Three Reasons for Thanksgiving (Colossians 3:15-17)
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Well, good evening. And Happy Thanksgiving, and welcome to Cityview. My name is merit. I serve as the Director of Youth and college ministries here. And so glad you’ve joined us tonight, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, and worship our God together. Let me just start by saying that Thanksgiving is a traditional holiday. By traditional, I mean that there are many traditions surrounding what we do tomorrow. And perhaps one of the most common family traditions happens around the dinner table. You know, after everyone is seated and the food has been passed, typically, someone will say something like, All right, we’re gonna go around the table now. And everyone’s going to share something they’re thankful for. So you hear the typical answers, like family, friends, faith, freedom, good finances, physical health, and all those sorts of things. And this is all great. But have you ever wondered who you are giving thanks to in that moment? I think oftentimes, we can give thanks, just generally speaking, without actually thinking anyone. Well, as believers, I would argue, and the Bible would argue that we ought to give thanks to God. So tomorrow, instead of just asking, What are you thankful for? Take it a step further and say, Who are you thankful to? Well, tonight, I’d like to share with you three reasons for Thanksgiving. Three reasons we ought to be thankful to God. And we’re going to do things a little differently than a normal worship service. Tonight, we’re not going to have one sermon, we’re going to have three. And so we’re not going to be here all night. Don’t worry, they’re not full length, sermons, but rather three reflections on Colossians 315, through 17. So if you have a Bible with you, I’d encourage you to open there, we’re going to consider three reasons that we ought to be thankful as believers, and after each reflection, are going to respond with a song. So each song that we’ve chosen for this evening, is a direct response to what we’ve just heard from God’s Word. So as we sing, I would encourage you to, to really pay attention to that, and really consider how what we’re singing is a response to God’s word. So let’s begin then with a word of prayer as we as we start. Heavenly Father, we’re gonna come to you tonight, I’m gonna say thank you. Say thank you for who you are, for your character, your mercy and your grace, your kindness to us, your patience with us, and so many more things. We thank you for who you are. And we also thank you for all that you’ve done. Every blessing in our life, we can ultimately trace back to you to your gracious hand in our lives. So tonight, would you be honored as we express our gratitude to you, through Your Word, through singing through prayer? May you reveal in our hearts, many more reasons why we ought to be thankful during the season and throughout the year as well. So we give this time over to you. We ask this in Jesus name, amen. Well, we see in our passage in Colossians, three, the first reason we have for Thanksgiving is the peace of Christ, the peace of Christ, would you look with me at Colossians three, verse 15. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. since as members of one body, you were called to peace, and be thankful. See, the peace of Christ and Thanksgiving are inseparable. They go hand in hand with each other. These are not to isolated commands that we see in this verse, rather to links in a chain, so to speak, we ought to be thankful because of the peace of Christ. So then, what do we mean by this peace of Christ? Well, we mean, the peace that Christ gives to us, the peace that Christ has in himself, that we get to experience as a result of his death and resurrection. In John 14, Jesus himself says this, he says, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Christ has given us His peace, so we ought to be thankful. Now there are several ways that we experienced this peace. First, we think of how we have peace with God. We can have a relationship with God that is not marked by hostility and conflict and rebellion. Through Jesus, our sin has been paid for. And our relationship with God is restored. We are His children, and we have peace with him. And Romans five one describes it like this. It says, Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. What incredibly good news. The peace of Christ means we have peace with God. But we also think of the peace that we have with one another. This is why it says in verse 15, since as members of one body, you were called to peace. As believers, we’ve been given a new identity. We are part