Thank you for letting him use you!

 

Fill Facebook and twitter this week with thanks for people #givethanks

 

So as I said earlier for followers of Jesus thanksgiving is a lifestyle!

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Col. 2.6 NIV)

 

A tangible way to express our thanks is to share what God has given us. That’s what the original thanksgiving was all about. “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” (Prov. 22:9 NIV)

 

The day after thanksgiving is black Friday when the Christmas spending frenzy begins.

“If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” (Isaiah 58:10 NIV)