Stewardship of Our Thanksgiving

Steve Viars November 22, 2003 Psalms 136:

Why should we emphasize the Stewardship of Thanksgiving?

1.  Ingratitude is one of the first steps of rebellion – Romans 1:18-23

  • Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions . . .

Point:  The path to reprobation is paved with ingratitude – why is an unthankful heart so wrong – it robs God of the glory/honor that is due Him

2.  Ungratefulness is a sign of the end times – 2 Timothy 3:1-5

  • 2 Timothy 3:1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, [others characteristics mention] . . . 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.

Point: Ingratitude characterizes the end times and God’s judgment immediately follows [God’s clock turns slow in our view sometimes, but it’s always turning!]

- Someone once said, “When gratitude dies on the altar of a man’s heart, that man is well nigh hopeless!”

3.  We want to be good stewards of our THANKSGIVING – to God for Who He is and what He has done – as well as to each other in our families, church, workplace, and neighborhoods!

4.  Let’s do a quick review of  . . . .

1.  Definition of Stewardship

[Quote together]Stewardship = God-given responsibility with accountability!

2.  What Is a Steward?

*  A steward in one who has been entrusted with something that really doesn’t belong to them, but they are responsible to manage it in such as way as to give a good account to the owner

Major Point: We do not choose to become stewards; we are stewards!  The question is, “What kind of steward are you?”

- Review the Four Factors of Stewardship

3.  There Are Four Important Factors in Stewardship

#1:  God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.

  • 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?

#2:  God Entrusts Me with Everything I Have.

#3:  I Am Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to Me. I May Increase It or Diminish It.

#4:  God Can Call Me into Account at Any Time.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

4.  Stewardship of Our Thanksgiving – Psalm 136

[READ Psalm 136 – this will be a responsive reading; I’ll read the 1stphrase, and you as a class repeat the final phrase that occurs at the end of every verse!]

- This psalm makes some of the chorus we sing rather mild when it comes to repetition! (ha!)

A.  Understanding the context

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 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!

- 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.

Quote: 

“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

B.  The Reason We Should Thank God – He is good!

  • Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

- Keep this in mind:  God is good . . . all the time!

- You might not think He’s good, but He IS good . . . all the time;  Circumstances may not seem to indicate His goodness, but God IS good . . . all the time!

- This is an issue of the nature/character of God – NOT our ability to understand God in every situation – God is good (period!) – whether we acknowledge it, think it, say it, or act like it!

Quote: 

“Essentially, he is goodness itself . . . Let us thank him that we have se, proved, and tasted that he is good.  He is good 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!

C.  Where Do We See God’s Goodness?

1.  The Goodness of God in Creation (136:4-9)

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!

2.  The Goodness of God in Salvation (136:10-24)

- These refer to specifics acts of salvation to Israel

  • bondage in Egypt– v. 10-15
  • through the desert– v. 17
  • defeat of their enemies– v. 21-24

- God did that for the nation of Israel, what did He do to bring us salvation?

  • Virgin Birth
  • Miracles and a Sinless life
  • Cross
  • Empty Tomb!

3.  The Goodness of God to Everyone – (136:25-26)

- 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.

D.  God’s Love Never Changes

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!

- That’s why we are to give thanks to Yawah – the covenant keeping God is Israel!

E.  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:

  • Individual life
  • Family
  • Church
  • Work
  • Community

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video