of this family of faith. Although we come from different backgrounds, we’ve been united in Christ, we are his body. Ephesians two puts it this way. But now, in Christ Jesus, You who were once far away, have been brought near by the blood of Christ, for he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one, and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. We experienced the peace of Christ that unifies individuals who otherwise would not have been unified. were united, not based on earthly categories, but by the shared peace that we have with God. This unity is a beautiful thing. We aren’t perfect in this, of course, but by the power of Christ, we can experience it truly. This is the piece that we have with one another. But even more than that, we also think of the peace that we have in our own hearts when we face turmoil. When the world outside is falling apart, Christ gives us peace, and knowing that God is in control, and he will set all things right. He will free the world from sin, once and for all. In the end. When our own world is falling apart, Christ gives us peace beyond comprehension, and passes all of our understanding. Philippians four, six, and seven says, Do not be anxious about anything. But in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. When we come to God with our anxiousness and Thanksgiving, he gives us peace. This is the peace of Christ, with God with others within our own hearts. So then, what does it look like for this peace to rule in our hearts? We let this peace rule when it is the deciding factor in our lives. This word used here for rule is used elsewhere to describe an umpire deciding a contest. And this umpire never makes a bad call. Let peace guide your decision making. Let peace be your standard. When you feel shame and doubt, Let the peace of Christ remind you of your peace with God. When you’re facing division and conflict with others, Let the peace of Christ remind you that the dividing wall of hostility has been torn down. We are the body of Christ. And when you face turmoil and struggle, and you feel anxious, with the peace of Christ, guard your heart and your mind. So then how does this all fit together? What is the relationship between the peace of Christ and thanksgiving? Well, when you think about the peace that you have with God, when you think about the peace that you have with other believers, when you think about the peace, you experience in your own heart that passes all understanding. When you let this peace be the umpire in your life, compared to the way things could be with hostility, conflict, violence, division, anxiousness. How can you not be thankful to God for that? How can you not be thankful for the peace that we have in all those different ways? The natural response to peace is a heart that is full of Thanksgiving so let’s let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts Let’s be thankful to God so now we’re going to sing about this in response and the song we’re gonna sing there is a fountain speaks of this piece that we have with God and so so as we sing, I would encourage you to reflect on that and give thanks to God as we sing a song so if you’re able please stand as we sing together now. Man You may be seated.
We are considering tonight three reasons for Thanksgiving. And the first of these we saw In verse 15, of Colossians, three the peace of Christ. When we let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, we can’t help but be thankful. Well, we see the second reason for Thanksgiving in Colossians 316, the message of Christ. Let’s read together, would you follow along with me? Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly, as you teach and admonish one another, with all wisdom, through psalms, hymns, and songs from the spirit, singing to God with gratitude, in your hearts. The message of Christ and Thanksgiving are inseparable. When the message of Christ dwells in us richly, we can’t help but be thankful. This message of Christ means the message about Christ. Or to put it another way, the gospel, the good news of who Jesus is and what he’s done. This good news is meant to dwell among us richly. So then how does this this message of Christ dwell among us richly? Well, this happens when we let the gospel take residence among us to make its home hear. This word dwell makes us think back to the Old Testament where, where God dwells with his people in the tabernacle, as they were wandering in the wilderness, God’s presence was with them. And later on in the temple, when God was in the Holy of Holies, in the ark of the covenant where God’s presence was, he was present with them. In John 114 New Testament says