Thankfulness and Faith
— Romans 1:21
- Andrew Fountain — Oct 10th, 2010
- For the anger of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness,
- because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
- For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.
- For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give him thanks,…
- Explain verses
- My key idea today is that thankfulness is not just
- something we do or say
- it is more than an attitude of heart
- it reflects our whole mindset about how the world works
- in other words, if you don’t give thanks to God, it is probably because you think someone or something else is responsible
- Paul goes on to explain one of the alternative explanations for the good things
Romans 1 cont’d
- …but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened.
- Claiming to be wise they became fools,
- and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.
- In this case, it was idols that received the glory
- tell story: The Big Game
- Thankfulness reflects a fundamental mindset
- That is why it is so important
- Not just a few words, but a way of thinking about the world around you
- It is about living in a framework where God is sovereign
- or living in a secular mindset
Four World Views
- Four world views behind our thankfulness (or lack of it):
- Secular, materialism
- God who is angry, vindictive, uncaring, impersonal
- Some other god, pagan or distorted
- A Loving Father
- Which one was the soccer goalie giving honour to?
The Rich Man: Luke 12
- He then told them a parable: “The land of a certain rich man produced an abundant crop,
- so he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’
- Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
- And I will say to myself, “You have plenty of goods stored up for many years; relax, eat, drink, celebrate!”
- But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded back from you, but who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
- So it is with the one who stores up riches for himself, but is not rich toward God.”
- What was his belief about where his blessings came from?
Luke 12 cont’d
- Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.
- For there is more to life than food, and more to the body than clothing.
- Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn, yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!
- And which of you by worrying can add an hour to his life?
- So if you cannot do such a very little thing as this, why do you worry about the rest?
Luke 12 cont’d
- Consider how the flowers grow; they do not work or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these!
- And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, how much more will he clothe you, you people of little faith!
- So do not be overly concerned about what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not worry about such things.
- For all the nations of the world pursue these things, and your Father knows that you need them.
- Instead, pursue his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
- “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father is well pleased to give you the kingdom.
- Jesus sets this over against the view of a loving Father
- Daniel 4
- Now all of this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.
- After twelve months, he happened to be walking around on the battlements of the royal palace of Babylon.
- The king uttered these words: “Is this not the great Babylon that I have built for a royal residence by my own mighty strength and for my majestic honor?”
- While these words were still on the king’s lips, a voice came down from heaven: “It is hereby announced to you, King Nebuchadnezzar, that your kingdom has been removed from you!
- You will be driven from human society, and you will live with the wild animals.
- So what was Nebuchadnezzar’s world view about where good things came from?
- It is your interpretive framework for reality
- Every event can be viewed through this lens and result in thanks or self...
- So easy to slip into the world’s mindset
Thankfulness and Faith
- It is the result of faith
- Unthankfulness is unbelief
- You are thankful precisely because you believe God did it (out of love)
- It is about the mindset under which you live
- Thankfulness is impossible without faith
At the core of our covenant relationship
- We are not under law but under grace
- Because of the perfect death of Jesus, God is able to cancel our debt to the law
- But the new relationship of grace is not empty
- God requires a response from us (which is not by our own labour—it is the fruit of his Spirit in us)
- He adopts us as his children, loves us and cares for us
- We respond in faith and thankfulness
- So thankfulness is core to our new relationship
- Righteousness in the Old Testament is a covenant term, denoting the right behaviour within a covenant relationship
- Thankfulness is linked in several places to righteousness, e.g.
- Psalm 140:13. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.
- Psalm 97:12. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
- In the N.T.
- 39 occurrences of eucharisteo in the NT and a third of them are specifically giving thanks for food
- 8 out of 11 in Gospels
- See how every aspect of life is involved
- we can so easily slip out of this mindset of life being a relationship in the hands of a loving God
- Thankfulness is an integral part of a life of faith
- It is core to what it means to have a living relationship with God
- Is giving thanks primarily a duty?
- Christmas time: have to write “thank-you” letters the next day
- Restore the “social balance” of the gift”
- All God is asking for in the New Covenant is that we have faith
- Thankfulness is actually a response of Faith and it pleases God
- In a sense, all he wants from us is that we are thankful!
Updated on 2010-10-10 by Andrew Fountain