Thanking God For His Provision

Bible Book: Ephesians  5 : 20
Subject: Thanksgiving; Gratitude; Thanksgiving Day; God, Provision of
Series: Thanking God
[Editor's Note: This is the fourth and final sermon in a four-part series on Thanksgiving. They are being loaded from October 27, 2014 through November 17, 2014. If you are viewing this message after November 17, you can view all the sermons in the series by searching Sermons - Series and then clicking on Thanking God.]

Three weeks ago, we began a series of sermons dealing with the subject of “Thanking God.” And on that Sunday morning, we looked at the situation of the ten lepers in Luke 17 who were healed by Jesus, and one came back “Thanking God For His Pardon” from the lifelong sentence of that dreaded disease. On that Sunday night, we considered Psalm 136 where the psalmist was “Thanking God For His Pity” or His mercy.

Then two weeks ago, we looked at some of the expressions of thanks from the writings and ministry of the apostle Paul as we talked about “Thanking God For His People.” We also had a testimony service in which many of you were “Thanking God For The Particulars.” On a recent Wednesday night, we looked at 1 Chronicles 16 where the king and psalmist David was “Thanking God For His Presence.” And last Sunday, I mentioned briefly the biblical concept of “Thanking God For His Preachers.”

This morning, it’s on my heart to emphasize one more realm and reason for gratitude, and I want to talk about “Thanking God For His Provision.”

And let us remember that even in these times of economic leanness, we in America are an especially blessed people when it comes to the provision of God. In fact, the mantra of America could well be the claim of Revelation 3:17 where the Laodicean church said, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.”

With all of the monetary and material abundance that we enjoy in this country, you would think that we would be grateful above all the nations of the earth. But in his book “Jesus, Lord of Your Personality,” Pastor Bob Russell points out that having much doesn’t tend to produce a grateful spirit. He said...

Generally speaking, the more we have, the less grateful we are. It should be the opposite; the more we have, the more thankful we should be. But it usually doesn’t work that way, does it? ... It is a rare person who, when his cup frequently runs over, can give thanks to God instead of complaining about the limited size of his mug!

As Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”

Typically, when we think about thanksgiving, we think about the physical, tangible things that we have been blessed with. And especially at this time of year, we think about giving thanks for our food.

In his book “Folk Psalms of Faith,” Ray Stedman tells of an experience H.A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, “Do you have a headache?” Ironside replied, “No, I don’t.” The other man asked, “Well, is there something wrong with your food?” Ironside replied, “No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat.” The man said, “Oh, you’re one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don’t have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!” Ironside said, “Yes, you’re just like my dog. That’s what he does too!”

Perhaps you heard about the atheist who was walking through the forest one day, when suddenly he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. Turning to look, he saw a 7-foot grizzly bear charge towards him. He ran down the path as fast as he could, but he became trapped in a ravine. With his back against the rocks and the bear growling in front of him, ready to pounce, the atheist started praying. He said, “God, after 30 years of not believing in You, I don’t think it’s fair that I should change now and ask You to spare my life ... but, could You make that bear a Christian?” Immediately, the bear brought both paws together, bowed its head, and said, “Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful.”

The message is not about “when animals attack,” but I also came across this story that said...

Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they ran toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, “Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!” John said, “I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life.” His friend said, “You have to. The bull is catching up to us.” John said, “All right. I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ‘O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful’.”

Our beginning text indicates that when we are Spirit-filled, we will give thanks to God for “all things.” We do have a lot to be thankful to God for!

I. We Can Be Thankful That He Has Given Us His Bread For Our Sustenance

A. Jesus Taught Us To Ask For The Bread That God Gives

1. There Is A Need Involved In Making Our Petition

(Matthew 6:9-11) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. {10} Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. {11} Give us this day our daily bread.

(Luke 11:3) Give us day by day our daily bread.

Matthew Henry said...

We pray for the necessary supports and comforts of this present life, which are the gifts of God, and must be asked of Him.

Albert Barnes said...

The word “bread,” here, denotes doubtless everything necessary to sustain life. This petition implies our dependence on God for the supply of our wants.

Most of the commentators indicate that the phrase “daily” or “day by day” is difficult to translate and understand from its Greek roots. However, the word seems to point to the needs of the coming day.

2. There Is A Name Involved In Making Our Petition

In three different chapters of John’s gospel, we have Jesus teaching His followers to pray in His name.

(John 14:13-14) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. {14} If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

(John 15:16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

(John 16:23-24) And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. {24} Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Warren Wiersbe said of praying in Jesus’ name...

This is not a “magic formula” that we automatically attach to our prayer requests, guaranteeing that God will answer. To ask anything of the Father, in the name of Jesus, means that we ask what Jesus would ask what would please Him, and what would bring Him glory by furthering His work. When a friend says to you, “You may use my name!” he is handing you a great privilege as well as a tremendous responsibility.

Barnes said...

