Giving Thanks

Bible Book: Colossians  1 : 12
Subject: Thanksgiving; Gratitude; Thanksgiving Day

Turn with me to the Book of Colossians, chapter 1 and verse 12. This is one of the richest blessings you'll receive because it is what salvation is all about. We read in verse 12, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers (sharers) of the inheritance of the saints in light."In order to understand these precious words of God by the Divine Spirit, we are going to break them up thought by thought.

I. What Believers Are To Do about Giving Thanks

The first thing we have here is what believers are to do. What are we to do as believers? We are to be giving thanks unto the Father. We are to be giving thanks unto God. People don't always feel like giving thanks unto God when trials come. A lot of times human nature would rebel against God, question God, doubt God, doubt His love, and doubt His care. When doubts, fears, financial reverses, sickness, or loss of a loved one come, people have difficulty giving thanks unto God. But, my beloved friends, we must be giving thanks unto God.

A. The Presence of the Lord Leads me to Thankfulness

When we are not able to give thanks unto God, we are not worshipping. We're not in the position that we can and ought to be in, a position of victory in the Lord. Nehemiah 8:10, "For the joy of the LORD is your strength." We have no other strength but the joy of the Lord. We have the joy of the Lord's presence with us. God is for us, not against us. God is looking after us in spite of our reverses, sicknesses, bereavements and the death of our loves ones. In spite of any trial that may come our way, He is still with us. "The joy of the Lord is our strength," the joy of knowing the Lord is with me. That doesn't mean just a feeling of joy, but the absolute fact that God is with me in this trial and is bringing me on the way to glory.

B. The Promises of the Lord Lead me to Thankfulness

How many times I have said in deep, deep waters. "Lord, this is in your will for me on the way to glory." Now where did I get that sentence from? I got it from the Bible. We're on our way to glory! God has promised to bring me to the Holy City, not only heaven, but beyond heaven. Heaven is going to be destroyed. The entire heavens and the earth will pass away with a thunderous crash. He is going to create new heavens and a new earth. So He's not only promised me heaven but He's promised me that I'll come live with Him in the Holy City forever. He promised that to Abraham and the great godly men and women of the Faith of the Old Testament days. We read in Hebrews 11:10 "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." The Holy City has foundations which means that it will never pass away.

Even the dwelling place of God has been defiled by the sin of the devil who led an insurrection and rebellion against God. So God is going to wipe out the whole universe which He created and He will create a brand-new one. We are going to be there with Him. He's promised that to me and to you if we believe that He and His Son settled our sin question at the cross in love. He loves us that much. I believe that. I believe God loves me enough to give His Son to die for me. It's beyond comprehension, but I believe it just because God says it. Whatever God says in the Bible, that's enough for me. "Be Thankful Even in Trials"

So I'm to be giving thanks unto the Father. It's an awful thing not to give thanks unto God. Are you thanking God for your life? I didn't say to thank Him for that suffering or agony. Those things are difficult to go through. But you thank Him that this trial is in His plan and in His will. He does not hate you when He allows you to go through a trial, but there is blessing in it that you cannot see at present. Even though you don't understand it, you love Him! Remember at the cross that He displayed His love for you in giving His Son to die for you. So if you've been to the cross and really believe that God gave His only begotten Son in sacrifice for you, then you can give thanks to God for whatever trial you are in because it is in His love for you. He's doing something beyond what you may ever know in this world. You may know some of it, but you cannot now see all of it. I've never been in a place where I did not know that God was with me; I don't mean that I've always felt His presence. I don't have to feel His presence. I live in the Bible and the promises of God and I know His presence is with me. As you live in the promises, they become more real to you than the trials. So the trials don't block out God's promises.

When you're in a trial, it doesn't mean God ceases to love. It doesn't mean that the love displayed at the cross was undone. Nothing can undo the fact that God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son to die for you. Nothing can undo that fact that believing in Him you should never perish but have everlasting life. If you have it now, it's everlasting. So give thanks unto the Father, we can give thanks.

