Turning Thanksgiving into Thanksliving
Rom. 12:1; Ps. 51:17; Heb. 13:15
What started w/ the Pilgrims in the 1700s became a national holiday in the late 1800s when Abraham Lincoln declared the annual observance of Thanksgiving.
But, it only lasts for a day or two unless we learn how to make thanksgiving into thanksliving! It’s one thing to say we’re thankful, and quite another to show it by how we live. Talk is cheap.
Let me show you in the Bible the sacrifices of Thanksgiving: (spiritual sacrifices you can offer to God every day as a gesture of your appreciation for Him)
We should offer to God:
1. The sacrifice of our person
Rom. 12:1 - “bodies”
If Jesus were to come to your front door, kneel, fold His hands, and beg for you to do something…would you do it? Well, here it is:
To “beseech” is to beg, to plead…and our God, who is no beggar, here by inspiration says that He begs us to do something (pleads).
“by the mercies of God” (on the basis of) In other words, you ask, “why should I give my body, my person, to God?” Because He gave His for you! Every drop of blood said “I love you!” Nail/stripe/thorn/blow to His face!
Ill.—girl in orphanage/8 years old/problem child/no one had ever loved her/one day a worker saw her run across the field and put something in the hollow of a tree/worker followed/the note said, to anybody who finds this: I love you!
One day God allowed His Son, Jesus, to be hung in the hollow of a tree…the old rugged cross! And 2,000 years later He’s still pointing to that cross saying: to anyone who finds this, I love you! (written in red/read between the nails!)
And God says, I beg you, on the basis of this (by the mercies of God) after all I gave for you, won’t you give your body to me?
“But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe…here, Lord, I give MYSELF away…”
“present” means to join the Army:
2 ways to join the Army: drafted/voluntarily
The Army of the Lord…
This is an Army you join of your own free will! No one will force you to serve God, nor should you force anyone else to! No one should have to beg you to serve God…it should be voluntary!
Ill.—boy scout late to mtg./scoutmaster questioned him/I was doing my good deed for the day…helping an old lady cross the street/why’d it take all day?/she didn’t want to cross the street!
We shouldn’t have to drag people to serve God!
v. 2 Holy…this word is akin to the word “wholly”, meaning completely.
Alka-Seltzer commercial: I can’t believe I ate the whole thing (some will say that this Thursday!)
Our God wants the whole thing…a complete sacrifice…all I am, all I have…plans/ambitions/possessions/car/home/spare time…it’s all yours, God!
Ill.—man riding on train in the club car/men at another table, gambling/asked him to join them for poker/I don’t have any hands/arms under table/they were embarrassed, apologized (maybe lost them in the war)/later, a steward came by and offered the man coffee/reached out w/ hand and took it/men said, hey, you said you don’t have any hands?/that’s right, I got saved a while back, and I’ve learned that these hands aren’t mine, they belong to Christ, and He wouldn’t want me gambling!
You can turn t’giving into t’living this week…because someone will start telling a dirty joke, and you’ll say to yourself, I can’t hear that, I don’t have any ears!/(tv) can’t look at that/can’t say that/can’t do that/can’t go there!
I Cor. 6: 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
One more thing, the language in our text, Rom. 12:1, is the language of the OT temple…comparing our bodies to the animal sacrifices the priest would lay on the altar.
After it was laid on the altar…they tied it to the altar! Why? Because it had the tendency to slide off (fresh meat is slippery!)
Joke—I’ve done that w/ my grill/meat slips off into the fire or onto the ground/pick it up, put it back on…that’s Jacob’s!
Actually, some sacrifices were still alive, and would naturally try to crawl off!
Ever made a commitment to God, and w/in a few days it slips off the altar? (I’ll never do that again…oops!)
It’s time to bind our sacrifice to the altar!
The priest had 2 fleshhooks he would insert into the meat, to hold it in place while he bound it to the altar…and the fleshhooks which will hold your sacrifice in place are:
Devotion is when you do it because you want to.
