Being thankful to God is something that one should not neglect. This episode will teach us what it takes to be truly grateful to the Almighty Creator.
Brother Ruben: Being grateful and thankful to someone for a good deed done to him, or a favor he received, is a virtue that defines a good or righteous person. If a person should be grateful and thankful for something good done to him, above all those who do him favors or acts of kindness, man should recognize his creator and be thankful to Him for all of His many blessings.
Brother Andrew: How can man show his gratitude and thankfulness to his creator? How can we be sure that our way of thanking God is worthy and acceptable to Him? Stay with us on The Message to find out.
Brother Ruben: We need to find out, beloved friends, is it the will of our Lord God that He be thanked? Here in the book of Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 18, the Bible mentions this:
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
[I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV]
We go back to our question, brother Andrew, is it the will of our Lord God that He be thanked? Well the answer is yes. In fact, Apostle Paul whom our Lord Jesus Christ gave the right to preach the gospel for man’s salvation said that we should thank God in all circumstances. For this is the will of our Lord God in our Lord Jesus Christ. Now we can see, beloved friends that this is what many people want to do. Despite the differences in religious practices, all want to thank our Lord God. But what is it that we have to remember? In thanking our Lord God, it must be done according to His will or instruction otherwise it will not be accepted by our Father in heaven.
Brother Andrew: Brother Ruben, like in the case of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, who was the brother of Moses, were they accepted by God when they offered to Him? Well let’s read here in Leviticus, the chapter is 10, the verses are 1 down to 2, this is what is recorded:
Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
[Leviticus 10:1-2 NKJV]
We can see through this Biblical example that God will not just accept any offering that is rendered to Him. If it were true that one could just praise God, and give thanks to Him in any manner that he prefers, then God should not have rejected Nadab and Abihu, but why were they rejected? Because it was not done in accordance to God’s will.
Brother Ruben: That’s right brother, like in everything that’s recorded in the Bible, our Father has guidelines that we should follow. And one of these concerns the giving of thanks to Him. For us to find this out, beloved friends, we need to find out and read the book of Ephesians chapter 1, the verses are 3 through 8, this is what the Bible teaches to us, please listen to this:
“Let us honor and thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has already given us a taste of what heaven is like. Even before the world was made, God chose us for Himself because of His love. He planned that we should be holy and without blame as He sees us. God already planed to have us as His own children. This was done by Jesus Christ. In His plan God wanted this done. We thank God for His loving-favor to us. He gave this loving-favor to us through His much-loved Son. Because of the blood of Christ, we are bought and made free from the punishment of sin. And because of His blood, our sins are forgiven. His loving-favor to us is so rich. He was so willing to give all of this to us. He did this with wisdom and understanding.”
[Ephesians 1:3-8 NLV]
Now when we talk about giving thanks to our Lord God in accordance to God’s will, what does that mean? It means first, beloved friends, that a person must first be given first the right to thank our Father in heaven. Who were given that exclusive right, brother Andrew? Well the Bible says that they were those who were bought or purchased by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. But why is that very important? Why is being purchased by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ so very valuable? Because through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ our sins have been forgiven. And since our sins have been forgiven, we have become holy and without blame. And because of this we are now the children of our Father in heaven. Now what is the value of this, brother Andrew, the value of being a child of our Lord God? Well if one is a child of our Lord God he receives the loving favor of our Lord God above all, he will receive the salvation of his soul on the second advent of our Savior.
Brother Andrew: So let’s find out now, brother Ruben, who are those bought or purchased by Christ’s blood and thereby are of the children of God. Let us read here in the book of Acts the chapter is 20, the verse is 28 this is what is recorded
Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.
[Acts 20:28 Lamsa]
Thus for one’s giving thanksgiving, in order for it to be acceptable and recognized by our Almighty God, he must be a member of the Church of Christ. Unfortunately, this very important teaching of God about the Iglesia Ni Cristo in these last days, His last work for man’s salvation, is also not known to many or they refuse to accept it.
Brother Ruben: Now that’s right brother Andrew, in fact they would argue and say, “what does that have to do with thanking God?” Because they would say, beloved friends, is that “well, what’s important is that you are grateful. That you remember that God is your creator; that you recognize that everything you have, your life, comes from our Father in heaven.” But beloved friends we have to remember that offering thanksgiving to our Lord God as an act of recognizing Him as the creator and expressing one’s gratitude to Him for what He provides for us in this world is one thing. But doing it in a manner that is in accordance to the will of our Lord God is certainly another. Because God is the one that will give us the guidelines on how He should be thanked.
Brother Andrew: But if a person were to become a true member of the Church of Christ does that already mean to say that he will be accepted worthy in the sight of our Almighty God? Well let us find out in Colossians the chapter is 3, the verses are 15 down to 16, this is what is stated:
Let the peace of Christ have power over your hearts. You were chosen as part of His body. Always be thankful. Let the teaching of Christ and His words keep on living in you. These make your lives rich and full of wisdom keep on teaching and help each other. Sing the Songs of David and the church songs and the song of heaven with hearts full of thanks to God.”
