Thanksgiving Sunday

Luke 17:11-19; Psalm 100

Good morning everybody! Welcome to our Thanksgiving Sunday. I love these
moments where we get to pause and stop (over and above what we might normally
do) to take some time to thank and praise God for Who He is and All He has done. This
week, you get to be the sermon!

And in a few moments I’m looking forward to hearing your stories and your praises to
Him! But firstly, let’s read some Scripture together. Turn with me to Luke 17:11-19.

Now let’s stand, and we shall declare together Psalm 100.
There is something incredibly joy-giving and therapeutic about thanksgiving and being
grateful. In fact scientific studies into health and wellbeing show that thankful people
are generally more contented, physically healthy, more motivated in their work and life
activities, have healthier friendships and relationships, have less issues of mental
health, sleep better at night.

But just being thankful or grateful because it does us good and shows good manners
(which it is by the way) is to miss the whole point of who thanks is ultimately for. Did
you know it’s possible to be thankful in a selfish way? We can see it as helpful just for
our benefit and it can even become a form of boasting (The Humble Brag!). “I’m so
grateful for how good I am!”

That’s why I love this passage in Luke about Jesus and this one leper who lives out what
true thanksgiving and gratitude is all about. Read v15
“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.
He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him…”

This Samaritan, this one who was a foreigner and an outsider understood that every
good and perfect gift is from God. He understood that praise and thanks ultimately
belong to God alone and Jesus is the centre of our gaze and focus.

There’s no such thing as a self-made man or woman, no matter how hard you work or
sacrifice, or what you have received from others. Your life, your gifts and abilities, your
family, your job, your time, your possessions, this world in which you live, it’s all from
Him!!! And Jesus is worthy of our highest thanks and praise!!!

Look how this man gave his thanks:

– He came back! – He made time, effort and space to come to Jesus
– He praised God. Praise to Jesus is the overflow of thankful people. But listen, it
wasn’t quiet or subdued. It was loud and vocal! (In a loud voice)
– He threw himself at Jesus’ feet. He knew the source of his healing and salvation.
In humility, he surrendered his life to Jesus. It was demonstrative; it was public; it
wasn’t humanly speaking dignified. You see praise is not firstly about our dignity
and what we feel comfortable with. It’s firstly about Jesus and giving it all to
Him whatever it costs.
– He thanked Jesus!

This passage also brings home the reality to us that we all need a Saviour to rescue us
from the “leprosy” of sin that separates us from God, and each other. We are all
unclean before the God who made us. You cannot fix yourself, make yourself good
enough, or sort out your life so that you will know eternal life, and the abundant life of
fellowship and friendship with God. That’s what you were made for but you can’t enter
into it unless you come to Jesus and ask Him to have mercy upon you and release His
saving power into your life. He is right now willing to forgive you and heal you if you
will come to Him and acknowledge your sinfulness, your need of His forgiveness and
you will give your life to Him.

I’m grateful I’ve been saved by Jesus Christ; grateful for His cross and resurrection,
His cleansing blood shed for me; grateful for the Holy Spirit who points me to Jesus
and shows the Father’s love. Grateful for His Word. Grateful for the church family!
Grateful for the 1000s of blessings that come through His provision of family, friends,
food and shelter, material blessings.

So, like this man:
1. Take time to Remember

–  Read His Word
– Meals (Say “Thank you!” at meal times). Walks. Family Times
– Listen to stories. Read about mighty moves of God
– Staff team each week – have a time for stories of God’s goodness.
Let me encourage you to write down how God speaks and works in your life. Record
your personal journey with God. Write it in a notebook. Record it. Don’t forget.

2. Take time to give thanks.

Thanksgiving does not come through impartation. We have to train ourselves in the
Lord to give thanks!
Please don’t allow a spirit of ingratitude to harden your heart and chill your
relationship with God and others. Don’t even settle for passive gratitude – “Well I feel
grateful on the inside.” No! Give thanks!
To rejoice is a choice – “I don’t feel like it!” – that’s why it is a choice!
We are to be a thankful people. An attitude of gratitude is to be our norm.
Let’s bring the rejoicing, grateful environment of heaven here on earth.

3. Take time to give yourself to God

As we remember and give thanks, we know fresh faith to give ourselves to the Lord.
Thanksgiving leads us into sacrifice. The best way of giving thanks is to give ourselves.
So it’s fitting today that in the midst of our rejoicing that we dedicate ourselves to the
Lord, giving ourselves in the power of the Holy Spirit to release heaven on earth for the
glory of Jesus. Let’s let this day spur us on to love and good works and through that to
see thousands of lives touched and transformed by the Gospel of Jesus in our town and
beyond. Let thanksgiving be the fuel of revival!!!!
Let’s get ready to do that.

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