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Being Thankful R1195

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
August 1, 2022 4:00 am

Being Thankful R1195

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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God has an encouraging word for you and me today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton and today's message on being thankful. It is so good to welcome you to this time of Bible study together with Dr. Don Wilton, formerly a tank commander in South Africa and now the pastor of Dr. Billy Graham. As we share these studies together, we pray that you'll know that we're available not just to share the truth with you, but also to walk through life with you. If you need someone to pray with you, we stand ready right now to take your call at 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673. If you'd rather use your keyboard, we'll meet you there as well online at theencouragingword.org. We'd love to connect with you. And again, today we're talking about being thankful. We're going to gain insight from Dr. Wilton about what it is to maybe change our attitude to that attitude of gratitude we know we need to have.

Now, Dr. Wilton. I'm going to show you something here today that is going to take us to a very deep level of being thankful. I want you to open your Bibles to 2 Thessalonians. It may take you, that's in the New Testament, just right off to Colossians. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and then Thessalonians. Always remember, General Electric Power Company. Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, General Electric Power Company.

That's how I've always remembered it. All right? And then immediately after the General Electric Power Company, you get Thessalonians.

All right? And there are two of them. So we're going to go to the second letter of Thessalonians. Paul wrote this letter. Now watch this, because I'm going to tell you something really very quickly. I want to go first of all to the passage that I'm not going to speak about, and that's chapter 2. So if you're looking right now at the Word of God and you are in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, you will read about the end of the world there in chapter 2. So I can read this to you, but I'm not going to do it.

I'm just going to tell you about it. Paul tells these people that when Jesus comes in the clouds, watch this, folks, something's going to happen. When Jesus comes in the clouds, signaling the end of the world, all believers we know are going to be taken up out of the world. We know that from 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and Revelation chapter 4. We know that all believers are going to be snatched out of the world. That could happen today, do you know that? Before the national championship, which means actually the national championship in college football is actually not that important.

It's just something to enjoy. Jesus is going to come in the clouds, all believers are going to be taken out of this world, and the Bible tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 that immediately a man by the name of Antichrist, the lawless one, is going to make himself known. Paul says that the spirit of Antichrist is already present in the world.

In fact, the person could even be in the world, but nobody knows that. We know basically where he's going to come from and what he's going to look like. Paul here is telling these people just like he's telling you and me. He's saying, listen, Antichrist's going to rise up. He's going to set himself up as God. Everybody's going to believe in him because they already hear or worship him.

It's going to be someone everybody knows and everybody here who worships. He's going to rise up. He's going to say, don't worry about a thing. He's going to strike a peace treaty with Israel.

I just want you to think about this for a minute. He's going to strike a peace treaty with Israel. The Bible says that Israel is going to be under constant attack until this time. And this person is going to establish a peace treaty, going to make everything just fine with the nation of Israel. He's going to tell all those who are lobbing rockets and grenades and everything at Israel to stop.

They're going to stop because they're going to follow him. But at the same time as that happens, watch this, 2 Thessalonians says that God is going to withdraw his Spirit from the earth. So the Holy Spirit is not going to be on this earth anymore. All believers, by the way, are going to be in heaven.

And we're going to enter into a seven-year tribulation period before Jesus comes again, lands on this earth and establishes his kingdom and all time and eternity will begin at that point. Now, why am I telling you that? Because in the first chapter, Paul knows what he is about to tell these people. So he gives them the real basis for thanksgiving.

He doesn't spend his time talking about things that are good but are not life and death. He talks about the real reason for being thankful. So let me read it to you.

I just want to read a few verses beginning in verse 3 of 2 Thessalonians 1. This is what Paul says. Now remember, we know now what he's about to lay on them. Can I say this in church?

He's about to put the smack down on them. It doesn't sound the same when I say it, but it means the same thing. Alright, watch this. 2 Thessalonians 2 and verse 3. We ought to always thank God for you and rightly so because your faith is growing more and more and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God's churches, we boast about your perseverance and faith in all persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God's judgment is right and as a result, you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God for which you are suffering for God is just. Now may the Lord write this word on our hearts.

