"But Instead, Give Thanks!"
Passage: Ephesians 5:4
"Complaining becomes comfortable because it’s padding over something far more insidious in our lives that we’re not getting to the root of: ungratefulness." Ronnie Martin
1. The foundation, the starting point for gratefulness is what God has done for us in Christ - we must give Trinitarian thanks, Romans 1:8; Colossians 3:16-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
“The real difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that the former gives thanks to God." Tremper Longman
"We are inherently ungrateful because we can’t be grateful for something we are predisposed from birth to not want to receive. That’s why grace is the only thing that has the effective power to create true gratefulness in the hearts of all those who trust in Jesus." Ronnie Martin
2. Feelings of gratefulness are a gift from God, we must ask God for these feelings, they are not natural. These feelings will lead to embracing those who need the same joy, Psalm 51:10-13.
3. This feeling and knowledge of God is powerful enough to lead us through difficulty - for the believer, all things work together for good. Romans 8:28, 1 Thess. 5:16-18; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18; James 1:2-4.
4. Thanksgiving replaces sin, proud people don't say thank you, Ephesians 5:4; Exodus 16:7; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Romans 1:18-23; 5:1-5.
"What complaining displays in us is a lack of belief that God is who God says He is and that His love for us is not true, but false." Ronnie Martin's comments on Romans 5:1-5
5. Give thanks for and enjoy His creation. Thanksgiving causes us to enjoy His creation the right way, 1 Timothy 4:4; Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20.
"It is really amazing how much we can know of God and our duty simply by honestly pondering the lesson book of creation: that there is an infinitely marvelous Being who made all things, who has eternal power, to whom we owe life and breath and everything, and therefore whom we should glorify and thank from the bottom of our hearts day and night. Nobody who will own up to the reality in which he lives needs the Bible to know that he should glorify God and give him thanks. It is written in the sky and in every human heart… to honor God. It is the necessary echo of grace. Grace for creation and grace for redemption. We cherish what we cannot buy or get any other way." Ronnie Martin
6. We have all fallen short in giving thanks, we must give credit where credit is due, honor to whom honor, we must make the fame of God known, Romans 3:23; 1:22-23; Exodus 20:7.
My list of God's (undeserved) goodnesses and mercies:
1. I'm saved!