THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE: 12-17-17

LESSON TITLE: “BEING THANKFUL”

WELCOME

TODAY WE ARE BLESSED WITH A WONDERFUL GIFT FROM GOD, THE BIBLE. THIS BOOK IS GOD'S LIVING WORD. IN ITS PAGES, WE ARE TOLD “FOR THE WORD OF GOD IS LIVING AND POWERFUL AND SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD.” IT IS IN THIS BOOK OF BOOKS THAT WE FIND THE ANSWERS TO ALL OF MAN'S QUESTIONS AND NEEDS. THIS MORNING YOUR AREA CHURCHES OF CHRIST WELCOME YOU TO A PROGRAM COMMITTED TO THAT PERFECT LAW OF LIBERTY AS WE PRESENT THE LIVING WORD. NOW HERE IS YOUR HOST, RAY SULLINS.

HAPPY HOLIDAY TO YOU AND YOURS AND LET ME THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY FOR THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM. AS ALWAYS, WE ARE EXCITED TO HAVE YOU WITH US FOR THIS TIME OF OFFERING AND ENCOURAGEMENT, AS WE PARTICIPATE IN THE THINGS OF GOD. WE ARE GLAD THAT YOU HAVE JOINED US FOR THIS WORSHIP TO OUR SAVIOR. OUR COMMITMENT THIS MORNING IS TO GIVE GLORY TO THE CREATOR THROUGH THE SINGING OF SONGS OF PRAISE AND THROUGH THE STUDY OF HIS WORD. I HOPE AND PRAY THAT EACH OF US WILL DO OUR PART TO MAKE THIS SERVICE ACCEPTABLE IN HIS SIGHT. NOW WILL YOU BOW WITH ME IN PRAYER.

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU TODAY BECAUSE YOU HAVE GIVEN US ALL THINGS THAT WE NEED. YOU'VE GIVEN US ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS AND FATHER, YOU'VE GIVEN US ALL PHYSICAL BLESSINGS. AND THEREFORE, WE KNOW THAT BECAUSE OF YOU WE NEVER HAVE NEED. IF WE LOOK TO YOU, IF WE FOLLOW YOU, IF WE OBEY YOU, FOR YOU AS OUR FATHER ARE OUR CAREGIVER, YOU ARE PROTECTOR, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO GUIDES US. FATHER, YOU DO ALL FOR US THAT WE NEED BECAUSE WE ARE YOUR CHILDREN. AND THEREFORE, HELP US AS YOUR CHILDREN TO BE FAITHFUL TO DO ALL THAT YOU COMMANDED US THAT WE MIGHT BE SEEN PLEASING IN YOUR SIGHT KNOWING THAT THOSE WHO PLEASE YOU ARE AWARDED TODAY AND ULTIMATELY ARE REWARDED ETERNALLY. FATHER, WE THANK YOU FOR JESUS FOR BECAUSE OF HIS SACRIFICE AND THE SHEDDING OF HIS BLOOD AND HIS RESURRECTION WE STAND JUSTIFIED BEFORE YOU TODAY AS THE FAITHFUL. AND WE ASK FATHER THAT YOU GIVE US THOSE THINGS THAT YOU PROMISED EVEN IN THE END. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

THIS MORNING WE WANT TO BEGIN OUR SONGS OF PRAISE BY SINGING A SONG WHICH CHALLENGES US TO REALIZE THAT THE SAVING MESSAGE OF JESUS CHRIST HAS BEEN GIVEN FOR ALL OF MANKIND. THEREFORE, WE MUST CONSIDER HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE EACH DO OUR PART TO MAKE SURE THAT THE WORLD HEARS THIS SAVING MESSAGE. SO, AT THIS TIME, WON’T YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AS WE SING TOGETHER, “THE GOSPEL IS FOR ALL.”

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

ONE OF THE HARDEST THINGS WHICH WE MUST ALL LEARN AS CHRISTIANS IS HOW WE NEED TO TREAT OTHERS. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE WAY WE TREAT OTHERS IS TO BE THE SAME WAY CHRIST WOULD TREAT THEM. IN FACT, ISN’T THAT WHY WE ARE CALLED CHRISTIANS? WE ARE TO BE CHRIST-LIKE!

