The Ground of Our Gratitude (Part 2 of 2)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love [mercy] endures forever (Psalm 118:1)

Do you know that if you and I are here today, it is because of God’s mercy alone? It is not because of who you are. It is not because of your education, or of the fact that you are a good person. No! Remember the words of Lamentations 3: 22 & 23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.”

Oh, let’s praise the Lord for His mercies. When you wake up in the morning, you wake up to welcome these mercies that are always fresh, always new every morning. When you go to work, you go with God’s mercy. In your work place you work with God’s mercy. You come home with God’s mercy. You raise your children with God’s mercy. I preach with God’s mercy. You listen to God’s Word with His mercy. You sing with God’s mercy. It is all about the mercies of God! And, take note, according to our text, Psalm 118:1, this mercy endures forever. Once it has been bestowed on you, that mercy will remain in you.

There is a well known hymn based on Lamentations 3:23, the verse that I have just read before you—“Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” This hymn is by Thomas Obadiah Chisholm (1866-1960):

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not [We fail God, but His compassions will never fail.]: As Thou has been Thou forever wilt be. Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; [My friend, do you see the mercies of God every day, every morning? When you woke up this morning, did you feel those mercies? Did you see them? Did you say, “Lord, I thank You for Your morning mercies?”] All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

My fellow believers, we see this mercy displayed at Calvary when God sent His precious Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be our mediator, to die for our sin, to redeem us from the curse of the law. That’s the mercy of God. And, the psalmist says in our text, give thanks to the Lord, not only because He is good, but because His mercy abides forever. So, here we have the ground for our gratitude. This ground is not man-centered, but gospel-centered, God-centered. Again, as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, let’s remember the goodness of God and His mercy. And, let’s learn to trace all our blessings back to God, back to the cross, to give Him thanks. Amen!

 

Note: This is a slightly edited excerpt from the Thanksgiving message, “The Ground of Our Gratitude,” delivered on November 22, 2012 at Dutton URC. You can listen to the message here (Part 2) and here (Part 1).

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Great Is Thy Faithfulness Sermon Thanksgiving Day Thomas Obadiah Chisholm

The Ground of Our Gratitude (Part 1 of 2)

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love [mercy] endures forever (Psalm 118:1)

The ultimate ground of our gratitude is not our circumstances, but God’s character. The ultimate ground of our gratitude is not our mood, but the fact that God is good. You see, it is easy for us to thank the Lord when we are in a good mood, when we feel good. It is easy to thank the Lord when we receive blessings from Him. But, according to our text, thanking God has nothing to do with what we receive from God. Give thanks to God. Why? Because He is good. Period! The fact that God is good is enough for us to thank Him regardless of our circumstances.

The Psalmist is calling us to thank the Lord for the fact that God is good. And, because God is always good, we always have a reason to thank the Lord. Even if the Lord stops pouring out His blessings on you, on your family, still you have a reason to thank Him because He remains good. However, the problem today is that even in our gratitude we tend to be man-centered.

Now, take note that the psalmist does not say, “Thank God for the many good things He has done to you or for you.” So, thanksgiving does not depend on God’s action, but on His attribute.You don’t say, “Lord I am going to thank You if You do this to me; Lord I am going to give You thanks if You answer my prayer; Lord I am going to give You thanks, I am going to praise You if You heal my sickness, if You provide for my needs.” My friend, even if the Lord does not hear you, He deserves your gratitude because He is good. His goodness is enough for us to glorify Him, to praise Him.There is song that says,

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered, Thanks for what Thou dost deny! Thanks for storms that I have weathered, thanks for all Thou dost supply! Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure, Thanks for comfort in despair! Thanks for grace that none can measure, Thanks for love beyond compare!

God is good. Let us learn this. Let us cultivate this kind of attitude, to thank the Lord. The second ground for thanking God is also found in verse one: “Give thanks [or hallelujah to Jehovah—it is a command, it is plural, everyone is commanded to do this. Why? Why thank God?] for He is good.” And then secondly, and the last, “because His love endures forever,” or, in ESV, “His steadfast love,” or in King James, “His mercy.” I like the word “mercy.” I think that is closest to the original. His mercy is everlasting.

You see, sinners, we need God’s mercy every day, every hour, every minute, every second. Why? Because we sin daily. How good it is to know, how comforting it is to know, that God’s mercy does not stop. God’s mercy is everlasting. It endures forever. God’s throne of mercy is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Any time, even in the middle of the night, you can come directly to God’s throne of grace and mercy and say, “Lord, I need Your mercy; Lord I have sinned against You; Lord please cleanse me from my sin.” We need to thank the Lord for this kind of mercy.

 

Note: This is a slightly edited excerpt from the Thanksgiving message, “The Ground of Our Gratitude,” delivered on November 22, 2012 at Dutton URC. You can listen to the message here.

Sermon Thanksgiving Day

“Our Daily Bread” & Thanksgiving Day

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, let us make God the center of our celebration. Remember that “[e]very good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father” through His Son Jesus Christ (James 1:17). Commenting on Psalm 118:1, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) says, “We must not stop at the agent, but rise to the first cause and render all our praises unto the LORD himself.” Spurgeon’s words remind me of the children’s story called “Our Daily Bread”:

 

OUR DAILY BREAD

A little boy’s mother gave him
a brown roll for his breakfast.
The little boy said, “Thank you, mother.
Thank you for my nice brown roll.”
The mother said,
“Don’t thank me, thank the miller.”

The little boy ran to the miller.
He said, “Thank you, miller.
Thank you for my nice brown roll.”
The miller said,
“Don’t thank me, thank the farmer.”

The little boy ran to the farmer.
He said, “Thank you, farmer.
Thank you for my nice brown roll.”
The farmer said,
“Don’t thank me, thank the rain.
I only planted the wheat.”
The little boy saw the clouds in the sky.

He saw the raindrops falling.
He said, “Thank you, rain.
Thank you for my nice brown roll.”
The rain said,
“Don’t thank me, thank the sun.
I only helped a little.”

Just then the sun began to shine.
The little boy said, “Thank you, sun.
Thank you for my nice brown roll.”
The sun said, “Don’t thank me.
Thank God who made me.”

The little boy went back to the table.
He folded his hands.
Then he said, “Thank you, God.
Thank you for my nice brown roll.”

 

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1)

Charles Spurgeon Thanksgiving Day