Life was designed to be lived in community.

11/20/11 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ!

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 Under: Sermon

Text: Romans 1:8-11 (HCSB)

1 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world. 9 For God, whom I serve with my spirit in [telling] the good news about His Son, is my witness that I constantly mention you, 10 always asking in my prayers that if it is somehow in God’s will, I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I want very much to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you.
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15

Illustration: It could be worse.

It’s Thanksgiving Day & the aroma of roast turkey fills Charlie Brown’s house. Snoopy, outside, lying on top of his doghouse, smells that aroma, & he is thinking, “It’s Thanksgiving Day. Everybody eats turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” So he lies there, watching the back door, eagerly awaiting his Thanksgiving dinner. Finally, the door opens & here comes Charlie Brown with a bowl of dog food, & he puts it on the ground. Snoopy gets off his house & stares at the dog food with a forlorn look on his face. And he thinks, “Just because I’m a dog, I have to eat dog food on Thanksgiving Day.” Then the next square shows him looking at the dog food more intently, & he is thinking, “It could be worse. I could be the turkey.”

The optimist says, the cup is half full. The pessimist says, the cup is half empty. The child of God says; My cup runneth over. It could be worse!

Intro: When I go to the scripture to find someone who I believe gives a great example of thankfulness, Paul is one of the first names that come to mind. The Old Testament is really good at reminding us of the mind of the thankful: In the Book of Exodus Chapter 15 Moses and the Israelites are singing praises unto the name of the Lord because He threw Pharaoh’s chariots and his army into the Red Sea and they drowned, In the 100th Psalm it is nothing but praise to the Lord. We have much for which to Thank God! I want to go back to the thought of thanksgiving through Paul’s experience:

1. Paul Thankful for Christ: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 1 Corinthians 15:57

Paul’s reason for thankfulness in Christ is twofold: he sees the two great things about salvation in Christ are the empty grave and the eternal gift. Here is a man who earlier hated Christ before the cross. His friends had crucified Jesus to end it all. Then, suddenly, He was there again: the resurrection! Many have heard of the story of Stephen who was stoned and how Paul had him put to death as well as many others. Even with all this against Paul and a past that could haunt anyone Paul has an encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road: In the book of Acts chapter 9 Paul was going to Damascus to request for letters from the synagogues to put in prison anyone man or woman who belong to the Way. In this journey Paul sees the light and the light was Christ and Paul was changed! Jesus introduces Himself to Paul as He does to us today regardless of our past.

Because of this experience Paul says: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.” Paul had tried so hard before, had been so religious, Found that salvation was a gift to receive 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift - 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Paul had a reason to be thankful; he found a reason through a living Savior who offered salvation. Are you thankful for your living Savior? Are you thankful for Salvation?

Paul could say: first I thank my God through Jesus Christ for what He has done for me!

2. Paul Thankful for Christians: “I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you.” Philippians 1:3
Romans 1:8-11

The more I read and study Paul’s letters I see a man of God who truly loved the saints, how often we see and hear his words: “Upon every remembrance of you”. Paul had a great love for the saints. The scriptures remind us from the words of our blessed savior: “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

I think we forget sometimes the importance of the Christian and their role in the church, the fellowship that should be so unique and the longing for that. We should starve for the fellowship of others and never have too much. Sometimes Christians do not live up to their potential, sometimes they do not talk like Christians, sometimes they do not walk like Christians but there ought to be fierce loyalty among Christians. Can you be thankful for those sitting around you? Are you thankful for all believers?

Paul was thankful for all the Christians he first thanks God through Jesus Christ and then loved the ones he was with!

Illustration: A father and his son were seated at the dining room table, while the mother was finishing the final preparations on the family’s dinner. While the father and son were seated, the father asked the son if he would say the prayer for the meal. The youngster nodded his head, and said that he would pray. The mother placed the last of the meal on the table, and sat down. The boy looked around the table at the food for a moment, and began to pray. He said, "God, I’m not sure what it is. But thanks anyway. And I’ll still eat it."

People who are truly thankful don’t complain, they find a reason to be grateful. Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on every book of the Bible, was once robbed. The thieves took everything of value that he had. Later that evening he wrote in his diary these words, “I am thankful that during these years I have never been robbed before. Also, even though they took my money, they did not take my life. Although they took all I had, it was not much. Finally, I am grateful that it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”

What are you thankful for?

3. Paul Thankful Constantly: “Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“In everything give thanks.” Here is a man that was stoned, shipwrecked, imprisoned: “Thank you, Lord”, poor eyesight, not handsome, short: “Thank you, Lord”, Not enough gifts from the churches: “Thank you, Lord”. The secret of thanksgiving for the Thessalonians was the letter’s theme is Christ’s return, everyday, his Lord expected.

The Lord is going to return are you ready? Have you done anything that would please the Lord …

Are you as Thankful as Paul? If not, why not? Let’s be thankful every day and so Honor our Lord.

Are you thankful for His indescribable gift? God’s indescribable gift is, of course, His Son - the most worthy, glorious, wonderful gift ever given, the gift that inspires all other gifts.

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

I first thank God through Jesus Christ for His gift of life and eternal peace: Thank You!

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