Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller
Sermon # 11578
11:00 AM on 11/18/2018
Thanksgiving season this week and we are living in a country which has made it a legal holiday. How happy we are about that. Because the beginning of the holiday, the history, 1789, President George Washington celebrated Thanksgiving to God on the first Thursday of November. And he said unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities. Then…the adoption of a later national Thanksgiving Day was attributed to Mrs. Sarah Joseph Hale. For thirty years she promoted the idea. President Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving. Over the next 75 years they did it. Then in 1941, Congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each November as a national holiday and Lincoln’s original proclamation spiritually happened at a pivotal point in his life. This was when he was in Gettysburg at the battlefield where according to this he committed his life to Christ. I just think it’s beautiful that we have it. I used to live in Europe and they knew Americans had a thanksgiving and it was fascinating to them. Tell us what the holiday is about and I was able to share as a nation we are giving thanks to God. Isn’t that amazing? Praise the Lord. What a blessing.
Eph. 5, we’re going to read from a number of these verses from vs. 2 quite far to vs. 20.
I believe although I’m not sure we’ll get through all of it but we’ll start in Eph. 5:2.
Before you sit down, I’d like you to look at Romans 1.
There are people that are not thankful. Have you met any? Rom. 1:21, neither were thankful. When they knew God, they did not glorify him as God neither were thankful. That’s pretty profound, isn’t it? How did they know God? I don’t think they were born again but the Spirit of God was moving in their life and the presence of God was strong enough so they could say God or believe in God. When they were knowing this, they turned away. They suppressed it. They turned away and were not thankful.
And then God gave them over to a mindset, vs. 21. These are unbelievers that get established in their way of thinking and way of life. They are active in their hearts and minds but not believing nor are they thankful. They are turned over to their imagination and way of thinking and do whatever they please and whatever notion and they are anti. This has been through history. There are those that believe and they are thankful and those that do not believe and they are not thankful. There’s two we could say.
Today we will talk about what we are thankful for and how the Spirit of God draws us into his will and we learn as a way of life to be worshippers of God and very thankful. When we worship God in the Spirit and God is filling us, we become thankful in our spirit and our heart and we are worshippers.
We have a map up on the screen and this is a map of the Middle East and in this geography we have many lessons that are derived from our Bibles because we know that when Abraham came to Israel, he came here. And he had very little. He didn’t have any land. He didn’t have a son. He was given a promise and through many years in time, he had a son by miracle who had two sons. They were twins, Jacob and Esau and then one of them had 12 sons. Joseph one of them who was sold into Egypt so we can say back over here Joseph ends up living. There is a famine in Israel and Jacob said to his 11 sons, what are you standing around for? There is food in Egypt. Go down into Egypt and get food for the family. So they did. They came into Egypt. To make a long story short, they ended up living there and multiplied to maybe the size of a nation, 2 million people and they were slaves for 400 years. Slaves. Jewish people. People of promise that were given a nation. People that had a heritage. People that God has spoken to their fathers. Their father Jacob, their grandfather Isaac, their great grandfather Abraham. After they were crying out in Egypt asking God to change their situation, they cried out. If we could feel what it means to be a slave with nothing – no land, no money, no rights, no name, no culture, nothing to write on, documenting things. No library, no government. You are nobody’s. You Jews are nobody’s. Wow. That’s tough. That’s hard for us to imagine it. To be nobody’s in the world. But in fact, their nation is fulfilling prophesies that God gave to their forefathers. That they would go down into Egypt and God would bring them out. When God spoke to Moses and he went to Egypt to do this work, he did not know the magnitude of what would happen. Surprisingly, they traveled and they went one night and it said that they went with the lamb that they ate that night. The blood had been applied to their door post and the death angel came passed. The Jews survived that judgment on Egypt. They ate the lamb and they went with unleavened bread because they were in a hurry. Bread that leavens you got to wait for the gas to fill the dough and rise. This had to be eaten in a hurry. God was doing it. They went a strange way. You can take a bus this way to Israel. They went down this way. Trapped. They’re trapped. But it’s God. God brought them that way because they did not know it, but the sea would part and they would go to the other side. They would be thankful. They were amazed. The Egyptian army, the soldiers are washing up on the shore drowned. The sea had, as the Jews past on dry land they see close behind him drowning the Egyptians, Pharaoh and his chariots and horses cast into the sea. Their bodies washed up on the far banks and the Jews are special.
