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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Rick Warren » Rick Warren - How God Blesses Grateful Hearts

Rick Warren - How God Blesses Grateful Hearts

Rick Warren - How God Blesses Grateful Hearts
TOPICS: Gratitude, Thankfulness

Hi, everybody. Have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do! Happy Thanksgiving! In a sense, this next week is Thanksgiving. I'm pausing my series on pain so we can prepare ourselves for Thanksgiving Day. So you know what I did this last week? I read through, again, every reference to gratitude and thanksgiving in the Bible. And there are actually over 400 passages that mentioned thanksgiving or gratitude. Now what I saw in my Bible study were two big ideas. First, God wants gratitude to be the primary motivation behind everything we do or say or think. Let me say that again. God wants gratitude to be the primary motive, the primary motivation, behind everything that we do or say or think. He wants us to do everything out of thanksgiving and out of gratitude.

The second thing I learned is that God rewards gratitude with a long list of blessings and benefits, when we live with this continual attitude of gratitude or thanksgiving. So today, if you'll get out your message notes, I want to share how God blesses grateful hearts. How God blesses grateful hearts. And I want to identify a short sample list of benefits of gratitude. And then I'm gonna give you a starter list of Bible verses that you can use on Thanksgiving Day. And then we're gonna practice God's three favorite ways that he loves for us to use in expressing our gratitude to him. This is what I call God's love language.

Now, let's start by reading the top two scriptures on the top of your outline. Deuteronomy chapter 28:1 to 8 talks about the importance of obedience and the blessing that God gives when we obey his commands. It says that, Deuteronomy 28:1 to 8, "If you fully obey the Lord your God, and if you carefully follow all his commands, all of these blessings will be yours". And then it gives us a laundry list. "The Lord will bless you in the city and in the country. He will bless your children as well as blessing your crops and your livestock. The Lord will bless your harvest and the food you prepare. The Lord will bless wherever you go. The Lord will even defeat your enemies when they attack you. Yes, the Lord will send his blessing on all you put your hand to and bless everything you do".

Now, God promises these blessings to us if we do what he tells us to do. In other words, if we follow his instructions for life, he says, "I'm gonna bless everything you do". Now this past week, as I was studying what God tells us to do about the importance of gratitude, you know what I noticed? That five different times in scripture, God tells us that gratitude is far, far more than just saying thank you every so often. No, no, gratitude is a constant mindset. You might write that down. Gratitude is a constant mindset of thankfulness. It's more than just saying thank you every once in a while to God or to people. It's an attitude of gratitude that you make as your lifestyle.

God wants us to respond to everything that happens in our lives with an attitude of gratitude. Now, what I want to do is read the next verse aloud together. So everybody look at that, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 from the New Living Translation. And let's read it slowly aloud together. Okay, ready? "Always be thankful in all circumstances for this is God's will for you". Now, "Always be thankful in all circumstances," that about covers everything, right? There's no loophole there. "Always be thankful in all circumstances for this is God's will for you". Now if you obey that, God says, "I'm gonna bless you in every area of your life". And notice that he says, "This is God's will for you, God's will for your life". You say, "I want to know God's will for my life". God's will is that you are always grateful. You're always thankful. You're always full of the attitude of gratitude.

Now, of course, when God wants us to help us do the right thing, he always attaches a benefit or blessings to doing it. I happen to have right now in my library, 79 different books on the topic of gratitude. So I've studied this a lot, 79 different books just on the topic of gratitude. And what I've discovered is that both scripture and scientific studies show that having a mindset of gratitude yields great, great blessings. This is an important message that I'm gonna share with you before Thanksgiving but you're gonna use it the rest of your life. This could actually be an entire series of messages. But let me just breeze through some bullet points. There on your outline, there's a list of bullet points on the benefits of the blessings of gratitude.

Notice first, gratitude improves your brain and your physical health. Did you know that? I don't have time to go into all of these and talk about it, but doctors say that gratitude is the healthiest human emotion. It improves your brain, it improves your physical health.

Number two, gratitude creates happiness. If you want to be happy, develop a thankful heart. The happiest people are those who are the most grateful.

Number three, gratitude helps you sleep better. You probably didn't know that. That's a recent discovery but the Bible told us that literally thousands of years ago in the Book of Proverbs.

