Title: Biblical Expressions of Thanksgiving
Theme: Biblical Expressions of Thanksgiving to God
Psalm 100:1-5 says, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5) Pray!
Proposition: I would propose to you that the Lord God is worthy of our thanksgiving. It has been pointed out by many, “Thanksgiving” is the offering of thanks and it is not complete until there is giving. Jesus paid the ultimate price for your salvation and reconciliation to God, the Holy Spirit is the one person who is working in your sanctification process.
Interrogative Sentence: Just what are Biblical expressions of thanksgiving that can be offered to God?
Transitional Sentence: Our first outward expression is singing. Psalm 147:7 says, “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp.” (Psalm 147:7) Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord…” (Ephesians 5:19)
Singing is a sure way of becoming aware of God’s presence. This singing must begin in the heart by listening to and learning the songs of praise that the Holy Spirit has and is inspiring music ministers to write. Therefore, it is necessary that you make time to listen to Christian music on a regular basis.
God in these days has given us church services, Christian DVD's, CD's, Christian concerts that we can attend and Christian Radio. Listening to Christian music can keep your heart focused, joyful, and right before the Lord.
Matthew Henry wrote it well, “When God in His providence gives us a mixture of mercy and judgment it is our duty to sing, and sing unto Him both of the one and of the other; we must be suitably affected with both, and make suitable acknowledgments to the Lord for both.”
Over fifty different passages of Scripture command Christians to sing because it is vocal praise to and about God. This is clearly seen in the Old and New Testaments. The beloved John envisions the redeemed singing in the presence of God. Therefore, the children of God should want to sing praises to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastor Rick Warren tells of a Christian psychologist who would council people who battled depression. The first question the psychologist would ask his patients was, “Have you listened to and sung along with Christian music today?” Then he would ask, “Have you been to church this week and in a right heart, participated in singing praises to God?”
Let the Holy Spirit examine your heart with these questions. Do you take time to listen to Christian music? Do people who see your life, know that Christian music is a type of music you like to listen too? Do you make time to make music in your heart unto the Lord, especially this Thanksgiving season?
Transitional Sentence: Singing is the best way to enter into the presence of God and the whole Body of Christ should make a common practice of it. The second way of expressing thankfulness is to pray.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) This is a Biblical command.
Christians can give the Lord their worries. “Anxious” (merimnao) means not to be drawn into different directions. Christians are not to worry over anything whatsoever. “Anything” (meden) literally means not one thing. It is sin to do so. (Word Meanings in the New Testament; The Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible) It means not even to take thought or rather be troubled in thought. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament)
The great news is that Christians do not need to be troubled about anything that comes their way. The Lord is fully able to oversee their health, provision and give direction in their lives. Christians can be thankful, for the Lord cares about every single thing in their lives. He hears and will answer according to His good purposes.
One of our great Christian mystics of the middle ages had Holy Spirit revelation and illumination of what it means to live a life that expresses thanksgiving in prayer to the Lord.
He wrote, “Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains to a dear trusted friend. Tell the Lord your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may [rejoice over] them; tell Him your longings, that He may [purify your heart aright]; tell Him your dislikes, that He will help you conquer them; talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them; show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them; lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved taste for evil, your instability. Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself as to others.
If you thus pour out all your weaknesses, needs, and troubles, there will be no lack of what to say to the Lord. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed. People who have no secrets from each other never need to find subjects for conversations… they talk out of the abundance of the heart without consideration, just what they think. Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved interaction with [the Lord].” (Fenelon; The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart)
Transitional Sentence: Christians who do not allow the pleasure of the flesh, the temptations of the world and the lies of the devil keep them from the Lord, express thanksgiving in prayer. They also express thanks by giving unto His work.
Deuteronomy 16:10 says, “Then celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you.” (Deuteronomy 6:10) Deuteronomy 8:18, “But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” (Deuteronomy 8:18)
The thankful child of God knows that all he has, his talents and abilities to make money come from the Lord and they prayerfully consider what to do with all that the Lord has given them.
Let the Holy Spirit examine your heart - Do you use your talents, opportunities, and Spiritual gifts to please the Lord and others ? Just what would the Lord have you do with your time, Spiritual gifts and talents this thanksgiving season?
Transitional Sentence: Thankful Christians give unto the Lord’s work and they share about His wonderful works. Isaiah 12:4 says, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done…” (Isaiah 12:4)
We give thanks to the Lord by sharing with others about the entire work of God in dealing with nations, people and the children of God; about His chastisements for disobedience and His blessings for obedience which are promised to nations, the wicked and Christians.
You are the only real authority on your life. Nobody can give your testimony like you can. All you need to say is, “This is what I was and what I am now because of Jesus Christ. And this is God’s promise to me, ‘…He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’” (Philippians 1:6)
The most powerful tool in a court of law outside of DNA testing is the power of an eye witness testimony. It stirs the heart of its listener, brings hope or fear to those who are exposed to their captivating words and a truthful testimony sets the record straight to the confused.
The Christian life that expresses “Amazing Grace… I was blind but now I see” and “…he is a new creation; the old has gone and the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) gives hope to those bound by the flesh, the world and the lies of the devil.
No one expects you and I to be perfect - but they do appreciate it when we live differently than those around us. They may not agree or choose to walk as we do, but they do take note of it.
In Closing: Harvest time is to enjoy all that God has given us. Thanks means nothing until we give back to God the gratitude due to Him and to others He has brought into our lives. Offer thanks by singing to and about Him, praying to Him, giving all you have to Him including your talents, abilities, possessions, finances and opportunities. Be sure to share testimony about His great work of salvation and restoration of your life in Christ Jesus.
The other night, on face-book we watched a young man sing to and about the Lord. He unashamedly sung to the Lord and many who heard him were blessed. One of the most impressive men I have ever met was a man who unashamedly prayed. I have seen many a prayer he prayed to the Lord, powerfully inspire others to trust in the Lord. When people give to the Lord's work with time, talent, finances and the exercising of their Spiritual gifts, people take notice.
Ilene Wright told of a time her pastor helped a out a family in a New Orleans convenience store.
A couple stood in front of her pastor in the check out line. He could not help but notice that they did not have enough money to pay for the food they had picked up. He tapped the man on the shoulder and said, Do not turn around, please take this money and pay for the food you need."
Nine years later, the pastor was speaking at a church in New Orleans. After the service, a man walked up to the preacher and said, I recognize your voice, you are the man who gave us money to purchase the food we needed." The man went on to explain. They were out of money, no job, destitute. They had made a suicide pact. They drove up to the place were they were going to end their lives and just sat for hours. They could not bring themselves to do it. The man explained, "your gift of money and those words you spoke, 'Jesus loves you' so powerfully impacted our lives. As we drove down a highway, we saw a church with a sign, saying, 'Jesus loves you.' We went to that church that very next Sunday and gave our lives to the Lord. Because of your kindness and the simple sharing of your faith in Christ, we are alive and living now with the Lord in our hearts."
(Extraordinary Christian Testimonies About Giving)
Living a life of Thanksgiving to the Lord is what people need to see in this world today. Let us pray!