the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Jesus, who is the word dwelt among us. He put on flesh and became a human, he left heaven and made his home here on Earth. As Jesus made his dwelling among us, then we are to let the message of Christ dwell among us today. That means that in whatever we do, the gospel is present. And when, when everything that we do is gospel centered, this is what it means when it says, to teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. We we get a glimpse into the worship service of the church during the New Testament. There’s teaching going on, there’s admonishing going on there singing going on. It’s not just one type of song, it’s it’s hymns, and Psalms and songs from the Spirit, all kinds of songs are going on here. And in everything, all these components of their worship, the message of Christ was to dwell. Not just dwell, but dwell richly. When the church gathers together regularly to worship, everything ought to be about the gospel. It ought to permeate through everything we do, must be a permanent resident in our church. You know, one of my favorite desserts is blueberry streusel coffee cake. It’s basically cake with blueberries mixed in, covered in butter and sugar. Very healthy for you. And growing up, my mom would always make it for me, but one time, I decided that I wanted to make the cake this time. So as I was reading the instructions, I read that the next step was to fold in the blueberries into the cake batter. So I did that, except instead of folding the blueberries in, I got out the handheld mixer, and mix the blueberries in. And so, of course, the cake turned purple. It still tasted great, it turned out fine. And I loved it. And now even now, if I make it ever again, I definitely do that, again, just for fun. But you can see how the purple color was now permanently in the cake. There’s nothing I could do to get the color out. It couldn’t just pick out the blueberries right as if they were standing by themselves. There’s no way to separate the cake from the blueberries anymore. So in a similar way, this is what it looks like to let the message of Christ dwell in us richly. When it affects everything that we do, it’s not something you can just pluck out and take away from something and have the rest leftover. The gospel is not just something that we talk about during the sermon. It’s not just what we talk about when we’re sharing the gospel with someone. It’s not just what we start with, and then we graduate on to the more important things. The gospel is the important thing. That’s why whenever we teach, we preach, we read, we sing we pray, we memorize the gospel is always there. We want it to have a permanent home here in everything that we do. Because we know that the Gospel is the power of God. So, if you’re listening tonight, and you aren’t a believer in Jesus, maybe you’re here with family or listening online, then this is the message that we hope dwells in you richly. The message of Jesus Christ, how he came into the world as a baby, which we’ll celebrate in a few weeks here, he lived a perfect life. He died on the cross taking the punishment for our sin. He rose again three days later in victory over sin and death. And He gives eternal life to anyone who comes to Him in faith. That is good news. In a world full of bad news, this is the good news that we need. So if you’ve never considered that before, I hope today that you will, and you can experience the peace of Christ that we just talked about previously. Peace with God, peace with others, and peace within your own heart. So that’s the message of Christ. But how does the message of Christ lead us to Thanksgiving? Well, when we consider the gospel, again, how can we not be thankful to God? There’s a song that I think explains this better than I could do. So let me just read these lyrics to when I think about the Lord, how he saved me, how he raised me, how he filled me with the Holy Ghost, how He healed me to the outermost when I think about the Lord, how he picked me up, turn me around, how he placed my feet on solid ground. It makes me want to shout, Hallelujah. Thank you, Jesus. Lord, you’re worthy of all the glory, and all the honor and all the praise. When we think about the Lord and all that he’s done for us, how can we not be thankful? So, as the verse says, in Verse 16, to sing to God, with gratitude in our hearts for this, so how about we practice that right now? Let’s sing to God with gratitude in our hearts because of the message of Christ, the gospel. So the song we’re going to sing now, so to speak, oh, Lord, so Lord, speak the message of Christ in everything we do. So let’s stand now and let’s sing that together.