Gratitude, number four, is the antidote to toxic emotions. In other words, it defeats things like worry and depression and anger and fear. You can't be grateful and worried at the same time or depressed and grateful the same time. It defeats those toxic emotions.

The next one, gratitude improves relationships. You want better relationships? Become a more grateful man or woman. You know what, if you express gratitude more to your spouse, you'd have a whole lot less conflict.

And then, gratitude opens the door to people and to other opportunities. I had a personal example of that I could tell you this week but I don't have time to tell you. Gratitude, when you express gratitude to people, you make friends, it opens doors, it gives you opportunities.

Gratitude, the Bible says, is the evidence of spiritual maturity. You want to know if you're spiritually mature? How grateful are you? How much do you live with the attitude of gratitude? Colossians 2:9 says this, look on the screen, "Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, always overflowing with," circle this, "thanksgiving". All right? It is a mark of maturity. The more mature you are, the more grateful you'll be.

And then gratitude pleases God and it brings his blessing. The Bible says it's the sacrifice that God loves most, the sacrifice of gratitude. Now what has always baffled me about Thanksgiving Day is how very little actual time is given to thanksgiving of God. We spend a full day preparing the meal. We spend several hours watching football and talking and maybe just hanging out. And maybe one or two minutes thanking God in prayer, because you don't want the food to get cold with a long prayer. So even though it's Thanksgiving Day, it's what we do the least of on that day. So I want to give you some homework. It's a homework assignment for Thanksgiving Day with those that you have Thanksgiving with. Here is a starter list for thanking God this Thanksgiving.

You say, "I don't know what to be thankful for". Well, it's a list of verses. And what I would encourage you to do is, when you're sitting at the table together, ask everybody around your table to read one of the verses. Okay? And then after all the verses have been read, you might start a discussion, simply asking, "Well which of these verses are you the most thankful for"? And it may be something that's already been mentioned or maybe something that hasn't been mentioned. What does God want us to be grateful for? Not just at Thanksgiving but all the time. Well, as we go through this list of verses, and again, didn't give you any blanks, so just circle the reason in each verse, okay?

Here are some reasons why we need to be the most grateful people of all people. First, because God gave us life. God gave us life. Psalm 139:13 and 14, "You created and formed me," circle that. "You created and formed me in my mother's body. So I thank you because you made me". I wouldn't even be alive, if it weren't for God. That's reason enough.

Number two, we can be thankful that we're still alive! Are you glad you're still alive from a year ago? Ecclesiastes 11:8 says, "Be grateful for every year you live". That's another thing to be grateful for.

Number three, we can be grateful that he saved us. Psalm 13:5, "My heart is happy because you saved me".

Number four, we can be grateful because God is good. God is good. Circle this, "I give you thanks because you are good," says Psalm 54:6.

Here's another one. I can be grateful that God answers our prayers. Psalm 118:21, "I praise the Lord for answering my prayers".

And I can be grateful that he shows us how to live. Psalm 16:7, "I praise the Lord because he guides me".

Here's another one, "I can praise the Lord, I can thank God that he forgives me". Psalm 118:1, "Tell the Lord how thankful you are because he is kind and always merciful".

And then number eight, I can be grateful that he will never stop loving us. Psalm 107:8, "Give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love". Now, I want to spend the rest of our time together, looking at what I call God's three favorite ways. God's three favorite ways for us to express gratitude to him.

This last week in my study of every passage in the Bible that references gratefulness and thanksgiving, I found at least a dozen different ways that God tells us to express our gratitude. He tells us. But I want to focus on just the three most mentioned ways because they are mentioned more than all the others put together. These must be God's favorite expressions of gratitude. Because as I said, he refers to them, these three that I'm gonna share today, more than all the others combined.

Now, the Bible has a lot to say about the songs of thanksgiving, the offerings of thanksgiving and the cup of thanksgiving. I'm sure you're aware that we all have, as human beings, different love languages. Your love language is different than the language of your spouse. What makes your spouse feel loved is different than what makes you feel loved. We like to be told that we're loved in different ways. That's because we're all different. Well, so does God. And what I'm gonna share with you today are God's three top love languages. These are the ones that bring him the most pleasure.