THE BIBLE SAYS WE ARE TO BE IMITATORS OF GOD, AS HIS DEAR CHILDREN, EPHESIANS 5:1. FURTHERMORE, CHRIST TOLD US IN THE GOLDEN RULE TO TREAT OTHERS AS WE WANT TO BE TREATED, MATTHEW 7:12.

LEARNING HOW TO TREAT OTHERS IS ESPECIALLY HARD WHEN IT COMES TO THOSE WHO WE REALLY DON’T LIKE OR WHO DON’T LIKE US, OR POSSIBLY EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE DONE THINGS AGAINST US. THE WISE MAN SOLOMON EVEN UNDERSTOOD THIS AS HE SAID, “IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, GIVE HIM BREAD TO EAT; AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM WATER TO DRINK,” PROVERBS 25:21. THIS IS ALSO THE SAME IDEA WHICH JESUS PRESENTED IN MATTHEW 5:44, WHEN HE SAID, “BUT I SAY TO YOU, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU, DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU, AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SPITEFULLY USE YOU AND PERSECUTE YOU.” YOU MIGHT SAY BUT WHY, WELL VERSE 45 GOES ON TO SAY, “IN ORDER TO BE SONS OF GOD,” WE MUST DO THIS.

I THINK THE BEST VERSES ON OUR DISCUSSION ARE FOUND IN MATTHEW 25. HERE AGAIN OUR LORD IS TALKING WHEN HE TOLD HIS FOLLOWERS TO DO GOOD UNTO ALL MEN NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE. HE EVEN MENTIONS THOSE IN PRISON IN HIS DISCUSSION. HOWEVER, HE REALLY DRIVES THE POINT HOME WHEN HE SAID, “ASSUREDLY, I SAY TO YOU, INASMUCH AS YOU DID IT TO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE MY BRETHREN, YOU DID IT TO ME.” WHEN WE DO GOOD TO ANYONE OR TREAT THEM PROPERLY WE MUST CONSIDER THAT WE HAVE DONE THE SAME TO JESUS. HOWEVER, IF WE DO BAD OR DON’T HELP THOSE WHICH WE NEED TO, WE MUST ALSO CONSIDER THAT WE HAVE NOT DONE IT TO CHRIST. SO I ASK, ARE YOU TREATING OTHERS AS CHRIST WOULD IN YOUR DAILY LIVES?

TODAY, OUR SPECIFIC TOPIC WILL FOCUS ON “BEING THANKFUL.” THIS IS THE NEXT LESSON IN OUR SERIES ENTITLED, “COMPLETE IN HIM.” SO, PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US THIS MORNING AND, AFTER OUR NEXT SONG TOGETHER, I WILL RETURN WITH THIS STUDY FROM GOD’S WORD. THE NAME OF OUR NEXT HYMN IS, “THE GREAT PHYSICIAN!”

