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A Thanksgiving Sermon from Psalm 100

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Psalm 100 NIV
A psalm. For giving grateful praise. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Introduction

INTI
Is there one thing that we can do in under an hour that gives a longer lasting and better quality lift for positive mental health than any drug? What about writing a list of things that we are thankful for?
Here is my list:
10. A house – many people in this world today who have no place to live. Even in small towns people often live with their family two and three in the same apartment or home.
9. Food - we always have plenty to eat at our house. Many people don’t. We have all seen people standing beside the road holding a sign that says, “Will work for food.”
8. Clothes – I never have to worry about whether there will be clothes in my closet for me to put on each day. Many people only have the clothes that they are wearing.
7. Health – I am thankful that I am blessed with good health. Many people have a serious illness which keeps them from enjoying a full and happy life.
6. My country – I am thankful that I live in a country where I enjoy great freedom. In many countries you can be put in prison, or even put to death, for telling others about Jesus.
5. Churches – I am thankful for this church family at The Table.
4. Friends – I am thankful for my many friends. Some I count my closest and best friends for life that are a support system. I have always had friends who were there to help me.
3. Family – I am thankful for family. That is likely near the top of all of our lists.
2. Parents – I am thankful that God blessed me with a father and mother who loved me, cared for me, and taught me about Jesus and his love.
1. Jesus – Jesus is number one on the list of things for which I am thankful.
No one ever loved me like Jesus. He loved me so much that he was willing to die on a cross so that I can have everlasting life. Thank you, Jesus.
But has it ever occurred to you that no Americans were more underprivileged than that small handful from the Mayflower who started the custom of setting aside a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God?
They had no homes. No government agency to help them build homes. They had no means of transportation but their legs. Their only food came from the sea and the forest, and they had to get it for themselves. They had no money and no place to spend money if they’d had any. They had no amusements or entertainments except what they made for themselves, no means of communication with their relatives in England, no social security or Medicare. But anyone who dared to call them underprivileged would probably have ended up in with a black eye and a bloody nose.
For they did have 4 of the greatest human assets: initiative, courage, a willingness to work, and an endless faith in God. Our forefathers had "an endless faith in God." That almost sounds strange to us here today.
We live in a time when powerful forces are at work to strip us of every reminder that the very foundation our nation was built on was the conviction that we are "one nation, under God."
How many people even know what Thanksgiving Day really means?
I think that the 100th Psalm was written to deal with that attitude, to remind us of our need to be thankful, and to maintain an attitude of gratitude.
The 100th Psalm was written for the people of God. "When you set down at the table, in your warm homes, and you have plenty, don’t forget God. He has blessed you with everything you have.” But it doesn’t take very long to realize that the people today need to be reminded of this truth.
Alex Haley, the author of "Roots," had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, "Why is that there?" Alex Haley answered, "Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words and think that they are wonderful, and begin to feel proud of myself,
I look at the turtle on top of the fence post and remember that he didn’t get there on his own.
He had help."
That is the basis of thankfulness to remember that we got here with the help of God, and that He is the provider of every blessing we have.
Now, as we look more carefully at this Psalm, we find that there is a series of 5 commands given.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

Psalm 100:1 ESV
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
The first command is in vs. 1, "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth."
The first command is in vs. 1, "Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth."
There is a call to praise (vv. 1-2) and the cause for our praise (v. 3).
It means to "shout with the force of a trumpet blast," There are times to be quiet and solemn in the life of the church.

People everywhere should praise the LORD and enter his presence with jubilation (1-2).

Psalm 100:1–2 ESV
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Entering into the presence of the LORD int eh sanctuary to worship and serve him should be accompanied by shouts of praise and acclamation.
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth” —> God should be recognized as sovereign over all the earth.
“Serve the LORD with gladness!” —> “serve” used in religious context signifies worship as a spiritual service. There should be a heartfelt response to the LORD’s greatness and goodness, and that response will be manifested in joyful service.
Jubilation = shout or ringing cry of celebration.

They should praise him because he is God who made them and takes care of them (3).

Psalm 100:3 ESV
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
“Know” - Introduction of the REASON for the exuberant praise, a recognition. We must know who God is in order to praise Him.
Why should people praise God? Three reasons:
#1: He is God.
Everything they are and everything they have came from him.
#2: He is our Creator. We belong to him and are accountable to him.
“He made us.”
#3: He cares and provides for his people.
“We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.”

Those who enjoy God’s goodness and faithfulness should enter his courts with praise and thanksgiving (4-5).