Alright, everybody watch me here for a minute. Being thankful, I want you to just think of the thousand things that you're thankful for right now. I've kind of tried to whet your appetite. I'm just tapping into us, our families and our nation and we've got, boy, do we not have so many blessings. We've got so much for which to be really thankful, you know.

I'm so thankful to the Lord for you and for your real friendship and your love and one could go on and on. So here's Paul. He knows that under God's instructions, he's got to tell them that Jesus is about to come.

I want all of you to watch me. That's what I'm telling you right now. I'm going to tell you that the Bible instructs me to tell you to be ready for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Nobody knows when he's going to come. So if some of you might say to me, well, pastor, when exactly? We don't know because the Bible tells us that we don't know. Only God knows. So yeah, that could be another thousand years.

But I'm going to tell you something, folks. There's a thing called the signs of the times. Do you know that almost every prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled? Do you know that the world today is looking awfully a lot like Jesus could come? From Israel to the European Union, to the rise of Antichrist, to the economic problems, the earthquakes, natural disasters, to the divisions among people, to the rise of false prophets. Do you know how many churches are springing up in the United States of America today that are pulling people away to the things that they want to hear, not what God needs them to hear?

Bible says in 1 Timothy, in the last days, these things will happen. The falling away, there's a great apostasy. Do you know, folks, in America today, there are more and more people who call themselves believers in the mainline evangelical church, the Church of Christ that are falling away. They're just dropping out. They're just leaving. They're not coming. Do you know there are more and more people today in America, I'm just giving you the facts, who go to ball games on Saturday night but don't come to church on Sunday morning.

There are more and more people who will stand in ball games, I'm one of them, I mean just people really getting into the game. Do you know how many of those people would rather die than come to church and get excited like that over Jesus? So here's the issue. I'm not trying to make a mountain out of a mole here. I'm just giving you the facts. It's looking a whole lot more like Jesus is about to come. So Paul here is telling us this. I am passing that on to you. The bottom line says encourage one another with these words. Are we ready?

Have you given your life to Christ? But in this preceding preamble, Paul gives to us, to the church at Thessalonica, he gives to them six real reasons for real thanksgiving. He says this is what thanksgiving, this is what you can be thankful for. Let me just give them to you.

I mean this is the stuff. He has six spiritual reasons for being thankful. Number one, for your faith in God.

That's verse three. We are always to thank God because of your faith. Faith is a gift. Do you know that from God? You don't just faith yourself. Did you know that? Do you know that faith is a gift given by God through his Spirit to people like you and me? Do you know, folks, that there are people all over our world today who would give anything to be able to have faith in God? They just can't get there.

They are blinded. I once was lost, but now I'm found. I was blind, but now I see. That's a gift from God. So what the Lord is telling me here is that, yeah, I thank the Lord that I can go to a ballgame and thank the Lord for my grandsons and thank the Lord for a lot of great things. We need to be thankful for all of these things. Please don't let anybody hear me say we ought not to be overwhelmingly thankful for all of these great things. Folks, can you imagine that Paul takes this group of people beyond even the pain we experience when we lose our loved ones? He says, thank God for your faith.

Please forgive the interruption. We'll be back with more of this powerful message from Dr. Don Wilton called Being Thankful in Just a Moment. One of the things that we are thankful for is the opportunity to pray with and for you anytime, day or night. If you're not aware of it, jot this number down. Our 866-899 word number will connect you with one of us. Happy to talk or listen or pray or connect you with great resources 24 hours a day. That's 866-899-9673 or you can meet us on our website as well at www.tewonline.org.

That's www.tewonline.org where you'll discover great resources like this. We are not in a good place in America. What would God say to us today? Without God, we can do nothing to stand strong in a country turning away from the path God has laid out for us.