LESSON

RAY SULLINS

WE'RE REALLY GLAD THAT YOU'VE CONTINUED WITH US THIS DAY AS WE NOW GO TO GOD'S WORD. AND OF COURSE IT'S AN EXCITING TIME OF THE YEAR AS WE REALLY HAVE A HOLIDAY GOING ON AND A LOT OF TIME TO SPEND WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. AND IT'S DURING SUCH TIMES LIKE THIS THAT I ALSO HOPE WE'LL SLOW DOWN AND THINK FROM TIME TO TIME ABOUT HOW BLESSED WE ARE AND THAT WE'LL ALSO BE THANKFUL FOR THE MANY THINGS THAT GOD IS DONE FOR US AND AS WELL REALIZE JUST HOW MUCH WE BEEN BLESSED IN GOD. AND REALLY THAT'S WHAT OUR SERIES HAS BEEN ABOUT NOW FOR SOME WEEKS. WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING THERE FROM THE BOOK OF COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 2 AND SPECIFICALLY IN VERSE 10 IS WHERE OUR THEME IS TAKEN. BUT THERE THE BIBLE SAYS, “YOU ARE COMPLETE IN HIM.” AS SO WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THOSE THINGS THAT MAKE US COMPLETE IN HIM. AND REALLY HOW WE FIND OURSELVES FULFILLING THAT ASPECT OF PERFECTION AT LEAST AS BEST WE CAN IN DOING ALL THAT GOD ASKED TO DO OUR BEST AND THEN KNOWING THAT IF WE'RE DOING OUR BEST THEN GOD CERTAINLY IS GOING TO APPLY THAT GRACE AND THAT MERCY AND THAT LOVE THAT WE NEED IN ORDER THAT WE'LL BE FOUND ACCEPTABLE AND PLEASING TO THE FATHER AND ULTIMATELY RECEIVE THAT GREAT REWARD OF ETERNAL LIFE. BUT HERE WITHIN THAT TEXT WE'VE BEEN LOOKING TOGETHER AT SEVERAL DIFFERENT ASPECTS. WE'VE BEEN LOOKING AT THE IDEA BEING ROOTED AND BUILT UP IN GOD AND HOW THAT REALLY WE ARE TO LOOK TO CHRIST AND WE'VE ALSO LOOKED LAST WEEK AT THE IDEA OF BEING ESTABLISHED IN FAITH. AND YOU MIGHT NOTICE WHAT HE ADDS THETRE IN VERSE SEVEN AFTER HE MENTIONS BEING ESTABLISHED IN FAITH. HE GOES ON TO SAY, “AS YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT ABOUNDING IN IT WITH THANKSGIVING.” SO NOT ONLY IS THERE TO BE AN ESTABLISHED FAITH THAT WE ARE A PART OF BUT IT'S TO BE ABOUNDING IT SAYS HERE. IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS TO BE AN ABUNDANT THING. WE SHOULDN'T JUST STRIVE FOR A LITTLE FAITH OR SOME FAITH BUT AN ABOUNDING FAITH. BUT REALLY WHAT WE'RE GOING TO FOCUS ON TODAY IS THE IDEA OF WHAT IT SAYS LAST IN THAT VERSE, “ABOUNDING IN IT IN FAITH WITH THANKSGIVING.” THAT IS OUR FOCUS THEN OF THE DAY: THANKFULNESS.

ARE WE A THANKFUL PEOPLE? I'M AFRAID THAT MOST IN OUR SOCIETY TODAY HERE IN THE UNITED STATES REALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW BLESSED WE ARE. UNFORTUNATELY, MANY HAVE NOT TRAVELED OUTSIDE THE BORDERS OF OUR COUNTRY AND SO EVEN THOUGH YOU MIGHT SEE SOME OF THE SAD THINGS THAT TAKE PLACE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, THE WARS THAT ARE GOING ON IN MANY PLACES, THE CHILDREN THAT ARE SUFFERING, EVEN THOUGH WE CAN'T SEE SOME OF THE OUTCOME OF WHAT COMMUNISM HAS DONE IN SOME PLACES AND WHAT POVERTY HAS DONE IN OTHERS, WE REALLY DON'T COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND OR COMPREHEND IT SOMETIMES UNTIL WE'RE ABLE TO GO AND SEE OURSELVES. I KNOW THAT ONE OF THE THINGS I HAVE BEEN THANKFUL AND ACTUALLY BLESSED TO HAVE DONE AS A FATHER IS I'VE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE MY CHILDREN AS THEY GET OLDER TO AFRICA OR ON TRIPS TO AFRICA WITH ME SO THEY MIGHT SEE HOW THANKFUL THEY SHOULD BE. HOW MUCH THEY HAVE, HOW SPOILED THEY ARE! IN FACT, SPOILED ROTTEN AND NOT JUST THEM BUT EVERYONE. HOW MUCH WE HAVE WITH THE TYPES OF HOMES THAT WE LIVE IN AND THE CARS THAT WE DRIVE AND THE POSSESSIONS AND THE CELL PHONES AND ON AND ON AND ON. BUT YET WHAT DO WE DO? WE TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED. WE ALMOST FEEL LIKE, ‘WELL, YOU KNOW BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE HAVE EVEN A BETTER CELL PHONE OR A BETTER CAR A BETTER HOUSE…’ LET ME TELL YOU, YOU'RE LIVING FAR BETTER, FAR GREATER THAN THE FOLKS THAT I RUN INTO THERE IN AFRICA, IN MANY OF THOSE CHURCHES THAT I VISIT. THOSE PEOPLE WHO MIGHT NOT EVEN BE MAKING ANYTHING EXCEPT LIVING OFF THE LAND, LIVING IN MUD HUTS WITH THATCHED ROOFS. CAN YOU IMAGINE? A WHOLE FAMILY IN A MUD HUT. CAN YOU IMAGINE IF YOU HAD A JOB ONLY MAKING $30 A MONTH? THAT IS NOT A MISTAKE. THAT'S NOT A DAY! $30 A MONTH TO SUPPORT YOUR 6 TO 7 OR EIGHT CHILDREN! OH YES, WE HAVE A LOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR. AND WHEN IT TALKS ABOUT THE CONCEPT OF THANKFULNESS HERE IT SAYS THAT THAT PART OF FAITH THAT TO ME REALLY EMPHASIZES WHAT WE THEN SHOW TO GOD, IT IS THE ABILITY TO BE THANKFUL FOR THE OPPORTUNITY OF, NOT JUST KNOWING JESUS, BUT BELIEVING IN HIM UNTO ACTION. THAT'S WHAT FAITH IS. HAVING THEREFORE THAT THANKFULNESS THAT GOD HAS GIVEN ME NOT ONLY THE OPPORTUNITY BUT HAS LAID DOWN FOR ME THE METHOD OR THE PLAN BY WHICH I CAN BE COMPLETE IN HIM.