We most often think of being quiet during prayer time.
But there are over 60 times in the bible where it says I cried with a “loud” voice!
What about singing in the bible? They sang with loud instruments and trumpets and cymbals and praise making a joyful noise.
What about preaching? The prophet stood and cried with a loud voice even Jesus at the ninth hour cried with a loud voice.
The point here isn’t just about volume but what comes from the very depths of your being. There is no such phrase as silent praise. Or quiet Thanksgiving in the bible
There is not enough room in the believer’s heart for love and hatred.
There is not enough room at the table for discord and bitterness.
So Jesus solved the problem. Jesus gave you a blessing. Jesus provided you with a blessing and you realize that it has come from God. So from the depths of your being you proclaim your praise.
Roland Allen tells about a missionary who came up to him one day after he had delivered his sermon. The missionary introduced himself and said, "I was a medical missionary for many years in India. And I served in a region where there was progressive blindness. People were born with healthy vision, but there was something in that area that caused people to lose their sight as they grew older." But this missionary had developed a treatment which would stop progressive blindness. So people came to him and he performed his treatment, and they would leave realizing that they would have become completely blind, but because of him their sight had been saved. He said that they never said, "Thank you," because that phrase was not in their dialect. Instead, they spoke a word that meant, "I will tell your name." Wherever they went, they would tell the name of the missionary who had cured their blindness. They had received something so wonderful that they eagerly proclaimed it.”
and they would leave realizing that they would have become completely blind, but because of him their sight had been saved. He said that they never said, "Thank you," because that phrase was not in their dialect. Instead, they spoke a word that meant, "I will tell your name." Wherever they went, they would tell the name of the missionary who had cured their blindness. They had received something so wonderful that they eagerly proclaimed it.
And that is what the Psalmist is saying. "Suddenly you realize that God has been so good to you that you can’t keep it inside any more. From the depths of your being you shout your joy unto the Lord."’

Serve the LORD with gladness!

Psalm 100:2 ESV
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
The second command says, “Serve the LORD with gladness!”
It doesn’t say "serve the church."
It doesn’t say "serve the preacher.”
It says, "serve the Lord with gladness."
I’m not sure that the average Christian will grasp that.
This is about whatever you do.
Sing with gladness.
Pray with gladness.
Show hospitality with gladness.
Do it because you know Jesus loves you. So whatever you do the command is to Serve the Lord with gladness.
What is your attitude when you do any form or shape of work for the LORD?

Come into his presence with singing!

Psalm 100:2 ESV
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
The third command is, "Come before Him with joyful songs."
says, "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord." And that I can do. Have you noticed? In these first 3 commands, God has said, "I want you to be happy. Shout with joy, serve with gladness, and come with joyful songs."
Take a moment and think about whether or not you are happy. Is there joy in your heart?
Is there celebration in your soul? Is there delight in your spirit? Is there thrill in songs?

Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 100:3 ESV
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
God took every bone, every joint, and He welded them together with sinews and muscles and covered them with skin and gave us eyes that see, ears that hear and brains that think, and fingers that can pick things up. God made us, inside and out. He made you the way He wanted you to be. And He made me the way He wanted me to be. That is a mystery, isn’t it? I don’t understand why, but somehow in God’s providence He decided that He wanted me to be Deaf and learn sign language.
He wanted me to have a receding hair line. Eyes that without glasses I can’t see 10 feet in front of my face.
He didn’t make me a doctor or an engineer, or give me a brain to invent a new innovative appliance.
No, but he made me to be a writer, a speaker, a motivator, a teacher, a caregiver, a pastor. And he is still making me. He is not satisfied with me. He is still working on my weakness. He is still fine tuning my gifts. I am still an unfinished product.
What is he making you to be?
God is still making each of us. He’s still working your life. God is your maker, and you are created in His image.
Therefore give Him thanks for what you can become.
Then He says, "We are His people, the sheep of His pasture."
Most people don’t want to be sheep.
I remember as a kid in the Christmas play. Everyone wanted to be one of the wise men. Or Joseph or a shepherd. But no one volunteered to be the sheep. "It’s not any fun being sheep," we say. But the problem is, we don’t know where the green pastures are. And every time we go out searching for them, we invariably end up lost in the wilderness.
He is saying, "You be the sheep. Let me be the shepherd, and I will lead you beside the still waters and the green pastures. Just let Jesus lead."

Enter his gates

In the O.T. the temple symbolized the presence of God. So whenever the people came to the temple and entered the courtyards they knew that they had come into the presence of God. Now that temple no longer exists. But the place where we meet to worship God is called a "sanctuary," indicating that God is there.
But God is everywhere. You know that. He is with you as you drive on the highway. He is with you when you work. He is with you as you at home. He is with you every moment of your life.
That is the real source of our thanksgiving, isn’t it?

Conclusion

I pray that this will be a meaningful Thanksgiving season for you. Take time to read the 100th Psalm again. And if you’ll heed those commands, your heart will overflow with thanksgiving to the Lord.
This morning the invitation is: If you have a decision on your heart, will you come and make it today, that you’ll come forward, confessing your faith or joining this church in membership or requesting to be baptized, or whatever your need might be that you would come to the altar in thanksgiving and prayer.
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