I hope you’re having a great Thanksgiving Week. We are enjoying some reconnection with family this week. I wanted to make sure you had a chance to see what I’ve been working on these past few days. It will culminate on Thanksgiving Day. Beginning last year, I encouraged our church to use a Gratitude Guide. This showcased some reasons to be thankful to God, especially for the good news about Him. So, I’m uploading it here. It’s not too late to engage this content. Take some time tonight or this week to think of ways you can express gratitude to God for how His kindness is seen in the Gospel. I hope this encourages and blesses you. And, special thanks to Elizabeth Wood for the design.
Today, remember all that God’s done for you in His Son and thank GOD for His indescribable gift.
This coming Lord’s Day, we plan to move to a Thanksgiving emphasis and I hope to preach from Luke 17:11-19. We know the story. 10 lepers are healed but only one returns to give thanks. I want to marinade in this passage Sunday so that we can see how faith and gratitude work together.
Here’s Bridges commenting in Respectable Sins on this, which led me to go after this text again:
We read this story (Luke 17:11-19) and we think, “How could those nine men be so ungrateful as to not even turn back and say a word of thanks to Jesus?” And yet far too many of us are guilty of the same sin of unthankfulness.
Maybe this is you (I know I’m included). Let’s embrace God’s Word for the means of grace it is, receive the Holy Spirit’s ministry of exalting Christ and let our faith demonstrate gratitude, to the glory of God.
Having preaching through Colossians in the past year, I was amazed at the number of times that book called us to be a grateful people. At one point in chapter 3, it seems like every verse was calling us to gratitude:
3:15 – Be thankful.
3:16 – …with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
3:17 – …giving thanks to God the Father through Him (the Lord Jesus).
What is the reason for this? Paul understands that if we are going to seek Jesus Christ above all things (3:1), put off the old self (3:5ff) and put on the new self (3:12ff) then the atmosphere in which this grows best is one of gratitude.
So, this thanksgiving, rather than putting on a one day show expressing thanks to God for all the creature comforts you have, why not go deep and express gratitude to God for what He has done to redeem you so that you can no longer live for yourself but for Him who died and rose again on your behalf. Give thanks to God.
As we prep for another Lord’s Day, tomorrow we plan to dive into the book of Colossians one more time. Colossians beats the drum pretty loudly of gratitude. This is because gratitude is closely tied to the Gospel. In Colossians 2:6-7, we hear a call that living a Gospel-centered life is the path to being thankful and, deeper, living a life that honors Jesus as Lord. In the AM sermon, I plan to overview the Gospel that comes through Christ alone.
In the PM, we will have a special time as a church at our Annual Church-Wide Thanksgiving Dinner. This is such a special time every year. I have many great memories of this. We will also be collecting a special offering to advance the Gospel in Australia. So, plan for a great, Christ-exalting Lord’s Day at Crestview.
On Sabbath Evening, January 15, 1860, Charles Spurgeon stepped into the pulpit at New Park Street Chapel to preach a sermon entitled, Special Thanksgiving to the Father from Colossians 1:12-13. This quote from this sermon will be one I use today in transitioning from my own sermon from Colossians 1:11-12 into the Lord’s Supper…
I think, my Brethren, we scarcely need to be told to give thanks unto the Son. The remembrance of that bleeding body hanging upon the Cross is ever present to our faith. The nails and the spear, His griefs, the anguish of His soul and His sweat of agony make much tender touching appeals to our gratitude—these will prevent us always from ceasing our songs and sometimes fire our hearts with rekindling rapture in praise of the Man, Christ Jesus. Yes, we will bless You, dearest Lord. Our souls are all on fire. As we survey the wondrous Cross, we cannot but shout—“O for this love let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
The Savior’s praises speak.”
Give thanks to the Son for His work in the Gospel!
Don Whitney has had a huge influence upon my life in many ways. He was a professor of Spiritual Formation for me back in seminary days. Each church I’ve had the privilege of serving since then has had Don come and help us equip our people in spiritual things. He has many helpful resources on his website. (He will be back at Crestview in the Spring of 2010, March 12-14). He offers some practical encouragement for Thanksgiving in what he calls Sing The Table Blessing as a means to foster family worship during this upcoming holiday. Allow your thanksgiving time to be one in which you as a family are able to come together to thank the Ultimate Giver.
Related to Thanksgiving, I probably won’t be posting the next couple of days, so have an enjoyable thanksgiving and remember to transfer glory to God for all you’ve been blessed with. Ultimately it is He who has given us everything to enjoy.
What can you do this week to intentionally express to your spouse how thankful you are to them? Think! Be Creative! Labor hard to demonstrate this with action. Thankfulness is an overflow of praise from God. Let’s express the overflow of our gratitude to God by demonstrating thankfulness in intentional acts of blessing to our spouses.