WELL, THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE WE SEE THIS BEAUTIFUL CONCEPT OF THANKFULNESS. IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, WE SEE THE THANKFULNESS OF GOD'S PEOPLE WHEN HE BLESSED THEM. BUT I LOVE ESPECIALLY THE WAY DAVID PUT IT IN PSALM 100 WHEN HE SAID, “MAKE A JOYFUL SHOUT TO THE LORD, ALL YOU LANDS! SERVE THE LORD WITH GLADNESS; COME BEFORE HIS PRESENCE WITH (THANKSGIVING OR) SINGING. KNOW THAT THE LORD, HE IS GOD; IT IS HE WHO HAS MADE US, AND NOT WE OURSELVES; WE ARE HIS PEOPLE AND THE SHEEP OF HIS PASTURE.” THEREFORE VERSE FOUR SAYS, “ENTER INTO HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING, ENTER INTO HIS COURTS WITH PRAISE. BE THANKFUL TO HIM, AND BLESS HIS NAME. FOR THE LORD IS GOOD; HIS MERCY IS EVERLASTING, AND HIS TRUTH ENDURES TO ALL GENERATIONS.” SO WHY DO WE HAVE TO BE THANKFUL? GOD IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS. GOD CREATED US. GOD BREATHED INTO OUR NOSTRILS THE BREATH OF LIFE. GOD SUSTAINS US. GOD IS OUR SHEPHERD. HE HAS PREPARED THE PASTURE, HE PROVIDES THE FOOD, THE WATER, THE RAIN, THOSE THINGS THAT WE HAVE NEED OF. AND AS WE JUST SAID, AND WAY THEM SOME IN THIS COUNTRY. OH YES, WE'VE BEEN BLESSED! WE'VE BEEN BLESSED BECAUSE HE'S PROVIDED, NOT ONLY ALL PHYSICAL BLESSINGS AND CARE FOR US BUT HE'S PROVIDED US ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS AS WELL. SO WE DON'T HAVE TO WONDER WHAT IT IS THAT GOD EXPECTS OR WANTS OF US. SO THAT WE'RE NOT TO BE CURIOUS BUT THAT WE KNOW THAT WE ARE A PEOPLE WHO HAS EVERY REASON TO BE THANKFUL, TO BE THANKFUL AND TO BE JOYFUL. WHAT IS IT THEN THAT GOD REALLY WANTS US TO BE THANKFUL IN?

