Malankara World

Thanksgiving

Sermon on Psalm 100

by Rev. Adrian Dieleman

"Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving" Psalm 100:4

Introduction

This was in the newspaper just after Thanksgiving Day last year.

Seven things to be thankful for:

* for automatic dishwashers. They make it possible to get out of the kitchen before the family come in for their after-dinner snacks.
* for husbands who attack small repair jobs around the house. They usually make them big enough to call in professionals.
* for the bathtub -- the one place the family allows Mom some time to herself.
* for children who put away their things and clean up after themselves. They're such a joy you hate to see them go home to their own parents.
* for gardening. It's a relief to deal with dirt outside the house for a change.
* for teenagers. They give parents an opportunity to learn a second language.
* for smoke alarms. They let you know when the turkey's done.

I am sure we are thankful for all of these things too. However, I am equally sure we are thankful for different reasons.

On this Thanksgiving Day we are gathered together to count blessings like these, and many others as well. We are gathered together to give thanks to the God Who has provided us with all of these blessings.

I Joyful Thanks to God in Worship

A The psalmist knows it is God we ought to thank.

Listen to what he says:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs...

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

As the psalmist makes clear here, it is God we want to thank and praise. We enter His gates and His courts to give Him praise.

God wants us to thank Him. We should want to thank Him and, in fact, must thank Him as the Giver of every good thing.

Topic: Thankfulness
Subtopic: Exhortations to
Index: 1455
Date: 12/1986.25
Title: Don't Mention It

A little boy went to a birthday party. On his return, his mother queried, "Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?"

"Well, I was going to. But a girl ahead of me said, 'Thank you,' and the lady told her not to mention it. So I didn't."

We all recognize that little Bobby broke a social rule you always say thanks to your host or hostess. This is true for God too. When it comes to thanking God, we can't remain silent and we must not remain silent.

B When it comes to giving thanks notice what the psalmist tells us to do.

He tells us to "rejoice in the Lord." In fact, "joy in the Lord" is the keynote of this psalm. We are told to "shout for joy" to the Lord. We are called to serve Him "with gladness." We are urged to come before Him with "joyful songs." We are to be filled with an enthusiastic, overflowing joy.

In the Hebrew, joy or rejoicing is an inward religious emotion that simply has to express itself as praise to and for God! When God's Old Testament people were filled with joy they could not help but come into God's presence with clapping, singing, shouting, and dancing. Joy, all joy, expresses itself in praise!

Next to this joy, all earthly sorrows and burdens however great they may be become insignificant, of no account. The joy of serving the Lord chases away all the dark shades of night.

Before the Lord, says the psalmist, we are to come with joyful thanks.

C Though joyful thanks is to be given in all of life, it is especially worship that the psalmist has in mind:

"Serve the Lord ... come before him ... Enter his gates ... and his courts."

Our worship life, our time spent in the worship service, is to be a time of joyful thanks. This means we do not need to put on our most serious face before we enter for worship.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, God wants all of His people to give Him joyful thanks.

II Joyful Thanks Because of His Goodness

A Why do we want to give God joyful thanks? What has He done for us? Why are we to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise?

The psalmist tell us: "For the Lord is good ..."

What do we mean when we say, "God is good"?

"Good" is a word so common we use it without thinking. "How was school today?" I ask my son. "Good," he says without thinking. "How are you doing?" someone asks. "Good," you answer. Sales clerks, McDonald's cashiers, and friends all tell us to have a good day.

We use the word often enough, but what exactly does it mean?

To be "good" means, in part, that you want to share what you have with others. When a husband and wife want a baby to share their life, their love, their laughter, their faith, their home, they are being good. They are being good because they want to share themselves with smaller persons.

Those who share their food with the needy, who give of themselves to the sick, who visit the prisoner, who care for the elderly, they are being good.

God is good, says Scripture. God is good so He wants to share Himself, His life, His love, with others. In Genesis 1 we can read all about God's goodness. The God Who exists without beginning or end decided, at the beginning of time, to share Himself, His being, His life, with fish, birds, livestock, insects, wild animals, and man. "He made us, and we are his," says the Psalmist. He has breathed into us His breath and has given us His life. In doing this, we have to say that God is good.

In fact, we can say that God has made us and all of creation to be like Himself. When we read through the first chapter of Genesis we come across that word "good" seven times. Not only is God good; "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good" (Gen 1:31).

On this Thanksgiving Day we rejoice in the God Who has shared His goodness with us by giving us life and breath.

B God is good. This means He not only shares Himself with us. It also means He satisfies us, fills us to the brim, and meets our God-created needs.

I am not sure why kids do this but often they take a can of Coke and try to fit it all into a glass that is not quite big enough. They just have to get every last single drop into the glass. The glass gets fuller and fuller but they just keep pouring.

God is that way. He fills us to the brim and even over the brim to overflowing.

God is good, so He satisfies the needs of all His creatures. He is the Shepherd Who looks after all the needs of His sheep. That is why we all can testify that God satisfies our need for shelter, food, drink, clothing, fellowship.

On this Thanksgiving Day we rejoice in the God Who has shared His goodness with us by satisfying our needs.

C God is good. This especially means that He satisfies our biggest and greatest need.

Do you know what this need is? The Psalmist speaks of this need:

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
(Psalm 42:1,2)

Think of a deer that has just been chased by a wolf or by a hunter and a pack of dogs. It has run for its life and somehow it has managed to get away. After running so hard it is thirsty, desperately thirsty. It wants water, it needs water, more than anything else. Whether we realize it or not, that is how badly we need God. God Himself is our biggest need. God Himself is our greatest need. None of us have really experienced life, none of us have come to know life's purpose and meaning, unless we have come to realize this. That is why the Psalmist can say, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing" (Ps 23:1). David probably wrote this while he was in the wilderness and from a human point of view he lacked everything: food, drink, clothing, shelter, safety, protection. Yet, he said he lacked nothing. Why? Because when he has the Lord, he has the most important thing in life. When he has the Lord, nothing else is really needed. When he has the Lord, he lacks nothing.

God is good. So He satisfies our need for Himself.

To satisfy this need, our need for Himself, God had to come to us in Christ. There was a time that man could come to God without Christ. In fact, he lived and talked and walked with God. He was so completely in God that he had no knowledge of life without God. But then came his tragic fall into sin. Now man was incapable of coming to God on his own. Now man was incapable of satisfying the deepest need of his heart fellowship with and in God. So God had to send Christ Jesus. Christ took on human form, He died on the cross, and He arose from the grave so that we could again have fellowship with God and satisfy the deepest need of our heart.

On this Thanksgiving Day we rejoice in the God Who has shared His goodness with us by satisfying our need for Himself in and through Christ Jesus.

D God is good. He is so good. God is loving and faithful in His goodness.

His "love endures forever; his faithfulness through all generations," says the Psalmist. Do you know what this means? This means that God continues to share Himself with us, He continues to satisfy all our needs. He doesn't change course in mid-stream. He is always good. For us He is always the overflowing source of all good.

Conclusion

Our God is good. He is so good. Therefore, says the Psalmist,
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

Our God is good. He is so good. Therefore, says the Psalmist,
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

The Lord is good. He is so good. Only one response is possible: we must now give Him our joyful thanks.

See Also:

A Thanksgiving Sermon based on Luke 17: 11-19
by David Zersen

Thanksgiving Day Sermon
By Katerina K. Whitley

The Curse of Prosperity
by Ed Rickard

Psalms of Thanksgiving
by Don Walker, Austin, TX

Bringing a Sacrifice of Praise
by April Motl

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