This evening we will continue our study entitled 'Growing Spiritually'. Tonight our topic addresses continual gratitude or thankfulness. We add this to an ever growing list of characteristics that point to an individual's spiritual growth. Thus far we have considered that a Christian who is growing spiritually will be:
If you look closely at our text verse, you notice three admonitions. First, we are to give thanks. Second we see that we are to give thanks in everything. The last part of the verse reminds us that to give thanks is the will of God.
I. We are to Give Thanks.
A. The Meaning of Giving Thanks.
1. The word for "give thanks" simply means to be grateful.
2. We refer to prayer prior to our meals as 'returning thanks'.
3. This speaks of an attitude that remembers that we owe all that we have to the grace of a loving and caring God.
(James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
B. Consider a few of the 'good gifts'
1. One of the greatest for which we should be thankful is eternal life.
(Romans 6:23b) "…The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Ephesians 2:8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
2. Another wonderful gift is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
(Acts 2:38b) "…Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."
(Acts 10:45b) "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost."
(Romans 8:9b) "…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
3. Of course there are the gifts of service in and through our local church.
(Romans 12:6a) "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…"
(1 Cor 12:4) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
4. Then there are the physical blessings.
a. We can get out of bed every morning.
b. We have health for our bodies, air to breathe, food to eat, warm clothes to wear and houses to live in.
c. God has blessed us with families, friends, and our jobs.
d. Of course we are blessed to live in America and enjoy the freedom to worship in our local church.
C. How are we to Give Thanks?
1. Gratitude is to be expressed in our relationship with one another.
(Ephesians 5:3-4) But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
2. Gratitude is to be expressed in our relationship with God.
a. This is to be evident in how we pray.
b. Instead of only coming to God to ask for things…
c. Let's remember to give Him our thinks.
d. We are to worship Him for who He is and what He has done.
II. We are to Give Thanks IN Everything.
A. Consider the little word "In"
1. It makes a lot of difference when we look at what the Lord is commanding us to do in this verse.
2. We are to give thanks IN everything, not necessarily FOR everything!
3. God is not instructing us to give thanks for everything in the world…
4. Because we know that the world is filled with all sorts of wickedness and sin.
5. But He said, "IN every thing give thanks."
B. What's the difference?
1. Whatever we are going through at any time - we should give thanks to God.
2. We may not always understand why certain events occur in our lives...
3. We may not be able to see the good that God is bringing out of our circumstances.
4. But we have God's infallible Word of assurance that all things work together for good.
5. If we find ourselves in the midst of blessings ... give thanks to God!
6. But if we find ourselves in the midst of trials and difficulties-give thanks to God!
C. This is directly tied to v16-17
1. We can "in everything give thanks" because we "rejoice evermore", an because we "pray without ceasing."
2. We are grateful because we rejoice and we rejoice because we pray and because we pray we are grateful, we can give thanks in everything.
3. So we are to be continually give thanks unto God in all things!
(Colossians 3:17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
III. We are to Give Thanks: It is God's Will.
A. Why should we?
1. Because He commands us to do it.
2. Because He is sovereign and holy God who has chosen our pathway in life.
3. Because we owe everything to Him!
4. Because without Christ we would be without hope in this present world with nothing to look forward to but an eternity separated from God in a place called Hell.
5. Why? because "...This is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
B. Why Don't We?
1. An unthankful person may not be saved!
(Romans 1:21) Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
(2 Timothy 3:2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2. An unthankful person may be filled with doubt.
(Romans 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
(Philippians 4:19) But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
3. An unthankful person may simply be ignorant of the Word of God.
4. An unthankful person may be filled with pride and self-centeredness.
5. An unthankful person may be angry or disappointed with God or with their lives.
6. There are a multitude of reasons why a person may be unthankful…but regardless of the reason…it is still in opposition to God's plan and will for us.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
With each of these we have come to the point where we must honestly ask ourselves, "How are we doing in this area?" So tonight…How are we doing with being continually thankful in all things?