Delivered on April 17, 2016
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
How can i have “A heart of gratitude”? Let us look at this verse closely, and see if we can get the answer from God. Verse 6 “ As you have therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him”. The Christian life builds upon having received the gift of life, the forgiveness of sin that is through Christ Jesus. You cannot simply call yourself a Christian without Christ. “so walk in Him”. Meaning that the life we now live is the footsteps of following our Master. We are rooted and built up in Him, since when? From the “foundations of the world”. Established in the Faith. Remember... “without faith it is impossible to please God”. How can we have a “a heart of gratitude”, if we don’t know who God is, and what He has done? Let along to please our God. “as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving”. Who taught you and i, that we should give thanks. I mean i am not just talking about being polite, having respect for others and all of that. Its not just about being a kind,and loving person. Where did we learn to give thanks? Sure...we can say from our parents, from their parents, it gets passed on from generation to generation. I am sure that every parent in here can agree that at one point, we have said these exact words to our children when something good happens, when they receive something nice... “what do you say”? Thank you!
I am talking about a “heart of gratitude”, towards our God. How deep, and real is that gratitude? Only you can answer that question. Paul gives us a warning on verse 8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ”. Paul is basically saying is, when it comes to the truth about Jesus, it is not according to traditions of men. It has to come from above, it has to revealed by our God. Case and point, Paul is telling you and i, not to be deceived...be very careful.
Whenever a person gets saved, that Christians way of thinking changes, it is no longer focus on self. We start all over, we are being taught all over again, by who? By our God, through His Spirit. Its called the “renewing of your minds”. Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We did not just receive any common gift, ohh no...we have received the greatest gift, and that is Gods only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We are talking about a whole new level of gratitude here. We are talking about One life “Jesus”, for the lives of many. If we are to look at our lives, we deserve hell! I am just being honest, regardless of how good, nice, or how kind you are, without Jesus, hell is where we belong. That is what we deserve! All of our good works means nothing, unless Jesus is the One in it!
What did we receive from our God that deserves such a deep gratitude? Let us look at what verse 9, has to say...Verse 9 “ For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Having received the “fullness of God does not come from any man, or tradition, it comes from above. The fullness is therefore, only obtained through Christ. We are not the first generation of Christians who have tried to take matters into our own hands, even the early church had the same problem. It is part of a fallen human nature to want to maintain, or claim some part or control, when it comes to living a Christian life, its all about the One who dwells in you and I! “For in Him, who? “Jesus”, dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. Knowing that we, through Gods only Son received such a great, “the fullness of the Godhead”, How deep is your gratitude? These are all from God, we have no part in this. We are just the ones to receive such a great gift, that deserves a “heart of gratitude”. Just like the song, “Lord i give you my heart, i give you my soul, i live for you alone”. Everything that we are should be about Jesus.
“He who began”, God is faithful to finish what He started. Once we were drawn to His Son, and have received the new life, the work of sanctification begins. And it continues. There is more to walking with God than what we’ve known, seen, learned, or experienced. It is not a one time thing, its not a one time lesson,and we’re done. Its an on going, life changing experience.
All of it through Christ. “He who began”. I am glad that He’s the One in control, because if it was me, i would fail. “without faith, it is impossible to pleas God”.
What about having a heart of ingratitude? Is that even possible for Christian to have such a heart towards God? Even after what we have just read, is it possible? After receiving such a beautiful such as Our Lord Jesus, can we grow a heart of ingratitude?
If there is one sin that most prevalent today, meaning that occurs the most is the sin of ingratitude. God does so much for us. Our indebtedness to him is enormous and yet we rarely or at least infrequently offer thanks for what he has done. In fact, most professing Christians don’t even offer thanks over their meals much less offer thanks over all that God does in their lives. Does it have to be something so big, and only then do we give thanks? I read this short story, a good example of ingratitude, i don’t know if you have heard it?
It is the story of the little boy who was given an orange by a man. The boy’s mother asked, “What do you say to the nice man?” The little boy thought and handed the orange back to the man and said, “Peel it.” What???
As we say in our language, “bastos na bata to”. Please translate to our non Filipino brothers, and sisters.
For a child of God thankfulness is not confined to a day or a season, it is an attitude that we should have everyday and every hour. Big or small. Even just to wake up to another day with our loved ones should be a reason to give thanks. My gosh...just to wake up next to our spouse... what about that ha! Our children, our families. Tomorrow’s Monday...we get the Monday blues because we have to go to work. Be thankful that God is providing work. A lot of people here in Nevada are having a hard time finding work. Believe me, i was there, i know! That’s why...Thank you Church for giving me a job!
To magnify this point I want us to examine the account of the ten lepers in Luke’s Gospel and see some important truths concerning an attitude of gratitude.
11 Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
Let’s brake these verses into certain parts, so we can get the whole example of ingratitude in the story. Many would just look at the miracle part of this story, and ignore the rest. Of course, why not? Jesus just performed a great miracle, he healed ten leapers.
