The danger in giving children too much when they are growing up is that some cease to be thankful and assume they are merely getting what they deserve. Instead of responding in love to a generous parent, they angrily demand their rights whenever they feel they are not receiving enough. Many people treat God the same way. They instinctively turn to Him when they have a need, but as soon as He answers they go back to living independent, self-focused lives. And if, perhaps, God did not provide what was asked of Him some respond in bitter outrage, withholding their worship or even deciding not to believe in Him anymore.
The Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift has come down from the Father of Lights (Jas 1:17) meaning that God is the source of all good things. So even if we havent had a miracle lately we still have much to be thankful for, if well only stop to reflect. The healing of the ten lepers in our reading for today illustrates the difference between those who are thankful and those who take Gods goodness for granted. As we study the process one Samaritan man went through as he turned back to thank Jesus, we find a powerful model for our own walk with God. We too want to have thankful hearts like his, especially at a service when weve gathered to take the Lords Supper (the Eucharist).
A. Definition: What is thanks?
1) Acknowledging I have been given something good I dont deserve. I am a recipient of someones mercy (grace).
2) I expect to be paid for what I have earned or deserved, but I give thanks when I receive something Ive not earned or deserved.
B. The lepers example (Lk 17:11-19)
1) He asked (v 13) (Jas 4:2).
2) He was challenged to take a step of faith (v 14).
3) He received (v 14).
4) He saw (v 15): the spiritual meaning of what just happened.
5) He turned back (v 15): transferred his attention from the gift to the Giver.
6) He fell on his face (v 16): humbly acknowledged he had received something he didnt deserve.
7) He feel at Jesus feet (v 16): recognized that God had done this miracle through Jesus, and therefore surrendered himself to Him.
8) He gave thanks (v 16): understood Gods love for Him.
9) He was told to stand up (v 19): he was given assurance that his faith was accepted by God.
10) He was told to go (v 19): he was given an assignment to tell others what God had done.
C. Why was Jesus disappointed by the nine?
1) Luke 17:17, 18
2) The gift had not drawn them to the Giver.
3) Though they were healed, they were still perishing spiritually.
4) John 6:24-36, 66 . . . you seek Me, not because you saw signs but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
5) Matthew 11:20-24 Woe to you, Chorazin
D. The power of thanks
1) Thanks draws us to God.
- The greater gift is that He loves me.
- My eyes move from His hand to His face.
2) Thanks leads to repentance.
- Your gift has come because of mercy.
- I dont deserve it.
- Matthew 11:20-24
3) Thanks releases worship.
- Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.
- Remember all He has done (Ps 103)
4) Thanks sustains faith.
- When waiting for an answer, it is better to repeatedly thank Him than repeatedly ask.
- Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
5) Thanks builds faith.
- Thanking in the face of trouble
- Jonah 2:1-10
6) Thanks brings peace.
- Philippians 4:8, 9 . . . dwell on these things.
1) Has God answered a prayer for you lately? In what ways have you expressed your thanks to Him?
2) Which of the five points listed in the power of thanks (section D) applies most to you today? Tell us why.