Sermon Intro Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zOPmkb7g3U
I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I felt like a total loser. It happened when I was chillin in my recliner one night while watching TV on my new 42” Sharp Aquos flat-screen. A commercial came on of a sharper, clearer, crisper, more colorful TV. The picture on that TV practically made mine look black and white. And then it hit me…I’m viewing that so-called “superior” TV…ON MY OWN TV! As Americans, we are not thankful; we are lustful. We love to play the lust game. Lust is a desire for any sin that is never satisfied, but only made more hungry when fed. We must learn to be thankful!
I admit, even when studying for this I wonder how teens will respond because thankfulness seems like such a lame topic in Scripture. But it is not only huge in the Bible, it is also huge in our culture. We have a whole holiday weekend dedicated to it!
In 1 Chronicles 16, we have an ever greater holiday that was dedicated to giving thanks. We will see here that giving thanks to God is GINORMOUS in the Bible! Remember, 1 Chronicles is a book written to remind Israel (who has been captured and distributed in enemy territory) who God is and where they’ve come from (Genesis – Samuel). As the Chronicler reviews the book of 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles 16 is all about the part where King David brings the ark of the covenant back into Jerusalem, Israel. It had been stolen by the Philistines during the reign of Saul. After divine mayhem on them, the Philistines give it back to Israel, but it stops in an Israeli house on the outskirts of the nation. Saul never brings it back to the Tabernacle.
Get this…while David is bringing back in the ark of the covenant (which is God’s symbol of His presence, promises, and power), he commands that many particular priests minister to God by standing around the ark and just continually giving thanks (16:1-7). Giving thanks really is ginormous if that’s what David has them do. Giving thanks is showing God gratitude, appreciation, and acknowledging what He has given you out of His grace. As sinners, we only deserve hell. Anything good that we have apart from hell is by the grace of God. You might be wondering, “Should I give God thanks if I don’t feel thankful?” Yes, the more we give thanks, the more we will be and feel thankful!
Then, David commanded that a special worship song simply full of thankful praises to God be sung by their Israel rock band (16:8-36). If you don’t enjoy worship, then you are too focused on yourself and not thanking God for His grace in your life! And after the ark party was said and done, David instructed that specific Levites encircle around the ark continually to constantly give thanks to God for His steadfast love that endures forever (16:37-43).
God tells us to give thanks to Him in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18). How is that possible? What about tsunamis, hurricanes, death, divorce, rape, and other horrific circumstances? Notice that He does not command us to give thanks for everything, but He gives us the ability to give thanks in every single circumstance. How? Because His steadfast (constant) love will endure (faithfully continue) eternally (forever). The second part of 1 Thess 5:18 is the most important part: “for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus for you.” God’s will for our lives is ginormous, and it is that we should constantly be giving thanks in every circumstance specifically for Jesus Christ and for everything that He has given us through Jesus Christ (Eph 1:3). Whatever we have not received through Christ we should not be thankful for because Satan has given it to us to hinder us from following after Christ. So here’s your challenge: Thank God all the time for Christ and for everything He has given you through Christ. Let’s live life in our jobs, schools, homes, and friendships that are full of thankfulness for and in Jesus Christ!