ASHAMED OF OUR BEST: THANKSGIVING Dan Lightfoot 1482
A. "I do not know the man!" These are the words of a man who was ashamed of the best thing that had ever come into his life.
B. The story of Peter's denial of Christ is one of the most dramatic events of recorded history. It will be analyzed & proclaimed as long as the world stands. Thankfully, the aspect of this sad story that gets the most attention is his subsequent repentance & salvation. There was a way home.
C. Someone defined Christianity as, "The religion of all poor devils."
1. Peter was certainly a "poor devil" unworthy of the death of the savior.
2. But the lesson we wish to draw from this story is contained in the statement, "I do not know the man"!
D. Describe the pathetic scene.
E. Jesus was God's brightest and best gift to a rash sinful Peter, and yet …
Peter was ashamed of God's best.
This attitude can be found in secular life, too:
A. Did you know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was ashamed of Sherlock Holmes?
1. In The Speckled Band, he killed off Sherlock Holmes -- only to be forced by public demand to resurrect him.
2. Doyle complained, "He takes my mind off better things."
3. He actually believed that his 2nd-rate historical novel The White Company was far better than any of the Holmes stories.
B. Beatrix Potter, as a young girl, wrote The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
1. Her little story of Flopsy Mopsy & Cotton Tail was destined to become a children's classic.
2. But she considered the book an embarrassment.
3. In Middle age, she married an aristocratic landowner in No. England.
a. She went in for respectability. She became a fat, stuffy old woman who refused to allow the mention of Peter Rabbit in her presence.
b. She became an expert Rabbit hunter.
4. Millions of little children have looked at that story with Beatrix Potter's name on it in joyful adoration & yet she was ashamed of it.
C. Tolstoy hated War and Peace.
D. As we approach Thanksgiving holiday, I think of how richly we have been blessed by our God. Yet, I can't help wondering: Are we thankful for the blessings he has poured out on us or are we ashamed of our best.
1. As we speak of blessings from God, we naturally are thinking of the material ways that God has blessed us. & He has!
2. God has blessed us in many ways from a material perspective, but the greatest blessings of all are those in the spiritual realm.
3. "Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven" -- 2 Cor. 4:16-5:2
"And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:17)
I. Be Thankful For The Church
A. Its value is reflected in its cost
1. We know that we value things by their price...
2. "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of god which He purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28).
a. Think about that!
B. It's value is reflected in its mission -- (spread the gospel & be the chosen vessel through which God is glorified) (Eph 3:10-21).
1. … the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known thru the church…
… to Him be the glory in the church…
… it is the church that God works in to do exceeding abundantly beyond all we as or think, according to the power that works within us."
2. In Ephesians God is concerned that we be concerned about
"...the whole building" (2:21); … the "whole family" (3:15);
… the "whole body" (4:16); and "all the saints" (4:18).
C. Whether we are ashamed of it can be seen by the way we treat it!
1. I've made this point 100,000 times…(but some haven't gotten it yet!)
2. Acts 8:3 says of Saul: "Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men & women and put them in prison."
a. But when Jesus confronted Saul he said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9:2).
b. When Saul persecuted the church, he persecuted Jesus. This was true because the church is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:21-22).
3. It logically follows that when we are ashamed of the church, we are ashamed of Jesus.
4. A.T. Robertson used to say that one proof of the inspiration of the Bible is that it has withstood so much poor preaching. And Duke McCall said, "Likewise one proof that the church is God's instrument is that it has not blown apart with all of us in it."
5. Thank God for the church. For all the saved are in it. (Acts 2:47)
II. Be Thankful For The Bible
A. A. Lincoln said, "This great book … is the best gift God has given to man … But for it we could not know right from wrong."
B. The Bible is the one book designed to meet all our needs.
1. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 -- "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, & is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2. There is a Spaghetti Sauce commercial where the woman is shocked to discover her mother is about to pour a jar of commercial sauce into a pan. "But it doesn't have herbs," complains the daughter.
"IT'S IN THERE, responds her mother."
"It doesn't have real Italian sausages," cries the daughter.
"IT'S IN THERE!" responds the mother." The mother is assuring the daughter that everything necessary for a real sauce is in the jar.
C. 2 Tim. 3:16-17 says that everything you need for this life & the one to come IS IN THERE (in the Bible).
I need to know where I came from. IT'S IN THERE.
I need to know why I'm here. IT'S IN THERE.
I need to learn about salvation. IT'S IN THERE.
I need teaching. IT'S IN THERE.
I need to know what I'm doing wrong. IT'S IN THERE.
I need correction. IT'S IN THERE.
I need to know how to live right. IT'S IN THERE.
I need to grow up and be mature. IT'S IN THERE.
I need to know how to be trained for good works. IT'S IN THERE.
I want to know where I'm going. IT'S IN THERE.
I want to know how to be happy. IT'S IN THERE.
D. Psalms 119:1-6 -- "How blessed are those whose way is £blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart. 3 They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways. 4 You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently. 5 Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes!
6 Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments."
1. 119:46 -- "I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings & shall not be ashamed."
2. 119:80 -- "May my heart be blameless in Your statutes, So that I will not be ashamed."
E. The only source of faith.
1. Rom. 10:17 -- "So faith comes from hearing, & hearing by the word of Christ.
2. Anything you learned any where else is religious prejudice
Jude 3 -- "...the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."
3. Sir Walter Scott wrote in chap. 12 of The Monastery in 1920:
"With this awful volume lies… The mystery of mysteries.
Happiest they, of human race, … To whom our God has granted grace
To read, to fear, to hope, to pray, … To lift the latch, and force the way;
And better had they ne'er been born … Who read to doubt, or read to scorn."
4. Whittier wrote: "We search the world for truth.
We cull the good, the pure, the beautiful
From graven stone and written scroll,
From all old flower fields of the soul.
And Weary seekers of the best,
We come back laden from our quest
To find that all that the sages said
Was already in the book our mothers read."
4. Such a great blessing and yet, are we ashamed to be seen with it in public or to share its message?????????
a. Thankfulness for it will inevitably mean a pride in it, & a proper use of it, a familiarity with its contents.
III. Fellow Christians.
A. 2 Cor. 7:16 -- "I rejoice that in everything I have confidence in you."
Phil. 1:3-5 -- "I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, 5 in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now."
1. We share a common salvation, a common Savior, common goals, love, hope, faith, future… We are sons of God together.
2. "People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered. Love them anyway.
And be thankful for them ...
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway. And be thankful.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
And be thankful.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. (building construction committee: If you do a bad job they'll remember you forever.) Do good, and be thankful for the opportunity.
People favor underdogs, but follow only topdogs. Fight for some underdogs anyway. And be thankful for them.
Give the church the best you've got, and be thankful for it.
IV. Above All, be Thankful for Christ
A. His first great sacrifice (Read Phil. 2:5-13).
1. "Just as you have always obeyed…" Paul said.
2. Have you obeyed?
Have you developed a faith that trusts Jesus completely?
Have you repented of your sins?
Have you been baptized into Christ?
3. After all, that is the greatest way to say, "Thanks!"
We hope that by visiting this website, you have been blessed.
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