Thanksgiving Eve –
November 23, 2016
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Thanksgiving by definition is the formal public expression of returning thanks to God. How do we do this? Let’s see what Scripture would tell us this night. How do we have thanksgiving?
1. Rejoice always – v. 16 “May you always be joyful in you life in the Lord I say it again; rejoice” Philippians 4:4
A. In this verse, Paul tells us twice to rejoice. Why rejoice? We might not necessarily feel like rejoicing and yet we do rejoice for this is how thankful hearts respond to God – they rejoice.
B. We rejoice when we recall the fruits of His Spirit which are evident in every believer’s life.
Transition: We give thanks in rejoicing making our requests to God.
2. Pray without ceasing – v. 17 “Don’t worry about anything but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking Him with a thankful heart.” Philippians 4:6
A. Worry can drain us of any joy. There is much for us to be concerned in this dark and sinful world. Thus, our focus is on Him who supplies us with all that we need to support our body and life. “Make your requests know to God” Paul would remind us – we take it to the Lord in prayer.
B. Our prayers are also filled with gratitude and praise – gratitude for His redemption in Christ for His gifts of mercy and grace. Praise because He has blessed us in so many ways – His mercies are new to us every day His blessings cannot be counted. He is a god of grace and glory.
Transition: We rejoice we pray always with thankful hearts, regardless of the circumstances.
3. In everything give thanks – V. 18 “Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants of you in your life in Christ Jesus”.
A. Now that we have been put right with God through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace in which we now live.
We rejoice then in the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. And we also rejoice in our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance brings God’s approval and His approval creates hope. This hope does not disappoint us because “God has poured out His live into our hearts by the means of the Holy Spirit who is God’s gift to us.” Romans 5:1-4
Our thanks is not limited to or dictated by circumstances. In every circumstance regardless of its origin we return to God our worship and praise.
B. Because you know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure. We endure because of faith. Faith given to us by God in the first place – faith which trust God’s promises – faith which takes God at His Word
How do we have thanksgiving? With our prayers with gratitude to God in every circumstance we bless the Lord.
Image taken June 2009 behind Zion Friedheim Lutheran Church