Thanksgiving #3 Thank God for Who He Is

 


Thanksgiving #3 Thank God for Who He Is.

 This week we celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving.  “Thanksgiving is the only Holiday that we are taking to heaven” (Rev 7:11-12; Rick Warren).  In the past two teachings, we’ve considered blocks to thanksgiving.  We’ve learned that spiritual conflict, entitlement, resentment, fear, and guilt are major chokepoints in our ability to give thanks.  We’ve learned that if we do not rightly value the salvation that is ours in Christ, what we have been saved from, what we are saved for, we tend to stumble when giving thanks for God’s greatest blessing. 

 2 Tim 3:1-5 (NLT)

You should know this, …, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

In the last days, the last days started with the ascension of Jesus and will culminate in what we call His second coming.  At that time Jesus will bring the Kingdom of God in full and the world and everyone in it will be changed.  Right now, in these last days, people will be ungrateful.  One reason for that ungratefulness is that many will have chosen not to know God.

 Romans 1:21-22 (NLT)

“…they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.  Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.

 Do you know God?  Jesus revealed all you need to understand about our Creator.  Jesus demonstrated God’s love for you.  Jesus sacrificed Himself so that you can know God.  Acknowledge that you do not know God.  Believe that Jesus is the revealer of God. Commit to experiencing all you can of God. Ask God to save you through your faith in what Jesus has done for you.  Spiritual knowledge of who God is will open up to you.  If you want to explore this further, I will be glad to assist you. 

 When you grow in the knowledge of God, you begin to know Him for who He is, alongside what He has done.  It is as you know Him you can, as the Scripture says, “in all things give thanks.” 5 Thanksgiving Sermons To Share On Thanksgiving 2021 (pushpay.com)

Psalms 50:23 (NCV)

Those people honor me who bring me offerings to show thanks. And I, God, will save those who do that.“

 God saves those who give Him thanks, demonstrable thanks.  We have our little formulas like acknowledge, believe commit and ask, but here’s something else to consider, God saves those who offer Him thanks.

Jesus told us that we can know a person by what they do.  We say someone is loving because they do loving things.  We say someone is kind because they do kind things.  We say someone is evil because of the purposeful wrong they do.

 Matthew 7:16-18 & 20 (NIV)

By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.   Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

 We say God is love, God is good, and God is just, but when we try to define being love, being good, or being just, we have to default to the actions that testify to those attributes. So it’s difficult to distinguish between who God is and what God does because He always does what is consistent with who He is.

 Scripture abounds with reasons for why we are to give thanks to God for who He is. The accusation has been leveled that it’s a circular argument to quote the scripture when inquiring about the nature of God.   If you consider the scripture to be a revelation of whom God is, where else do you go for your information? The scripture is the starting point; experience is the confirming evidence that what the scripture has revealed is correct.  We are exploring giving thanks to God for who He is, not what He has done for us, yet it’s by God's actions that we know who He is.

 1. We give thanks to God for God is love.

 1 John 4:16 (NIV)

God is love.

 We know that God is love (1 John 4:8 & 16).  We know God is loving towards all of His creation (Psalms 145:13), but His very nature, the core of His being is love. In 1 Corinthians 13:4 and Galatians 5:20 we have descriptions of love.   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV).  Jesus revealed to us that love is joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23 (NIV).  Love motivates a willing sacrifice to meet the needs of others (John 15:13).  God’s steadfast love is fully displayed through Jesus Christ. He laid down His life on the cross to die for the sins of the world. This revelation of God supersedes all previous understandings.  We know that God is love therefore we can give thanks to God that He is the way He is.

 2. We give thanks to God for God is good

 Psalms 118:1 (NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!  His faithful love endures forever.