Discipline is when you do it because it’s right.
The best reason to be at church is because you love to…devotion…but when you don’t, you still should be here as a matter of discipline (some of you I’ve seen here by way of discipline…don’t call in you crawl in!...I’ve been here out of discipline as well!)
Sometimes I don’t feel saved, but salvation is a fact, not a feeling, and the fact is, I am His, I’m bought w/ a price, and I give it all back to Him as a sacrifice of t’giving!
“I don’t want to be a hypocrite…if I don’t feel like going, I shouldn’t!”
I’m glad the custodian doesn’t clean God’s house w/ that attitude!
To come even if you don’t feel like it doesn’t make you hypocritical, it makes you disciplined!
Yes, we should WANT to read our Bibles, out of our devotion…but even when we don’t want to, we should, as a matter of discipline!
We say we witness to people when “led” to. What we are saying is that we witness when we feel like it!
When you don’t feel like praying…pray!
Devotion and discipline are the fleshhooks which will bind our sacrifice to the altar!
We live in an age of non-commitment. We don’t like to give our word… “we’ll just have to see!” And we’re willing to throw God in the backseat for any other opportunity that comes along.
Ill.—“be at church Sunday?” We’ll see, they say. Maybe. I want to leave myself open to better offers!
Fear of commitment: I’ve known people who won’t accept positions of service in the church because then they’d have to be committed to be there!
Read Bible (what if I fail?!)…aim at nothing, hit nothing
“I don’t believe in commitment!” But they have a mortgage, car payment, and will sign up w/ every dept. store in town for a credit card if they can get 10% off!
“I just give as the Spirit leads me!” they say.
(try that w/ your mortgage!)
Turn t’giving into t’living by making the sacrifice of your person…
2. The sacrifice of purity
Ps. 51:17 [screen]
We find David here in a broken state…he has committed adultery, and now he’s broken before God (not just over His sin, but over God’s goodness [v. 1 on screen]…now that it’s hit him…all he’s done in the face of a God who has done so much for him, he’s broken, and making the sacrifice of purity!
The best thing you can do this t’giving is to give God the sacrifice of a broken heart/repent of coldness toward Him/indifference/pet sins controlling your life!
3. The sacrifice of praise
Heb. 13:15 on screen
Praise is a sacrifice!
Ps. 69: 30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. 31 This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
(ox in those days=$10k/Cadillac! This was a sacrifice!)
Heb. 13:15 [on screen] says, “continually”
Don’t come to church to praise God…turn t’giving into t’living!
Don’t come to church in order to start your praise, but to share it!
Song: “we bring the sacrifice of praise…” (frown)
Discouraging to songleader to see people not singing, or singing…but not making the sacrifice! [joyful noise]
Ill.—man at former church said, I’m not a singer (stand there w/ arms crossed…not even making the sacrifice of a smile!...then you’d see him driving, windows up, singing!) “All I want for Christmas is you!”
Ever known a truly negative person? Some earn this reputation.
Joke—man 2 hours late for supper/wife: where have you been?/I ran into Mrs. Gray on the street/why’d it take so long?/I asked her how she was doing!
(I used to ask a guy how he’s doing, (organ recital) learned not to/one Sunday I purposefully went to him positively, and said, it’s great to see you, you look good!...he said, Thanks! …wish I felt good…!)
You know the kind of person I’m talking about? They brighten up a room just by leaving it!
Don’t allow yourself to get the reputation of being a negative person. Knock that chip off your shoulder and focus on the positive! Be humbly grateful rather than grumbly hateful. The attitude of gratitude!
To turn t’giving into t’living, we must make the sacrifice of our person…lay it all on the altar; the sacrifice of purity…like David; and the sacrifice of praise...!
It’s only fitting for us to be sacrificial people, because of the sacrifice of Jesus. [gospel]
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