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How Can I Say Thanks At Anniversary Time 2

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How Can I Say Thanks At Anniversary Time? 2

Psalm 116:12-15

Psalm 103:1-5

       On the day that God delivered the children of Israel from the harsh bondage of slavery, we find these words in

Exodus 13:3, “And Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place.  And nothing leavened shall be eaten.’”

Here, in the word “remember,” Moses established an annual, memorial celebration to celebrate what God did for Israel that day.  Moses established an anniversary celebration to remember the miraculous deliverance of Jehovah God.  The word "celebration" also denotes the festive, merrymaking, grateful, happy aspects of worship.  Humanity, believers, and especially African-American believers need celebration.  We need to fellowship together in festive celebrations commemorating what Jesus did for us on the cross, feasting on the Word of God!!!  We should also celebrate the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, but there is another important time of celebration:  anniversaries.

       Today we ought to be thankful and celebrate what God has done through the Morning Star Baptist Church—but there is a problem.  I believe that American people have, for the most part, lost the capacity to be thankful.  This malady brings to mind a question that is posed in an outstanding song written by Andre Crouch, entitled:  “My Tribute.”  Listen to the words of this song:

My Tribute

How can I say thanks for the things You have done for me¾

Things so undeserved, yet You give to prove Your love for Me?

The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude¾

All that I am and ever hope to be, I owe it all to Thee.

To God be the glory, to God be the glory,

To God be the glory for the things He has done!

With His blood He has saved Me, With His pow’r He has raised me¾

To God be the glory for the things He has done!

Just let me live my life¾Let it be pleasing, Lord, to Thee;

And should I gain any praise, Let it go to Calvary.

With His blood He has saved me, With His pow’r He has raised me¾

To God be the glory for the things He has done!

To God be the glory for the things He has done!!!  The words of this song restate the question that is found in Psalm 116:12, and then answers the question.  Would you turn there with me please?  The Psalmist wrote in

Psalm 116:12, “What shall I render to the Lord, for all His benefits toward me?”

The inspiration for Andre Crouch’s song evidently arises from this verse of Scripture.  The words of the song, especially the two phrases in the first line, express the question of Psalm 116:12.  But Andre Crouch goes on to answer the question with the theme:  To God Be The Glory!  His answer to the question is thanksgiving, praise, and worship!  And his answer is entirely biblical and appropriate.

       We shall use the first phrase of “My Tribute” as our theme for this sermon:  “How Can I Say Thanks At Anniversary Time?”  What a great question!  What a great question, as we celebrate this great occasion!!

(Before we can answer this question, we must deal with a very important implied question:  “Why should I say thanks?”)

From the looks of things, circumstances, and people around me, I cannot assume that people understand why or for what reasons they ought to be saying, “Thank you,” to the Lord.  What do I see?  I see an unthankful, unholy, nation and world!!!

       In 116th Psalm, the psalmist is writing a song of personal thanksgiving.  The “why” of his worship, praise, and thanksgiving is seen in the psalm.  In this Psalm,

·        he reiterates his love for the Lord,

·        he rehearses his past distresses,

·        he reports and reflects on his deliverance, and

·        he resolves anew to praise the Lord for his deliverance.

He knows why He should thank the Lord, and it is in recounting the specific reasons for his thanksgiving that he arrives at the question before us:

“What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?”

(Now some of you may be saying, “What benefits?”  Perhaps we can better see the benefits that David had in mind, by looking at Psalm 103:1-5?)

Psalm 103:1-5 (NASB-U), “A Psalm of David.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.”

(We had better take some time and look at:)

I.     The Benefits Of Serving The Lord (Psalm 103:1-5).

Here we have an exhortation to bless the Lord, by the sweet hymnist of Israel, David.  But, this particular exhortation is not to Israel, but to himself.

The word ‘bless’ is 1288 barak and signifies or means

“1. bless God, adore with bended knees” (Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius).

Ryrie says the phrase, ‘bless the Lord,’ means “adore and thank Him.”  David is exhorting thankful worship of Jehovah God from his soul, i.e. his whole person (intellect, emotion, will, etc.).  He is exhorting himself to worship God with all that is within him, i.e. with everything that he has.  This is certainly total, intense, worship and praise.