So let's look at the first one. The first habit of expressing gratitude is this, write it down, singing back to God. Singing back to God. Now you may not know this, nobody has ever told this to you, but God is a singing God. Did you know that? The Bible tells us that God sings. In fact, here's a shocker. He sings about you. He sings love songs and joyful songs about you. Zephaniah chapter 3:17 says this, "The Lord your God is with you, and he is your mighty savior. He takes great delight in you calming your fears with his love and he rejoices over you with singing about you". Did you know that verse? God rejoices over you with singing about you.

Now, let me just say this. Think about this. You've never heard God sing over you, but one day in heaven, you're going to hear God sing about you. And it's gonna be the most beautiful, joyful sound you've ever heard. I can't wait to hear pure, perfect joy. We have joy on this planet, but it's a broken joy, it's an imperfect joy. When God sings, it is pure perfect joy. And you're gonna get to hear God singing over you one day. That's something to look forward to. Have you ever listened to a mother calm her baby by quietly singing to that baby? I could never forget the sacred moments of listening to my wife, Kay, love our children with lullabies. I can hear her voice, in a soft voice, humming and singing to our babies.

That's how God loves you. God sings. You didn't know that. In fact, the only reason music exists in the universe is because God invented it. God is a musical God. And since you were created in his image, you like music too. Horses don't like music, they're not created in his image. Worms don't like music, they're not created in his image. So let me show you just a few verses of scripture where God tells us to express our thanks to him through singing. Psalm 147:7, "Sing out your thanks to him. Sing praises to our God". Psalm 95:2, "Let us come before him with thanksgiving," that's what we're talking about, "and sing joyful songs of praise".

Now friends, this is one of the main reasons for coming together to worship together instead of just watching a service online. You miss the value of singing praise together. You may not realize this but you sing better when you sing with others, right? Yeah, I don't like to hear myself sing but I don't mind singing when there's 500 or 1,000 other people out there. Colossians 3:16 says this, "Sing psalms and hymns and sacred songs, singing to God with thanksgiving in your hearts". This is the first habit of thanksgiving that God loves, singing back the God. Are you doing that? Some of you, "I don't sing". Some of you say, "I can't sing".

Some of you say, "I've lost my voice, sir. I never had it". Listen, and listen closely to a pastor who loves you. God loves your voice. He gave it to you. He gave you your voice. He wants to hear your voice from you. Not somebody else's, not you trying to be somebody else. He wants to hear your voice because he gave it to you. And if you are embarrassed about singing with your voice, I'll just be honest with you, you've got a pride problem. You got an ego issue. You need to learn to accept yourself the way God does. You need to treat yourself the way God does. God enjoys hearing you sing praise to him. God wants you to learn to sing to him all the time.

Look at this verse on the screen, Psalm 44:8, "All day long we praise our God". Not just in service and worship on the weekends. All day long we praise to God. We are always grateful to him. Now some of us hum more than we sing. We hum our thanksgiving song, that's okay. You say, "Well, okay, all day long. What about at night"? Well, if you're not gonna wake anybody up, sing away! Go right ahead and sing away. But if you've got a full house at your home, Psalm 63:6, from the message says, "If I'm sleepless at night, I spend hours in grateful reflection". Why? 'Cause that's not gonna bother anybody. The first habit of gratitude is singing back to God. Singing back to God. It's one of God's three favorite ways for you to express your gratitude to him.

Now here's the second habit of gratitude. Giving back to God. Write that down, giving back to God. At Thanksgiving or any other time, we give thanks by giving back to God. We give thanks by giving. We give back the first part of what he has given to us. Let's look at some scripture on this. Psalm 54:6 says this, "I will offer a sacrificial offering as a special gift to thank you, Lord, because you are so good". That's a thanksgiving offering. We talked about a thanksgiving song but the Bible talks about a thanksgiving offering, an offering where we give to give thanks.

You know, about 400 years ago, a group of Christian believers who were being persecuted for their faith, left Europe and moved to North America in order to establish a colony that allowed religious liberty so they could worship God freely. And those original people who came 400 years ago from Europe were called the Pilgrims. 400 years ago, they established, with the native Americans in their area, a Thanksgiving Day in the fall to give thanks to God. That's where the whole Thanksgiving Day got started of the modern days.

Now a lot of nations have Thanksgiving Days. 150 years later after the Pilgrims, America's first president, George Washington, created at the urging of Congress, the first national Thanksgiving holiday. If you'd like to see Washington's proclamation, just write me a note and give me your email on a card. I'll be glad to send it to you this week. You might want to read Washington's original proclamation. It'll blow your mind what the president of the United States said about the necessity of being grateful to God. And it's pretty clear.