 We say it often: “God is Good,” “God is Good all the time.” Jesus said, “No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).  The word translated as good (agaqoj – agathos) means excellence of character, beneficial, honorable.  God will not do anything that is counter His nature.  He will not do evil (1 John 1:5).  This character quality never changes. His intentions and motivations are always in alignment with His nature. God always does “good” because good is what God is.  If God doesn’t do what you want God is still good.  “God is good not because He causes things that seem or feel “good” to happen in our lives, but because in the midst of the storm, God comes closer to us than the storm could ever… no matter how different the outcome is from what we’ve prayed for, that God is good. In the hardest moments of life, God comes close to us and he doesn’t change, he doesn’t falter, he doesn’t quit, he doesn’t leave and he doesn’t let go.”  Sarah Thebarge

What Does the Goodness of God Really Mean? | HuffPost  We know that God is good therefore we can give thanks to God that He is the way He is

3. We give thanks to God because He is just.

 2 Thessalonians 1:6 (NIV)

“God is just…”

 Just is His nature, justice is the result.  This is God in and of Himself, no corruption, no compromise, no partiality; He is the standard of morality, always judging correctly.  He holds all accountable for the things they do and fail to do, passing sentence with both rewards and punishments.  Justice establishes righteousness.  Anything or anyone not aligned with God’s nature is either transformed or ultimately destroyed.  Because we know that God is just, we believe the scales of justice will be balanced, we need not take revenge because God is the avenger when evil is done to us.  We entrust our case to God because we know that God is just and therefore we can give thanks to Him for the way He is.

 4.  We can thank God for being mercy and grace (Psalm 103:8), for being help and refuge (Psalm 54:4 & 62:8). We thank God for being holy (Psalm 99:9), being compassionate (Psalm 116:5); and for being flawless (Proverbs 30:5).  We thank God for being truthful (John 3:33), great (Psalm 145:3); for being for us (Romans 8:31), for being faithful (2 Corinthians 1:18), and being able (2 Corinthians 9:8). We can give thanks for the gifts He bestows, but even greater thanks we can give for who He is.  God is worthy of our thanksgiving because of who He is.

 “Thank you, God, for being you.” 

 Psalms 50:23 (NCV)

Those people honor me who bring me offerings to show thanks. And I, God, will save those who do that.

A thank offering cannot be commanded.  How can one demand that you be grateful?  An offering of thanks is something you do from the heart.  When you know that God has bestowed favor upon you the natural response is make a thanksgiving offering.  An offering means we are giving something up, we are surrendering our time, our talents, our treasures, what is ours we are giving it as an offering that makes our thanks tangible, demonstrable.  What we are concentrating on is offering thanks not for what God has blessed us with, but rather who God is.  Consider these three examples for how to say thank you to God for being who He is.  All are expressions of gratitude. 

 1. We thank God for who He is by the choices that bring us closer to Him.

 James 4:8 (MSG)

Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.

 That “quiet yes” is a thanks offering of obedience.

Deuteronomy 11:1 (MSG)

“…guard well his rules and regulations; obey his commandments for the rest of time.”

 You offer thanksgiving when you sacrifice what you want to obey God

When Jesus prayed “Not my will, but yours…” He was preparing himself to give a thank offering (Matthew 26:39)

2. We thank God for who He is our worship.  Your, music, singing, clapping, shouting, dancing, raising your hands in adoration, are thankful offerings.

 Psalms 33:2, 69:30, 47:1, 63:4

Praise the Lord with melodies …praise God’s name with singing …clap your hands! … Shout to God with joyful praise! ..Praise his name with dancing … lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

3. We thank God for who He is by our testimony to others of what God has done for us (Isaiah 12:4). 

 Psalms 26:6-7 (NLT)

I wash my hands to declare my innocence.  I come to your altar, O Lord, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders.

 Psalms 107:22 (MSG)

Offer thanksgiving sacrifices, tell the world what he's done…

When you tell others what He has done for you, you are making a thanksgiving offering for who God is. Our testimony is that offering.

4.  We thank God for who He is by our choices to live devout and holy lives.

 Colossians 3:17 (MSG)

Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

 God has done great things for which we are thankful, yes, thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon you.  The reason why God has done great things is that He, in Himself, is great.  Take time to give demonstrable thank offerings to God for who He is. 

 This national holiday of Thanksgiving, determine to continually give a thanksgiving offering to God.

 Psalm 107:22 (NKJV).

Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing”


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