I LOVE THE WAY THAT PAUL PUT IT TO THE CHURCH AT THESSALONICA AND I THINK THIS IS PERHAPS ONE OF THE SIMPLEST VERSES THAT DEALS WITH THIS CONCEPT AND THAT'S FOUND THERE IN FIRST THESSALONIANS CHAPTER 5. AND IF YOU'LL BEGIN WITH ME THERE WITH ME THERE IN VERSE 16 AND HE BEGINS TO TALK ABOUT THE NEED TO REJOICE. WELL WHY? AGAIN BECAUSE OF WHAT GOD HAS DONE. ALL THE BLESSINGS THAT WE HAVE, REJOICE. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING (VERSE 17) BUT THEN VERSE 18 SAYS, “AND IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS; FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU.” YOU KNOW, I'VE HAD PEOPLE ASK ME BEFORE, ‘WHAT IS GOD'S WILL? WHAT DOES GOD EXPECT OF ME? WHAT DOES HE REQUIRE OF ME?’ WELL, AT LEAST IN PART, ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU THIS MORNING IS GOD REQUIRES AS A PART OF HIS WILL IN CHRIST JESUS THAT YOU DO WHAT? GIVE THANKS IN EVERYTHING. ARE YOU THANKFUL? ARE YOU A PERSON WHO SHOWS THAT THANKFULNESS? I'M REMINDED OF A STUDENT THAT WE HAD ONE TIME IN OUR SCHOOL THERE IN AFRICA. HIS NAME WAS FRANCIS AQAUY. AND THAT MAN WAS THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING. YOU COULD GIVE HIM A PIECE OF CANDY AND HE WOULD WANT TO STOP AND HAVE A PRAYER. YOU COULD GIVE HIM A COKE OR A SODA AND HE WOULD WANT TO STOP AND HAVE A PRAYER. WE ACTUALLY SAT DOWN AND TRIED TO EXPLAIN TO HIM SOMETIMES MAYBE YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE A PRAYER ABOUT EVERY WORD OR EVERY SYLLABLE OR EVERY ACTION IN LIFE BUT YET IT WAS ALMOST HUMOROUS AT TIMES BECAUSE HE WANTED TO SHOW HIS THANKFULNESS TO GOD FOR EVERYTHING. HE ATTRIBUTED ALL OF HIS BLESSINGS TO GOD. I APPRECIATED THAT SPIRIT IN HIM. AND EVEN TODAY I STILL THINK ABOUT THAT. WHY? BECAUSE WE NEED TO BE A PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE THANKFUL. YOU SEE EVERYTHING I DO AND HAVE IS FROM GOD. ALL THE BLESSINGS ARE FROM GOD. ALL THE THINGS I'VE RECEIVED ARE BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE FOR ME. THEREFORE, WHY NOT BE THANKFUL? AND NOT JUST IN SOME THINGS, THE THINGS THAT ARE REALLY BENEFICIAL OR THAT REALLY BRING JOY TO ME. BUT WHY NOT BE THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING? BECAUSE I KNOW MY GOD IS EVER THERE. THAT MY GOD ALWAYS LOVES ME AND MY GOD CARES FOR ME. WE ALSO SEE THAT AS IT IS EVEN MENTIONED HERE PRAYER IS ESSENTIAL AND THAT WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL IN ALL THINGS. BUT YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY TURN OVER WITH ME BACK TO THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS BECAUSE THERE WITHIN PRAYER ITSELF, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU REALIZE THAT, BUT WITHIN PRAYER ITSELF IN CHAPTER 4 PHILIPPIANS THERE IS AN ASPECT OF WHAT? THANKSGIVING IT SAYS THERE SPECIFICALLY IN VERSE SIX, “BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING, BUT IN EVERYTHING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION, WITH THANKSGIVING.” WHAT DOES HE TELL US HERE? HE TELLS US THAT IN EVERYTHING WE COULD BE A PRAYERFUL PEOPLE, WE SHOULD BE A PEOPLE WHO MAKES REQUEST. BUT IN EITHER PRAYER OR THE REQUEST WE MAKE SUPPLICATIONS TO GOD WITHIN THOSE PRAYERS OF THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE NEED OF WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL. WHY? BECAUSE I MIGHT HAVE A NEED TODAY BUT LOOK AT WHAT ALL GOD HAS BLESSED ME WITH ALREADY.! LOOK AT ALL THAT I HAVE TO BE THANKFUL OF. LOOK AT ALL THE PHYSICAL POSSESSIONS. LOOK AT MY WIFE AND MY CHILDREN. LOOK AT ALL THE THINGS I HAVE; MY HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF MY FAMILY. YOU SEE AGAIN I CAN ASK AND I CAN CERTAINLY HAVE THOSE NEEDS AND GOD KNOWS I HAVE THOSE NEEDS EVEN BEFORE I ASK. BUT AM I THANKFUL PERSON? AM I THANKFUL FOR ALL THAT HE'S ALREADY DONE AND ALL THAT HE CONTINUES TO DO AND ALL THAT I KNOW HE WILL DO? OR IS IT REALLY JUST STILL ABOUT ALWAYS WHAT I NEED? WHAT I WANT? OR HOW I'M GOING TO BE BENEFITED? YOU SEE, WE NEED TO BE THANKFUL IN EVERYTHING AND NOT JUST IN OUR DAILY LIFE BUT WE NEED TO BE THANKFUL IN OUR PRAYER LIFE, IN OUR WORSHIP, AND OUR OPPORTUNITIES OF WORSHIP AND THE PRIVILEGE THAT WE HAVE TO APPROACH THAT THRONE OF GOD AND TO OBEY THOSE COMMANDMENTS OF OUR CREATOR. OH YES, IT IS A BEAUTIFUL THING TO BE A THANKFUL PEOPLE OF GOD.