[In my name] This is equivalent to saying on my account, or for my sake. If a man who has money in a bank authorizes us to draw it, we are said to do it in his name. If a son authorizes us to apply to his father for aid because we are his friends, we do it in the name of the son, and the favor will be bestowed on us from the regard which the parent has to his son, and through him to all his friends. So we are permitted to apply to God in the name of his Son Jesus Christ.

B. Jesus Taught Us To Appreciate The Bread That God Gives

Amazingly, there were two occasions in Jesus’ ministry when He took limited provisions and multiplied it to feed large crowds...

Compare: The 5,000 Jews (Matthew 14:15-21) The 4,000 Gentiles (Matthew 15:32-39)

The People Predominantly Jews Predominantly Gentiles

[Probably the Sidonians who are following.]

The Place Took place in Galilee, Bethsaida Took place at Decapolis (Mark 7:31)

The Provision 5 barley loaves, 2 fish 7 loaves, “a few fish”

The Plenty 12 baskets left over 7 baskets left over

The Period of Time In the spring of the year In the summer

The Patience Crowd with Him one day Crowd with Him three days

And in both of these situations, we have the example of Jesus giving thanks before the meal.

1. Notice Jesus’ Example Of Thanksgiving When The Five Thousand Were Fed

(Matthew 14:19) And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

blessed – Greek 2127. eulogeo, yoo-log-eh'-o; from a comp. of G2095 and G3056; to speak well of, i.e. (religiously) to bless (thank or invoke a benediction upon, prosper):--bless, praise.

Adam Clarke said...

It does not appear that it was the loaves which Christ blessed, but that God who had provided them; and this indeed was the Jewish custom, not to bless the food, but the God who gave it. However, there are others who believe the loaves are meant, and that he blessed them in order to multiply them. The Jewish form of blessing, or what we term grace, before and after food, was as follows:

BEFORE FOOD: Blessed art thou, our God, King of the universe, who bringest bread out of the earth!

AFTER FOOD: Blessed be our God, the King of the universe, the Creator of the fruit of the vine!

(John 6:11) And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

given thanks – Greek 2168. eucharisteo, yoo-khar-is-teh'-o; from G2170; to be grateful, i.e. (act.) to express gratitude (towards); spec. to say grace at a meal:--(give) thank (-ful, -s).

He expressed thanks.

2. Notice Jesus’ Example Of Thanksgiving When The Four Thousand Were Fed

(Matthew 15:36) And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

(Mark 8:6) And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

Unlike the rendering in John 6:11, here there are two words that suggest the idea of bestowing or delivering a prayer of gratitude.

gave – Greek 1325. didomi, did'-o-mee; a prol. form of a prim. verb (which is used as an altern. in most of the tenses); to give (used in a very wide application, prop. or by impl. lit. or fig.; greatly modified by the connection)

thanks – Greek 2168. eucharisteo, yoo-khar-is-teh'-o; from G2170; to be grateful, i.e. (act.) to express gratitude (towards); spec. to say grace at a meal:--(give) thank (-ful, -s).

Note: Paul also exemplified the giving of thanks before a meal...

(Acts 27:33-35) And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. {34} Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. {35} And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.

II. We Can Be Thankful That He Has Given Us His Body And Blood For Our Salvation

A. Notice The Offering That Was Given To Redeem Us

1. This Offering Was Powerful

We are forgiven through the shedding of His blood.

(Matthew 26:26-28) And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. {27} And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; {28} For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Can you imagine what this prayer must have sounded like?

remission – Greek 859. aphesis, af'-es-is; from G863; freedom; (fig.) pardon:--deliverance, forgiveness, liberty, remission.

This word “remission” means the forgiveness of sins or the letting go of our sins.

We are sanctified through the offering of His body.

(Hebrews 10:4-5) For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. {5} Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

(Hebrews 10:9-10) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. {10} By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

sanctified – Greek 37. hagiazo, hag-ee-ad'-zo; from G40; to make holy, i.e. (cer.) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate:--hallow, be holy, sanctify.

By giving Himself, He paid the price of our redemption.

(1 Timothy 2:6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

ransom – Greek 487. antilutron, an-til'-oo-tron; from G473 and G3083; a redemption-price:--ransom.

2. This Offering Was Personal

(Luke 22:17-20) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: {18} For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. {19} And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. {20} Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

A.T. Robertson said that the phrase “my body which is given for you” in verse 19 (though it is rendered “broken for you” in 1 Corinthians 11) means the body “which is for you.”

He said to His disciples, “This gift is for you.” And He says the same thing to everyone who looks in faith to the cross of Calvary: “This gift is for you.”

And when I think about it in those terms, I want to say with Paul...

(2 Corinthians 9:15) Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

unspeakable – Greek 411. anekdiegetos, an-ek-dee-ay'-gay-tos; from G1 (as a neg. particle) and a presumed der. of G1555; not expounded in full, i.e. indescribable:--unspeakable.

B. Notice The Observance That Was Given To Remind Us

1. This Observance Commemorates His Cross

(1 Corinthians 11:23-25) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: {24} And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. {25} After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

remembrance – Greek 364. anamnesis, an-am'-nay-sis; from G363; recollection:--remembrance (again).

