Thanksgiving Obtains the Spirit’s Blessing – Sermon Application Part One
A thankful heart is a humble heart. As Pastor Vradenburgh noted, a proud heart is what makes us unthankful toward men and God. When we are proud and unthankful, God resists us and we forfeit many blessings of the indwelling Spirit. The Bible says, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6). In the fifth chapter of Second Chronicles, we see the connection between thankfulness and the manifest presence of the LORD (2 Chron. 5:13-14). As the trumpeters and singers praised and thanked the LORD, the glory of God filled the house of God!
Thanksgiving application 1:
Pastor Vradenburgh pointed out that, in 2 Chronicles five, the cloud filled the temple and the fire fell only after the people worshipped and praised the LORD. This same pattern has been repeated in the history of revival. In 1738, when revival broke out at a congregationalist church in North Hampton, Massachusetts, it began with the youth first as they sang praises to God. There is a special spiritual blessing which comes with wholehearted praise, for the goodness of the LORD is His glory (Ps. 136), and His glory resides with those who glorify Him (Ps. 22:3, 50:23).
If we desire to walk with a sense of the glorious presence of the LORD, then we too must begin by habitually praising Him from the heart (Heb. 13:15; 1 Thess. 5:18; Col. 3:17)! Let’s find more ways to incorporate praise into our everyday lives. Maybe we can select praise songs to play in the background at home. Maybe we can spend more time praising God together as families. Maybe we can have more time to acknowledge God’s goodness when we meet together with other Christians. One thing is certain; God is worthy of more praise than we can ever give!
Thanksgiving application 2:
Christians living in poverty-stricken countries are often more thankful and content than Christians living in wealthy countries. The reason this shocks us is because we have bought into the philosophy of materialism─ the notion that material things bring happiness and fulfillment. Pursuing happiness through material things leads only to short-lived and unfulfilling happiness.
Jesus warned of “the deceitfulness of riches” (Mark 4:19). Rather than being thankful for what God has provided, we continue grasping for more and more perishing things. But once we realize that Jesus is our spiritual happiness and rest, we see the foolishness of lusting greedily after more than we need. The Bible says, “having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Tim. 6:8). Also, Jesus warns us that only a fool “layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21). Regardless of how much we have, thankfulness for what God has given us gives us true joy which grasping after things cannot.
Application to soteriology ─ salvation:
As Pastor Vradenburgh pointed out, the mercy of God does not come with conditions. Even the notion of a conditional mercy is a contradiction─ merit and mercy do not mix. The Bible says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” (Titus 3:5). This is one reason for the doctrine of eternal security. The Bible says that “[the LORD’S] mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 136:1). To believe that we can lose our salvation is to say that God’s mercy endures only for a season. While eternal security is not carnal security, it is a reality of salvation in which we experience fresh mercy from God each and every day!