Stewardship of Thankfulness

November 26, 2005 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Introduction:
1.  We are concluding our study on Stewardship – so far we’ve studied:
 Stewardship of Being Part of the Body of Christ
 Stewardship of Discipling Others – we requires that we 1st be a good DISCIPLE!
 Stewardship of the Proclamation of the Message – we have the truth about the condition of man, and the only hope of heaven (the Gospel) – that message needs to be proclaimed by us here in Lafayette and around the world!
2.  Today: Stewardship of Our Thanksgiving for Who God Is and What He’s Done!
3.  When this subject comes up, I can’t help but to think of:
 1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Q:  What do you think is the key word in this verse? – ‘Everything’
Input: In what situations do we usually give thanks? [good times!]
Illustration:  Tuesday, getting ready to leave for Alabama –waiting for Laurie to back the van out of the garage so I could put the Honda in the garage – I looked at our house and said to the Lord, “Lord, you’ve been so good to me; You’ve been so gracious to me.”
- but what if my home got destroyed (tornado)
Q: Would God still be good? Gracious? [YES – because God, by His very nature, is Good and He is gracious
- I may not always understand or ‘see’ that goodness and grace - -but that’s the result of the curse of sin on my minds ability to think and reason
Point: God’s not at fault – I’ m the one at fault!
5.  In fact, one of the Psalms puts an incredible focus on Who God is and what He’s done – and we are told what to do as a result and WHY we ought to do what we’ve been commanded!
4.  Turn to Psalm 136
Comments:
1)  To the Jew, this psalm is known as the Great Hallel (or Great Psalm of Praise)
- It doesn’t actually contain the Hebrew words hallelu jah = hallelujah (praise the Lord)
- But it’s known as the Great Psalm of Praise because of the way the author keeps bringing our attention back to God’s goodness to His people
>  and he encourages us to praise Him, and THANK Him, for His merciful and steadfast love!
2)  Each verse contains a reason WHY we should thank God!
- the author focuses the attention on Who God is – and what He’s done – and continues to do on behalf of those He loves - We’ll divide those up into specific categories
- But before we do, we need to understand . . .
3)  Thanksgiving should be an important and regular part of worship and stewardship!
“If God is good, and He is, and if we praise Him for being as He is, which is what worship is all about, clearly we must thank Him too.  If we do not, we are not actually worshiping God, whatever else we may be doing.  In our worship of God, are we consistently and joyfully thanking God for His many great and kind acts toward us?” – Boice, Psalms, Vol. 3, p. 1180
READ Psalm 136:1-26


I.  We Should Thank God for Who He Is!


- there are four different titles (specific references) used to point out who God is:
A.  Give thanks to the LORD – v. 1
- this is the term Yahweh (the covenant keeping God of Israel) personal name for the God
- this is equivalent to the name: Jehovah = "the existing One"
1) the proper name of the one true God
2) unpronounced except  with the vowels being added
- this is the name that was so sacred that when the transcribers would come across it, they would lay down their quills, go take a bath, and then continue writing till they came to name again!
Point:  The primary attribute throughout the OT & NT is that God is holy – completely separate from sin – yet this God is personal, full of grace and mercy
Q:  Why are we told to give thanks to the LORD? 
A:  Because He is good!
- notice what the author of this Psalm writes: “Give thanks to the LORD for He is good . . . for His lovingkindness endures forever!”
- this verse reminds me of the Song:  God Is So Good . . . He’s so good to me!
“Essentially, he is goodness itself . . . Let us thank him that we have seen, proved, and tasted that he is good.  He is good beyond all others; indeed, he alone is good in the highest sense; he is the source of good, the good of all good, the sustainer of good, the perfecter of good, and the rewarder of good.  For this he deserves the constant gratitude of his people.” – Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Vol. 7, p. 161
- Keep this in mind, because we’re going to spend the rest of time THANKING GOD FOR HIS GOODNESS!
- notice the phrase “for His lovingkindness is everlasting’ is repeated 26 times – 1 x ea. verse
- talk about repetition on steroids – the Holy Spirit really wants to emphasize something!
Don’t grumble because you don’t have what you want – be thankful you don’t get what you deserve!
- He is good ‘for His lovingkindness endures forever!”
lovingkindness’ = (Hebrew word, hesed – pronounced ‘hess’ ‘said’)
> the favor God shows to those with whom he has entered into a covenant relationship!
- God NEVER breaks His covenant!
B.  Give thanks to the God of gods – v. 2
Elohim = general term for God (used in Genesis to describe the Creator!)
- the author here distinguished Elohim as the ultimate of gods
- the distinguishing factor is that Elohim is the only true and LIVING god
> that’s what Paul made reference to in 1 Thes. 1 and how they had ‘turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God!”
- we should thank Him because He is the God of gods - -the ultimate and distinguishable God
- it’s because of this position that He could tell Moses to write:  “You shall have no other gods before Me!”  - Exodus 20:3

