Two Reasons to Give Thanks Today

November 23, 2016

Good Afternoon Church,

I pray the love of God given through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ will warm your heart as you go about your duties in preparing for and celebrating Thanksgiving. In light of the holiday and the undeniable reality of all that we have been given in Christ, I thought it would be helpful for us to contemplate some reasons for giving thanks. I have pulled this from something I have previously written and pray it will encourage your heart. I will post the follow up to Mary Love’s letter from her husband Christopher next week for those of you that might be interested, but felt compelled to write on gratitude today as that has filled my heart and mind this week.

One of the issues we all face as we live, move, and have our being within a sin cursed world is that we must constantly deal with discontentment, grumbling, and ungratefulness.  You have seen it in the check-out line, you have heard it in the office, you have experienced it at school, work, and even on your commute. It is an undeniable fact that the cacophony of complaining is a common thread woven throughout every community and the entirety of our cultural. Yet, for the believer this is no surprise as the Bible teaches us that thanklessness is ultimately the byproduct of an unregenerate heart[1] and the manifestation of godlessness.[2] Thus, while gratitude, at best, is a fleeting facade of our world, it serves as a nonnegotiable reality of the church[3] and part of what makes her distinct from the world.[4]Therefore, while the world is marked by greed and ungratefulness, the church is called to be a people of gratitude.[5] While the world overflows with complaining, the church is to overflow with thanksgiving.[6] Is your life marked by gratitude that is conditional based on your temporal circumstances and subjective feelings, or is it unconditional because it flows from the eternal blessings given to those who are in Christ Jesus? Let me share with you two reasons why I am grateful today.

Two Reasons to Give Thanks Today

thanks

First, I am grateful for the everlasting love of God![7] A love that is not based upon who I am or what I have or what I could ever do, but flows utterly from Who He is.[8]I am thankful for God’s love that ran after me even when I was running far away from Him.[9] This love saw me at my worst and still sovereignly chose me to be a trophy of His grace before I was even born.[10] I am secure in God’s love because He will not let anyone take me away from Him[11] or let anything separate me from His unending love because of Christ.[12] This everlasting love of God removes all worry and concern because He promises to provide all I need[13] and has proven it by personally and sacrificially dealing with my greatest need![14] How grateful I am for God’s love because it models for me, provokes, and teaches me how to love my wife, my children, and my church as I should.[15] God’s love overwhelms me because it won’t leave me where I am in my own sin but graciously disciplines me so that I might share in His holiness.[16]

Secondly, I am grateful for the person and work of Christ![17] Christ ultimately is my source of life[18] and the only reason I have complete access to God the Father where true joy and hope is found.[19] Everything that God rightfully requires of me has been fulfilled for me in Christ, and so I rest utterly and totally secure in Him.[20]Christ took my sin and paid my debt willingly,[21] compelling me forward to live for Him.[22] He destroyed sin, death, and the grave so that I have no fear of being destroyed by them.[23] Moreover, Christ ultimately saves me from the wrath of God,[24] a wrath I fully deserve[25] and a wrath He utterly bore on my behalf![26] Christ models for me what true obedience, love, humility, and sacrificial service looks like[27] in order that I might follow Him in giving complete adoration to and for God the Father.[28] I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I consider how Christ encourages and stands with me even now as He never stops interceding for me![29]I am so thankful that I have a real and undeniable hope amidst a world marked by hopelessness because of Christ’s resurrection and accession.[30]

Church, I pray these thoughts that flow from the Scriptures through my heart will encourage your walk today. The world provokes us, and the times in which we live make it really easy to be a people marked by complaining and indifference. Yet, if you are a true follower of Christ you are above all people most blessed because you are acceptable in the Beloved.[31] May we embrace the command to be a people that rejoice always,[32] doing all things without complaining and grumbling,[33] in light of Who He is as sovereign creator and personal redeemer![34] I hope you can make it out tonight for our special service of thanksgiving as we offer our corporate gratitude to our sovereign God who has so graciously provided for us more then we could ever hope, ask, or think![35] Also, I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday as we return to the book of Ruth and consider God’s grace poured out upon a desperate woman.

Living Gratefully because God’s Grace has Covered My Guilt,

Pastor Matt

 

 

 

 

[1] Rom 1:21

[2] 2 Tim 3:1-4; Jude 1:16

[3] 1 Thess 5:16-18

[4] 2 Cor 5:14-15; Phil 2:14-15

[5] Eph 5:3-4

[6] Col 2:6-7; 3:15-17

[7] Ps 136

[8] 1 Jn 4:8,10,19

[9] Rom 5:8

[10] Eph 1:3-10

[11] Jn 10:27-30

[12] Rom 8:37-39

[13] Mt 6:25-33

[14] Jn 3:16-18

[15] 1 Jn 4:19; Eph 5:22-6:4

[16] Heb 12:3-11

[17] 1 Cor 1:30-31

[18] Col 3:1-4

[19] Rom 5:1-2

[20] Rom 8:1-4

[21] 1 Pet 2:22-25

[22] 2 Cor 5:14-15

[23] 1 Cor 15; Rom 6:1-14; 2 Tim 1:10

[24] Jn3:36; Rom 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10; 5:8-10

[25] Ezek 18:20; Jn 3:18, 36; Rom 1:18,28-30; 2:4-5; 3:9-20; 6:23; Eph 2:1-3

[26] Rom 3:21-26; Col 1:21-22; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10;

[27] Phil 2:1-11

[28] Eph 5:1-2

[29] Heb 7:25

[30] 1 Pet 1:3-9

[31] Eph 1:6

[32] Col 3:17

[33] Phil 2:14

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