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Thanksgiving Faith

Timothy 4:1-6

Rev. Kurt Hering

Thanksgiving Eve
Trinity Lutheran Church  
Layton, Utah

Play MP3 of this sermon

Wed, Nov 21, 2012 

Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

The life of thanksgiving faith is lived in simple service to all of those around us, not in order to earn anything before God, but because He already has given us everything we need. Honoring and serving our neighbors we both receive what we need and provide what our neighbor needs for daily bread and life.

To hear the entire sermon preached for Thanksgiving Eve, click on the MP3 audio link provided above.

The audio begins with the Gradual Hymn, the Gospel reading, and Hymn of the Day. The sermon begins at the 8:07 point of the mp3 file.

A servant of the Word and His folk,

Pastor Hering

If you would rather just read the sermon, or read along as you listen, the preaching manuscript follows below.

THANKSGIVING EVE SERMON: November 22, 2012

"Thanksgiving Faith"

TEXT: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.  1 Timothy 4:1-6

Did you hear that? It's all good!

Yes, the saying is most certainly true, it's all good. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

This certainly goes against much of what we here in all the politically correct, culturally relevant movements of the day that have resulted in the banning of the sale of soft drinks over 16 ozs. in NYC, lunches in our nation's schools that leave many kids with grumbling tummies and even confiscate certain foods brought from home in sacks, and the prohibit harvesting of natural resources (such as coal and oil), or the farming of our own lands that would be beneficial to men for the sake of scenic views for tourists, or pristine landscape for wildlife lest a few animals lose their lives to men trying to make a living and supply their neighbors with their daily needs.

Interestingly, most of these movements have their genesis in pagan, nature worship which is reflected in Hinduism and other mystical eastern religions as well as in atheism and evolution. According to all of these, man is but another animal, no better, no worse, no more special in the eyes of God. But to believe this is to deny Scripture and to break the very first Commandment: "You shall have no other God's."

God's Word is very clear on this. Man is the crown of His creation and all the heavens and the earth are God's gift to him. To believe or teach otherwise is to deny the One true God and construct some lesser god of one's own imagination.

Gen 1:27 28 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (NKJ)

Yes, this universe and everything in it was created by God for the benefit of man and to be received and used with thanksgiving.

But now the question remains, what is thanksgiving according to God's will?

It is quite simple, really. Thanksgiving is not a matter of making offerings to God, whether by word or deed.

Our own words are of no use or importance to the God from whom all blessings flow. "And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:7

Neither are any works of our own--"I desire mercy, not sacrifice." Matthew 9:16 That is, we can in no way hope to appease God and make good for our sins based upon our sacrifice, no matter what it might be. He only desires to have mercy on us according to His steadfast and abounding love.

Nothing we do or say can make God any greater than He already is, or make Him any more kindly and mercifully disposed to us than He has always been even since before the foundations of the world.

Therefore, to live in thanksgiving, means to ...

1. acknowledge and rely on Him as the giver of all things, especially the forgiveness of sins.

2. serve our neighbor according to our calling.

We see this kind of thanksgiving reflected in our lessons today. It is the Thanksgiving of faith, indeed true thanksgiving is faith.

According to the Gospel lesson, 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has [saved] you."

This is all God wants from and for us in our relationship with Him. To believe the kind of belief that goes beyond simple the acknowledgment of facts and events and grasps onto the very gift with thanksgiving to His Son, Jesus the Christ, who gave His life for us on the cross.

Living in repentance, confessing our sin and receiving his absolution, his forgiveness, is the life of highest thanksgiving. We have nothing to offer Him in thanksgiving that He hasn't first given to us - except for our sin. So He simply calls on us to believe in His Son, so that He might continue being your God and supplying your every need forever. This is why the Lord's Supper is also called the Eucharist, the Greek word for thanksgiving. As we come to receive His body and blood we also offer our sins to him in faith and thanksgiving for the forgiveness we are certain to receive in His holy meal.

This thanksgiving faith is explained in the first three commandments, summed up by Christ, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God trusts in God above all things.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but calls upon it in every trouble, prays, praises, and gives thanks.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not despise preaching and His Word, but holds it sacred and gladly (that is, thankfully) hears and learns it.

And our Epistle lesson speaks of what it means to live in thanksgiving faith in Christ among our fellow man.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Since God provides everything we need, we are to live lives of thanksgiving to our neighbors by serving them in our own vocations, i.e. our callings as pastors or hearers; authorities or citizens; Husbands or wives; parents or children; employers or employees; teachers or students; in service one to another no matter one's station.

This is what the 4th - 10th Commandments are about, or again as Christ sums them up, "love your neighbor as yourself." This is the life of thanksgiving faith.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honors them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but helps and supports him in every physical need.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God leads a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not take our neighbor's money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but helps him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defends him, speaks well of him, and explains everything in the kindest way.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not scheme to get our neighbor's inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but helps and is of service to him in keeping it.

The life of thanksgiving faith in God does not entice or force away our neighbor's wife, workers, or animals, or turn them against him, but urges them to stay and do their duty.

The life of thanksgiving faith is lived in simple service to all of those around us, not in order to earn anything before God, but because He already has given us everything we need. Honoring and serving our neighbors we both receive what we need and provide what our neighbor needs for daily bread and life.

When we realize this fundamental truth, we can live in thanksgiving, much like the Apostle Paul, who writes in Phil 4:11 13, I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (NIV)

So let us come before the Lord, the giver of all things -- the Father, our creator, as the giver of everything visible and invisible; the Son, our redeemer, as the giver of salvation, the forgiveness of our sin unto eternal life; and the Holy Spirit, our sanctifier, as the one who delivers that forgiveness to us through the Holy Christian Church that we may live in faith that is thanksgiving today, and even until the resurrection of the body when we will live forever in the full and glorious presence of God .

Yes, In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "It's all good," in the name of the One True God, all things are yours and to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.  Therefore, dear baptized children of God, let us come into His Presence with thanksgiving this night - let us come to the Holy Eucharist, the true and Godly Thanksgiving feast, to receive His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins in thanksgiving faith. And let us depart in his peace quietly and humbly to serve our neighbor in that same thanksgiving faith. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Amen



Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.



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