C.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords – v. 3
Almighty – general title – not a personal name, per se
- similar parallel to v. 2 – God of gods; v. 3 – Lord of lords
- He is the Master of masters
- it’s possible that the writer is referring to writing of Moses in:
 Deuteronomy 10:17 "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
- Psalm 136 uses the exact words that Moses wrote
- just as God is the God of gods, He is the Lord of lords
Point: He is the most powerful – there is none stronger than He is – give thanks to Him!
- skip to v. 26 – for the final description
D.  God of heaven – v. 26
- the visible universe, the sky – just look up at the stars – the heavens are His abode (that’s where He lives)
- it’s THAT God for which you need to be thankful!


II.  We Should Thank God for What He’s Done


v. 4 gives us an ‘introduction’ to what follow – the authors says to give thanks “to Him who alone does great wonders”
- we’re going to summarize this part – so we can actually offer thanks to God for what He’s done in our lives
- the author divides this up in 3 sections:
A.  He demonstrated His power to CREATE – v. 4-9
Psalm 136:4 To Him who alone does great wonders, . . . 5 To Him who made the heavens with skill, . . . 6 To Him who spread out the earth above the waters, . . .  7 To Him who made the great lights, . . . 8 The sun to rule by day, . . . 9 The moon and stars to rule by night.
- Do you want to see the goodness of God – look at creation – He didn’t HAVE to do that, He chose to create it . . . because He is a good God!
- we are even made in His image and likeness – therefore capable of a relationship with Him and our fellow man!
B.  He demonstrated His power to DELIVER or provide SALVATION – v. 10-24
- These refer to specific acts of salvation to Israel – the ‘Exodus’ is a major event in OT/NT
- the author breaks it down into:
 bondage in Egypt – v. 10-15 [review the 10 plagues – especially #10 – the ‘Passover’ was instituted to remind Israel of this event!
 through the desert – v. 17
 defeat of their enemies – v. 21-24
Input:  God did that for the nation of Israel, what did He do to bring us salvation?
 Virgin Birth // miracles and a Sinless life // Cross // Resurrections!
C.  He demonstrated His power to PROVIDE – v. 25
- something even as basic, yet essential for our existence comes from the hand of a good God whose ‘lovingkindness endures forever!”
[remember – this is the norm, but some of our brother/sisters have not eaten in one week what we had at one meal on Thanksgiving Day!! – due to persecution!]
Conclusion:
- The psalm begins and ends with a universal call to give thanks to the God of heaven!
- Everyone can benefit from creation – it points to the Creator and Designer – the Almighty God who spoke it into existence . . . including creating man on day 6!
 Matthew 5:45 . . . for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
 Acts 14:17 And yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
Summary:  Give thanks to the LORD . . . to the God of gods . . . to the Lord of lords . . . to the God of heaven!
[Spend the rest of our time THANKING God for Who He is and/or what He has done in the following]
Examples:
• Individual life // Family // Church // Work
• Community
- Consider closing with the song, “Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart”

ABF Study Guide
Stewardship of Our Service for the Living God – Part 4
Stewardship of Thanksgiving for Who God Is and What He’s Done – Psalm 136

Introduction:

 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Input: In what situations do we usually give thanks?


