Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, November 14
  • How Great Thou Art
  • Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • His Mercy Is More
  • Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)
  • Turn to Eph. 1.
    “O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” William Shakespeare
    I know what replete means - it means to be full or abundantly filled, but I looked it up in the dictionary for giggles and the synonyms and antonyms are what caught my attention.
    Synonyms: blubbery, fat, portly, plump, pudgy… of course there are more. But listen to the antonyms: lean, skinny, sparse, thin.
    What kind of a heart do you have? A heart that is plump and pudgy with thankfulness? Or is it thin and lean? Ruminate on that as we go along this morning.
    Chapter 1 is nicely divided into two sections - a blessing or hymn of praise and then a prayer.
    “First, [Paul] blesses God for having blessed us in Christ; then he prays that God will open our eyes to grasp the fullness of this blessing” (John Stott).
    Think about that statement. Paul wrote to Christians - people who have a relationship with Jesus, people who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, people who go to church, and yet he prays that they would “get it” - that they would understand the blessings they have in Christ.
    Why is such a prayer necessary?
    As we read this, pay attention to Paul's prayer, and compare his prayer with your own.
    Ephesians 1:13–20 ESV
    In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
    Ephesians 1:15 ESV
    For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
    Question: What was it that Paul heard about these saints? Now we don't know specifically, but it had to be something fairly significant that he received reports about how they were living out the Christian faith.
    Whatever it was that they were doing they gained a reputation for their faith in Christ and their love toward people, specifically toward their brothers and sisters in Christ. The two go hand in hand. You cannot claim to love Christ if you don’t or can’t love others - especially other Believers. If we don’t love others as Christ commanded, then there’s something is wrong with us, with our faith - not the other people.
    “It is impossible to be in Christ and not to find oneself drawn both to him in trust and to his people in love,” (John Stott).
    1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
    So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
    1 John 3:14–15 ESV
    We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
    We would do well to evaluate how well we love others - especially the saints.
    So these saints got it. Because of their faith they took action. Authentic faith calls us into action - to do something that is Kingdom work. Consequently, they had a good reputation. People heard about what they were doing. “Did you hear about that church in Ephesus?”
    Several questions: What is Sunnyside’s reputation? What do others hear or know about this congregation? What do you want our reputation to be? What do you want Jesus to say about this church? What are you willing to do to ensure SCN has a good rep?
    So these saints got it and notice Paul’s response.
    Ephesians 1:16–17 ESV
    I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
    There’s more here that we’ll get to later but notice his prayer is broken into two sections - first thanksgiving and then petition (praying on other’s behalf). Do a quick comparison with your prayers and Paul’s. How much praise, how much thanksgiving are in our prayers? Is there anyone that you are continually giving thanks for - specifically in the area of faith and love? Flip that around ….
    Back to praying - thanksgiving is an integral part of the Christian’s life and prayer life. Got to ask - what do our prayers mostly consist of? Complaining? Whining? God do this? God do that? Healing. Help me?
    The one thing that a lot of us probably need to do more of is possibly the thing we lack the most - giving God thanks and praise.
    Philippians 4:6 ESV
    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
    Psalm 118:1 ESV
    Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
    Psalm 69:30 ESV
    I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
    Ephesians 5:18–20 ESV
    And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    1 Thessalonians 5:16–19 ESV
    Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.
    Romans 1:8–10 ESV
    First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
    So, you can see how important thanksgiving is to the saint. If we’re not giving thanks consistently, if we’re not finding God’s blessings daily, if we’re not finding reasons to be thankful, then what are we doing? Because if we’re not thankful, then we’re probably something else. If we’re not thankful, then our focus is where and on what and on whom?
    Psalm 33:1 NIV
    Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
    Psalm 33:1 HCSB
    Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise from the upright is beautiful.
    Wrap up -
    Who needs to know you are thankful for their faith and love?
    What reputation do you want Sunnyside to have?
    How can you add more genuine thanksgiving to your prayers?
    What is one thing you can do this week to be more thankful every day?
    Let me close with this prayer from …
    Day 41 - about others
    Day 101 - Scrubbing the floor
      • Psalm 33:1NLT

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