       Sometimes, we have to exhort our own souls to worship God!  Sometimes we have to talk to ourselves, encourage ourselves, exhort our souls, command our souls, to worship the Lord!!!  This is not worshipping when you feel like it, but commandeering our souls for the purpose of all-out worship of God.

       Jewish worship is a long way from our subdued, sedated concept of worship.

(What is the object of this all-out praise?)

He is directing his worship and praise toward the magnificent, virtuous, excellent, holy name of Jehovah, i.e. Yahweh.  A name, in the Hebrew culture, represented the character, personality, etc., of a person.  In short, a name represented the who person.  So, the name of God represents the whole person of God!!!

That is a good reason for us to intensely worship God, because of the excellence of His name in all the earth!!!

But then he adds another reason for intensely worshipping God:  God’s benefits!!!  He did not want to forget any of God’s benefits.

Maybe that is the reason so many modern Christians can’t worship God intensely?  Perhaps they are unaware of or have forgotten His benefits?  It is so easy to forget the benefits of God, yet He daily loads us with benefits.

(Well, if we are unaware of or have forgotten God’s benefits, David gives us a representative list.)

       David summarizes these benefits that come from God, in five statements that he seems to address to the Israelites.  These five statements seem to represent five categories of benefits for Israel, which represent five categories of benefits that are ours through Jesus Christ, which are mediated through the local church or body of Jesus Christ.

There are certainly God-given benefits that only eternity can unfold.  Seeing them all is like trying to count the stars.  The greater the power of our telescope, the more innumerable the stars appear.  But we will not let our limited comprehension keep us from gazing upon the wonder of His benefits.

(Let’s review these categories of benefits.  First:)

1.     He Pardons All Of Our Iniquities.

He has given us the marvelous benefit of forgiveness.  Because of the death of Jesus Christ, God remits our punishment and restores us to His favor.

Psalm 103:12 (NASB-U), “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isaiah 38:17 (NASB-U), “Lo, for my own welfare I had great bitterness; it is You who has kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back” (Emphasis mine).

Micah 7:19 (NASB-U), “He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under footYes, You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Emphasis mine).

God forgives us of all our sins¾past, present, and future—with respect to salvation!  What a blessing it is to know that our sins are forgiven.

We were guilty of high treason against the King of kings and Lord of lords, but He took our place and experienced the sentence of death on our behalf.  Then He gave us a full and complete pardon and made us just as if we had never sinned, or ever done anything wrong.  Because of our Lawyer and Lamb, Jehovah God drops the charges, so that nothing can prevent us from going to heaven!

       The gift of forgiveness is so great, that sometimes I want to thunder at the top of my voice:  “Forgiven!”

(This is ministered through the ministry of this church and your pastor, but that’s just benefit number one!)

2.     He Heals All Your Diseases.

German Scholars, Keil And Delitzsch, say that this phrase represents “all kinds of inward and outward suffering.”  He spiritually and physically healed the Israelites and He spiritually and physically healed us through His death upon the cross.  We were totally healed at Calvary.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourgings we are healed.”

I can hear the old saints singing:

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;

There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.

The balm or salve was Jesus Christ and His ministry of redemption.

Someone will ask, “Then why don’t I have complete physical healing right now?”  I don’t really know the answer to that question, but I do know that the healing starts now and will be completed in heaven!!!  Even though our total healing awaits a fuller manifestation of His saving power, He has healed us of the greatest disease of Humanity:  the disease of sin with all of its attendant suffering.  Therefore, we can start thanking Him right now.

(Thirdly we see that:)

3.     He Redeems Your Life From The Pit.

The word ‘pit’ is a Hebrew word that is used for sheol.  “In the great majority of the cases ‘Sheol’, in the Old Testament, is used to signify the grave” (Unger’s).  He saved the Israelites from death time and time again!

       He saves our lives from death.  “Where?” many of you are asking.  Let me say, “I don’t know how many times He has protected me from automobile accidents, seen and unseen!”  Many times Satan would hasten our death, but the Lord delivers us.  David said in

Psalm 34:19 (NASB-U), “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Paul said,

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NASB-U), “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

(These things are released through the power of the Holy Spirit, through the ministry of God’s man and the church—and they are reasons to celebrate.  Fourthly, we see that:)

4.     He Crowns You With Lovingkindness And Compassion.

God crowned the Israelites with His steadfast covenant love and His compassion.  He put it upon their heads, so that all the world could see them wear it.