I'D ASK YOU NOW TO GO WITH ME TO THE BOOK OF CORINTHIANS AND WE WANT TO LOOK SPECIFICALLY THERE IN CORINTHIANS, 2ND CORINTHIANS THAT IS, IN CHAPTER 9 AND HERE WITHIN THE THINGS THAT ARE DEALT WITH BY PAUL IN SECOND CORINTHIANS. HE DOES TALK ABOUT THE LOVE THAT THE BRETHREN WERE SHOWING ONE TO ANOTHER BY HELPING OR ASSISTING WITH NEEDS, AND CERTAINLY THAT WAS A BEAUTIFUL THING WITHIN THAT TEXT THAT IS INDICATED EARLY ON IN CHAPTER 9 AND HE TALKS ABOUT THE NEED TO BE GOOD GIVERS AND CHEERFUL GIVERS AND WITHIN THAT CONCEPT WE'RE ACTUALLY TOLD THAT AS WE GIVE THAT GOD HAS ALREADY DONE SO MUCH FOR US WE SHOULD BE THANKFUL IN THAT GIVING OR READY FOR THAT OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE. IN FACT, YOU MIGHT NOTICE WITH ME HERE AS WE HAVE BEEN SO BOUNTIFULLY BLESSED BY OUR GOD AFTER HE TELLS US TO GIVE FROM THE HEART. VERSE 8, HE SAYS, “GOD IS ABLE TO MAKE ALL GRACE ABOUND TOWARD YOU, THAT YOU, ALWAYS HAVING ALSO SUFFICIENCY IN ALL THINGS, MAY HAVE AN ABUNDANCE FOR EVERY GOOD WORK.” YOU SEE, GOD HAS DONE HIS PART, GOD CONTINUES TO DO HIS PART, HE'S GIVEN US HIS WORD, HE BLESSED US THROUGH HIS SON, HE SAID HE WILL PROVIDE AND CARE FOR US AND PROTECT US AND SHOWS US THE WAY, GOD CONTINUES TO SHOW US THAT LOVE. AND SO THAT ONE WHO SUPPLIES THE NEEDS HELPS US TO BE WHAT WE NEED TO BE AND TO LIVE THE WAY WE NEED TO LIVE.

