In Him All Things Hold Together
Standard;Rom 1:18-23, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”
If I didn't know better, I'd think the Holy Spirit was talking about Turkeys and Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles, and Tennessee Titans and Detroit Lions, or Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys! “Images resembling mortal man and birds and animals.”
It's Thanksgiving, and for the most part, Americans have exchanged the glory of God, (that is giving weight to Him,) for giving weight to our favorite NFL football teams. (The Cowboys over the Seahawks by 13 please.)
That's the reality of the holiday in our country today. It has become a time for family gatherings with very little thought to the God who created us and put us in families in the first place. In fact if you asked most people they would tell you that they really don't believe they were fearfully and wonderfully made by a God, but rather they were fearfully and wonderfully transformed out of something that resembled the giblet gravy.
On this holiday, we eat enough food in one house to feed half of Haiti and then were off to an afternoon of watching the gods battle each other on the gridiron, between bouts of gluttony induced napping. Then early the next morning we are off to the malls to purchase gifts for sacrificing to another big time god........materialism.
Well, it's not going to do us any good to sit here and curse the dark meat. And it's not going to do us any good to give thanks like the Pharisee did. “Oh God, I'm so thankful that our thanksgivings aren't like those across the street.” No, let's light a candle instead.
I'm so glad you are here this morning, because attending a worship service on Thanksgiving Day can help set the tone for the day.
I want you to know that it's okay to gather with family. It's okay to watch some football. It's okay to do some holiday shopping, but please, the Holy Spirit is reminding us in this text to keep it all in proper context. And that proper perspective is this: Thanksgiving to God!
We have had it so good in this country for so long that we take everything for granted. Where DID all that food come from on your table? Was there favorable weather for a crop? How much of God's creation went into building that tractor that plowed the field, the truck that took it to be processed and then delivered it to the store.
Did you walk to the store to pick up your groceries? If you did, where'd you get the shoes? How'd you pay for your food? What are you eating it on? Oh, was that a furnace I just heard kick in, nice to be eating in a warm sheltered environment.
Do you realize what a miracle it is that you can plug something into a wall and it will carve your turkey? Plug another thing in the wall and the game that is taking place in an indoor stadium is brought right into your living room.....in color? In surround sound?
The truth is, we would have none of these things without God . Col 1:16,17 says, “all things were created through Him, and He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”
Hmmm, anything left off that list? Is it all things except the wide screen TV? All things except the turkey? It's all things and if Jesus wouldn't hold them together, they would be gone! Wouldn't it be cool if Jesus sought to make that point one Thanksgiving, by blowing up the butterball? Or splattering the Sylvania all over the living room?
He has the power to do that you know and no wonder we are told that He is to be “before all things.” That is He is to have pre-eminence. He holds it all together. He holds you altogether, physically and spiritually.
Thanksgiving is about Jesus isn't it? Without Him holding it together we have nothing. And as much as it is within our power, we should choose to express our thanks to Him today, and really, that thanks should be an every day by day, moment by moment kind of thing.
But what is it to give thanks?
One of the Greek words used for thanksgiving is eulogeo.....guess what English word is derived from eulogeo? That's right....eulogy. How fitting that we are commemorating thanksgiving in a funeral home. I wonder how many eulogies have been delivered here?
And what is a eulogy? It is a speech that speaks the praises of the one being eulogized. So when we talk about thanksgiving to our God, we need to talk in terms of eulogizing Him. We need to speak His high praises.
The difference being our God is not dead, He is alive! His praiseworthy accomplishments keep marching on! They are new every morning and are worth reviewing often
What I would like us all to do this morning to get our thanksgiving off to a good start is eulogize God. Just write some things down on paper that will speak His high praises. Things He has done for you, things He has done for His church, things He has done in History. Then if you like you can stand where you are and read them or say them.
Now don't feel bad if you don't want to speak publicly. I've done enough funerals with eulogies to know that not everyone is comfortable coming forward, but I also know that some are compelled....they must speak, they just can't hold it in. For such people this will be your opportunity.