The Character of Thanksgiving

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Giving thanks to God is a daily activity for all who truly love the LORD. Just as we are to worship God in Spirit and Truth, thanksgiving is always apart of worship. Thanksgiving and praise go hand in hand.
As we will see today though numerous scriptures thanksgiving is a lifestyle of daily praise, which will show through our actions and attitude. Which we are calling characteristics of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Characterizes the Righteous

Eph. 5:3–4 Col. 2:6–7
Ephesians 5:3–4 ESV
3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989) (The Enthronement of Desire)
We are to take off the old self of fornication and homosexuality and covetousness and filthiness and silly talk and levity. And what are we to put on? THANKSGIVING! It comes at the end of verse 4:

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

Would you have chosen gratitude or thankfulness as the opposite of all these sexual and verbal sins? Why does Paul? Here’s what I would suggest is the reason.
If fornication and impurity are driven by covetousness, and covetousness is a deep craving that dominates your life and even leads you to go against the will of God, then it is clear that the opposite experience would be thanksgiving.
If you are overflowing with thanksgiving to God, then you are not dominated and driven by discontentment at what you have been denied.
Gratitude is what you feel when you believe God is for you and not against you.
It’s what you feel when you believe that he gives you only what is good for you and withholds no good thing (single or married!).
It’s what you feel when you trust him, that the tragedies of your life are not evidences of his meanness or his incompetence; but rather that they are the discipline of a loving Father who values your holiness above your fleeting worldly happiness.
That’s why verse 20 goes so far as to say, “Always and for everything give thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.”
Colossians 2:6–7 ESV
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Thankfulness is apart of the Christian experience.
So this leads us to the second point I want to make reference to and that is thanksgiving will always be a desire of the those who are the righteous.

Thanksgiving Is a Desire of the Righteous

Ps. 30:11–12
Psalm 30:11–12 ESV
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, 12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
The LORD turns mourning into joy “dancing” and exchanges our wretched garments into gladness. He takes us from darkness to light, from unrighteous to righteous, from perishing to non perishing from enemies of God to sons and daughters of God.
It is in this experience of great grace given and shown toward us that we our glory will sing His praise and can not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to your FOREVER!
The desire to give Him thanks is present in the life of those who are made righteous in Him.

Thanksgiving Is Meaningless When Offered Hypocritically

Luke 18:9–11, 13–14
Luke 18:9–11 ESV
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Here we see a Pharisee, a so called religious person, giving thanks to God, yet his thanks is of a hypocritical nature. Comparing his righteous to others peoples unrighteousness. Yet the truth is no one is righteous no even one. We are all sinners in need of a righteous savior.
Don’t be like this hypocrite thinking that simply because he sees himself better than those around him that God must pleased with him. And so he give some kind of hypocritical thanks to God.
Luke 18:13–14 ESV
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Thanksgiving Is Offered to God

Ps. 100:4–5 Eph. 5:19–20 Col. 3:17
Psalm 100:4–5 ESV
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Ephesians 5:19–20 ESV
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Colossians 3:17 ESV
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
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