(Did you get the two components of God’s love that were stated here?)

       One component is His hesed, i.e. His steadfast, never failing, covenant love.  Through the death of Jesus Christ, God sets His covenant love on us like a crown, for all the world to see.

1 John 4:9, “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.”

       The second component of His love is compassion.  He had a deep feeling for and understanding of the misery or suffering of the Israelites, with an accompanying desire to promote the alleviation of that misery of suffering.

      Likewise, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has crowned us with compassion.

Psalm 103:13-14, “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.  For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

My Father is rich in houses and land;

He holdeth the wealth of the world in His hands;

Of rubies and diamonds—of silver and gold;

His coffers are full; He has riches untold.

I’m a child of the King; A child of the King;

With Jesus my Savior; I’m a child of the King.

(Lastly in Psalm 103 we see that He:)

5.     He Satisfies Your Years With Good Things, So That Your Youth Is Renewed Like The Eagle.

He sustained Israel in the wilderness for 40 years:  water followed them underground, food fell from heaven, their sandals didn’t wear out, their feet didn’t swell, Moses was 80 years old when he delivered Israel from Egypt, Aaron was 83, Caleb was well advanced in years when he fought with the inhabitants of Canaan and captured the Promised Land.  He satisfied them with good things, and renewed their youth.

God has done so much for you.  God has given you good things corporately and individually.  No Christian has given up anything, but that God will give Him something better.  It is God who brings satisfaction to a yielded life.

It is God who renews our youth.

Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, thy will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”

(Now that we know what the benefits of the Lord are, that brings us back to the original question, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” or “How Can I Say Thanks?”  David answers that question in Psalm 116:13-14.  Would you notice these two verses with me please?)

Psalm 116:13-14, “I shall lift up the cup of salvation, And call upon the name of the Lord.  I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.”

The question is a proper one:  the Lord has done so much for us that we ought to look around us and within us to see how we may manifest our gratitude to Him—especially at anniversary time.  We must use our holy ingenuity to seek out new ways to offer Him fresh praise.  His benefits are beyond number.  Each of us should have our own idiosyncratic way of expressing gratitude.  As God blesses each of us individually Let us each ask, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”  “How can I say thanks?”

II.    How Can I Say Thanks?

(David is going to say thanks in three ways.  First He is going to:)

A.    Lift Up The Cup Of Salvation.

“This is a figure taken from the Passover, the memorial feast in celebration of the redemption out of Egypt.  The cup of salvation is that which is raised aloft and drunk amidst thanksgiving for the manifold and abundant salvation experienced” (Keil & Delitzsch).  This is not a prescribed offering, but a freewill offering offered because of thanksgiving.  There can be no worship with out sacrificial giving.

There are times when we should give special freewill offerings to God’s man and God’s church, because we are thankful.  Anniversary time should be one of those times.

Thankfulness evokes giving!

(Secondarily, He is going to:)

B.    Call Upon The Name Of The Lord.

He is going to offer up blessings, thanksgivings, and prayer.  These are other manifestations of worship.  His second response for the benefits of God is to worship God through a verbal offering!!!  There are many ways to worship God verbally, i.e. through shouting, singing, thanksgiving, and praise.

      Anniversary time is a time to verbally worship God, because of one’s thankfulness.

(Thirdly, He says I will:)

C.    Pay My Vows To The Lord.

This probably refers to the sacrifice of thanks that he had vowed to the Lord because of all His benefits.  His third way to say thanks was to worship God through keeping vows of sacrificial worship.  He was going to be faithful in worshipping God.

       We, likewise, should be faithful in worshipping God—especially during anniversary times.

So David’s threefold way of saying thanks is a threefold offering of worship to God.  He is, in essence, worshipping God with all that He has, with all that He is, and with all that is within Him!!!

       How can we say thanks during anniversary time, by being thankful, praising God, and worshipping Him with all that we are because of what we have experienced through His church!

(Now is the Day of Salvation.  Come to Jesus, Now!)


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