So that happened 400 years ago, the first modern Thanksgiving. And then 150 years later, the first Thanksgiving holiday for a nation. But did you know that 3,000 years before that, 3,000 years before that, God had told the nation of Israel to establish a thanksgiving festival every year called the Feast of Weeks. And they were to celebrate God's goodness, and they were to express their gratitude to God by bringing him a special thanksgiving offering. That's 3,000 years before the modern Thanksgiving Day. Deuteronomy chapter 16:10 and 11 says this. I love this, the TEV version, "Celebrate the harvest festival to honor the Lord your God by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you. Do this at the place of worship".

So in the original Thanksgiving Day, they were to bring a gift of thanksgiving to the place of Thanksgiving. That's the temple, it's where they worshiped. Now this thanksgiving offering, it's been practiced by God's people for thousands and thousands of years. And we've practiced it here at Saddleback since our church began 42 years ago. So this week, we're gonna be doing our annual thanksgiving offering. It's mentioned many, many times in the Bible, such as in Psalm 116:17, where king David says this, "I will sacrifice a thanksgiving offering to you".

Now listen, this is God's second favorite way of being thanked. He talks about it over and over and over. The thanksgiving offering is mentioned many times in scripture. In Psalm 50:23, God says this, "Those people who truly honor me are those," who are they? "Who bring me offerings to show thanks". "Those people who truly honor me," God says, "are those who bring me offerings to show thanks. And I, God, save those who do that". It's one of God's favorite love languages. Singing back to God and giving back to God are, you know, examples and illustrations of gratitude. Anytime we give an offering to God, it actually represents three kinds of gratitude. It's a 3D gratitude, past, present, future. When I give an offering to God, it represents, I'm grateful for God's blessing in the past, I'm grateful for God's blessing today, and I'm grateful in faith for God's continued blessing in the future. I thank him for the past, I thank him for today, and I thank him that he's gonna keep on taking care of me in the future. Three kinds of gratitude.

So what kind of offering are we to bring to show our gratitude to God? Well the Bible says it over and over and over and over, we are to give God the first part of our income. Not the leftovers. Not, well, I pay all my bills and whatever's left, I'll give to God. We are to put God first in our finances. Now God knows this is a step of faith, putting him first, which is why he tells us to do it. Because it's a step of faith. God is more interested in your faith. He certainly doesn't need your money. God doesn't need your money. He owns it all. The money you got isn't really yours. It was somebody else's before yours, it's yours right now on loan, it will be loaned to somebody else later. God just wants to know if you trust him.

Now, as I said, with every principle, God gives us, that God gives us, he also attaches a promise. There are more promises in the Bible related to giving back to God than any other promises in the scripture. Proverbs 3:9 and 10 is a good example. Proverbs 3:9 and 10 says this, "Honor the Lord by giving him," circle this the first part, circle first part, "by giving him the first part of your income". And here's the promise. That was the premise, here's the promise. "He will fill your barns and barrels to overflow with more".

God says giving him an offering is not just an act of gratitude. It's an act of faith. And God always honors faith. So he promises to bless you back. That's why I said there are more promises in the Bible attached to giving and generosity than any other subject. Why? God wants his children to be like him. God is a generous God. Everything you have in life is a gift of God's love. God is the number one giver. God so loved the world that he gave. You can give without loving but you can't love without giving. God so loved that he gave. And if you love God, you're gonna give. And if you love others, you're gonna give. Now he says, "Here's the promise. Give me the first part, and I'll overflow your barns and your barrels". In other words, you're gonna get back more than you could possibly give to me. God is saying you give to me and I'll give to you and we'll see who wins.

Now Jesus expanded and extended the promise we just read, Proverbs 3, by saying it this way in Luke chapter 6:38. Look up here on the screen. This is from the New Living Translation, Luke 6:38, "If you give," this is Jesus talking, "If you give, you will receive. And your gift will return to you in full measure". And then he says, "Pressed down, shaken together, to make room for more". Like you got a bag of beans, you keep shaking it so it can hold more. Pressed down, pressed down, "shaken together to make room for more and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving, large or small," Jesus is talking, "it will be used to measure what is given back to you".