So are you. We were without God one time. We were also without promise. We were also slaves in a world where I couldn’t stop. Whatever it was in your life as it was in mine smoking marijuana. I couldn’t stop. Someone else a credit card I can’t stop spending money. I can’t stop lying. I can’t stop cheating people. I can’t stop being proud about who I am and what I have done. I can’t stop speaking. I can’t stop hiding or we could say every day we put a Halloween costume on and we hide who we really are, like Adam and Eve putting fig leaves on after they sinned. We could not stop being slaves to sin. Slaves to sin. But Christ came. When he died, he took power over sin. He took power over our sin and he set us free. He saved us. We also in a way ended up on the other side of the Red Sea. That was amazing. What happened? God did it. We are thankful deeply. We worship him. Thank you Jesus. I don’t have to fight with myself, fight with my addictions and problems.
Let’s make a point here. We are not perfect people and some still struggle with these things of our sin nature. When Jesus said the words, “it is finished,” he means it is finished. The struggle with our sin nature in the mind of God has been legally finished.
We have died with Christ in Romans 6, crucified with him. I am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives within me. The life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God.
Even the faith I have is the faith of the Son of God in Gal 2:20. We are thankful. Now imagine, God came to some person somewhere and God made himself known or drawing the person to himself and the man goes, no. Neither is he thankful. He is simply a man given over to his sin nature and arrogance and pride and lostness and abstract self and his subjective feelings. All he has is himself. We understand that because we’ve lived like that ourselves. It’s so beautiful when we have a reason to be thankful. We have a lot given to us.
Pastor Love at 9 service preached on Ps 23, God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. Have you ever seen those pictures on the beach and there is a table there and two people at the beach in the presence of the ocean. But what if that table is in the presence of my enemies? That I have a table with God in the presence of the world. Some of us are meeting with family members for Thanksgiving holiday and maybe some of your family members are not your favorite people. Maybe they don’t think too highly of you. Or maybe some family members – do your best to get along. Be careful of your speech. Be edifying. Most importantly, know that God prepares a table in the presence of our family. The presence of people that maybe disagree. Presence of people maybe at work or the presence of the NFL or MBA.Or the presence of Toyota or the presence of Washington, D.C. or Annapolis, Maryland. In the presence of others there is a table for us. Then it says he anoints our head with oil. And then it says our cup runs over. Pastor Love said in the ancient world the cup they always kept it full when you visited. Your host would always fill your glass like in the restaurants here. Maybe you’ve been in one of those kind where the waiter is constantly filling your cup. It means you are welcome to stay. You can stay longer. Stay with us. We are glad you are here. We are filling your cup. In a way that is how God speaks to us too. He was constantly filling our cup even to the point of overflowing. You are welcome. I have saved you. I am for you. I am not against you. I am on your side. I am loving you. I could not love you more. I gave you my Son. If I did not spare my Son, how is it I could not also freely give you all things.
Rom. 8:32, it’s beautiful. Thanksgiving. It says here that Thanksgiving happens, listen to this: “It happens in the name of Christ.
It happens in private worship like Daniel when he prayed in Daniel 6, in public worship.
Thanksgiving is in everything, 1 Thes. 5:18. When we complete great undertakings like in Nehemiah 12.
Before taking food in Jn 6:11 we give thanks. When we remember God’s holiness, we give thanks. When we remember the goodness and mercy of God, we give thanks. For Christ’s power, we give thanks. For the reception and effectual working of the word of God in other people, we give thanks.
Because we have victory over indwelling sin, Rom 7:23-25, I thank God through Christ Jesus. With my flesh I serve sin, but with my mind the law of God. The way of God. We give thanks. For the triumph of the gospel, for the conversion of other people. Every day we hear the news of people coming to Christ. Vietnam now with the missionaries in Vietnam many are coming. The great growth of Christianity in China. Many coming to Christ in Africa. Many in India coming to Christ and here in our church people coming to Christ and knowing Christ and worshipping him.
This is what Eph. 5 is really writing about. Turn there to Eph. 5 and we can read a few of those. vs. 2-3. Follow this with me. It shows you in our world maybe the sexual liberation, the sexual revolution, and all of that. That is what it is and that has nothing to do with me and my convictions, my heart. He said in a pagan world, let it not be once named among you that you would do this. That’s amazing. It’s happening all the time out there. Let it not be part of us. How could it be? Because when you say no to God and you’re unthankful and given over to your imaginations, we are just trapped in our sin and cannot imagine living any other way. If you come to God and become thankful, the Spirit teaches you purity is a blessing. Holiness is a blessing. It’s reality. The mind of Christ.
vs. 4. At work when they tell dirty jokes and they don’t laugh. It’s kind of embarrassing to them maybe. To you, you’re not so interested. Even these popular comedians on YouTube and you may be watching some of those. I like the clean comedians. I do. I don’t hear many of them. The ones that are clean are smart. To speak like a pig is easy. But to speak like a wise man and have cleanliness and wisdom and humor and joy and thankfulness to God and honor God, that’s a blessing.
