Ending 2018 with Thanksgiving to God
We usually preach through the book of the Bible, and we are currently preaching through the Gospel of Mark. But because of Christmas and the beginning of the new year, we decided to take a break from Mark and speak on some relevant topics that will prepare our hearts and minds for the coming year.
Last Sunday, since it was a Christmas week, Jinson preached a message of the good news of Jesus. This Sunday I want to encourage all of us to end this year with a token of thanksgiving for all that God has done in our lives, especially in the year 2018.
But let me first begin by sharing why is it important to give thanks to the Lord.
1. We thank God primarily because it is a command – 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Our general human tendency is to feel happy and thankful when everything around us is going on well. But if we are indeed a child of God then what sets us apart for others is when we show thankfulness even when we go through hard times. And the reason is that we know that God is working for our good even when he allows bad circumstances to come in our lives.
And that is why Paul is saying ‘give thanks in all circumstances.’ – not just for the good times but even for the bad times.
The reason I want to highlight this point is that you may not be pleased how the last year went by in your life. Maybe you didn’t get what you expected from God, but instead, the previous year was the worst year ever.
No matter how good or bad the year has been in your life, as a believer, we are commanded to give thanks at all times, and I want to encourage you to offer the sacrifice of thanks to our God all times.
2. We thank God because we cannot adequately praise and worship God without also being thankful.
In Psalm 100:1-3 the psalmist is exalting us and saying.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Worship is the will of God for the whole earth and Thanksgiving is the essential ingredient to True Worship.
We worship him because we are thankful for all that he has done and will do in our lives.
3. We thank God because by doing so we acknowledge that everything comes from God and that we are entirely depended on him for everything.
4. We think God because it keeps our hearts in right relationship with the giver of all good gifts.
What does it mean when we don’t thank God?
Without gratefulness, we become arrogant and self-centred. We begin to believe that we have achieved everything on our own.
Out of the many things we ought to thank God for, I want to highlight and speak about two things that’s most important of all.
1. The first one is the Gospel.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
Once upon a time, we were in darkness and the Gospel set us free.
We were created by God, to love Him, to worship Him, to adore Him, to glorify Him.
God wanted us to live under his authority and his dominion because he made us he had all the right to demand that from us. But instead of living in a loving relationship with God, the first man and women, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God’s Holy laws and failed to live under His authority. They Sinned, and their relationship with God was broken.
Since then everyone born on this earth is born sinful, no one teaches us to cheat, bite, lie and rebel, we are born with those qualities. Why? Because we are born sinful.
The reason our world is corrupt is because we are corrupt. We live in brokenness because our relationship with our creator God is broken and no matter how hard man tries to please God, he never succeeds.
But the Bible tells us that God so loved us that he sent his Son Jesus to live an obedient life and SINLESS life on our behalf, take all the penalty of our Sin on himself and die a terrible death on our behalf so that we can be forgiven, and our relationship with God can be restored back by doing two things – Repenting and Believing in his son Jesus.
Jesus died and was buried for three days, after which he rose again from the dead, defeated sin and death and giving us an abundant life. A life full of joy, peace and satisfaction.
For those who believed – Since then the Gospel is at work in our lives – Daily setting us free from bondage and sin patterns that capture our minds.
The Gospel is at the centre of our church ministry, and that is why we make sure to preach the gospel through every sermon we preach.
As we end this year, let us be thankful for the Gospel in our lives. The constant reminders of God love and grace.
When I say church, I’m not talking about a building or a place but the people. The Church is the people of God.
Here are a couple of reasons why we have to be thankful for the church and especially one another.
1. God uses the Church to bring the Hope of Christ in our lives – Through the preaching of God word, through the counsel of Godly leaders.
2. God uses the church to break every wall of separation that mankind has created, and unites our hearts as one people.
3. God uses the church to sanctify us – As we rub against each other, through sufferings, through conflicts, through the pain.
4. God uses the church to uplift our spirits in hard and difficult times.
Let us be thankful and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving that will glorify the name of our Lord.
Let us enter the year 2019 with thanksgiving in our hearts. With hope in our hearts, expecting God to do great and mighty things in our lives.