In Romans chapter 1, God speaks about the ungodly of the earth that started off with the knowledge of Him but did not want to retain that knowledge of God. They did not want God looking over their shoulder, they wanted their own way. God's Word says that they were not thankful. They got to the place where they did not thank God for His blessings upon them. That's a terrible thing to do. God, help us to realize that because it says in Romans 1:18-20, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them (God revealed Himself to them). For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Now notice verse 21, "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful." See, they didn't thank God for the life He gives.

Now your life may be full of trouble and you may be tempted to say, "Well, I can't give thanks to God for this life." There are people who say, "Life is not worth living." Well, that's just a slap in the face of God, isn't it? So when our hearts would say that to God, we're not really believing that He loves us, and that He cares for us, that He will keep His promise never to leave us or forsake us, and that He's really bringing us to heaven. We let the trial blot out the reality of God's love and God's promises to us, which He as God must and will keep.

"They Glorified Him Not as God." So we read about people who didn't want God around. They knew about Him but "they glorified him not as God.” They would not honor Him as their God. God must be glorified; He must be honored as God. We read in verses 21-23 of Romans 1, "Neither were (they) thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up." We read again in verses 24, 26 and 28 that God gave them up. He gave them up because "when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful. "They glorified Him not as God" Now that's the position of people who throw God out of their mind.

When you are going through a trial and are tempted to be less than thankful that God is with you, you can say, "Lord, I know you're with me in this trial and you'll see me through it. I have your promise that you're going to keep me. That doesn't mean I won't get sick or that I'm not going to die, but it means that I'll always know that underneath me are the everlasting arms. You'll never leave me or forsake me. You'll take care of me even though my body may die, and it will if the Lord tarries. You will bring my soul and spirit to heaven and then, later, in the resurrection, raise my body, reunite it with my soul, and make me like Jesus. I'll be with Jesus and be like Jesus with you in heaven." Now that's actually the truth, but what do we do? The trial comes along and we blot out these wonderful truths. That's the reason why you have to keep the truths of Scripture in your mind always. The more you think of them, the more they are indelibly impressed on your mind and your heart so that when you go through the trial you'll be able to praise the Lord that He lives with you, and you still have His promises. He's still the same God and you're on the way to heaven to be with Him in the Holy City to live with Him forever.

Don't ever get to the place in your life where you glorify Him not as God, neither are thankful that He created you and made you to come to live with Him in heaven. We're not just to live in this world, suffer, and die. We're left in this world for a little while to serve the Lord. We do go through sufferings, trials, sickness, and death. Only two people have escaped death in the history of the world. There's nothing in death to hurt the child of God, for Jesus said in John 11:26, "Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." So we can give thanks we're never going to die, that God will never be separated from us. He'll always look after us and keep His promise. We're going to be in heaven and meet our loved ones again in a glorious reunion. We'll share a happy eternity with God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Angels, and the redeemed who have believed God through the ages and have clung to His promises when they didn't have anything else. So let's glorify God.

II. How Believers are to Give Thanks

"Giving Thanks Unto the Father." Above everything else, we ought to be giving thanks to God. Colossians 1:12, "Giving thanks unto the Father." Here Paul calls God "The Father.” There is a sense that is mentioned in the Book of Acts about God being the Father of all that He has created. The Apostle Paul here is dealing with the main Scriptures about God as our Father, with the fact of God being our Father spiritually. He has begotten us as His children into His family through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nobody but a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has God for his Father. It's in the sense of Ephesians 2:1-3, where he says, "And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: ...fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

This is a fivefold picture of every person who does not have Christ. (1) In a lost condition, "dead in trespasses and sins.” (2) Living for this world and not the other world. (3) Living for the devil and not for Christ. (4) Living for self and not God. (5) By nature; the very opposite of what God is.

So many people talk about going to heaven with the Adamic nature that they have. There's no way they can go the heaven that way. They must be changed. We call that change "the new birth." God calls it "being born again." When you receive Christ, Christ comes in and brings the life of God, the Holy Spirit comes in and you are born by the Spirit into the family of God. You become a child of God spiritually. God, as your Father, looks after you physically, mentally, and spiritually. He undertakes at that moment to do what a real father would do for his child, look after that child.