Well, so far we’ve seen that when the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, we give thanks to God. When the message of Christ dwells in us richly, we give thanks to God. Now we turn to the third reason we have for Thanksgiving, the glory of Christ. He look with me Colossians three, verse 17. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through Him. When the glory of Christ is the aim of our life, we give thanks to God. We’ve all seen how glorifying God can be done in a superficial or insincere way. Think of the baseball player who gives a little point up to heaven after a homerun after crossing home plate. Think of the movie star accepting an award on TV and they list off all the people they are thankful for family, their parents, the fans, the director, the production company for giving them millions of dollars to be filmed on screen. And then finally, they say that all glory goes to God for all this. Now, I’m not saying that all of these moments are superficial, or insincere. There are certainly some people who really do glorify God in those moments in the spotlight. But this verse is not talking about those types of situations. It’s talking about everything in our lives every day to day activity, we engage with the mundane and the extraordinary. It says, Whatever you do, all of it. Think of anything you could possibly do. And I guarantee it’ll fit under the category of whatever you do. Whether you’re going to the grocery store, talking with a family member, in a meeting at the office, sitting on the sidelines during a soccer game, you name it, the list goes on, whether in word things we say or indeed, the things that we do. The aim of our lives should be for the glory Be of Christ in everything. Now you may be wondering, this verse doesn’t have the phrase glory of Christ. See, the first two were pretty easy, weren’t they? It says, the peace of Christ and the message of Christ right there in the passage. But where is he getting this from? Does this mean that we should always be pointing to heaven whenever we take out the trash really well, or do our daily chores really well? Well, the glory of Christ is what happens when we do everything in the name of Jesus. You know, think of a plumber, or an electrician, who comes to your house to fix something. When it comes to your house, they come in the name of their company, they have a company name tag, a company uniform, they drive a company car, they use the company’s tools, you know, it would be totally different. If you invited the plumber, or the electrician over to your house for dinner. As a friend, see, the plumber or the electrician operates during the day in the name of their company. And when they do a good job, you think more highly of their company. So you might hire them again, the next time something needs fix, you might even leave a good review online. The when they go home for the evening, and they’re off the clock. They’re not speaking or acting in the name of their company anymore. They’re their own person. When we do everything in the name of Jesus, we represent Him. And we point others to him as the source of our lasting satisfaction. And he gets the glory. We put on display the reality that following Jesus is the most important thing in our life. We make much of him. And he is shown to be worthy to be made much of this is what it means to do everything in the name of Jesus. So then, what do the glory of Christ and Thanksgiving have to do with each other? Well, I think John Piper is helpful here when he says, the quote, God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. In other words, we glorify God, when we enjoy him. And we experience deep satisfaction in him in every way, to glorify God is not to simply acknowledge Him as God, or to pay lip service to Him in those important moments. But to glorify God is to experience a deep enjoyment of him, and declare that enjoyment and everything we do in the name of Jesus. This is what he wants for us. He wants us to glorify Him, because that means we get to enjoy him, and we’re satisfied in him. It’s the best experience that we could have. So if our satisfaction and enjoyment of God are what brings him the most glory, then Thanksgiving is an inseparable part of our joy. Think of the things that you’re thankful for those things, the the everyone mentions around the dinner table, family, friends, food, how many of those things bring you joy? I would venture to say that all of those things do in some way. Rarely are we thankful for something that doesn’t bring us joy. Even if we are thankful for a difficult time or a struggle that we’ve gone through. Most often. It’s because of the joy that we experienced after that trial, or struggle. So when we want to give thanks to God, is this not an expression of delight in him, and satisfaction in him? I would say that it’s impossible to thank God without experiencing some level of joy and satisfaction in him. So when we seek the glory of Christ, we delight in him, which inevitably leads us to Thanksgiving. If you want to grow in your experience of Thanksgiving, then resolved you find more delight and satisfaction in God. So this Thanksgiving, we have many reasons to be thankful to God, the peace of Christ, the message of Christ, and the glory of Christ. So let’s let this peace rule in our hearts. Let’s let this message dwell in us richly. And let’s let the aim of our lives be the glory of Christ and the enjoyment and satisfaction of him. So now as we end our time looking at the word let’s pray, and thank God for this and then we will continue with sing so Would you bow and pray with me? Heavenly Father, when it comes to you now and we want to say thank you We thank you for the peace that you have given us, with you as our father, with one another, as the family of God, within our own hearts, we thank You for this piece. You also thank you for the message of Christ, that we’ve heard the gospel, the good news of who Jesus is, and all that he’s done for us. We thank You for Your glory, how glorifying you is the best thing that we can do, because it leads to our enjoyment and satisfaction in you. So we ask that You would help us to see these more clearly. To feel them more deeply. And to express them more clearly as we go throughout this Thanksgiving season. But more importantly throughout the whole year, would you continually remind us of who you are, so that we would give thanks to you and give you the glory that you deserve? We asked all this in Jesus name. Amen.