vs. 5-7. We are separated. But this is spiritual. I am in their company, but there is a separation. I have been brought out of Egypt. It seems they are in Egypt. I have been brought out of Egypt and we have something going on. We are not done because the journey goes on. The Christian life goes on. Look at our map up here. They are here at Mt. Sinai for a year and a half and they go up this way and they look into the Promised Land. Which land? The land 400 years earlier that Abraham walked in. The same land. And they know that’s their land. In a similar was, as a Christian you should have a feeling that there is something for me. A land. A sense in the Spirit. God did not save me just so that I would struggle with myself. God saved me so I could be free and be able to minister and take territory. Not geographically but spiritually. Take away from the devil what he has taken from people and from God. The devil has taken away people. He has stolen them. He’s a thief.
I remember a story Martin Luther told in Germany. There was a little boy 10 years old who did something terrible. He committed suicide. A ten year old boy. And he hanged himself from some structure. The Catholics wouldn’t bury the boy in the Catholic cemetery because he had committed suicide which is a forbidden thing, an unforgiven thing. And Martin Luther, I remember the story, he said no. He is to be buried in the Catholic cemetery. No. And this was his argument. He goes if there are robbers in the woods and an innocent man goes into the woods and the robbers take and beat him and steal from him, is he at fault? Is the man at fault cause he’s robbed? Is he at fault because he’s been a victim of the evil? He said in a similar way, this boy was stolen. He was robbed. He was destroyed by the devil.
I think of that story and I like it because I believe there are people that are being stripped of their humanity by the devil. I believe the devil is selling drugs on the street. The devil is selling women’s bodies for prostitution. I believe the devil is a thief. And he uses people. I believe that activity is happening today. But I also believe we as believers are in this world to take the devil’s territory and to say you can’t have him. You can’t have him. Hands off. God is greater than the devil. God is greater than your sin. God is greater than your sin nature and your addiction and your fears. God is greater than your emptiness and loneliness. You are a slave in Egypt and Christ came to take you out and bring you not only into this territory which is wilderness but he wants to take you up into the well-watered Promised Land. When this is happening in your life, you just say thank you, God, in your spirit. You just say thank you God. Thank you. It’s true. It’s real. We are thankful. We are the most thankful people in the world.
We’re not just thankful – you know how somebody could say, you know, I won $800. I played the lottery. I won $200 or $400 and I am thankful. Okay because of your circumstances. By the way, I don’t encourage anyone to play the lottery. I think it’s a waste of money. I don’t do that or think about it. I’m trying to come up with an example on the spot here. They’re thankful that they get a good parking spot close to the mall. They are thankful they shot 72 on the golf course. They are thankful that they have something to eat. All those things are beautiful. Those are great things. But there is something you have in your life that you can constantly relate to, that always produces a way of thinking which is one of thankfulness. Because our God did not leave us alone. He came here. And he’s with us every day. Our God didn’t leave us in our sin. He forgave us of all our sin. We said it in the beginning, Jesus is not just going to complete the work. Being confident of this very thing, he which started a good work in you will finish it. Just for the good Christians. No, he is finishing it for all of us. He is finishing it.
What God has done he has done forever, Ec. 3:14. You know what, I love being here and preaching to you because you have spiritual minds and hearts. That helps me a lot. This is so satisfying. And whoever is up here preaching. It is so encouraging and edifying because you understand the things w are saying. You are worshipping God as we are talking and listening. We are in the very presence of a gracious, Almighty God who has not left us here alone. You’re there by yourself. Perform. Do the right thing. He has come in beside in us and made it possible, gave the legal right to live in a victory over ourselves our sin. No, even over death.
When we were in Israel a couple weeks ago, there was the empty tomb. Our group went in. There were 48 of us and they went in groups of 6. I shared this Wednesday night. I was there overlooking the event that we were doing and six people go in and come out. Everyone that came out was in tears. They left their stuff in the tomb as the tour guide said. When you go into the tomb, leave your stuff in there. Leave it in there.
We don’t need to go to Israel to go to the tomb to do it. We can do it every day in our hearts. And go before God and leave it at the cross or leave it buried at the tomb and come out with this kind of understanding that in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
Let’s finish it up. Look at 5:11 be careful of how the mood of the world can get you down. The world can be moody and unthankful, always complaining. I think it’s so funny. I’ve traveled around the world as many of you know and I go to different hotels sometimes. I ask the worker, who are your favorite people that take care of the rooms. Who are the complainers? Who are the people that complain? I won’t tell you what they say to me. The towels. I don’t have enough towels. My bed is too hard or too soft. It’s like, really, I mean, okay. But could we – I understand. There can be problems. But behind it all, thank you. Thank you for your hotel. Thank you for taking care. Thank you for the hot water. We went to a place in the third world and we turned on the water and it made all these sounds and then one drop of water came out. I was with one brother and I got the drop of water and go, wow, thank you Lord. That’s fantastic! There’s always something you can be thankful for. There’s always something you can take a spin. I mean, come on, we are alive. Halleluiah! And the Spirit of God brought us out of Egypt. And bring us into the Promised Land.
