Sermon #1437 Miscellaneous Sermons
Text: Colossians 1:12-14
Subject: Reasons for Thanksgiving
Date: Tuesday Evening - November 21, 2000
Tape # W-11a
Readings: David Burge and Rex Bartley
The title of my message tonight is Thanksgiving. Our nation will celebrate a national day of Thanksgiving on Thursday. Most of us will have occasion to get together with family and friends this week for a time of feasting and enjoyment. I trust that we will not fail to have a time of thanksgiving as well.
(Deuteronomy 8:10) When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.
Thanksgiving is always in season. Every child of Adam living upon this earth ought to lift his heart to God in heaven, giving thanks to him for his great mercy.
(1 Chronicles 16:8) Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.
(Psalms 50:14) Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
(Psalms 92:1) It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
(Psalms 100:4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
(Psalms 107:22) And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.
(Colossians 3:15) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
(Colossians 3:17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
(1 Thessalonians 5:18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
(1 Timothy 4:4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving is always in season for all men; but if you and I are partakers of Christ, saved by the grace of God, and heirs of eternal life, our hearts should be filled with thanksgiving to our God continually. We ought to constantly give thanks to him, in all things and for all things.
(Ephesians 5:18-20) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s turn to the first chapter of Colossians, and see what the Holy Spirit here tells us about this matter of thanksgiving. It is very difficult to pick a place in this great, instructive passage to begin and end, without beginning at the first verse and going through the last verse of the chapter. So I encourage you to read the whole chapter when you get home tonight, or in your quiet time tomorrow. You men might want to use this passage, when you lead your families in worship at your Thanksgiving meal. But for our meditation tonight, we will look at just three verses in this chapter. My text will be Colossians 1:12-14. Just hold your Bible open at these three verses, and ask the Lord God to speak to your heart, as I try to lead you in thanksgiving to our God.
(Colossians 1:12-14) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
These three verses are a treasure chest full of great jewels, a deep mine of spiritual truth. My text contains gold and silver, rubies and diamonds, riches that I know I will not be able to bring to the surface in this message. I have been digging here for weeks. Every time I enter this mine, or open this chest, I find a nugget I had overlooked before. So, when I get done, I know this will be one of those sermons I will look back upon and say, “Oh, I should have said…” I simply do not have the ability to expound these verses. And I do not have the time to tell you just the little that I see in them. I pray that God the Holy Spirit will simply grant that as I open the text a little, our hearts will be moved toward God in worship, praise, and thanksgiving. Let’s look at the text line by line.
I. “Giving thanks unto the Father”
Here, you and I are called upon to do what we ought never need an exhortation to do. We are called upon to give thanks unto the God of Glory who is our Father. Yet, we must acknowledge that we have great need for this exhortation, because we are all far more apt to murmur and complain against God than give thanks to him.
A. Let us give thanks unto the Father because he is our Father.
(Romans 8:14-18) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
(Galatians 4:4-7) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
(1 John 3:1-3) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
B. In urging us to give thanks unto the Father, the Apostle does not exclude, but rather includes, giving thanks unto the Son and the Holy Spirit.
“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!”
We give thanks to the Triune God because all that is done by one of the Persons in the Holy Trinity involves the other two.
In the Word of God, those operations of grace which are set down as being the works of the Spirit or of the Son, are in other Scriptures ascribed to God the Father.
1. The gracious works of God the Holy Spirit are never separated from the works of the Father.
Do we say it is God the Spirit that quickens the sinner who is dead in sin? Certainly, that is true. But you will find in another passage it is said “The Father quickeneth whom he will.”
Do we say that the Spirit is our Sanctifier , and that sanctification work of the Holy Spirit? Indeed, it is. Yet, we find Jude declaring that we are “Sanctified by God the Father.” Anything performed by the Spirit is done by the Father, because he sends forth the Spirit.
It is the Father who says to the dry bones, live; it is the Spirit who, going forth with the divine word.
It is true that the seal on our hearts is the Holy Spirit. He is the seal; but it is the Eternal Father’s hand that stamps the seal. The Father sends the Spirit to seal our adoption. The works of the
Spirit are attributed to the Father, because he works in, through, and by the Spirit.
2. The works of the Son, like the works of the Spirit, are also the works of the Father.
They are, every one of them, in intimate connection with the Father. If the Son comes into the world, it is because the Father sends him. If the Son calls his people, it is because his Father gave the elect into his hands. If the Son redeems the chosen race, the Son himself is the Father’s gift. It is the Father who sent the Son to redeem. God the Father, the great Ancient of Days, is ever to be extolled. We are Trinitarians. We must never omit the full homage of our hearts to him, and to the Holy Spirit, and to the Son.