Look at verses 11 and 12. “And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:” We see here the position of the lepers. Firstly, They Were In An Awful Position- Luke says here they stood afar off. The disease of lepercy was a painful disease but the physical pain was not the most terrible part of the disorder. Lepers were separated. They were shut out and cast off. It seems here that these lepers were shut out to an area away from everyone else...They had to be away from everyone else. A good example of what i mentioned earlier, about waking up to your loved ones. Thank God for that, that we are able to do that, and enjoy their company. They cant be around anybody, cant give their spouse a hug, cant kiss their children. Friends would most likely stay away. No fellowship with anybody, cant even go to church if they wanted to. It is like sin, sin will have no relationship with the Father. Here is Jesus, the only way to the Father, and they stood afar off from him. Sinners are not near God, they are afar off. And they cannot and will not draw near on their own. And here we see Jesus coming towards them. What lead them to cry out to Jesus for mercy, could they have heard about the other miracles that Jesus had done?
All ten cried out the same prayer. Notice two things here quickly. They saw and they sensed their need. You don’t pray and call out for help unless you feel your need. The reason sinners don’t come to Christ for salvation is that they don’t sense their need. There is that illness called pride that takes away the need to be saved. These Ten knew they needed help, their illness, being shut out from everyone else. Being lonely, but the loneliness and the pain of this disease were evident to these ten lepers. They knew they needed help and there was none to be found except maybe in this one called Jesus, whom they heard healed the sick. There is no doubt they need help, so they cry out for mercy. When was the last time we cried for mercy, and our Lord answered?
Prayer without obedience is useless. Jesus tells them to go to the priest. Now the priests had no power to cure but he had the authority to declare the one cured clean. And to issue the certificate of cleanliness so that all would be sure of his healing. But do notice that they were not healed immediately but they were healed as they went. As they obeyed the command of the Lord they were healed. So not only did all pray to Jesus but Jesus healed also all physically. This is an Old Testament command to go to a priest, ad receive a certificate. If you would like know more about these practices, you can check them out on the book of Leviticus chapter 14.
Jesus received on praise out of the ten, just one, when all ten were healed...just one! Verse 15-19 tells us...15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”
Here is the key to the whole issue. All were in the same awful position. All prayed and all were healed. Yet only one of the ten returned to offer thanksgiving. Notice, The Opportunity Of Praise- And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back. He saw a reason to praise. He saw a difference Jesus had made. He saw a change brought by Christ. He saw an opportunity to praise God. This one had a “heart of gratitude”. Was this the first time he has ever received something so great? What happened to the nine? They were probably so happy to be healed that they immediately went home, hugged, and kissed their family. Went to see their friends, and tell them the good news that they were healed. The nine, got so wrapped up in the blessing that they forgot the One who blessed them. Received the gift, and totally forgot about the Giver. Only one put family, friends and fellowship on hold so that he could worship the One that made his being with his family and friends possible. He alone gave praise to God, only one!
Ohh...keep in mind, this foreigner was a Samaritan, and not a Jew. he was not worthy of this healing. He was not worthy to receive God’s help. But by grace he was healed and he comes to worship the one who unconditionally healed him. And he got more than the others did. They received physical healing from a distance and that was it, what about the rest of their lives, what would be the outcome of their hearts of ingratitude?But this one not only received physical healing but he got close to God and worshiped him as Lord and received spiritual healing. Verse 16, ”and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks”. Fell down at the feet of Jesus and gave thanks.
Sometimes, we tend to focus so much on the gifts, the blessings of answered prayers, and we forget the Source. We forget the One who gave it all. We can all relate with this Samaritan, we also received Gods Grace, His love, His mercy. But can we also say at times, we can be like the nine, who...after receiving what they asked for, forgot to give thanks? I’m pretty sure at one point or another, we were on the same boat. Wouldn’t you agree? Where would our lives be without Jesus? You see when it comes to whom God chooses, God does not make mistakes. Everyone that He has called, will submit to His will, will be grateful for being forgiven, receiving the new life, and will always say yes to God. Why? Because the believer just like the Samaritan knew the cost of the gift that was received. And will forever be thankful! Look at your lives now, and compare it to the life you had before you received Gods perfect gift. You got that picture in your mind? Now tell me, how grateful are you, and how far are you willing to follow your Savior?
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Why did God make us? God created us to worship Him. Why does God want us to worship Him? Because He is worthy! He is worthy of our praise, worthy to be praised, and most of all, we have felt His love, His mercy, and His grace. We have never felt that kind of love from anyone, no one! After receiving Our Fathers love, what would you not do for your God? You can say...i will serve my God, and follow Him wherever he goes.
Well, that’s good that is what we’re suppose to do. But let us not use our act of obedience to serve be the reason for “a heart of gratitude”. Think about this, how are we able to do the things that we do? Where did we get such talents? There is a Source in all that we do, and that is from our God.
Verse 16-17 “ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”.
Everything that we do, everything that we are is about giving God all the glory, Through His Son. He deserves everything, if we have to be, or should be just like that Samaritan, “and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks”. That church... is the heart of gratitude! That is the kind of heart God has given you and i, simply because it is His Spirit that lives in us. We know that well enough...God will not contradict Himself. Oh no...His Spirit lives in you and I. And for that, we are grateful!
Lastly, I will end with a quote:
The sovereign God wants to be loved for Himself and honored for Himself, but that is only part of what He wants. The other part is that He wants us to know that when we have Him we have everything - we have all the rest.
And knowing that alone, will give us a “heart of Gratitude”
Pastor Richard Santos
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