Class Notes: 11/26/2008
Eph 5:20 Thanksgiving Day Special
Link to Gratitude Gauge photo: http://www.rbthieme.org/images/GratitudeGauge.jpg
Eph 5:20; Thanksgiving Day Special
Since tomorrow is observed as a day of Thanksgiving in the USA it is useful to consider some Thoughts on the Holiday and being Thankful.
The first Thanksgiving is considered to have occurred in 1621 one year after the Pilgrims arrival at Plymouth on the Mayflower when, Governor William Bradford in his Thanksgiving Proclamation, stated: Therefore, I, William Bradford by the Grace of God today, and the franchise of this good people, governor of Plymouth, say’ through virtue of vested power 'ye shall gather with one accord, and hold in the month of November, thanksgiving unto the Lord.'
Texans however claim the first Thanksgiving in North America was proclaimed in Palo Duro Canyon by Padre Juan De Cadilla for Coronado's troops in 1541, 79 years before the Pilgrims arrived.
Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday was slow in coming. Throughout early American history, some leaders issued Thanksgiving proclamations; some did not. Thanksgiving as a holiday was an on-again, off-again event until Sarah Hale took it up.
Sarah was a young widow with five children and a clothing store. She used her spare moments for writing, and in 1823 her first book was published. She was soon hired as editor of a small magazine; and, in 1837, she was named editor of Godey's Lady's Book, the nation's foremost women's magazine.
Circulation mushroomed. Godey's wasn't a Christian magazine, but Sarah, an Episcopalian, was a devout Christian who injected religious issues into her editorials. In 1846 she launched a crusade to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
She wrote stirring editorials about it, and November issues featured Thanksgiving poetry, stories, and turkey recipes. She pelted politicians with personal letters on the subject, and by 1859 Thirty governors had agreed to a common day of Thanksgiving.
Still, no national holiday emerged and as the USA moved toward civil war, Sarah tried a new tactic.
In 1859 she wrote: "Disunion could be averted by Thanksgiving"
If every State would join in union Thanksgiving on the 24th of this month, would it not be a renewed pledge of love and loyalty to the Constitution?
But war erupted in 1861. In 1863 she wrote President Lincoln, laying before you a subject of deep interest ' the day of our annual Thanksgiving made a national and fixed union festival.
President Lincoln agreed, and on October 3, 1863 he established Thanksgiving as a national holiday for the last Thursday of November. Even in war, Lincoln said, we can count our blessings: 'They are gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
Thankfulness and Thanksgiving is an important topic in the Word of God.
Some combination of the word is found 169 times in 162 verses in the NAS translation of the Bible and Paul uses the concept over 40 times in his writings to the church.
The concept of thankfulness in the New Testament comes from the Greek words "charizomai", which comes from "charis", meaning "grace." Eph 5:20;
"homologeo, "to confess, acknowledge to give thanks," Heb 13:15;
and exomologeo also meaning confess, acknowledge to praise, to give thanks, Matt 11:25; KJV YLT
Thankfulness is a mental and or verbal expression of one's acknowledgement and appreciation of God's person, His grace, blessings, and his sovereign work in one's life and the world.
Some principles related to the expression of thankfulness are the understanding Bible Doctrine, trust, humility and grace, the right focus and values, and happiness.
From a PSD perspective an equation for thanksgiving could look like:
FHS + Faith Rest +Grace Orientation +Doctrinal Orientation--> Personal Love God--> Happiness of God--> Occupation With TLJC---> Thankful Attitude
It is through the possession of and the function in these qualities that we become thankful.
We see from this that gratitude and thanksgiving arise from one's orientation to God as their source.
Some Reasons Why We Should Be Thankful include:
Being thankful honors God. When we are thankful, we recognize that God exists, and we are acting on the reality he is source and means of our life.
True thankfulness recognizes our total dependence on God and stems from realizing that everything going on in our lives and all we have is the product of God's sovereign control, infinite wisdom, purposes, grace, and activity 2Cor 4:15;
Thanksgiving is an expression of worship toward God that increases in capacity with the believer's advance to Spiritual maturity. Gratitude is expressed through a moment-by-moment mental attitude arising from Truth residing and circulating in the soul, Psa 138:1-2; and through prayer. Eph 5:20; Phil 4:6; Col 4:2;
Being Thankful is a mandate in Scripture. The Psalms are filled with calls to give thanks. An example is: Psa 100:4; which says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name."
Paul tells us in 1Thes 5:18; "In everything keep on giving thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you"
Believers are to be thankful, no matter what happens in life. This can be quite a challenge since everything that comes into one's life is not pleasant, but it can be done when we understand that God is working in all these events for our ultimate Good.
Paul gives the command to be thankful in Col 3:15; where we have the present middle imperative of the Greek word "ginomai" that is translated "be".