Do you believe that verse? Do you believe that if you give, God will give back more to you? How much do you trust God? Do you think Jesus is a liar? You know what, I've never understood. Friends, I've never understood, why do people trust Jesus to forgive their sins and save their souls and take them to heaven but they don't trust the same Jesus with their finances and the promises he makes about that? It makes no sense at all. If you can't trust Jesus with your finances, why do you trust him for your salvation? Really, this is a faith issue. How much do you trust God? What we're talking about, of course, giving the first part back to God, is called the principle of tithing.

Tithing is the old English word means 10%. It's not 12%, it's not 20, it's not 1%. Tithing means the first 10%. If I make $10, the first dollar goes back to God. If I make $100, first $10 go back to God. First, we give the first 10% of our income back to God in faith and gratitude. And then he blesses the other 90%. Look at these last two verses in this section, Deuteronomy 14:23, Living Bible, "Bring your tithe," that's the first 10%, "Bring your tithe to the Lord, the first of all you earn. The purpose of tithing is to teach you to always put God first in your lives". Now you may say, "Well, God's first in my life". Well, let me see two things. Let me see your calendar and let me see your checkbook. Because the way you spend your time and the way you spend your money tells me what's really first in your life.

And then one of the greatest promises of all. It's the only promise in the Bible where God says, "You can prove that I exist". It's a good verse for atheists. You want to prove God exist, tithe. Here's what God says, Malachi 3:10, "Bring your whole tithe," that's 10%, "'to my storehouse,' says the Lord, 'so there will be food in my house.'" You bring the first 10% on the first day of the week as an act that God is first. And what's the first day week? Sunday. "As an act of worship, you bring it to my storehouse," says the Lord. You don't give your tithe to your sister or to some nice organization out there. It belongs to God. It goes to his temple. It goes to his storehouse. It says, "so there'll be food in my house". And then he says this, "Test me in this".

You know, I dare you. Try it, you'll like it. Test me. It's the Pepsi challenge verse. Test me in this and see if I won't throw open the floodgates to heaven and pour out so much blessing, you won't have enough room for it. Wow. God says this is the way you can prove God exists, tithe. All right? Tithe. Put him first. And that is God's second favorite way of being told you trust him, of being told you're grateful. We sing songs of thanksgiving and we give back to God in thanksgiving. Now, both last week and this week, those of you who came to worship at one of our campuses, you received the offering envelope for our annual thanksgiving offering. It's our annual offering to God, we do it every year.

I told you last week, I didn't even want you to give last week. I said take it home and pray about it 'cause you really need to thank God and ask God about it. And I told you take it home, pray about it. And if you're ready, you can give your thanksgiving offering when we sing in just a minute. But if you haven't really prayed about it, you can take your envelope home. You can mail it in during the Thanksgiving weekend or you can bring it next weekend. Of course, if you set up online tithing, like most of us have, that's what Kay and I have, you can do that, you can just tithe online. You know, every single week, you guys, I receive the most amazing letters and testimonies from people expressing their gratitude to God through generosity.

One recently was from a guy who, a number of years ago, was down on his luck and he came to Saddleback's free clinic. We helped him in his time of need. And a few years later, he sent a check and it was for $100,000. Let me read you just one letter that I received this week. And then we're gonna give our thanksgiving offering. Here's the letter. It says this, it's not addressed to me, it's actually addressed to you, "Dear Saddleback Church," this from a woman back in the Midwest, she said: Dear Saddleback Church Family, I've been watching online services from my home in the Midwest since the onset of COVID in March, 2020, to today. Your services have been a real blessing to me. I'm often singing and crying alone as I have found inspiration from the services of Saddleback from week to week.

Now these 20 months have been trying in so many ways. So the messages about hope and grace and even pain today, which was last week, have never been more real. Then she writes: Sometimes I ponder what my real purpose is, but God has blessed me well financially. So it may be that part of my purpose is to help you continue to build your Saddleback Church. She says: I'll probably never get to worship in the new facility you're in, although it looks incredible, but my heart will certainly be with you and be with all of you there. So continue your fabulous work. And she signed her name. And she sent a check this week for $50,000. This is a woman who's never even been to our church, but she says, "I want to support the building of Saddleback Church and all its campuses".

