“THANKS BE TO GOD!” 2 Cor. 9:15
INTRO – Everybody get out phone. Think of one person that you are thankful for & send them a text right now. Got that person in mind? Go!
Aren’t you thankful for Thanksgiving? Aren’t you thankful that we have so much for which to be thankful? We, as children of God, ought to be the most thankful, thanks-filled people in the world. I love what one writer said: “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’” (William Ward)
The title of the sermon today is, “Thanks Be to God.” I simply want us to spend this time together around the Word of God, pondering, meditating on, & rejoicing in some of the things that we can be thankful for as children of God. Certainly, we could spend the entire day & on into tomorrow just naming things that we are thankful for, &, even then, we wouldn’t even begin to scratch the surface. But, let’s get going this morning & focus on 5 important items that should cause us to say, “Thanks be to God!”
Thanks Be to God…
…for His Provision – Paul’s 2nd letter to the church at Corinth was written in the midst of a difficult season in Paul’s relationship w/ the Corinthians. Some false teachers had begun infiltrating the church, & the only way they could get a foothold in the church was to attempt to discredit Paul. So they viciously attacked his credibility & character to try to persuade people to turn away from Paul & from the true Gospel that he had preached to them, & turn to the false gospel they were attempting to spread. How many of you know that sometimes, the only way folks can build themselves up is to tear others down? Essentially, that’s what was going on here.
One would think that it would be hard to find anything to be thankful for in a time like this. But, Paul’s God was much bigger than these difficult circumstances, & certainly much bigger than these puny false teachers. God was still at work in the hearts of the Christ-followers in Corinth, & many of them had rejected the false teachers, repented of their rebellion against Paul, & were supporting him in his mission work. And Paul gave thanks to God for His provision through the Corinthian believers – v. 11-12.
Friends, can I tell you that our God is a providing God?
- His provisions are plenteous – Ps. 50:10 tells us that God owns that cattle on a thousand hills – EVERYTHING in all creation belongs to Him, meaning His provisions are eternally plenteous!
- His provisions are promised – This verse means SO much to me – Phil. 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Daddy: “The Lord will provide.”
- His provisions are purposeful – to cause us to trust Him more & more. To increase our faith in Him. – Prov. 3:5-6
…for Participation in His Work – If there was anything that Paul was thankful for, it was that Jesus had saved him & given him the unbelievable, undeserved, unmerited privilege of participating in the work of the Gospel.
In Acts 9, Paul, whose name was Saul at that time, encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. When he met Jesus, he was on his way to persecute Christians. After he met Jesus, he was on his way to proclaim the Gospel. Paul never got over the amazing fact that Jesus had saved him. And he never got over the amazing privilege that he got to share the Gospel, even when he was persecuted b/c of it, & even when it eventually cost him his life. Think about what Paul was saying in v. 15, “Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!” There just aren’t enough words to say thank you to God for the gift of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ alone. It’s an inexpressible, incomprehensible, incredible gift that is given to anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior & Lord.
And b/c that gift is so great, our response should be to gladly, obediently participate in the work of spreading the Gospel. Thanks be to God that He allows us to do this!
- Matthew 28:19-20
- Acts 1:8
- 2 Timothy 2:2
…for His Promises – My goodness! Where do we start w/ this? Paul definitely understood the power of the promises of God in the life of the Christ-follower. Just look at all these promises! Listen to these promises from some of Paul’s letter:
- Already mentioned one powerful promise from God – Philippians 4:19. How about Philippians 4:13
- Romans 10:9, 13
- 1 Cor. 15:51-52
- 2 Cor. 5:17
- Galatians 5:16; 6:9
- Ephesians 1:13-14; 3:20
- Philippians 4:7
- Colossians 1:13-14
- 1 Thess. 5:9
- 2 Thess. 1:9 – “[Those who don’t know Christ] will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord & from the glory of His might.”
- 1 Tim. 2:5-6
- 2 Tim. 1:7
- Titus 2:11
Thanks be to God for ALL of these promises that are made to US, His children! They appear to us in the Word of God; they have been appropriated to us by the blood of Christ; & they are applied to us through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
…for the Possibilities – WOW! When you seriously consider the faithful provision of God for His children, & the joy of participating w/ Him in His work of salvation, & the incredible promises that He makes just here in the letters of Paul (not to mention all the rest of Scripture, you can begin to see the possibilities that we have RIGHT NOW b/c of who He is & what He has said & done. As Jesus said in Matt. 19:26, “With God, all things are possible.”
Do we really believe that today? Have we become so jaded w/ all the trouble in our lives & in our world today that we aren’t really sure that all things are possible w/ God? Have we let the enemy steal our joy to the point that we aren’t really sure that all things are possible w/ God? Have we drifted so far away from God that we aren’t really sure that all things are possible w/ God?
Then let’s move to the last “thanks be to God” item:
…for Prayer – Not just any prayer, but earth-shaking, life-altering powerful prayer! Prayer that is filled w/ faith, filled w/ the Spirit, filled w/ passion, filled w/ fervency, filled w/ truth. Urgent prayer! Desperate prayer! Intentional prayer! Focused prayer! When God’s people get serious about praying, things happen as God begins to move. E.M. Bounds: “Prayer is God’s plan to supply man’s great & continuous need w/ God’s great & continuous abundance.” Billy Graham: “Prayer is the rope that pulls God & man together. But, it doesn’t pull God down to us: It pulls us up to Him.”
Have Deacons stand all across worship center to lead small group prayer time.
- Look at the worship communicator. See that budget deficit? How many of you believe that God can take care of that if we pray about it? So, let’s do it! Let’s stop right now & all pray about that specific need in our church.
- Look at this worship center. See the empty pews? How many of you believe that God can fill this place up if we pray about it? So let’s do it! Let’s stop right now & all pray about that specific need in our church.
- NOW: Look at your life? See the deficits in YOUR life? See the emptiness in YOUR life? How many of you believe that God can take care of your deficits & fill your emptiness if we pray about it? So, let’s do it!