When God puts a child into the arms of a man He says, "Raise that child for Me." God says, "Fathers (not mothers), bring up your children." Now mothers usually bring up the children in our America, but the first responsibility is to the father. If a man is not going to raise a child for God, he had better not bring that child into this world. When God puts a child into your arms, dear friend, He gives you one more tremendous responsibility. That child is not only a body to be fed and a mind to be educated, but also a soul that will spend eternity in heaven or hell. You are to teach that child the things of God first. So when you receive Christ as your Saviour, you are a child of God.

There are two words for this idea of children. He uses the word child in one instance with the idea of being born of God. He transmitted His life to you and brought you into being. The other is “son” and carries with it the idea of being legally placed in the position of a Son of God. So you are a son of God and a child of God. Both terms are used of a true believer who really believes that God loves him, and gave Christ to die for him. He believes that Jesus paid for his sins and receives Christ as his Savior. Christ becomes his Savior, God becomes his Father, and the Holy Spirit becomes his Teacher. They come to dwell within his heart. Because of that, he becomes thankful. There's no way you can know all this and not be thankful.

He said give thanks "unto the Father.” Why didn't He say, "to the Son or to the Holy Spirit?" Because the Father is the One who planned all this. In the Divine Trinity there are three Divine Beings: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are different. I picked up a volume the other day of one of our greatest preachers and I was utterly amazed to find that he did not really believe in three different persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father has His office, the Son has His office, and the Holy Spirit has His office. A person can believe in God and go to hell, but he can't believe in Jesus and be lost because the way into the blessing of those three Divine Beings is through Christ's sacrifice on the cross. When you believe on Jesus as your Saviour and you enter into the blessings of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Sprit, all come into your heart to live. When you say one God, you mean a unity like a husband and wife are one in thinking, planning, and purposing as far as humans can go in their own way. But the Divine Trinity is perfect. They work together in perfect harmony, yet the Father is the Father, the Son is the Son, and the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit of God. God the Father didn't die on the cross, and the Holy Spirit didn't die on the cross. Jesus the Son died on the cross. It's through the blood of the Son that we are saved, but He's called God (we read of the blood of God in the Book of Acts). So you have to discern between those two things: the unity of these three Beings and their differing personalities.

So God says, "Giving thanks unto the Father.” Why? He said that because He planned all this. I love that passage in Revelation 13:8. It says that Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son," it was God who gave His Son. It was the Son who came in obedience to His Father's will. It was the Father who planned the whole plan of redemption before there was any human race, before Adam and Eve had ever sinned and plunged the human race into sin. So God planned it all as the Father.

Have you ever really seriously considered God as your Father? Are you a Christian? Do you feel like an orphan even when you have God for your Father? Jesus said in John 14:18 "I will not leave you comfortless." The Greek word for comfortless is orphan there. "I will not leave you as an orphan who has no father and mother." One of the most pitiful objects in this world is a child who has no father and no mother to look after him. So God is our Father and as our Father He has undertaken and does undertake when we believe on His Son. Become a worshipper of God "He seeketh those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth."

There's a sweetness about realizing that God is your Father. That is one of the sweetest things in Divine revelation and one of the sweetest things that can happen to the human heart.

I know there are some who have difficulty with this. I have a friend who is a great Christian, but this person says, "I cannot think much about the term Father because I never knew a father." The father in this case died at an early age and this person grew up without knowing the real care of a father. So there is difficulty in such a case for a person to really come to realize what a father is. So what do you do? Study the Bible and see what He brings, as we're going to see in the Book of Colossians, what the Father has done for us, and the glorious position in which He has placed believers. Then you can worship God as your Father and give thanks to Him.

