Sermon notes from 11/26/17 – “Give Thanks for These Things”

“GIVE THANKS FOR THESE THINGS”                 Ps. 130:1-5

INTRO – How many of you ate turkey sometime this past week? How many of you didn’t? 91% of Americans have turkey for Dinner. A bunch of them have Butterball Turkeys. They have an online help page. Here are some of the entries on that page:

  • A woman in her seventies, cooking T’giving dinner for the first time, called for help b/c her mother said it was about time she learned how to prepare the T’giving meal.
  • A proud gentleman called to tell the staff how he wrapped his turkey in a towel, laid it in the floor and stomped on it to break the bones so it would fit in his pan.
  • Another gentleman called to tell the operator he cut his turkey in half with a chain saw and wanted to know if the oil from the chain would adversely affect the turkey.
  • A disappointed woman called wondering why her turkey had no breast meat. After a conversation with a Talk-Line operator, it became apparent that the woman’s turkey was lying upside down.
  • One mom called in and told the Help Line operator about how her little girl had asked if they could slow-roast the turkey for three or four days because she liked how it made the house smell. The experts at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line told her that the turkey should only stay in the oven for a few hours and that it wasn’t a good idea to leave it cooking four days!
  • After discovering a turkey from 1969 in his dad’s freezer, a man called the Talk-Line at Butterball to ask about the best way to cook the 30+ year-old bird. Although the Talk-Line staffer recommended the open roasting pan method to cook most turkeys, but this time she suggested that the first step was to purchase a fresher fowl!
  • When a Talk-Line staffer asked a caller: “What state is your turkey in” (meaning how thawed was it) the caller responded with, “Florida.”

Today, I want us to think a little more about the importance of thankfulness in the life of a Christ-follower. In my big Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, which is based on the KJV & which nearly every pastor & Bible teacher uses, I found this:

  • “thank” – 27 times
  • “thanked” – 3 times
  • “thankful” – 3 times
  • “thankfulness” – 1 time
  • “thanking” – 1 time
  • “thanks” – 72 times
  • “thanksgiving” – 28 times
  • “thanksgivings” – 2 times
  • “thankworthy” – 1 time

That’s at least 138 times that some form of a term for gratitude is used in Scripture. It just reminds us that there are SO many reasons for us to be thankful! Think about it: I preached on it last week; Pastor Joel Ekugwum preached on it Tue. night at Community T’giving Service; I’m preaching on it again today; & we STILL aren’t even scratching the surface of all the reasons we have as the people of God for being thankful. Let’s focus on 5 today from Psalm 130:1-5. Let’s read it in the NLT.

From the depths of despair, O Lord,
    I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
    Pay attention to my prayer.

Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
    who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
    that we might learn to fear you.

I am counting on the Lord;
    yes, I am counting on him.
    I have put my hope in his word.

We can certainly give thanks for these things:

 

Give thanks that God helps us in our despair – v. 1 – There are a multitude of things that can bring about despair in our lives.

  • Sickness
  • Death
  • Losses of all types

But the context of this Psalm is the despair that is caused by the sin in our lives. Whether you are still lost in your sin or are a saved child of God, sin will always bring us to a place of deep despair – ALWAYS! That despair is what drives us to God b/c:

  • He’s the only one who can take it away
  • He’s the only one who has a solution for it
  • He’s the only one who can rescue us when we are drowning in a sea of despair

We hear the despair in the prophet Isaiah’s voice when he got a glimpse of the holiness of God.

  • Isaiah 6:5 – “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” 

We hear the despair in Nehemiah’s voice when he heard about the destruction of the walls around Jerusalem which was the consequences of sin.

  • Nehemiah 1:4-7 – When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.”

We hear the despair in Paul’s voice when he recognizes the sin in his own life.

  • Romans 7 – “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing… 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am!”

 

Give thanks that God hears us & pays attention to us – v. 2 – There’s nothing that WE can do about the despair that sin brings into our lives. WE have no remedy for it. WE are powerless against it. WE will be defeated by it. Oh, we TRY to fix it in any number of ways.

  • Try to ignore it
  • Pretend like it doesn’t affect us or apply to us
  • Attempt to replace it or cover it up
  • Just put on our fake smiles & our masks & come on to church

And yet, the despair of our sin continues to weigh us down, robbing us of joy, stealing our sleep, confusing our minds, & seeping into the lives of those around us, infecting them like a horrible virus.

Our ONLY hope is to cry out to the Lord, to the Forgiver of our sins & the Restorer of our lives. Someone once said, “Everyone prays, but very few cry.” No matter what you’ve done or how deep your guilt & despair is, cry out to the Lord. Be thankful that you can.

 

Give thanks that God does not keep a record of our sins – v. 3 – Back when I was youth minister at FBC, Brookhaven, I actually was put in jail for an expired DL. People have asked me since then, “So, do you have a record now?” I can assure you that I don’t.

But those who have committed crimes do have records. And those records follow them their entire lives, affecting their lives & the lives of their families in many different ways.

We can be thankful today that our God does not keep a record of our sins. If He did, then none of us could survive. None of us would have any hope of getting to heaven. If He did keep a record & if you started this day w/ a clean record, by the end of this day – or even by right now – you would already be guilty of a multitude of sins & the sentence of eternal death would already be pronounced against you.

Child of God, rejoice today & be thankful today that our God does not keep a record of our sins! The slate has been wiped clean by the blood of Jesus.

But to the one who is here today & is not saved, not a child of God, has never been born again, has never accepted Christ as their personal Lord & Savior, YOUR record of sin still stands! Every one of your sins is STILL on your record. God DOES still have your record of all of your sins. And the ONLY way to have the record wiped clean is to REPENT of your sins, to turn away from them, & come to Jesus to be saved today! Which leads to the next thing to be thankful for…

 

Give thanks that God forgives us of our sins – v. 4 – God offers forgiveness! What an offer! It’s an offer you must not refuse! He can & He will forgive us of all of our sins, casting them into the depths of the sea, remembering them no more.

And the Psalmist says that this forgiveness leads to fear. That sounds sort of strange. But listen to how one pastor explains it:

“It seems to me that when you stand before God, convicted and condemned, with the rope around your neck, and God pardons your sins, you then weep for joy, hate the evil which you’ve been forgiven, and live to the honor of the Redeemer by whose blood you’ve been cleansed. You fear God because you know that He had every reason to condemn you, but He did not. You do not fear His punishment now (1 John 4:18), but you do fear Him because you know that He rightly could have cast your body and soul into hell for all eternity (Matt. 10:28). His forgiveness does not make you flippant about your sin.” (Steven J. Cole, https://bible.org/seriespage/psalm-130-out-depths)

The fear comes in when we realize what COULD have happened if we had not turned to Him in repentance. The fear comes in when we realize that it is only by His GRACE that we are saved & forgiven. If you don’t have this sense of fear, you probably aren’t saved. If you are flippant about your sin, you probably aren’t saved. If you don’t hate sin whenever it rears its ugly head in your life, you probably aren’t saved. If you’re not truly thankful that God forgives you of your sins, you’re not saved!

 

Give thanks that God gives us hope in His Word – v. 5 – We are thankful that we can count on the Lord. He will come through for us. He will forgive us when we turn to Him in brokenness & repentance. He will save us & set us free from the despair of our sin. And how do we know this? B/c of the unchanging, unalterable promises of His Word. We are thankful for His promises found in His Word.

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About Jon Daniels

Senior Pastor - Country Woods Baptist Church, Byram, MS
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