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2 Corinthians 9:15
A HOLIDAY MEDITATION
Intro: We are at the beginning of a very special time of the year. The season that began last week and runs through New Years has come to be known as the holiday season. The word “holiday” is a shortened form of what ancient people called “the holy days”. It doesn’t bother me to hear this time of years called the holidays, because they are holy days indeed.
Some of us grumble about the holidays and we gripe about how people begin preparing for Christmas earlier each year. We fuss about all the activities and the expense this season brings into our lives. We complain about how society has commercialized a day set apart to honor the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For many it is a hard time of the year, because loved ones have been taken in death. Others have a hard time because they do not have the resources they feel they need to properly enjoy the season. Others, like me, are just Scrooges at heart. I do enjoy certain parts of the holiday season, because of all the emphasis that is placed on Jesus Christ.
Like to or not, the holiday season is here, and for Christians, it is a time to render thanks to God for His wonderful blessings in our lives. It is a time to celebrate God for His giving us the gift of God’s Son for our salvation.
As we enter a new holiday season, I want to draw your attention to the verse we have read today. This verse contains both Thanksgiving and Christmas in its eight short words. It begins with Thanksgiving when Paul says “thanks be unto God”. It ends with Christmas when Paul speaks of “His unspeakable gift”.
Let’s take a few minutes to consider what Paul is saying here. I want to share some thoughts that present themselves to us in this verse. This verse is about giving thanks to God for His gifts to us. That is a good place to focus our thoughts as we enter the holidays again. Let’s take just a moment to consider this verse together and share with you A Holiday Meditation. This meditation reveals why we should be thankful to the Lord, during the holiday season ands during all the times of the year.
I. THE FOUNDATION
OF OUR THANKSGIVING
· “His unspeakable gift” – The word “unspeakable” translates a word that is used here for the first time ever in the Greek language. Paul needed a word to describe the great riches that have been given to us in Jesus, but he did not possess a suitable word in his entire vocabulary. So, Paul invented a word. The word Paul uses means “indescribable”. When Paul speaks of the gift God gave us when He gave His Son, he says “Jesus is a gift so good, so great, so wonderful that He really can’t be described.”
· If you are saved today, and you need a reason to praise the Lord, look no farther than the Lord Jesus Christ. If you need a reason for thanksgiving, for rejoicing, for praise, for praise this year, look no farther than the great riches God has given us in Jesus Christ.
Your life might be in turmoil today. You might be going through a time of financial, physical or emotional distress. You might look around you and find little reason for rejoicing. But, if you will take the time to consider who you are and all you have in Jesus, you will soon find that you possess ample reasons for abundant thanksgiving.
· When Jesus Christ came to this world, God became a man so that He might give His life for His people, Matt. 1:21. He became a slave so that we might become sons, Phil. 2:5-8. He became poor so that we might become rich in Him, 2 Cor. 8:9.
· Take a moment to consider what you have in Jesus, and then praise God for His “unspeakable gift”. Here is a short list of what we possess in Him.
Ø Forgiveness Of Sin – Psa. 103:12 (Ill. Follow the chain)
Ø Redemption From Sin – Eph. 1:7
Ø Everlasting Life – John 10:28; 6:47
Ø Adoption As Sons Of God – Rom. 8:15; 1 John 3:1-2
Ø A Home In Heaven – John 14:1-3
Ø His Abiding Presence – Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20
Ø His Perfect Promises – 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 1:20
Ø His Everlasting Love – Jer. 31:3
Ø His Amazing Grace – 2 Cor. 12:9
Ø His Boundless Provisions – Phil. 4:19; Matt. 6:25-34
Ø His Holy Spirit – 1 Cor. 12:13
Ø His Precious Word – Psa. 119:105
Ø His Glorious Church – Eph. 5:25-27
· Those are ample reasons for thanksgiving, praise and worship, but that is merely scratching the surface of what we have in Him! Thank God for His unspeakable gift! When we understand what is ours in Jesus, it becomes clear why we are told always be thankful, 1 Thes. 5:18; Eph. 5:20; Phil. 4:6.
I. The Foundation Of Our
II. THE FOCUS
OF OUR THANKSGIVING
· Paul focuses our attention of God Himself. As he begins to write, Paul says, “Thanks be to God…” Paul is telling us that the One Who deserves to be praised is God. The One Who deserves to receive thanks is God.
· God is the One Who devised the plan that brought Jesus to this world.
· God is the One Who “chose us” in Christ “before the foundation of the world”, Eph. 1:4. God is the One Who put us into His eternal plan.