(Ephesians 1:3-14) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
(1 John 5:7) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Go back to Colossians 1:12.
II. “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
The Lord God Almighty, our heavenly Father, has (already) made every believer “meet,” worthy, sufficient to be an a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light! This is our present position and standing before God in his Son.
A. This is talking about the inheritance of God’s elect in heavenly glory.
It is called an inheritance, because it is the gift of grace. It is not, to any degree, acquired by the works of men. Heavenly glory, whatever it is, and all that it is, is a pure free grace gift of God the Father, bequeathed to chosen sinners. It is a gift made over to us by the death of Christ, the Testator of the covenant.
The Holy Spirit is the Earnest, the Pledge, by which we are assured that it is ours.
This is that inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled, and which fades not away, reserved heaven for us, as the sons of God. To be the heirs of God is to have the entire inheritance.
This is the inheritance "of the saints." It is the inheritance of all who are sanctified or set apart by God
· Sanctified by God the Father in eternal election.
· Sanctified by God the Son, the blood of Christ, having our sins are expiated by his atoning sacrifice. -- Sanctified in Christ, who is made of God unto us Sanctification.
· Sanctified by God the Holy Spirit in the new birth.
B. Our inheritance is an inheritance “in light.”
We have been called and brought out of darkness into light. Believers are made light in the Lord, light being infused into them. In Christ, we see light. We see what no one can see, except they be given light to see…
· Sin exceeding sinful!
· Christ exceeding precious!
· Salvation exceeding wonderful.
In heavenly glory, all darkness will be dispelled, and we will live in the light of the glory of God, in the Sun of Righteousness, perfectly.
This, wrote John Gill, “seems to point out the situation and nature of the heavenly inheritance. It is where God dwells, in light inaccessible to mortal creatures, and who is light itself; -- and where Christ is, who is the light of the new Jerusalem; -- and where is the light of endless joy, and uninterrupted happiness; and where the saints are blessed with the clear, full, and beatific vision of God in Christ, and of Christ as he is, seeing him, not through a glass darkly, but face to face.”
C. Our text tells us that we are, right now, permanently and forever, worthy of this inheritance!
It is difficult to say which is greater, our inheritance, or the fact that we are presently worthy of it.
Our meetness for this is not of ourselves. By nature we are altogether unfit for it. We deserve the wrath of God, not heavenly glory. By nature we are fit for nothing but darkness, hell, and misery. But in Christ, we are worthy of heaven itself!
· By the Purpose of God.
· By Divine Adoption.
· By Blood Atonement.
· By the New Birth.
· By our Union with Christ.
Now, read verse 13. – Colossians 1:13.
III. “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
Here the Holy Spirit, gives us the experimental assurance of heavenly glory. We know that heavenly glory is ours in eternity because grace is ours now. Where the Lord gives grace, he will give glory, too.
(Psalms 84:11) For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
Now, look at verse 14.
IV. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”
Here is the legal, just and righteous ground of our assurance before God.
· Christ is our Redemption.
· In him we have the forgiveness of sins!
TRAVELLING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY
Almost every year I travel to a foreign country preaching the gospel of Christ. I have crossed the borders of our nation north, south, east, and west. Whenever you leave this country and cross into another, three things are required.
1. You must have a birth certificate to prove your citizenship.
2. You must have a visa from the country receiving you.
3. You must have a clean record, no criminal record.
Soon I will leave this land of sorrow and sin. I hope to enter into the bliss and glory of heaven. I hope to stand forever accepted as a citizen of the New Jerusalem. Here is the basis of my hope.
· A BIRTH CERTIFICATE - The Lord God has given me a new nature (II Cor. 5:17). There is in me a new man, created of God in righteousness and true holiness.
· A VISA - I Have a right to enter into heaven itself by the blood of Christ, because I am robed in his righteousness. God says, "It must be perfect to be accepted," and in Christ I am perfect! He has made me perfectly righteous before God!
· A CLEAR RECORD - Jesus Christ has purged away all my sins with his own precious blood. Therefore God will never charge me with any sin (Rom. 4:8). When I stand before God and he searches the books for iniquity and sin under my name, he will find none (Jer. 50:20). DO YOU HAVE WHAT GOD REQUIRES?