OceanSide church of Christ
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THANKFUL FOR MY BRETHREN
Victor M. Eskew
A. Most individuals date Thanksgiving back to the Pilgrims at Plymouth, MA, 1621.
B. It wasn’t until December 26, 1941 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress making the fourth Thursday of November national Thanks-giving Day.
C. The concept of thanksgiving, however, has been practiced much earlier than that by God’s people.
1. The psalmist (Ps. 100:4)
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless him name.
2. The apostle Paul (I Thess. 5:18)
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
D. Each of us will celebrate Thanksgiving this week.
1. Truly, we are a blessed people and have much to be thankful for.
2. In this lesson, I want to single out one thing for which I am thankful and talk about it. The title of the lesson is: “Thankful for My Brethren.”
a. If Hebrews is Paul’s, then he wrote 14 books of the New Testament.
b. In 9 of the 14 books, Paul expresses his thanks for his brethren at the outset of the epistle (Rom. 1:8; I Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:16; Phil. 1:3-5; Col. 1:3-5; I Thess. 1:2-3; II Thess. 1:3; II Tim. 1:3; Phile. 4-5)
I. THANKFUL FOR DIVERSITY
A. Diversity is defined as “difference, unlikeness.” Two synonyms for diversity are “variation” and “dissimilarity.”
B. Diversity means that everyone is the body of Christ is NOT just like me.
C. The list of our diversities is numerous: personalities, cultures, ages, genders, education, work experiences, upbringings, socio-economic statuses, etc.
D. Diversity is positive because:
1. It enables us to learn.
2. It enables us to grow.
3. It enables us to appreciate.
E. When we cannot accept diversity, we have division and this can lead to prejudice. Prejudice can give way to anger. Anger can often produce evil and violence toward others. NOTE: This should never happen in the body of Christ (Gal. 6:15, see also Gal. 5:6; I Cor. 7:19).
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
II. THANKFUL FOR TALENTS
A. Two passages:
1. Matthew 25:14-15
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto the one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
2. I Corinthians 12:4-6
Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of admin-istrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
B. The multiple talents within the church are appreciated.
1. Song leaders
2. Those who lead in prayer
3. Those who fill in preaching and teaching when I am not here
4. Those who assist with the youth
5. Those who help in the sound room
6. Those who teach, especially the smaller children
7. Those who assist with building and grounds
8. Those who help decorate and provide food for various events
C. The work of the church cannot be done without the talents of all the members.
III. THANKFUL FOR THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH
A. Paul commanded Timothy to “preach the word” (II Tim. 4:2). Jesus referred to the Word as truth (John 17:17). Thus, to preach the Word is to preach the truth.
B. In many places, churches will not allow a man to preach all of the truth.
1. Moral issues
2. Brotherhood issues
3. Political issues
C. This congregation desires the truth and appreciates when it is proclaimed.
1. In the Revelation, the church at Ephesus was a doctrinally sound church. It was commended for this (Rev. 2:2, 6).
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars…But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
2. All churches today, including OceanSide, should be commended for a strong stance for truth.
IV. THANKFUL FOR FAITHFUL SERVICE
A. In four epistles, Paul expresses gratitude for the faithful service of his brothers and sisters (Rom. 1:8; Col. 1:3-4; I Thess. 1:2-3; Phile. 4-5)
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of through-out the whole world.
B. In I Thessalonians 1:2-3, he defines what faithful service involves.
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.
C. About 75% of the brethren on the roll at OceanSide are faithful.
1. They are full of faith that is expressed in obedience and good works.
2. They do not see the A.M. services as all that is required of them.
3. They give their time, talents, and money to numerous works of the church.
4. If something needs to be done, they will do it.
5. The kingdom of God and His righteousness are their first priorities.
V. THANKFUL FOR CHRISTIAN GROWTH
A. There are some Christians who are not at the same point today in their Christian lives as they were 1, 2, or 3 years ago. They have grown in their Christian knowledge, faith, and practice.
B. These individuals have done as Peter exhorts in II Peter 3:18.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
C. How do these individuals acquire and evidence their growth?
1. They attend Bible classes and worship services.
2. They volunteer in numerous works of the church.
3. They move from being followers to being leaders.
4. They advance from being students only to being teachers.
5. They conquer the sinful things in their lives.
6. Their minds are focused upon spiritual things, not carnal things.
7. They go from being needy to being the needed.
D. These individuals bring excitement to Christianity. They are proof that Christianity is real and that it is important. We give thanks for them (II Thess. 1:3).
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith growth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth.
VI. THANKFUL FOR SUPPORT
A. The work of the church must be funded with financial support. NOTE: We can only do as much as we are financially able.
B. When a church responds to needs and gives support that is needed, it is deeply appreciated. Paul gave thanks to his brethren in Philippi for their generosity (Phil. 1:3-5).
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now.
1. You have responded to mission efforts.
2. You have responded to food requests.
3. You have responded to our Make-up Sunday contribution.
4. You have been willing to support children at camp.
A. This evening we have tried to express our gratitude for you as our brothers and sisters sat OceanSide.
B. We need to take all of our blessings and break them down into their numerous components. Then, we will see how extremely blessed we really are.
C. As we approach this Thanksgiving Day, let’s be aware of our blessings and offer up gratitude to the giver of every good and perfect gift (Eph. 5:20).
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.