Sermon by Neil Earle, 2/12/2005
Philippians 4:6-7: "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."
The new covenant exaltations are much harder to carry out than the old testament commands. The chances that we will commit murder or rob a bank this week are remote. The law makes us good citizens. How are we thankful for all of the things good and bad going on around us. We should be thankful for everything that we have, even the simplest of things. We should begin our prayers with thanksgiving.
Recollection is the key to thanksgiving. There is a blessing for everything. When we pray we have to enter the supernatural world of the spiritual and then you are able to give thanks for everything. Thanksgiving is the key power to God and the key access to God.
Psalm 95:1-2: "Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song."
One of the worst things in the world is ingratitude. We should come before the presence of God with thanksgiving.
Psalm 100:1-5: "A psalm. For giving thanks. 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."
Do we really believe that sitting at the heart of this universe is perfect love and perfect mercy as well as perfect justice and that love rules the universe? That is very hard to believe due to all of the tragedies that are around us.
It is a different realm when we enter into the presence of God. It is a world where mercy, love and justice rules supreme. Thanksgiving reflects the presence of God. When you are in the presence of God days and things seem to go better for us. Why is thanksgiving a key to spiritual power. It is because it reflects humility and takes your mind off of yourself.
Philippians 1:3: "I thank my God every time I remember you."
Who was this Paul who wrote so powerfully about thanksgiving? Paul was a man of action.
2 Corinthians 11:16, 21-28: "I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting....To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that! What anyone else dares to boast about – I am speaking as a fool – I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."
1 Timothy 1:12-15: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst."
Luke 17:11-19: "Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, 'Jesus, Master, have pity on us!' When he saw them, he said, Go, show yourselves to the priests.' And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, 'Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?' Then he said to him, 'Rise and go; your faith has made you well.'"
The Bible does not always make sense to us. Evil does not have the final word. Do not deal in lies. Keep a stiff upper lip.
Sermon summary prepared by local Glendora church member Charlie Schreiner.