Charles Stanley - Count Your Blessings
When is the last time you stopped to count your blessings? Now, let's go beyond the things we normally think аbout: whether you have a nice automobile to drive and you live in a nice neighborhood, you wear beautiful clothes, or you have a good job. So, you can think of a lot of things like that that you're grateful for, but I want to go beyond that. I want to think about what the Word of God says as far as the source of our blessings. In other words, you work hard and you have a salary, so you sort of feel like you deserve that, and a few other things in life. But I want us think about the blessings that you have that come from God, purchased by the blood of Jesus at Calvary, blessings that most people never think about, blessings that many people have never heard about, but specific blessings that you and I can claim as our own as a result of a relationship to Jesus Christ.
And so, as we think about it, I want you to start, and let's look, if you will, beginning in Ephesians chapter one. And I want us to read a few verses in this chapter. And I want you to think clearly about some things you probably have not thought about in a pretty good while. Ephesians chapter one, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ".
Now, listen to this, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him," that is in Christ, "before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him," that is in Christ, "we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight".
What an awesome, awesome promise of God. Because some of those words most people probably haven't even thought about. Now, watch this, He chose you in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. Who did the choosing? God did the choosing. He chose us in Christ Jesus, "Before the foundation of the world," in order that what? What's His purpose for choosing us? To have a good time? To be successful? To have notoriety? No. He chose us, "That we would be holy and blameless," holy and blameless before Him. "In love He predestined us to adoption as sons".
Think about that. That's a whole bunch of sermons in one verse of Scripture. It took somebody listening to Almighty God to be able to even think those thoughts. That's not the thinking or the reasoning of a man, this is the language of deity. This is the language of God. This is the knowledge of Holy God. Predestined, chosen in Him, according to His predestined will. "To the praise of His glory which He freely bestowed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption," that is, salvation through Him, "the forgiveness of our sins to the riches of His grace".
Do you know how blessed you are? If you are a child of God, look how rich you are, wealthy you are with things that money can't buy and something that nobody can take away from you. Watch this, "Predestined us to adoption". "Chose us in Him," watch this, "chose us in Him before," Genesis 1:1. And when I think about being thankful, I could just turn to Ephesians one, read the first seven or eight verses or so and be absolutely thrilled to death if I didn't have anything else. That takes care of life before time, during time, after time. Only God Almighty, the Sovereign God of the universe, can make that kind of promise. And when I think about people who have no purpose in life, have no sense of real, nothing exciting about life, I want to say, "Read the first chapter and believe what He says about you".
Every single child of God can claim those verses. He says, "To the saints who are at Ephesus". If he were writing today, he'd say, "To the saints who are in Atlanta," the same thing. And sometime we want to read the Word of God and we want to put it back yonder somewhere, that Paul must have meant something to someone. No, this is for us. This is one of the blessings of Almighty God, that God has made a choice of us even before we were born, He did the choosing. So, that's one thing we could think about. Then, I think about this thirteenth verse, "In Him," that is in Christ, "you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Christ with the Spirit of promise".
Look at that. What we just read, first of all, he says, "Here's what you can count on". You can count on the fact that you were sealed as a child of God. That what He promised will come to pass. Nobody can break the seal of Holy God, Almighty God, Sovereign God of the universe. And these are the blessings, oftentimes, that we overlook. And we think about blessings being this and that and something you can buy, whatever it might be. Here are blessings that, watch, here are blessings that have already been purchased. Already been purchased. Purchased by the blood of Jesus, wrapped in the grace of God given to every single one of us who is willing to believe Him. That's how blessed we are.
Then in chapter 12 of I Corinthians, he talks about the fact that we have been gifted. That is, that we have a variety of gifts. That is this, watch this, the God who made this promise has gifted you in order for you to accomplish whatever He has in mind for you in life. There are seven major gifts, but many other gifts, and so He has equipped us to live out our life according to that gift. For the, for example, there's the gift of service. And a person with the gift of service, that's what motivates them. They want to serve.
Now, most people don't want the gift of service because they think, "Well, I've got to serve somebody". No, you're serving God. All of us, whatever we're doing, we're serving God. So, if I'm serving God, it's important. It may be unimportant to some people, but it's important to you. Here's the thing, you will do best what you are gifted by God to do because He had that in mind for you. When somebody says, "I don't feel important". You're important. When He says He chose you before the foundation of the world, that says you're very important. That Jesus died on the cross for your sins, you're very important. You're indwelt with the Holy Spirit, you're very important. So, promise after promise after promise.
And then, for example, in John 14:21 he says, "He who loves Me will be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will reveal Myself to him". Think about that. He says He loves us. And I discover a lot of people who do not feel loved. They don't feel loved. They can tell you why God doesn't love them. Because this has never happened, or that's never happened, or they don't have this, they've never been there, whatever it might be. God loves every single one of us. And I love that 31 chapter of Jeremiah. Look at for a moment. This is the Old Testament, but I want you to see this verse. 31 chapter, listen to this, "I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness".
Who else can say to you, "I've loved you with an everlasting love"? Most people have never felt real, true, genuine love by anybody. Sons and daughters of their parents, parents, whoever it might be. "I have loved you with an everlasting love". Do you know how long everlasting is? How long is everlasting? That means it never ceases. It has never ceased. We're loved by God twenty-four hours a day. You say, "Well, why does He allow these things to happen"? I can't answer that question, except that I know this: nothing happens to you if you're a child of God without His knowledge of it and His presence and His power. Why does He let certain things happen? All of us have suffered things that we didn't choose to suffer, we didn't like. We'd like for God to have done it some other way. But that's what He allowed. And He'll take every circumstance in life and turn it for our good if we'll trust Him.
