Derek Prince - When We're Unthankful, We're Out Of The Grace Of God
This excerpt is from: Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship
Let me talk for the rest of this particular session on the theme of thanksgiving. I'd like to read one verse from Hebrews 12:28. It would be rather interesting, I'm reading from the NKJV, which is very similar to the authorized version, but a little bit updated. Some of you probably have the New International Version. If you do, you will notice a very remarkable difference between the two. Let me read it first and then point it out to you, because it brings out the point that I want to establish. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Now where the New King James says: 'Let us have grace,' the NIV says: 'Let us be thankful.'
I want to point out to you why each of them is a correct translation. Because, in Greek, to have grace, and the key word is 'charis', is to say, 'Thank you.' I don't know whether any of you have any knowledge of modern Greek. But the standard Greek word for 'thank you' is 'efharisto'. Which is directly related to charis, grace. So what I want to point out to you is there's a direct connection... between grace and thankfulness. An unthankful person is a person out of the grace of God. You cannot be unthankful and be in the grace of God. There are three modern languages that bring this out. Probably familiar to some of you. French: grâce. 'Grâce à Dieu' means 'thanks to God.' It's exactly the word 'grace'. It's spelled exactly the same way as the English word. Italian: the word for 'thank you' is 'grazie', directly related to grace. Spanish: gracias.
So you see those three romance languages, that is languages that are based on Latin,... all retain the direct connection between grace and thankfulness. What I want to emphasize, and it's tremendously important for all of us, is when we are unthankful, we're out of the grace of God. You cannot be in the grace of God and be unthankful. You cannot separate thankfulness from the grace of God. So we can say, 'Let us be thankful,' or, 'Let us have grace,' and we're saying the same thing. You cannot have grace without being thankful. I wonder if you'd like to say that with me? I want to emphasize it. Let me say it once and then you say it after me. We cannot have grace without being thankful. 'We cannot have grace without being thankful.' Praise God!
Now let's take some statements about thankfulness in quick succession. Mainly from the epistles of Paul. In fact, from four different epistles. Starting with Colossians 3:15-17. 'And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful.' That's not a suggestion. That's a command. Be thankful. Then he goes on. 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts,' (notice that word), 'and whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.' So we are never allowed to do anything without giving thanks to God for it. The two ways we are to do everything we do are 'in the Name of Jesus'... and 'giving thanks to God'. And that sets a real wonderful boundary.
Young people sometimes come to me and say: 'Is it all right for me to do this or do that.' To attend some place of entertainment or something. I said: 'If you can go there and do it in the Name of the Lord Jesus... and giving thanks to God by Him, it's all right. And if you can't, it's not all right.' Because that sets the limits to what we are free to do. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus,... giving thanks to Him. So thanks is not an option, it's essential. And then in Ephesians 5:18, Paul speaks about what it means to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. And he says: 'Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.'
It's remarkable how much the church has focused on the negative... and ignored the positive. Isn't it? I mean, everybody knows you shouldn't be drunk with wine. But how many know you have to be filled with the Spirit? What's the result of being filled the Spirit? The next verse tells us: 'Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord, and...,' What's the final overflow? 'giving thanks always for all things to God the Father... in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.' So again, when you are full of the Holy Spirit, you will be continually giving God thanks. You can measure the fullness of the Spirit within you partly by that, how much time do you spend giving God thanks? When you cease to give God thanks, you're beginning to leak out. That's just one sure indication.
And then again in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Some of the shortest verses in the New Testament, but they say an awful lot. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: 'Rejoice always...' Very simple to say, isn't it? It takes more grace to do it. 'Pray without ceasing.' Never come to the end of praying. You don't have to pray all the time, but never say, 'Now I'm finished praying.' I think it was said of Smith Wigglesworth... that he never prayed more than half an hour at a time, but he never went half an hour without praying. That's a good picture of what it means to pray without ceasing. And then we come to the third of these three pithy requirements. 'In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.' What is the will of God in Christ Jesus? To give thanks in everything. So if you are not giving thanks, you're out of the will of God. Do you understand? I've dealt with many Christian workers who were in the right place, doing the right job, but they felt out of the will of God. And it wasn't because of the place or the job. It was because they had ceased... to be continually thankful.
So remember: the moment you cease to be thankful, you're out of the will of God. Not necessarily for what you're doing, but because you're not responding to God. And then Philippians 4:6, Philippians 4:6 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving... let your request be made known to God.' Never bring a request to God without thanksgiving. Years ago, I read and was tremendously impressed by the journals of John Wesley. I always remember his comment on this verse. It says: 'In everything by prayer and supplication.' And he took out those three words 'everything by prayer', and he said: 'I am persuaded God does everything by prayer and nothing without it.' And I believe that really is a basic truth. But Paul says here: Don't bring a request to God without thanksgiving. Whatever request you have, bring it with thanksgiving.