· God is the One Who loved us when we were unlovable.
· He is the One Who came to us when we were “dead in trespasses and sins”, Eph. 2:1.
· God is the One Who convicted us of our sins and saved us when we believed on Christ.
· We owe everything we have, everything we are, and everything we ever hope to have to God the Father. He deserves our thanksgiving for all that He has given us in Jesus, 1 Cor. 15:10.
· He has been so good to us and we owe Him perfect thanksgiving in return. That’s why Thanksgiving Day should consist of more than turkey and football. Thanksgiving Day, and every day of our lives should revolve around our giving thanks to the One Who has “given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,”2 Peter 1:3.
That’s why Christmas Day should consist of more than meals and presents. It should be a day when we praise the Lord for His “unspeakable gift”.
That’s why New Year’s Day should be more than hog jowls, black eyed peas and greens. It should be a day of fresh a renewed commitment to honor the One Who gave everything to redeem us!
· Do you have plans to thank the Lord for His blessings on your life? Do you plan to go to Him in prayer to thank Him personally? Do you plan to stand in the congregation of the saints and praise Him publically? Have you thanked Him lately for His unspeakable gift?
I. The Foundation Of Our
II. The Focus Of Our Thanksgiving
III. THE FRUIT
OF OUR THANKSGIVING
· When Paul penned the words of verse 15, he did so for a reason. He has spent this entire chapter calling on the Corinthian church to follow through on a commitment they had previously made to give to an offering that was being taken up to help the poor, persecuted saints in Jerusalem, vv. 1-5.
Apparently, the Corinthians had not yet given their part, and Paul is encouraging them to be ready to give when his associates arrive in Corinth. He reminds them that God will bless them in direct relation to their giving, v. 6. He also reminds them that God expects them to give out of a grateful, cheerful heart, v. 7.
Then, Paul reminds these saints that God will take care of them, so they need not worry about being obedient in their giving. They have nothing to fear because God will take care of their needs when they are obedient to His will in giving, vv. 8-11.
Finally, they are told that their gifts to meet the needs of the Jewish believers in Jerusalem will prove that their salvation is real. When the Jews receive this gift from the Gentiles, they will know for certain that they are one in the Gospel, vv. 12-14.
According to Rom. 15:25-27, the churches in Asia gave their gifts to the saints in Jerusalem. When they did, God was glorified and they gave proof that they were truly redeemed and grateful to God for what He had done in their lives.
· What does this have to say to us? It serves to remind us that we have been given much in Jesus. Because we have been given much, much is expected from us in return. Jesus said it this way, “for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more,”Luke 12:48.
· The hand of God has given us everything we possess in life, regardless of whether it is material or spiritual in nature. Our duty to God is to give back to Him and His work as He leads us.
How are we to give? In return for the spiritual blessings God gives us, we give back praise, worship and obedience. We give back when we tell others about Him. We give back in obedient love when we love Him and walk with Him as He desires, John 14:15.
In return for the material blessings of life, we give back by contributing to His work, Mal. 3:10a; 1 Cor. 16:1-2. We give back by helping those around us who have needs in their own lives, Phil. 2:4; 1 Cor. 10:24, Luke 3:11; 2 Cor. 8:12-15.
When we give back, we have the assurance that God will receive glory and that our faith will be vindicated. Nothing demonstrates genuine gratitude more than a heart that is willing to give back to the God Who has given us all things!
When we give to God and to His people, we do so with the assurance that He will look after our needs, Mal. 3:10b; Luke 6:38, Phil. 4:19. A grateful heart is a giving heart. When there is a lack of giving, there is also a lack of gratitude. A person who will not give is a person who is ungrateful for what they have been given.
· Are you grateful for all that you have been given in Jesus? If you are, you will show it by giving back to the Lord and to the needs of His people.
Conc: Thanksgiving Day is behind us now. For most people it was a day of turkey, football and family, and little more. I hope for you that it was a day of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. For the child of God, every day should be Thanksgiving Day.
Christmas is just around the corner. For many it will be a time of trees, tinsel, presents and family get-togethers. For believers, it should be a time of intense gratitude, thanksgiving and worship. When we consider the “indescribable gift” God gave us when He sent His Son into the world, it should fill our hearts with praise, thanksgiving and worship.
Do you need to come before Him to offer thanks today? Do you need to submit yourself to His will and honor Him by giving back to Him and His people? Has He spoken to you about this matter of having a thankful heart? What do you have to thank Him for today?