He's always your Father. He's your Father when you're sick, when you're going through bereavement, and when you're going through financial reverses. All of this doesn't mean He ceases to care for you. "Nothing can separate you from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," Paul writes at the close of that great chapter, Romans chapter 8. Friends, get to know all the Book of Romans.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He said to Mary Magdalene in Matthew 20:17, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and to your Father; and to my God, and your God. Beautiful words, let them sink into your heart today.

Study these truths. Think of God as your Father. If you are a believer on Jesus Christ alone for salvation (not trusting anything you've done, can do, or ever will do, or what any human being or angel can do for you, but just trusting Jesus Christ as your Saviour), God is your Father and you are His child. A child has a right to go to his father, talk to him, pour out his heart to him, love him, be loved, and realize the care of a father for his child. You read about that care all through the Word of God. It is important to know the Scriptures, so that when the trials come, you don't throw God overboard. You give thanks to the Father, that He's always your Father, you’re always His child, and He's promised to bring you to heaven. Jesus said that we are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4 states, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” These words in Colossians 1:12 proceeded out of the mouth of God through the Apostle Paul. He said that as believers we are to give thanks to the Father.

III. Why Believers are to Give Thanks

"He Made Us Fit." For what are we to give God thanks? How can we give God thanks when we are sick, when we suffer a reverse, or when we suffer physical, mental, or spiritual pain or bereavement? How can we give God thanks? Notice what He says, "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (fit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Give thanks to God for what He has already done for you that all these trials of earth and time cannot obliterate.

A. Fit To Be A Partaker

Our earthly father couldn't do for us what we read in Colossians 1:12 that our heavenly Father has already done for us. Do you know what He has done for you? Do you believe what He's done for you? What has God done for you if you have believed on Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Son of God, and believed the Bible as His Word? What has He done for which you are to give thanks whatever comes your way? Well, he made you fit. Fit for what? Fit to be a partaker (sharer) of His inheritance.

The first thing I want to call your attention to is that you can give God thanks that He made you fit. We are not fit in ourselves for heaven, but God has made us fit. It isn't something that we do. So many people, when they talk of heaven, think that they deserve it, that they are worthy of it, and that God is under obligation to bring them to heaven. He is not. He made us fit.

Some people think, "Well, I'll never be fit for heaven." They realize their sinfulness and how much unlike God they are. They do not know that the sin question has all been settled at the cross and that our standing is perfect in Christ. In Christ Jesus, God loves us as Christ and treats us as Christ. They don't understand that, so they worry all their lives and cannot give thanks. If you are worried about your salvation, you can't give thanks to the Father. There are many Christians today who are trusting Jesus, and because they trust Him, they are saved, but they're not enjoying it. The devil is enjoying crippling them so they can't tell anybody else about Jesus. You don't want to be in that crowd.

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet," an old English word. The Greek word for “meet” means “fit, sufficient, enough.” He made us fit so we can fit into heaven. "Well, but I'm a sinner," you say. Yes, so am I and so is everybody on earth, I might add. The best Christian is not fit in himself for heaven. God made us fit. God reckons us fit for heaven when we trust Jesus as our Savior, because when Jesus died, God says that I died and you died, the believer died. So Jesus paid for our sins and took us out of our old Adamic life. Now we are living in Christ and God sees us in Christ. Because we are in Christ, we are fit for glory. He made us fit.

In fact in the letter to the Ephesians, Paul says, "We are already seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," not in ourselves. We are down here stumbling around, but in God's reckoning we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

B. Fit For His Presence

"The Inheritance.” So God, what did He do for me? He made me fit for His presence. That's what He means by "the inheritance, for inheritance means you are an heir. God owns everything, He's called "possessor of heaven and earth." He made Jesus His heir. We read in Hebrews 1:2 that He made Him "heir of all things," which means He gave Jesus everything that He possesses. So Jesus is possessor of heaven and earth, everything God owns. Then Christ came down, saved us, (this boggles the human mind, but it's so, because God says it) and made us joint-heirs with Himself, to share in His heirship. So when you believe on Christ, you are immensely rich, you are coheirs with Jesus Christ. You own with Jesus Christ everything that God owns.