Comments:
1)  To the Jew, this psalm is known as the Great Hallel (or Great Psalm of Praise)
2)  Each verse contains a reason WHY we should thank God!
3)  Thanksgiving should be an important and regular part of worship and stewardship!
“If God is good, and He is, and if we praise Him for being as He is, which is what worship is all about, clearly we must thank Him too.  If we do not, we are not actually worshiping God, whatever else we may be doing.  In our worship of God, are we consistently and joyfully thanking God for His many great and kind acts toward us?” – Boice, Psalms, Vol. 3, p. 1180
1.  We Should Thank God for Who He Is!
A.  Give thanks to the ____________ – v. 1
Jehovah = "the existing One"
“Essentially, he is goodness itself . . . Let us thank him that we have seen, proved, and tasted that he is good.  He is good beyond all others; indeed, he alone is good in the highest sense; he is the source of good, the good of all good, the sustainer of good, the perfecter of good, and the rewarder of good.  For this he deserves the constant gratitude of his people.” – Spurgeon, Treasury of David, Vol. 7, p. 161
Quote:  Don’t grumble because you don’t have what you want – be thankful you don’t get what you deserve! (author unknown)

lovingkindness (hesed) = the favor God shows to those with whom he has entered into a covenant relationship!

B.  Give thanks to the _________________________ – v. 2
Elohim = general term for God (used in Genesis to describe the Creator!)

C.  Give thanks to the ________________________ – v. 3
Almighty – general title – not a personal name

 Deuteronomy 10:17 "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.


D.  God of heaven – v. 26


II.  We Should Thank God for What He’s Done
A.  He demonstrated His power to _________________ – v. 4-9

B.  He demonstrated His power to ___________ or provide _________________ – v. 10-24
 bondage in Egypt – v. 10-15
 through the desert – v. 17
 defeat of their enemies – v. 21-24
Input: What did He do to bring us salvation?


C.  He demonstrated His power to ___________________ – v. 25

Conclusion:
Summary:  Give thanks to the LORD . . . to the God of gods . . . to the Lord of lords . . . to the God of heaven!
* Examples:
• Individual life
• Family
• Church
• Work
• Community

ABF Study Guide
Stewardship of Our Service for the Living God – Part 4
Stewardship of Thanksgiving for Who God Is and What He’s Done – Psalm 136

Introduction:
 1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Input: In what situations do we usually give thanks?
Comments:
1)  To the Jew, this psalm is known as the Great Hallel (or Great Psalm of Praise)
2)  Each verse contains a reason WHY we should thank God!
3)  Thanksgiving should be an important and regular part of worship and stewardship!
Quote – Boice
1.  We Should Thank God for Who He Is!
A.  Give thanks to the LORD – v. 1
Jehovah = "the existing One"
Quote – Spurgeon
Don’t grumble because you don’t have what you want – be thankful you don’t get what you deserve! (author unknown)
lovingkindness (hesed) = the favor God shows to those with whom he has entered into a covenant relationship!
B.  Give thanks to the God of gods – v. 2
Elohim = general term for God (used in Genesis to describe the Creator!)
C.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords – v. 3
Almighty – general title – not a personal name
 Deuteronomy 10:17 "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.
D.  God of heaven – v. 26

II.  We Should Thank God for What He’s Done
A.  He demonstrated His power to CREATE – v. 4-9
B.  He demonstrated His power to DELIVER or provide SALVATION – v. 10-24
 bondage in Egypt – v. 10-15
 through the desert – v. 17
 defeat of their enemies – v. 21-24
Input: What did He do to bring us salvation?
C.  He demonstrated His power to PROVIDE – v. 25
Conclusion:
 Matthew 5:45 . . . for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
 Acts 14:17 And yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
Summary:  Give thanks to the LORD . . . to the God of gods . . . to the Lord of lords . . . to the God of heaven!
Examples:
• Individual life
• Family
• Church
• Work
• Community