So being thankful is a mandate for church age believers.
He then repeats the principle as a statement of fact in Col 3:17;
The Bible shows us that being thankless is on the path of reversionism and disaster. It dishonors God because the thankless person is functioning in arrogance and dependence on man rather than on God. Rom. 1:21;
Failing to persist in and advance in the Grace of God leads to bitterness, complaining, and an unhappy life Heb 12:15;
Conversely, thankfulness is a natural response to the grace of God. 2Cor 2:14-15;
This reveals that that a thankful and God-focused person counts on God and His triumph and will manifest to the world the sweet fragrance of a life filled with the knowledge of Christ.
From this we see that the believer's attitude of being thankful, becomes an indicator of their spiritual lives; it is an evidence of the condition of the believer's spiritual life and value system as shown by the "gratitude gauge"
Scripture teaches us, that thanksgiving should be accompanied by or offered in as a part of prayer. Eph 1:16; Phil 1:3-4; Col 1:3; 1Thes 1:2;
Scripture also directs believers to pray with thanksgiving. (Phil. 4:6c; Col. 4:2;
Thanksgiving results when we turn our attention from our problems and ourselves to the Lord and put our focus on Him and His sovereign grace. It helps us to see our life through the perspective of God's person, principles, promises, plan, provisions, and purposes.
This focus on God and TLJC promotes faith and courage in the face of the difficult and painful situations that we all eventually face to one degree or another.
Paul tells us in Eph. 5:20; and 1Thes 5:18 that we should always give thanks in everything and for everything. Because it reflects our focus on the sovereignty of God and the fact that He is in control and working all things together for good regardless of how they may seem to us in our limited perspective Rom 8:28-29; James 1:2-4; Gen 50:19-20;
While all things are not good, God uses them for good, because he is using all of these situations to conform us into the image of his Son. Rom 8:29;
An attitude of thanksgiving keeps our eyes on the Lord; it also keeps us alert and promotes a desire to go to God in prayer where we can cast our burdens and those of others on him. Psa 68:19-20; Col 4:2;
In our expression of thanksgiving....
We can be thankful for God for his plan Col 1:12;
We can be thankful for TLJC as the sustainer of the universe and for his control of history. Heb 1:3; Col 1:16-17;
We should give thanks for our salvation by Grace through faith alone in TLJC alone Eph 2:8-9; and for the unfathomable riches that are ours in union with Him Eph 3:8;
We should give thanks because we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing Eph 1:3; that we are complete in Him Col 2:10; and that he is finishing his work in us. Phil 1:6;
Just as Paul expressed thanksgiving in the opening lines of his letters, we should give thanks for other believers who are advancing in the PPOG and as a result receiving the production of the Holy Spirit in their lives. Phil 1:3-4; Col 1:3; Rom 1:8;
Being thankful indicates function inside the PPOG, being unthankful indicates function in the 'My Way" of Satan’s Kosmic system.
Gratitude and thankfulness the opposite of selfishness and unthankful ness. The unthankful are described in 2Tim 3:2-4;
Instead of being thankful, the selfish person says, "I deserve what comes to me. God and others ought to make me happy and fulfill my expectations."
Speaking with Grace and thanksgiving is the opposite of vituperation murmuring and pettiness. The thankless person is one who is focused only on their own problems and the thoughts that they deserve better.
Just as Thanksgiving is derived from Grace Orientation and Occupation with TLJC Unthankful ness is derived from arrogance self-justification and self-absorption and self-deception.
The thankless people think they deserve what they have or even more.
Thankfulness arises from Faith Rest and confidence in God for ones needs and receives blessing from God. Jer 17:7-8;
The thankless person tends to depend on the sufficiency of their own merit and abilities and receives cursing from God. Jer 17:5-6;
The thankful person seeks to triumph and live by the grace of God by means of Doctrine rather than in their own ingenuity or self-sufficiency 1Cor 15:57; 2Cor 2:14;
We see from this that believers must be functioning inside the PPOG if they are to be thankful.
Since spiritual perception and understanding are necessary for us to be thankful, our thinking must be filled with Bible Doctrine if we are to be thankful Col. 1:9; Col 1:12; Col 2:7; Col 3:16;
Consistent persistent PMA of Bible Doctrine keeps our focus where it belongs.
God has designed the Spiritual life to be lived under the power, control and influence of God the Holy Spirit. For believers to be thankful they must be functioning in their "new identity" in the filling of the spirit. Eph. 5:18,20
Thanksgiving comes from Remembering who we are as Sons of God Eph. 5:1 Eph 5:4;
Remembering that we have been called into the peace and unity of TLJC Col 3:14-17;
So as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day this year let's remember and give thanks for all of the grace that we have received and will always receive from God because God is faithful. Lam 3:21-25;
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