Now, right now, as we begin to look at God's third favorite way of us saying thanks to him, expressing gratitude to God, I want to ask the ushers at all of our campuses to begin distributing the communion elements while I'm speaking. You go ahead and get up right now and begin passing out those elements. Now we said that the first of God's three favorite ways that he loves to be shown gratitude is singing back the God. And the second favorite way that God has is for us to give back to God. And we've seen the thanksgiving song and we've seen the power of the thanksgiving offering, but now we come to what's called the thanksgiving cup. And what we're talking about is taking the Lord's Supper together as an act of gratitude.

God's third favorite way of being told that we love him is through communion, through the Lord's Supper. The third habit of gratitude is this, write it down, communion with God. 1 Corinthians chapter 11:23 to 27, look up here on the screen, it's not on your outline. It says this: On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus took bread. And when he had given thanks, he broke it. And he broke the bread and he said, "This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me". Then in the same way, Jesus took the cup. And he said, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. And whenever you drink it, do this in remembrance of me". Now he said it twice, "Do this in remembrance of me".

Communion is to help us remember. What's remembering for? So we can be grateful. Whatever you remember, you can be grateful for. He says, "I've given you this memory tool, communion. The bread and the wine. The juice and the wafer. I've given you this communion tool to remember the good thing that I did for you. The suffering that I did for you. What it cost me to pay for your salvation". Jesus, the Bible says this, "For whenever you eat the bread and you drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death". It's a remembering of God's great gift on Calvary, Jesus' death on the cross. You proclaim the Lord's death until he comes again. He didn't stay dead. He's coming back again. That's what Easter is all about. And then the Bible says, "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord".

What does that phrase mean, an unworthy manner? You know, as a young Christian, I often wondered and was even a little worried what that meant, to take the Lord's Supper, to take communion in an unworthy manner. But I now believe that taking the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner includes taking communion without truly being grateful for all Jesus paid for with his death on the cross. To take it in an unworthy manner is to reject the power of the cross. It is to take communion without fully understanding and fully accepting and fully being grateful for Jesus' sacrifice for me. This is Jesus' third favorite way of us expressing our thanks to him. He gave us the memory tool of communion.

Now you've probably heard that another name for the Lord's Supper or another name for communion is the Eucharist. You heard that word, the Eucharist? That's a Bible term. It's in the Bible. You know the New Testament was written in Greek. Eucharist is a Greek word. You know what it means? Thanksgiving. Eucharist is the Greek word for thanksgiving. The communion is to be a model of thanksgiving. It's a way we give thanks back to God. First, through the thanksgiving song, second, through the thanksgiving offering, and third, through the thanksgiving cup. 1 Corinthians 10:16 says this: Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

When we drink from a communion cup and we eat the bread, we are participating in one another of God's favorite ways to be told, thank you God. By our eating, we are saying, father, thank you, thank you, thank you for sacrificing yourself, to send your son to come and die on the cross for our sins so that we can be forgiven. And we remind ourselves of the high price that Jesus paid to save us. And our only response is gratitude. Colossians 2:13 and 14 says this, "We were spiritually dead because of our sins and our sinful nature". We were dead, separated from Christ. But God gave us new life. We didn't turn over a new leaf. He gave us a whole new life. God gave us new life with Christ. He forgave all our sins and canceled the record that contained all the charges against us. And he took it and he destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross.

That's what the Bible says. What is our response to such overwhelming love? Here's 1 Corinthians 15:57, which says this, "How we thank God who gives us victory over sin and over death through Jesus Christ our Lord". This is the Eucharist. This is the cup of thanksgiving. Now I now want us to take the elements together, if they've all been served to everybody by now, as an expression of our gratitude to God. We have sung together. We've sung together in thanksgiving. We have given back to God in thanksgiving. And now we're going to drink the cup together in thanksgiving. But we have to do it in a worthy manner. That means you've accepted the gift of salvation in your heart. Communion means nothing if you haven't already accepted the gift by faith in your life, and if you've forgotten how grateful you ought to be for the death of Christ. That's why we're to take communion, to remind ourselves of the sacrifice.

