Dr. Briney presented this lesson Sunday morning at the Mission Blvd. Baptist Church November 21, 2021. The message presents a very positive outlook on being thankful to God and serving Him fearlessly regardless of circumstances in the world.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. We have a lot to be thankful for—our families, our friends, our church family, Jesus Christ, His grace, His salvation, and His promise. He is the reason we hope for a better future.
A National Memorial
Thanksgiving is a memorial in this country. It reminds us that God has blessed America. He miraculously preserved a community of Pilgrims and allowed the establishment of a nation, one nation under God—and thus the greatest nation humanity has ever seen. We live in a land that has historically been the land of the free and spiritually inclined. The fruit of liberty and godly integrity has produced an abundance of prosperity and well-being.
A Remnant Remembered
Sadly, we are a nation in spiritual decline. We may be disappointed, but we are not surprised or in despair. Jesus told us this was to be expected. Ultimately, humanity declines morally and spiritually. It is human nature to do so. Nonetheless, regardless of the decline and inevitable outcome, there is always a remnant who is faithful to God. If the Lord returns soon, we are a part of that remnant. As Jesus said, the days of His return will be as those in Noah’s day when all but a few rejected Him.
Paul wrote in Romans 9:27 about Isaiah’s prophecy of Israel when, as a nation, they rejected God.
“Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved.”
And in Romans 11:5, he wrote,
“Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”
“Those elected by grace” refers to all those who have been chosen by God to be graciously blessed based on their personal decision to believe God’s will is best for their lives.
A Remnant Who Is Fearless
By God’s grace, we will be strong, wise, and fearless in the face of our enemy. This is possible because God gives grace. First Corinthians 10:13 assures,
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
By God’s grace, the Apostle Paul was able to write in Second Corinthians 11:23 – 28,
“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
Everything Good Is From God
Thanksgiving is a memorial of all the good God has blessed us with.
James 1:17 reminds us,
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
This is true for the lost and the saved. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45,
“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Every good thing, every blessing, everything that causes joy, everything that brings a smile to our faces is due to God. In a world without God, there would be no joy. Such a world would only be miserable at all times.
But for the saved, we have an additional assurance. Romans 8:28 says,
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Regardless of the circumstances, good or evil, everything works out for good to those who love God.
For this reason, we have no cause to despair. Even in the worst of times, Psalm 46:2 reminds us,
“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.”
Thankful For God’s Goodness Toward Us
We cannot be thankful enough or appropriately grateful for all that God has blessed us with. But we can thank Him, and we should. We must. Without Him, there would be no good in this world. There would be no salvation. There would be no hope for a better future. There would be no smiles. There would be no memorial for thanksgiving.
Thank you, Lord, for being so good to us, unworthy as we are. Amen.
In what way will you thank God for His goodness? When will you begin to thank Him?