As our nation endures tragedy after tragedy, it is so important that we follow the second greatest commandment and love our neighbors unconditionally. With your gift of support to the encouraging word this month, you will receive Dr. Wilton's powerful sermon God's Message to America along with the bonus book When a Nation Forgets God by his longtime friend Erwin Lutzer. These resources will engage, enlighten and encourage you in your walk with Christ. That's just one of many great resources at www.tewonline.org. While you're there, be sure and sign up for the daily encouraging word email from Dr. Don. That's www.tewonline.org, a daily email that will infuse your email box with God's word and encouragement and hope.

Again, sign up today online at www.tewonline.org. Now back to today's great teaching on being thankful with Dr. Don Wilton. Folks, can you imagine that Paul takes this group of people beyond even the pain we experience when we lose our loved ones. He says thank God for your faith. Number two, second of the six spiritual reasons for your spiritual growth.

Look what he says in verse three here. He says because your faith is growing more and more. That little phrase there more and more accentuates that growth. Being thankful for your spiritual growth. So grateful to the Lord for hundreds of people, even in our church family, worshipping here in the sanctuary. I tell you, nothing thrills me more than when I see young people who are growing spiritually. You know, I hope I've been with you a long time as your pastor and we've spent many a year together. You know, I hope that you would identify growth in me and we would identify that in one another. When you look at your sons, your daughters, your husband, your wife, your family, do you see spiritual growth? Be thankful for it. That's a gift from God.

Can you imagine that? You know, we spend so much time saying, man, we've got to go to school and educate and we've got to grow educationally and knowledge and understand. Of course we must. I believe in that. I believe in academics.

I believe in studying. But folks here, Paul takes us to, he's saying, listen, Jesus is about to come. What are you thankful for? Be thankful for your faith. Be thankful for your spiritual growth. Number three, be thankful for your love for one another. What he says here in the latter part of verse three, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.

So I want to make a declaration. In all the years that I've had the privilege of being your pastor, there is amongst many things that I can attest to, I can guarantee you one thing. I will attest to the growing love for one another that I see in practical reality coming out of this congregation. I remember many years ago, one man coming to me, what didn't mean anything by it, but he heard me say that loving one another and unity was not an option in this congregation. And he told me at that door right there, he said, pastor, I'm not disagreeing with you, but I'm going to tell you that love and unity in a congregation of people in a local church is impossible. You are wasting your time. I said, no, sir, I am not.

It is not an option. It's not open to discussion. It's not subject to a deacons meeting. It's a command, it's a gift from God for which we must be thankful.

I mean, is it not, folks, there is so much hate in the world. And Paul here is saying, listen, Jesus is about to come. Being thankful, be thankful for your faith in God, be thankful for your spiritual growth, be thankful for the love that you have for one another. Number four, for your ability to keep on keeping on. Look at verse four, therefore, among God's churches, we boast about your perseverance and your faith in all kinds of trials and tribulations. Be thankful for a God given ability to keep on keeping on.

Don't you love that? You know, I cannot tell you the number of people that I have the privilege of ministering to even in our community who are really suffering, going through all kinds of physical challenges. And, you know, you go and sit alongside some of these people and they hurting physically and yet they have this incredible, indomitable spirit of perseverance about them. I'm not going to give up, man, this God, I'm going to accept this and God's in control and don't you worry about me.

I mean, that's what he's talking about here. That's a gift, isn't it? I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that the Lord Jesus gives to us, even in the midst of an economy that's struggling, even in the midst of political turmoil, whether or not this person is there, God enables us by his spirit to keep on keeping on. Number five, being thankful, Paul says, for your living testimony.

Now I want to show you something. Look at verse five. Everybody look at verse five with me.

This is an amazing statement that he makes and it just jumped all over me. He says here, all this is evidence that God is right. All this, all this.

Now that little word this is predicated, which means it has a precedent. It is based on something. He's saying all of this. What's all of this? Your faith, your spiritual growth, your capacity to love one another, your ability to keep on keeping on. All of this is evidence. It's your living testimony. Be thankful for your living testimony. Just be thankful. I'm thankful for your living testimony. That's a reason to be thankful.