Now that is not wild, friends, that is absolute Scripture. A believer believes it. Most people don't know it or believe it. Thank God I know it and I believe it. I have to keep thinking about it. I tend to look at myself and say, "Jess Hendley, God will never give you all that He has and is," but He says He will in the Bible, and I believe it. But if you look at yourself, you won't.

You must know the Gospel that God sent Jesus to swap places with you. He took your sinner's place and you get His Son's place. He took all your judgment and punishment and wiped it all out so it won't be for you, and you get everything He possesses. He possesses everything God possesses. God made you fit. This was in God's plan, "to he partakers.” You'll share with other believers and with Christ all that He possesses. This is what God has given to you. This is what He did for you. It isn't something He will do. "He hath made us fit," not He will do it when we get to heaven. He has already made us fit, even though we are not fit.

If I looked at myself, my sins, and my failures, I wouldn't be able to see that I'm fit for heaven at all. I'd be condemned and fearful. But when I see Christ hanging on the cross, paying for my sins, and I hear God saying, "I put all your sins over on My Son. I love you so much that I put your sins on My Son and made Him a sacrifice for your sins. He took your death and now I'm transferring you into Christ's position," then I have peace.

He made us fit. Fit for what? Fit for the inheritance, to share in all He has and possesses forever. That means heaven and the Holy City are mine. Everything Christ has is mine and everything God has is mine. Paul put it in these words in I Corinthians 3:21 and 23, "For all things are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God's. " God owns everything, He gave it to Christ, and Christ gives it to us. What a Saviour! What a salvation!

Somebody said, "The Bible was written by human beings." No human being in the world has ever thought about this. Nobody! If you took 44 men of literature and put them away somewhere to write and said, "Write a Bible," they would come up with the biggest conglomeration of nothingness that you have ever heard. Nobody duplicates the Bible, because nobody can duplicate God and His thoughts.

C. Fit For His Pardon

"The Saints in Light." "He hath made us fit to be sharers of the inheritance of the saints." Saints means holy ones because we are saints by faith in Jesus. The word saint does not mean a saintly character; it means a position of separation for God. God has claimed you for Himself.

"In light," I love that. Now God is light so that means in the presence of God in heaven. God is light; in Him is no darkness at all. We're sinners. We see our faults, failures, and sins, but God comes along and says, "My Son died for you. He paid for all your sins, and I'm giving you His position. You're as perfect as He is in standing. So I've made you fit for light." Here I am a sinner in actual experience and failing, yet my position is perfect with the Lord.

At any moment I could go by death or at the Rapture and see Jesus and I'll become just like Him. I'll be in the light without a spot. That tremendous light of God's presence will shine on me. There is not a single thing that will ever be brought up against me because Christ on the cross paid my whole sin debt in full with His blood. Though I am a sinner, I am fit to meet God at any moment. I am fit to stand in the light of His presence without blemish in Christ, never in myself. This is only found in connection with Jesus Christ. So people without Christ can't do it. What an amazing thing!

It just came to me as I was studying, that God made me fit to stand in the light. An unsaved person is in his sins. When he gets in the light of God's presence, his sins will be exposed (his evil thoughts, words, and deeds). But Jesus paid for mine and wiped them out. They don't exist any more. Jesus "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 9:26) Whose sin? Not His, He didn't have any. He put away my sins and the sins of every human being. But it's not applied to us until we receive Christ as our Savior, believe in Him, and believe that He did this for us. When we really believe that He died for us, that means that we have received Christ. Receiving Him is simply believing in Him.


He says in Revelation 3:20, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him." Now if you're not sure He dwells in your heart, invite Him in right now. Believe He will come in simply because He says it, not because you feel a certain way. Friend, believe His Word because the day is coming in your life when you won't feel any particular way, but you'll still have the Word of God, which abideth forever.

What a passage! What a wonderful truth! "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (fit) to be partakers (sharers) of the inheritance (all He possesses in heaven) of the saints in light." He'll bring us into His glorious presence, which is absolute light. In Him is no darkness at all and it's not in us either because of the work of Jesus Christ. Oh, what a Savior!