BUT NOW I WANT YOU NOTICE WITH ME IS THEN HOW WE SHOULD RESPOND. WELL, WE SHOULD BE OBEDIENT THAT'S OBVIOUS AND SPOKEN THROUGHOUT THE TEXT. BUT NOTICE WHAT HE BEGINS TO SAY THREE TIMES IN RELATIONSHIP TO BE THANKFUL. FIRST OF ALL WE FIND THAT THERE IN VERSE 11. RIGHT AFTER HE TALKS ABOUT THE FACT THAT AS WE ARE BLESSED BY GOD WE SHOULD BEAR THE FRUITS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE SAYS THIS IN VERSE 11, “WHILE YOU ARE ENRICHED IN EVERY THING FOR ALL LIBERALITY, WHICH CAUSES THANKSGIVING THROUGH US TO GOD.” THE FIRST THING PAUL SAYS IS THAT YOU HAVE BEEN RICHLY BLESSED BY GOD TO BE LIBERAL IN YOUR HELP OR ASSISTANCE OR CARE FOR OTHERS, TO SHOW THAT SPIRIT OF CHRIST TOWARD YOUR FELLOW MAN. AND SO THE FIRST THING HE SAYS IS THEREFORE THIS CAUSES THANKSGIVING THROUGH US. WE ARE THANKFUL. PAUL WAS THANKFUL IN THE FACT THAT HIS BRETHREN HAD BEEN SO BLESSED BY GOD THAT THEY COULD DO EVEN MORE. BOY, THAT HARDLY EVEN SOUNDS LIKE WHAT YOU WOULD FIND TODAY. NORMALLY WHAT WE ARE IS WE ARE UPSET OR MAD OR ENVIOUS OR JEALOUS OF PEOPLE. WE SAY, ‘WHY DO THEY HAVE THE MONEY TO DO THAT AND I CAN'T DO IT?’ WELL, WE MIGHT NOT HAVE THAT BECAUSE WE COULDN'T HANDLE IT BECAUSE GOD KNOWS GREATER THAN US. HE KNOWS US INSIDE AND OUT AND PERHAPS IT'S THAT MONEY THAT MIGHT DESTROY US. BUT WE OFTEN LOOK WITH THAT JEALOUSY. PAUL SAID I'M NOT JEALOUS BECAUSE YOU'VE GOT IT AND I DON'T I DON'T HAVE IT. HE SAYS I REJOICE AND I AM THANKFUL THAT YOU HAVE THIS AND THAT YOU HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO ABOUND TO BE ALL LIBERAL OR IN ALL LIBERALITY TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO. AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT IS BEING DONE IN THE TEXT WITH WHAT IS TAKING PLACE.

THE SECOND TIME IS IN VERSE 12, “FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE NEEDS THIS SERVICE NOT ONLY SUPPLIES THE NEEDS OF THE SAINTS, BUT ALSO IS ABOUNDING THROUGH MANY THANKSGIVINGS TO GOD.” NOW, BECAUSE THEY WERE DOING THEIR PART AND THEY WERE LIBERALLY GIVING AND BLESSED TO DO SO AND PAUL WAS THANKFUL, GUESS WHAT THE OUTCOME WAS? EVERYBODY WAS THANKFUL! ALL THE RECIPIENTS OF THAT LIBERALITY WERE THANKFUL! SO IT WASN'T JUST ABOUT PAUL BEING THANKFUL ABOUT HOW SOMEONE ELSE WAS ABLE TO DO WHAT THEY NEEDED TO DO AND BLESS OTHERS. EVERYBODY WHO RECEIVED, EVERYBODY WHO WAS BLESSED, EVERYBODY WHO HAD FOOD THAT THEY NEEDED, OR THE CLOTHING THEY NEEDED OR THE SHELTER THEY NEEDED BECAUSE BRETHERN WERE HELPING ONE ANOTHER, HE SAID THERE WERE MANY THANKSGIVINGS. A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE EXCITED. A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE HAPPY BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTOOD THAT GOD WAS BLESSING THEM AND THEREFORE GOD DESERVES THE THANKSGIVING. NOW, HE MAY NOT HAVE DIRECTLY BLESSED THEM AND JUST ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY OPENED UP THEIR WALLET AND THERE WAS MONEY IN THEIR WALLET! THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS! HE WAS BLESSING THEM BY WHAT? BLESSING OTHERS. HE WAS BLESSING THEM PHYSICALLY BY BLESSING OTHERS THAT THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP. AND HE WAS BLESSING THEM SPIRITUALLY BY HELPING MEN LIKE PAUL TO KNOW THE TRUTH THAT HE MIGHT ALSO IMPART TO THEM THE TRUTH. OH, HOW THANKFUL THEY WERE FOR THE BLESSINGS OF GOD DIRECTLY AND THROUGH OTHERS.