If we'll recognize that our God loves us, He cares for us. He's written our name in the Lamb's Book of Life. And He says, "Don't let your heart be troubled," or be afraid. Moment by moment, we have the presence of Almighty God. Don't be afraid. He says, for example, in John fourteen, He says, "My peace I'll leave with you. My peace I give to you". He doesn't promise peace in this world. We live in a world that's full of warfare. And yet, He says, "My peace I give unto you". He doesn't throw it out as a blanket. He gives you peace, him peace, her peace, them peace, my peace. He gives us peace. Because that's who He is. He intends for us to have peace.
The word peace in the Greek is a little word. "Eirene" is a pronunciation of it. It means to bind together. God intends for us to be bound together with Him, to have His peace, His joy, His love, His satisfaction, even in difficult times. We are blessed in ways that we never think about. And then He says, for example, in Philippians four nineteen, he says, "My God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". Now, here's what he does not say. He does not say that God will supply everything you want.
When you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior, watch this, you come under the awesome umbrella of a Sovereign God, who not only will provide everything you need, He'll provide it in time, when He knows you need it, when He knows it's best to give it to you. He'll protect you, watch over you, and care for you no matter what. It doesn't mean you won't suffer. Doesn't mean you won't have hard times, because what drives us to God? Is oftentimes pain and suffering and hurt. And we're driven to God also by His awesome love for us. When you think of the things you have to be grateful for, we're talking about eternal blessings. We're talking about the blessings that Almighty God has signed and sealed with your name in it. We're talking about blessings that nobody can take away. You trusted Christ as your Savior, who can take away your eternal security? Nobody. What are we thankful for? What do we take for granted?
And most of the time, I'm afraid we're thankful for material things: where you live, what you drive, what you wear, your job, and this, that, and the other. The most precious, valuable commodities of your life are all spiritual things. The presence of God, the power of God, a knowledge of God. Think about this, think about what you know about the Lord. You're blessed. You're blessed every day. You're blessed with eternal life that never ceases, with the eternal presence of Almighty God, who answers our prayers, who says, "I'll never leave you nor forsake you. I'll supply all your needs".
The problem is we don't know the God we say we serve. You can come to church and sing about the grace of God and sing about the goodness of God, and watch this, you can sing it and it comes in your mind, out your lips, but as far as experiencing, enjoying the awesome God, do you enjoy talking to God? When I think about prayer and the wonderful privilege of, watch this, look around you. Who created all this? The Sovereign God of the universe created everything that's here. You and I have the privilege of talking to Him.
Now, you probably have somebody in life that you just love talking to them or listening to them. What about God? What about God? You can talk to God. You say, "Well, I don't know Him very well". The reason you don't know Him very well is because you don't read His Book. When you read His Book, you get excited. When you read His Book, you're thrilled about what He can do. When you read His Book, all of a sudden, you get a whole different opinion of who God is. He is not somebody out in the far future somewhere, invisible future. But He is a warm, intimate, personal God, listen, who sent His Son, Jesus, in order that you and I may recognize, yes, He can feel what I feel. Yes, He does understand when I hurt. Yes, He does understand when I don't understand. That's the God we serve.
The world in which you and I live, they don't know the God you and I serve. And then in first Corinthians, fifteen, fifty-one. Listen to what He says, He says, "Behold, I tell you a mystery, we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, the trump will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed". Which means what? Your loved one, my loved ones, whose body we saw last in a casket, placed in a hole, covered with dirt, that's not the end. There's a resurrection for every single child of God, a new body that exists forever and ever with Almighty God. Thank God there is no end to your life. That's a promise of Almighty God.
That's why we don't have to fear death. When is the last time you thanked Him, that when He calls you home, you're going to meet Him face to face? When's the last time you ever said, "Lord, I don't know when, I'm not too happy about coming too soon, but I'm happy about it when I do come, I'm going to meet You. I'm going to be happy to meet You, Lord". When I think about all You've done for me, all the stuff All the things You've gotten me through and all the mistakes I've made and sins I've committed, and You're still going to meet me. The blood of Jesus Christ has washed us clean and made us pure in His sight.
God is our God, not some fictitious idea that people write about. The Sovereign God of the universe, He's God. And I think, what He says in John 14, I'm going, "To prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I'll come again to receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also". And so, another one of His promises. Listen, going to prepare a place for you.
If somebody says, "What's heaven going to be like"? I don't know. I'll tell you what I do know. It's going to be like the God I serve and you serve. That's what heaven's going to be like. I do want to see Jesus. And so, when I think about all that we have to be grateful for. And when He says, "I'm going to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I'll come again one of these days to receive you to Myself, that where I am there you will be also".
Now, there's one other thing I'm grateful for... Many, many people, many people in the world have never seen one. Many people, if they saw it, wouldn't know what it is. Of all the things that exist on the face of this earth, here's number one. Here's how it all started. Here's how it all going to end. And here's what's going to happen from beginning to end. The Living Word of God. Every parent should teach it to their children. And one of the first gifts you ought to give your child is a copy of the Word of God. There are people who live and die just to get a copy of the Word of God. "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever". Amen? Let's pray.
Father, we bless You. We praise Your Holy Name. We thank You for giving us the Word and we thank You for inspiring, stirring the hearts of men to pen what You told them. Thank You for all the centuries that have gone by that You have preserved Your precious Word, Your precious promises. Thank You that we have the promise of eternal life. Thank You we have the promise of Your presence within us, guiding us, sealing us, keeping us. So, we ask You, Father, to accept our thanks. We humble ourselves before You and acknowledge we owe You everything, everything, God. And we give ourselves to you this morning afresh and anew, and praise Your Holy Name. And we ask it in Jesus's Name. Amen, amen.