This Greek word is also an English word that has both psychological and medical implications...

an·am·ne·sis n., pl. an·am·ne·ses 1. Psychology. A recalling to memory; recollection. 2. Medicine. The complete case history of a patient.

When we remember, we are reviewing the case history of the suffering of His cross.

2. This Observance Contemplates His Coming

(1 Corinthians 11:26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come.

‎A. T. Robertson said, “The Lord’s Supper is the great preacher ‎‎of the death of Christ until his second coming.”

One writer said that this ordinance points “To the gathering of the redeemed in the heavenly banqueting house for the perfect communion, in the presence of the ever-loving Lord.” (J. Richardson from The Biblical Illustrator)

III. We Can Be Thankful That He Has Given Us His Benefits And Blessings For Our Sufficiency

A. There Is A Favor Associated With These Benefits

1. Notice The Favorable Timing Of His Benefits

(Psalms 68:19) Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

Some have indicated that the words “with benefits” are not in the original, and that the text refers to our daily burdens rather than our daily benefits. And some of the versions say that God “daily bears our burdens.”

But Spurgeon said...

Our version contains a great and precious truth, though probably not the doctrine intended here. God’s benefits are not few nor light, they are loads; neither are they intermittent, but they come “daily;” nor are they confined to one or two favourites, for all Israel can say, he loadeth us with benefits.

Albert Barnes’ said that the word “daily” is “literally, ‘day, day;’ that is, day by day; or, constantly.”

daily – Hebrew 3117. yowm, yome; from an unused root mean. to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether lit. (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next).

The Bible says that evil is sufficient for each day, but so is the good.

2. Notice The Favorable Treatment Of His Benefits

(Psalms 103:2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

benefits – Greek 1576. gemuwl, ghem-ool'; from H1580; treatment, i.e. an act (of good or ill); by impl. service or requital:--+ as hast served, benefit, desert, deserving, that which he hath given, recompence, reward.

To paraphrase the words of one dear brother named Pete Stone, “He’ll treat you so many ways, you’re bound to like one of them.”

(Psalms 116:12) What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits (bestowment – an undeserved present) toward me?

B. There Is A Father Associated With These Blessings

1. He Is An Unequaled Father

(Matthew 7:7-11) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: {8} For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. {9} Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? {10} Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? {11} If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

One writer pointed to the fact that He is...

God the best of Fathers: How Pre-Eminently He Sustains The Parental Office

· The first instance of His superiority is derived from His knowledge.

· The superiority of His correction.

· God surpasses every earthly parent in His nearness and observation. Parents cannot always be with their children.

· Parents may be unable to relieve their children, if with them.

· Other parents are not suffered to continue, by reason of death.

· The love of parents is far exceeded by the love of God.

· Parents give good things to their offspring, however imperfectly they make known their wants and desires.

(W. Jay from The Biblical Illustrator)

2. He Is An Unchanging Father

(James 1:17) 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.

variableness – Greek 3883. parallage, par-al-lag-ay'; from a comp. of G3844 and G236; transmutation [change or alteration] (of phase or orbit), i.e. (fig.) fickleness:--variableness.

‎A. T. Robertson said that this comes from...

An old word (‎parallassoo)‎, to make things alternate, found only here in the New Testament. In Aristeas in sense of alternate stones in pavements.

He always exhibits the same pattern. He is always good.

shadow – Greek 644. aposkiasma, ap-os-kee'-as-mah; a shading off, i.e. obscuration.

turning – Greek 5157. trope, trop-ay’; from trepo (to turn); a turn (“trope”), i.e. revolution (fig. variation).

In other words, there is not a hint of variation in Him.


John Beukema said that...

The great missionary explorer, David Livingstone, served in Africa from 1840 until his death in 1873. Pastors Robert Lewis and Wayne Cordeiro tell of an incident from Livingstone’s life that illustrates why we need to be thankful in all things.

David Livingstone was eager to travel into the uncharted lands of Central Africa to preach the gospel. On one occasion, the famous nineteenth-century missionary and explorer arrived at the edge of a large territory that was ruled by a tribal chieftain. According to tradition, the chief would come out to meet him there; Livingstone could go forward only after an exchange was made. The chief would choose any item of Livingstone’s personal property that caught his fancy and keep it for himself, while giving the missionary something of his own in return.

Livingstone had few possessions with him, but at their encounter he obediently spread them all out on the ground—his clothes, his books, his watch, and even the goat that provided him with milk (since chronic stomach problems kept him from drinking the local water). To his dismay, the chief took this goat. In return, the chief gave him a carved stick, shaped like a walking stick.

Livingstone was most disappointed. He began to gripe to God about what he viewed as a stupid walking cane. What could it do for him compared to the goat that kept him well? Then one of the local men explained, “That’s not a walking cane. It’s the king’s very own scepter, and with it you will find entrance to every village in our country. The king has honored you greatly.”

The man was right. God opened Central Africa to Livingstone, and as successive evangelists followed him wave after wave of conversions occurred.

Sometimes, in our disappointment over what we don’t have, we fail to appreciate the significance of what God has given us.