AND THEN FINALLY NOTICE WHAT HE SAYS IN VERSE 15. HE SAYS, “THANKS BE TO GOD FOR HIS INDESCRIBABLE GIFT.” WHAT IS THIS GIFT? WELL, IN VERSE 14 YOU MIGHT HAVE NOTICED THAT HE ENDED THERE BY SAYING THE GRACE OF GOD. HE SAYS THE EXCEEDING GRACE OF GOD HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOU - AND THEN HE SAYS THANKS BE TO GOD FOR THAT GIFT THAT IS INDESCRIBABLE. WHY GRACE? BECAUSE THAT CONCEPT OF GRACE MEANS THAT GOD HAS SHOWN ME FAVOR AS ONE HE CREATED, THAT HE ALREADY KNOWS IS GONNA MESS UP AND MAKE MISTAKES IN SIN AND YET HE STILL LET JESUS DIE FOR MY SIN. AND HE LET JESUS DIE KNOWING THAT MOST OF THE EARTH WERE TO CONTINUE DAY AFTER DAY TO REJECT HIM EVEN THOUGH JESUS SHED THE BLOOD. EVEN THOUGH GOD CREATED THE EARTH AND GREETED THEM AND GAVE THEM LIFE THEY WOULD STILL REJECT HIM. THANKS BE TO GOD, PAUL SAYS FOR THAT GRACE. GOD COULD HAVE JUST THROWN UP HIS HANDS SO TO SPEAK AND SAID THIS CREATION IS NOT WORTH IT. THEY'RE HOPELESS. BUT THANKS BE TO GOD FOR THAT GRACE THAT STILL EXTENDS THAT FAVOR TO GIVE US WHAT WE NEED SPIRITUALLY THE GRACE OF GOD AS WELL AS EARLIER IN THE TEXT PHYSICALLY THOSE THINGS THAT WE SEE OTHERS DO THAT ARE GOOD IN THE NAME OF GOD AND THOSE THINGS THAT ACTUALLY BENEFIT US THAT ARE GOOD IN THE NAME OF GOD AS WELL.

THE QUESTION FOR YOU IS ARE YOU THANKFUL TO GOD? DO YOU SHOW THAT THANKFULNESS TO GOD AND IS GOD PLEASED WITH HOW THANKFUL YOU ARE? OR IF NOT, BE MORE THANKFUL TODAY KNOWING THAT YOUR LIFE TODAY DEPENDS ON IT AS WELL AS YOUR ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN SOMEDAY.

CLOSING COMMENTS

AGAIN, LET ME THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US THIS MORNING. I HOPE WE ALL HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGED THROUGH OUR TIME SPENT TOGETHER. PLEASE REMEMBER, YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US EVERY SUNDAY MORNING AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS SERVICE OF GOD.

NOW LET ME ASK IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY’S LESSON? MAYBE, YOU WOULD LIKE A FREE TRANSCRIPT OR A FREE CASSETTE TAPE OF THIS PROGRAM? POSSIBLY, WE COULD ASSIST YOU WITH FREE BIBLE MATERIALS OR FREE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSES? NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

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I PRAY TO GOD THAT WE ARE A THANKFUL PEOPLE AND THAT WE LEARN TO BE AN EVEN MORE THANKFUL PEOPLE IN OUR DAILY LIVES. CERTAINLY, WE ARE NOTHING WITHOUT GOD AND WOULD HAVE NOTHING WITHOUT HIS GREAT CARE AND BLESSING. THEREFORE, LET’S STRIVE TO BE EVER THANKFUL FOR ALL THE LOVE THAT HE SHOWS US IN OUR DAILY LIVES.