I'm thankful for yours and you and I need to be thankful for ours. You know, isn't it an amazing thing that God could even use a people like you and me as a living testimony? That word living testimony means that we are walking evidence that God is alive, that Jesus loves us, that this Christian faith is real, that there is life after death, that God means what he says, that Jesus is coming again, that God loves you, that Jesus died for you, that he wants you to belong to him.

He wants you to give your heart and life to him. It's a living testimony. Now there's a reason to be thankful.

And then there's one more. This is the sixth spiritual reason to be thankful for your peace with God. I want you to just take a look at the second part of verse five. And as a result, and as a result, any English teachers here will concur with me here. This is the sum of all things.

This is what it leads to. And as a result, you can be thankful for the fact that you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. Now, can you believe that?

What a reason. I cannot quite conceive that the Lord Jesus counts me worthy of the kingdom of God. That means that he has accepted me, which means I can be thankful for my peace with God. Do you know why that's a reason to be thankful? Because people everywhere are looking for peace with God. You can have peace with God through Christ Jesus. That's a gift from God by his Spirit.

It's the greatest gift. The Bible says that God loves you. Jesus died for you. And by his Spirit, he's drawing.

You can be declared just in his presence. You can have peace with God in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. I've got that peace.

I'm thankful for it. But I'm also thankful for the fact that I not only have that peace. I can invite you to have that peace, too. So if it's all right with you, I just want to lay aside my home and my friendships and my church.

And I just want to lay aside all those things. And I want to say, Lord, I am being thankful for my faith in you. That's a gift from you, Lord. I'm thankful for my spiritual growth.

That's a gift from you. I'm thankful for the fact that I, together with these people, are able to really love one another. Lord Jesus, I'm thankful for that. And I'm thankful for the ability to keep on keeping on, even when I stomp my toe, even when I go through, even when I lose a loved one, even when I'm diagnosed with cancer, even when I go through treatments. Lord, I'm thankful, I'm thankful that you have given me the privilege of being a living testimony. And I'm so thankful, Lord Jesus, that by your grace that you have given me peace with God in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, that's what it means to be thankful according to what God said. Ladies and gentlemen, let's rise above the limits of our own human predicaments. Let's rise above the flat earth society and see the galaxies that God has prepared for us.

Let's rise above our barbecues. Let's rise above all of these things and say thank you, Lord, for all these blessings. Goodness, Lord, I'm so grateful I've got a motor car to drive.

I'm so grateful that I've got a meal to eat. But Lord Jesus, I want to thank you. I want to really thank you that I am prepared for you to come. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, for if you were to come right now, you would be coming for me. If Jesus were to come right now, are you thankful that he'd be coming for you? Or do you need to give your life to Christ? I want to invite you to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus.

You can do that. You can give your heart to him. I want to help you make the most wonderful, life-changing decision that will translate and transform your attitude of gratitude to something that goes to a spiritual level that is so incredibly marvelous. Today I invite you to trust Jesus.

It's a new year and so much more than a new resolution to just say yes to Jesus. Perhaps like me, you've known about Jesus, but it's time to know him personally. Perhaps it's something as simple as repeating a prayer after me. Lord God, I realize that knowing about you is not knowing you, so I ask you in faith to come into my life and change me from the inside out. Lord, I confess that I'm a sinner. I've messed up my own life, and I pray that you would now, as Savior and Lord, help me rebuild my life.

I believe you went to the cross of Calvary and died for my sins, and I accept you as Savior and Lord. In Jesus' name I pray, amen. You know, if God's stirring your heart, it's not about having the right words.

It's about being willing to say yes to Jesus at whatever he asks you to do. I pray that you would consider sharing whatever God's dealing with you about right now with one of us and one of our prayer team here. We're taking calls right now at 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673, and we're connecting online as well at TheEncouragingWord.org. We really would love to be a part of walking with you through 2018. Until next time, take care and God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-17 23:07:19 / 2023-03-17 23:17:07 / 10

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