[Colossians 3:15-16 NLV]
Apostle Paul states that being chosen to be part of Christ’s body, or the Church, the teaching of Christ and His words must keep living in us. In other words, we must be obedient. A person who really loves Christ proves it through obedience and He also serves as a light for other people through this.
Brother Ruben: Now that is correct, brother Andrew, because when we say obeying our Lord God, obeying also our Lord Jesus Christ, there’s something that goes with it. What goes with it? Well none other than sacrifice. But beloved friends we need to find out what kind of sacrificing is needed to obey our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as obeying our Father in heaven? Please listen to the pronouncement of our Savior, here in the book of Matthew chapter 5, the verses are 14 through 16, 29 through 30, this is what He mentions to us. Let’s listen:
“You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. If your right eye makes you sin, take it out and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than to have your whole body thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
[Matthew 5:14-15, 29-30 ETRV]
Now according to the pronouncement of our Lord Jesus Christ, He mentioned to us here a sacrifice that is needed for one to follow or obey the will of our Lord God. In fact, beloved friends, what analogy was used by our Lord Jesus Christ? Well he used the right eye or the right arm.
Brother Andrew: Whatever will distract us, or no matter how important or valuable that may be we should be willing to sacrifice it for the sake of obeying.
Brother Ruben: Yes brother, that is correct. Because for one to be able to give thanks to our Father in heaven, he must make sure that he obeys, naturally. But in obeying he must make sure that he makes the necessary sacrifices, that he’s prepared to, for example, leave something behind, even though it is valuable or necessary for him, but if it means that he will obey our Father in the process he’s willing to give that up.
Brother Andrew: With so many distractions today, what is Christ’s advice to us? Well we can read the advice of our Lord Jesus Christ in the book of Luke the chapter is 21 and the verse is 34:
But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose;
[Luke 21:34 Amplified Bible]
Dear viewers, the advice of our Lord Jesus Christ is that we should be on guard so that we are not weighed down or distracted. Members of the true Church of Christ are constantly being reminded by our Executive Minister that our priority should be our membership, so that we would receive that quality of being saved. Most especially now that God is putting His finishing touches of His work for man’s salvation.
Brother Ruben: You know it’s interesting, brother Andrew, you mentioned that there are many distractions that are around us, but if we read the Bible beloved friends, there is another distraction that we must overcome. If we read the book of Colossians chapter 2 verses 7 through 8, this is what the Apostle Paul mentions. He says this:
rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
According to the Apostle Paul we should also be very careful about culture and society today. You know, to those who are observing, nowadays, they could see the ill effects of the many things of this world that has caused damage to many people. It influenced people in the wrong way. For example, education, the media, technology, as well as some institutions they have been abused as powerful instruments to promote distorted values that many people nowadays would accept. Now we have to understand, beloved viewers, this is what the Apostle Paul calls as deceptive philosophies or intellectualism, built on man’s thoughts and ideas, and not based on the teachings of our Lord God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother Andrew: We can also see, brother Ruben, the continuing decline in man’s moral and spiritual life. This is a manifestation of his choice to defy God, by thinking and doing all sorts of immoral things like sexual immorality, dirty-mindedness, uncontrolled passion, and other evil desire. But who is really behind all these evil things? Well we can read the answer in the book of John, the chapter is 8, and the verse is 44, this is what is stated:
You are of you father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
[John 8:44 KNJV]
Now as what we have clearly read Satan is behind all these things. We should not allow ourselves to be deceived by him through his instruments and his tricks. A servant of God must remain unmoved despite the many distractions of today. He must fight on for his faith remembering that this is how his thanksgiving to God would be acceptable and pleasing.
Brother Ruben: So beloved friends in conclusion, today’s message is: being thankful and grateful is a very good virtue. Above all, we should be thankful and grateful to our Almighty God. And remember, for it to be acceptable before Him our thankfulness and gratefulness should always be based upon His commandments.
Brother Andrew: Thank you for joining us in our study of The Message. Before we go, we invite you to a short prayer.
Brother Ruben: Our most gracious and loving Father in heaven, we thank You so much for your abundant graces, for Your constant guidance to each one of us. You have been good to us, our Father, providing us, not only with our life and our strength, but the many things that we have in our life, above all being called inside the true Church of Christ. We beg of You Father to please help our friends and our loved ones who have listened to this message today. Please give them the opportunity to be able to thank You, to show their gratefulness to You, in a manner that pleases Your name so that Father we could always praise and magnify Your most holy name. Please edify everyone that has listened to this message today. Please grant to us the faith necessary so that we could always walk in Your will, and be able to thank You, and please You in a manner that befits Your most holy name. Lord Jesus, our Savior, please make intercession for us, beseeching our Father to grant all of our requests to bless each one that has listened to this message today so that all would be accepted by our Father, and be able to praise His most holy name. Our Father as we return to You in prayer it is our hope that You will maintain our strong link with the spirit that reigns within the Church Administration. For all of these things we ask and beg for through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.