Abraham Father of the Faithful Friend of God

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Thanksgiving
What is gratitude?
Webster’s 1828
GRATITUDE,
An emotion of the heart, excited by a favor or benefit received; a
sentiment of kindness or good will towards a benefactor;
thankfulness. Gratitude is an agreeable emotion, consisting in or
accompanied with good will to a benefactor, and a disposition to
make a suitable return of benefits or services, or when no return
can be made, with a desire to see the benefactor prosperous and
happy. Gratitude is a virtue of the highest excellence, as it implies
a feeling and generous heart, and a proper sense of duty.
Does gratitude come naturally?
(even for the Christian?)
Ingratitude is one of the most easily traced human characteristics
demonstrated in the Bible.
Israel’s grumbling during the 40 years
Israel’s response to Jesus
The 10 lepers (Lk. 17) healed by Jesus could
argue that only 1 in 10 people are thankful.
What triggers gratitude?
Grateful:
Warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits
received.
Appreciate:
To value or regard highly; place a high estimation on.
The value we place on the kindness received
determines the measure of our gratitude.
God puts a premium on gratitude
Romans 1.21-23:
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him
as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their
speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged
the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the
form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed
animals and crawling creatures.
Gratitude, a virtue
For the Christian, gratitude cannot be understood as limited
to a momentary response to a particular blessing or favor. It
must be characteristic of the Christian.
It is nurtured to maturity only by a growing understanding
of the person of God. Since the essence of gratitude is
founded upon God’s virtues, it is unrelated to circumstances.
Gratitude enables the believer to
mature through suffering
James 1.2-4:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various
trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect
and complete, lacking in nothing.
The virtue of gratitude is not given to us so we can appreciate
pleasant things, but that we will appreciate God’s hand in trials.
Gratitude must be taught
Since parents are God’s agents for transmitting the faith and
practice of Christianity, we must train gratitude into our children.
If we raise ungrateful children, we make
faith in the gospel/devotion to Christ
difficult for them.
Can we have an ungrateful heart, yet be grateful to God?
If we are ungrateful to God, will we allow Him to be the
Lord of our lives?
Gratitude is vital because…
55 times in the Psalms alone we are taught to give thanks to God.
Psalm 86.12:
I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with
all my heart, and will glorify Thy name forever.
Thankfulness to God is an indication of spiritual maturity.
Psalm 119.7-11:
I shall give thanks to Thee with uprightness of heart,
when I learn Thy righteous judgments…How can a
young man keep his way pure? By keeping it
according to Thy word…Thy word I have treasured
in my heart that I may not sin against Thee.
Gratitude is vital because…
Thankfulness to God will overflow as a testimony of Him.
1Chronicles 16.8:
Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples.
Gratitude causes the outpouring of praise to God.
Exodus 15.2:
The LORD is my strength and song, And He has
become my salvation; This is my God, and I will
praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.
Gratitude is vital because…
Being truly thankful is God’s will for us.
1 Thessalonians 5.17-19:
…pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is
God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit…
Thankfulness should characterize our personality.
Ephesians 5.4:
…and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse
jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
Gratitude is vital because…
Gratitude is an essential part of a healthy prayer life.
Philippians 4.6:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made
known to God.
Gratitude is vital because…
Gratitude is at the heart of the Christian walk.
Colossians 3.15-17:
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you
were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ
richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing
one another…singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And
whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Gratitude is vital because…
Gratitude protects against discontent.
Philippians 4.10-13:
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have
revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before,
but you lacked opportunity.
Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in
whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with
humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any
and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled
and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
What does gratitude look like?
The fruit of the Spirit
Gratitude is the door through which the Christlikeness
in us pours out to the people around us.
Gratitude is seeing the worth of others.
Gratitude is seeing the worth of trials.
It is saying with Job, “The LORD gives and the LORD takes
away; blesses be the name of the LORD.”
How do we develop gratitude?
•
Pray for a changed heart; repent of ingratitude
•
Recognize that affluence is an enemy of gratitude;
adapt and overcome.
•
Keep a gratitude journal
•
Pray Psalm 136.1
•
Write cards and letters expressing gratitude.
•
Share gratefulness around the dinner table.
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