So I want you to bow your heads right now. And with your head bowed, I want to ask you, have you ever completely fully accepted the gift of God's salvation by faith? Have you accepted the grace of God in your life? Have you accepted his forgiveness realizing you can't earn it, pay for it or deserve it? It's just a gift. And have you expressed your gratitude back to God? If you haven't, say so right now. In your heart, say:

Dear God, thank you, thank you, thank you for dying for me. Thank you for paying for my sins. Thank you for dying on the cross so that I could be forgiven and that I could go to heaven. And so that I could have a purpose for living. Jesus Christ, I open my life to you and I give myself completely to you. And I want to develop these habits of singing with gratitude, giving back in song, of giving back financially, and of taking communion to remember your sacrifice. I ask you to accept me into your family in Jesus' name. Amen.

At the end of this message, I'm gonna ask you to let me know about your decision, if you did. But here's my challenge to you, all of you, this weekend. My challenge is that you'll begin to develop the mindset and lifestyle and gratitude to God in every aspect of your life. And I want you to take the little wafer right now. The Bible says that on the night Jesus was betrayed, he took bread and he broke it and he blessed it, he said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me". As you eat this bread right now, I want you to say, "Jesus, I am so grateful that you died for me". Eat it and say that in your mind. "Jesus, I am so grateful that you died for me". Tell him how grateful you are that he did what you can't do for yourself.

The Bible says, "In the same way, that Jesus took the cup of the new covenant". He said, "This is the cup of the covenant representing my blood". And he said, "I want you to do this to remember me". And he said, "As often as you drink it, do this to remember me". As you drink this little cup right now, I want you in your own words to express your gratitude to God for Jesus saving you. Just say it in any way in your heart that you want to say it. Just say, "Thank you God for saving me when I could not save myself". And drink that cup. I hope you're gonna make these three habits. The habit of singing back to God, giving back to God, our tithe, and communion with God through the elements, a regular part of your Christian life.

Colossians 3:17 sums up everything I've been trying to teach you this weekend. It says this, "So now everything you do," circle word, everything, "Everything you do or say should be done in the name of our Lord Jesus with thanksgiving". Circle that, "with thanksgiving to God the father". So, take out the garbage with thanksgiving, wash the dishes with thanksgiving, pick up the kids with thanksgiving, go to bed with thanksgiving. Do everything. Take a shower with- Everything, God wants thanksgiving to be the habit of living. It is a mindset, not simply saying thank you every once in a while.

Now, since that's what that scripture says, let me ask you, will you commit? Will you personally commit from this day forward for the rest your life? Since you know that God wants everything to be done with gratitude, will you commit to regularly expressing your gratitude to God by singing back to him, by giving back to him through tithing, and by taking communion? If so, I want you to drive a stake in the ground today that you never forget it. I want you to let me know of your decision. I want you to pull out a card in your program and I want you to write your name and your address on it. These are gonna come directly to me. And I want you to write two words. I'm thankful. Write your name and your address or email and the phrase, I'm thankful. And that you're committing to these habits for the rest of your life.

Now, if you're not thankful, do nothing. Do nothing if you're not thankful. But if you are thankful and you want to thank God in the ways he likes to be thanked the most, in his love language, he did everything for you, you owe him everything, your own life, your salvation, all those things we looked at. If you are thankful, get out a card, write your name and contact information on it and write the phrase, I'm thankful. That's it, the phrase, I'm thankful. Now as we close, I just have to mention one more way to show God's gratitude. And here it is, by telling other people the good news. By telling other people the good news. When you witness, when you invite people to church, when you share a book, when you tell other people about the Lord, you share a testimony. That is a representation of gratitude.

Isaiah 12:4 says this, "Thank the Lord. Praise his name and tell the world what he's done". They all go together. You thank the Lord and you praise his name by telling the world he has done. Who have you told about Jesus? Who have you told about the good news? When was the last time you talked to anybody about the good news? 2 Corinthians 4:15 says this, this is a verse that's been a theme verse of Saddleback for 42 years, 2 Corinthians 4:15, "The grace that is reaching more and more people will cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God".

Why do we keep growing? Why do we keep reaching out? Why do all our campus keep moving and getting in bigger buildings and better locations? Because as more and more people experience the grace of God, it will cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. And anytime you invite somebody to come with you to church, it is an expression of gratitude to God. We're getting ready to start Christmas season. Next week we start Christmas season together. More people are likely to come at Christmas than any other time. Why don't you plan to bring somebody with you next weekend for the next part in our series? I love you, I'm praying for you. And I thank God for you. I'll see you next weekend.
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