Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005, by John.

Ephesians 5:15a,20.

1. Thanksgiving.
(1) Is it just another day?
(2) Who needs it? We all do!
2. We need to be reminded what God has
done for us!
(1) It is easy to compare ourselves with less
blest nations of the world, but that’s probably
wrong.
(2) We just need to rejoice God has spared
and chosen us for His blessings.
(3) A day of thanks is a time to remember.
3. It is easy to forget how Thanksgiving came
to us, isn’t it?
4. It has lost a lot of its significance in our
world today.

I. THANKSGIVING HAS A RICH HISTORY.

1. There are always some who seek to destroy
every public observance of the so-called Christ-
ian holy-days, Thanksgiving included.
(1) They remind us that the ancient Persians,
Greeks, Romans, Germans, and English all
celebrated the end of harvest, and they try to
persuade us our holiday is really pagan.
(2) It is true many ancient people had a time
of feasting and revelry in honor of their own
particular gods and goddesses.
(3) But our critics have drawn wrong conclusions.
a. They claim our celebration is based on these
pagan feasts.
b. It would not matter if it was, but it is not.
2. In the winter of 1620, the Plymouth colony
was almost wiped out by disease and starvation.
3. 1621 brought a bountiful harvest.
(1) They invited their Indian friends to join
them in celebrating their survival and God’s
good blessing.
(2) Four wild turkeys were on the menu that
day. That’s how the turkey became central in
our traditional feast. (It was also one of the
easiest meals to come by).
4. The pilgrims rejoiced in the presence of
God.
(1) They were not seeking to replace a pagan
holiday with a Christian holiday.
(2) They were not seeking to establish a new
holiday for all coming generations.
(3) They were not comparing themselves with other nations less blest.
(3) They just rejoiced and thanked God for His
goodness to them!
a. They had survived a terrible winter.
b. The next one would be better because God
had given them such a bountiful harvest!
c. Being alive held promise to them again!
5. In 1789, George Washington called for a
national day of Thanks and set it for Nov. 26, the
last Thursday.
(1) Many celebrated this Presidential mandate.
(2) Some continued to celebrate in the years
that followed, but national thanksgiving did not
take hold.
6. Abraham Lincoln was elected President in
1860 and took the oath of office March 4,1861.
(1) April 12, 1861, P.G.T. Beauregard ordered
the Confederates to fire on Fort Sumter, SC.
Those were the first shots fired in the civil war.
(2) By the end of 1862, the Union had little to be
happy about.
a. Their armies were losing.
b. Abolitionists were criticizing the President.
c. Lincoln’s cabinet was torn apart by petty
strife, greed and jealousy.
(3) Early in 1863, the tide of the war went
against the South, and the Union began to see a
light at the end of a long dark tunnel.
(4) Lincoln revived Thanksgiving in 1863. He
felt God was vindicating his stand against
slavery and for the union. He was thankful.
a. After his assassination in 1865, the nation
continued to celebrate Thanksgiving, but on
different days sometimes.
b. The North celebrated on the fourth Thurs-
day of November, and the South on the last
Thursday.
c. Most years it fell on the same day, but not
always. (In 1864, November had 5 Thursdays.)
d. In 1941 a joint action of congress established
the fourth Thursday of November as
our National Holiday. (Many Southerners re-
jected that “Yankee Thanksgiving.”)
7. What a rich heritage we have in this cel-
ebration!

II. WE ALL CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING, BUT
REASONS DIFFER

1. For some it is just another, ho-hum, oppor-
tunity to be out of school, or off the job for a
free day.
2. The whole world ought to be thankful,
Christian or not. God made us, sustains us and
gifts us whether we acknowledge Him, or not.
(1) Are we, like our forefathers, thankful we have
survived? Individually? As a family? Nation?
(2) We should give God credit for our blessings.
Do we?
3. Of all people Christians should be thankful to
God.
(1) When He sent Moses back to Egypt to bring
His children out, He promised Him six things.
a. His presence.
b. A prophecy to be fulfilled.
c. A land of their own.
d. Plenty for life
e. Preach-ability.
f. A pal, Aaron.
(2) God has given us Christians all of those
things and more!
a. We have Christ!
b. We have the Holy Spirit!
c. We have eternal life!
d. We have the power of God in our witnessing.
4. Our forefathers in this land went through
terrible hardship before a day of thanksgiving
was declared.
5. I wonder if we must have terrible hardship
before we can truly be thankful to God? I
certainly hope not!

III. HOW SHOULD WE GIVE THANKS?

1. I wouldn’t exclude any godly thing any of
us are doing, but I have some basic sugges-
tions.
2. If we are truly thankful, let us worship God!
(1) Rev. 5:9-14 (Read) Worship is worth-ship
(2) Are you aware our word “enthusiasm”
is made up of two Greek words which mean
“filled with God?”
(3) One of the most enthusiastic songs we
sing seems to be reserved for Christmas,
“Adeste Fidelis,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,”
and it says, “O come let us adore Him!”
(4) I don’t think we ought to try to pump our-
selves up into a frenzy so that we look enthu-
siastic, but we ought not hamper enthusiasm
when it comes!
(5) According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictio-
nary adoration is “a worshiping, or paying
homage, as to a divinity,” or “great love, de-
votion, and respect.”
3. Adoration and worship are great, but we
must add something else to it.
(1) If God is worthy, we must be
obedient. Luke 6:46 says, “Why do you call
me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
(2) And our obedience must be constant.
(3) When it is, God promises to indwell us so
that we know we are “Spirit-filled!” John
14:21, “Whoever has my commands and
obeys them, he is the one who loves me, He
who loves me will be loved by my Father, and
I too will love him and show myself to him.”
4. I would like to tell you that in 41 years of
preaching I’ve always adored the Lord and
been obedient to Him. I’d like to tell you 100%
of my church members were always present
and always enthusiastic at every worship
service! But I can’t! If I did, you’d know I was
lying, wouldn’t you?
5. That brings us to one other thing about giving
thanks to the Lord.
(1) We must confess our sins, our failures, to
Him..
(2) When we do, He forgives us, and restores
us, and then we can be filled with His Spirit,
rejoice and praise His Name!

conclusion:

1. Thanksgiving. Who needs it? All of us.
2. We Christians have so much to be thankful for.
3. Let’s give God thanks and make our thanks
practical by worshiping and adoring the Lord,
and consistently and constantly serving Him
everyday.
4. Let’s remember, without God there would
be no nation called the United States of
America on this continent.
5. And let’s remember, our forefathers gave
thanks to God, but we can’t stand on their
laurels.
(1) We have to respond to God’s goodness
ourselves.
(2) We should adore Him, do we?
(3) We should obey Him, do we?
(4) We should be consistently dedicated to
Him. Are We?
6. Let’s pause in silent prayer now. There’s
no better time than now to confess our fail-
ings and be restored to fellowship with our
Father!
7. Start by meditating on this for a moment.
Where would you be right now without God’s
great blessing?


11/20/2005 ECC.

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