Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving – Five Reasons to Rejoice from Psalm 103

Thanksgiving – Five Reasons to Rejoice from Psalm 103
By Rev. Greg Schermerhorn, November 20, 2012

As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, have you considered the thanks that you ought to give to the Creator?  It should come as no surprise that I believe in a literal six day creation of the world, but that is not what I am here to write about today.  I am here to proclaim to you five reasons to rejoice this Thanksgiving.

David and GoliathKing David, the author of the majority of the Psalms, wrote Psalm 103 to praise the Lord and to remind us about God’s love, mercy and grace.  It is a wonderful twenty-two verse Psalm of praise and thanksgiving to God.  Today, we are going to examine the first five verses.
Psalm 103:1–5 (NKJV)
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: 3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, 4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, 5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

King DavidDavid starts this Psalm with a blessing for God.  God does not need anything from us.  After all, He is the Creator of the Universe.  He is omnipotent, He is omniscient, and He is omnipresent.  Please allow me to pause just a moment to explain these $5 theological words I just used.  To say God is omnipotent is to say He is all powerful.  To say that He is omniscient is to say that God knows everything.  To say the He is omnipresent is to say that God is in all places at all times. 

I mentioned just a moment ago that doesn’t need anything from us.  While this is certainly true, God does WANT and DESIRE to receive praise back from us.  Why?  Praise is the proper response of the Christian or believer to God’s revelation of Himself to them.  Praise is the expression of our delight in God.  Praise is worshipful and honoring to God.  That is why He desires to receive praise from us.

David’s praise is not just lip service.  He is expressing praise as coming from his very soul, that is to say the very core of his being.  David is saying that he is worshiping God with his whole body:  his heart, his mind, and his very soul.  It is much deeper than simply a mental ascent; he feels it down to his core.  That is why David says in verse one:  “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!”

King David, the man that the Bible says is a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), gives us five reasons to rejoice in the Lord, five benefits that the Lord has given to all believers in Him.  These five benefits are:
1.      Who forgives all your iniquities?
2.      Who heals all your diseases?
3.      Who redeems your life from destruction?
4.      Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies?
5.      Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s?
David Soothes King Saul 
All of these questions are really rhetorical.  David expected his readers to know the answer.  If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, you also already know the answer to these five questions.  If you know Jesus, you already experience these benefits in your life.  Let’s fill in some of the details to each of the benefits of the Lord that David gave us.

1. Who forgives all your iniquities?
God the Father has done all of these things.  He did them when He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to Earth to be the sacrifice for our sins.  Because of His great love for us, God has made it possible for us to be forgiven of our iniquities through the shed blood of Jesus.  Jesus paid the penalty for our sins.  Jesus suffered our punishment unto death to free us from the bondage of sin.  There is an Old Testament passage that comes to mind that tells this story well.  It’s found in Isaiah 53:5-6.
Isaiah 53:5–6 (NKJV)
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

2. Who heals all your diseases?
Jesus, Thou art the Christ
Because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross of Calvary, God heals all of our diseases either here on this side of eternity or on the other.  When we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we can have peace here and now knowing that our future is secure in His hands. 
Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Nahum 1:7 (NKJV)
7 The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.

Psalm 91:1–4 (NKJV)
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

3. Who redeems your life from destruction?
Jesus redeemed your life from destruction when He came to Earth, lived a sinless life, died a criminal’s death on the cross, and was resurrected from death on the third day.  All you have to do is to receive God’s gift of salvation.  Jesus made our redemption from destruction as easy as A…B…C!  You simply have to Admit you are a sinner.  This means you repent and turn away from your sin. 
Acts 3:19 (NKJV)
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord

Jesus-Come Unto MeBelieve that Jesus is the Son of God and receive His gift of forgiveness from sin.  This is not just a mental acknowledgement that Jesus is the Son of God, but the heartfelt conviction that He is also your Savior.  This means that you know in your heart that Jesus is the one who paid the penalty for YOUR sins to be forgiven.
Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Finally, Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior.  You do this with your mouth, verbally.  It is that easy to receive God’s redemption from destruction.
Romans 10:9–10,13 (NKJV)
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Before we move on, I want to be very clear on this point; salvation from your sins has been paid for by Jesus Christ alone.  There is NO OTHER sacrifice needed, nor is there any another sacrifice possible that would satisfy God the Father’s righteousness.  Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ ALONE plus NOTHING!  Jesus IS the FULL and COMPLETE sacrifice that has atoned for our sins.  There is NO OTHER WAY to Heaven!  All anyone has to do is to receive Jesus’ finished work on the cross as His gift to you.  Failure to receive salvation has eternal consequences that will result in your damnation in Hell.  It is an unfortunate reality that many people chose to reject Jesus’ gift of salvation thinking that Hell isn’t real of that their goodness will get them to Heaven.  Let me assure you now that there is only one way to Heaven and His name is Jesus.
John 14:6 (NKJV)       
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

4. Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies?
The Lord crowns us or showers us with His tender regard, His mercy, and His good favor.  He has not abandoned us to chance, nor has He abandoned us to the schemes of the Devil.  The Lord’s plan is one of indwelling by the Holy Spirit and one of intercession by both Jesus and His Holy Spirit.  God takes His blessing us, leading us, guiding us, and being united with us very seriously.  I have to ask those who have a personal relationship with Jesus, how seriously do you take your relationship with Him?  Get excited about these verses.  Both The Holy Spirit and Jesus are praying for us!  That’s 2/3 of the Godhead.
Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Jesus-CrowdRomans 8:34 (NKJV)
34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (NKJV)
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

My friend, Mark Mirza with Common Threads Ministries (www.CTMPrayer.org), tells a story I will relate to you here.  Nothing catches our God by surprise!  This DOES NOT happen in Heaven.  God DOES NOT sit on His throne and all of a sudden see something that catches Him off guard.  He doesn’t have to call out to His archangels Gabriel and Michael to ask them, “Hey, what happened over there?” Satan cannot do anything without first getting permission from God to do it.  Do you remember the story of Job?  This is an interesting thought that I would like you to chew on for a moment.  I would like this thought to sink into your mind.  God is in control.  He has COMPLETE sovereignty over ALL events.  God is the one who not only created all things.  He is the one who spins the Earth and regulates its motion.  He put the stars in the heavens and He directs their paths.  God not only created everything, He maintains the function and delicate balance of it!  We serve a Great God!

5. Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s?
The Last SupperThe Lord is the provider of ALL provision.  He is the one who gave all of us the skills, talents, and abilities we have.  He is the one who breathed life into us.  He is the reason we all have a heartbeat and draw breath.  The Lord renews our vigor and increases our fervor for the tasks He has given to us to accomplish.  He is the One who restores and renews our strength.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)
31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Proverbs 3:5–10 (NKJV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. 9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.

God’s benefits should not ever be forgotten, but in this case, especially because they have an eternal consequence.  Friends, God loves you.  He loves your family.  He loves your neighbors.  He loves your coworkers.  He loves this community, this state, this nation, and this world.  It is not His will that any should perish and go to spend an eternity in Hell.  It is His will that we all have a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus.  However, He gave all of us free will to choose our own path.  We all can either choose to receive or reject His Son Jesus and His gift of salvation.  It is our choice.  God is a “perfect gentleman” who will not force His will upon us.
Jesus Waits On His DisciplesJohn 3:16–18 (NKJV)
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Regardless of people’s attitudes about Jesus today, there will be a day when they will humbly acknowledge His absolute deity and sovereignty over all creation.  Unfortunately, for those who reject Jesus in this life, it will be too late for them to change their position.  Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.  This includes the atheist, the agnostic, the Muslim, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Universalist…everyone.  There is only ONE way to Heaven and He has a name held in honor above every other, Jesus!
The AscentionPhilippians 2:9–11 (NKJV)
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We have a lot to be thankful for all of the time.  Thankfulness should not just be reserved for Thanksgiving Day and a once a year event.  Thanksgiving and a thankful heart are the first steps into growing more spiritually mature in your walk with the Lord.  If you don’t know Jesus in a real and personal way, you have been shown enough meet Him.  If you have questions, contact me or your local Bible believing church.  You will never regret meeting Jesus.  He will become your best friend.  May the Lord bless you and your family this Thanksgiving and may we bless the Lord with all of our soul!