5:12 you know there are perverted things that happen and some of you would like to search it out. What weird perverted thing has happened in the world last night? It’s a shame to talk about it. It’s ashamed to even think about it. I have no interest in any of that. I’m not searching out iniquity. I don’t want to find the depths of the perversion of the human heart. I’m not totally naïve but I don’t rejoice in any of it and I don’t talk about it. I don’t spread that message around in this world that we live in. We have found another message. We have found the Spirit, and the truth, the word. vs. 12. That’s us. Truth. Light.
vs. 14. This is so beautiful. Awake, Church. Awake, church in America. Awake, Christian. Awake. You come out of Egypt. Awake. You are not a slave. Awake. God is with us. He gives us manna from heaven. Our shoes will not wear out. Our garments will not get holes in them. Awake, church. There not be the smell of fire on your garment. Not a hair singed. Awake. Awake, church. Wake up. Hear what God has to say to you. The same Spirit that quickened Jesus from the dead will quicken our mortal body. Awake thou that sleepest and Christ shall give you light. It’s only a decision and an attitude and the light comes.
vs. 15. Is this written to the Ephesian Christians? This is written to the people in Baltimore. Us. Let’s not walk as fools but as wise with thanksgiving.
vs. 16. Redeeming the time because the days are evil. I’ll do it later. I’ll go to church later. I’ll go to the mission field later. I’ll read my Bible later. I’ll get around to it later. I’ll get on fire with God later. I know that’s important but I’ll get to it later. It says redeem the time. Use the time. The time is a gift. Use the time. Be Spirit filled today. Walk in the light today. Do his will today. Embrace the truth today. Be encouraged today.
vs. 17. Now is the time. P. Stevens used to say we are the people. Help me. Now is the time, we are the people, this is the place. Isn’t that good. Let’s say it again. Now is the time, we are the people, this is the place. Did I get it right? Now is the time. Later. Manana, manana. Tomorrow, tomorrow. Later, later. No, now is the time. God is with us now. He is here. How long did it take for them to get out of here? 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. We could go into the land now, Joshua and Caleb said. WE can go now.
WE can take it now in Number 13. The other ten said no. Gigantic.. Magnifico. Spanish, pastor. Turkey is pavo. Pavo. Oh, pavo. Hey, now is the time to learn Spanish! Don’t put it off. Now is the time. We are the people and this is the place. Thanksgiving is a whole way of living and I know you have met – listen. I have to finish up but you have met old people and they have a sweet – apart from maybe physiological or chemical diseases or whatever it is, that being removed from what I’m saying. That has its effect on our brain and our lives for sure if that is the case. But other than that, it’s beautiful to meet an old person that is sweet and thankful. They just say thank you. Thank you. They live like that. I’m so thankful. I lived a great life by God’s grace. Thank you God. I made it. Thank you, God. Then there’s the old person. They are sitting on the front porch ready to tear you apart. Nothing is right. You are the problem. It’s like, don’t be that way.
It says here be filled in vs. 19-20. This is his will and we see it in Nehemiah. We see it with the Apostle Paul. He’s teaching the church. We see it in the book of Acts. We see it in our lives. We see it in our conventions when we get together. We have a beautiful spirit of thanksgiving and praise to God. We have so much to be thankful for.
All the 96 things that have happened to you from the time of salvation. Here’s a list of them. I’m not going to read them all. But think about it. We are chosen. We are called. We are reconciled. We are redeemed. We are born again. We are regenerated. We are glorified. We are adopted. We are complete. We are sanctified. We are forgiven. We are quickened. We are perfected forever. We are accepted. We are crucified, buried, raised with Christ, born of the Spirit, and baptized with the Spirit. We are indwelt by the Spirit, sealed by the Spirit. We are in God, in Christ, in the Spirit, dead to the law, delivered from the law, circumcised in Christ, made near to God by the blood, delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. That’s just some of them. Think about it.
We are God’s people indwelt by the living God. We have a song we never had before. We got a little bit of a bounce in our steps when we go to work. We go praise the Lord. I got to go to work. I got to go to work. Maybe I can find God in my working place. Maybe on the beltway in my car I can listen to worship music. Maybe I can hear a message that will build me up and edify me. And when I go to church, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. I will meet my brothers and my sisters and we shall live forever.
Thank you, God. You did it by your grace, through your Son. Praise you. Amen.
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