1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
This morning we are going to look at the importance of being thankful unto the Lord. Being thankful to God, like loving God, is the basis of being able to be thankful to others. If we do not love God, we do not know how to love others, and if we are not thankful to God, we do not know how to be thankful to others.
Paul instructed Timothy to begin the work ahead of him with prayer. We have seen that the communication of Timothy to God through the Lord Jesus Christ’s name, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit was threefold – “…supplications, prayers, and intercessions…”. The past few weeks, We have learned of each and today turn to a most important ingredient – thanksgiving. When we come before the Lord with thanksgiving, our attitude will not be focused on self, but will be one of worship, understanding that the reason we can even come to God and stand before Him to present our prayers unto Him is that He has made us able, offering us the invitation to come to Him in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 4:15-16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Are we thankful that we can cry unto Him – supplications?
Are we thankful that we can pray unto Him – seeking His wisdom and leadership?
Are we thankful that we can intercede for others?
How often do we go to God without being thankful in our hearts? We can approach God, appearing to be thankful, but actually are full of pride and desiring that our will be done! We see this by example in the actions of Cain, the firstborn into the world –
Notice Cain chose to seek praise of God instead of give praise to God!
a). Cain was not thankful to God for His blessings.
Genesis 4:4-8 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Cain wanted God to be thankful to him for his offering – ‘Cain did not well’.
b). Cain was not thankful for the instruction from God – he was given a chance to do right.
And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Notice that God still instructs us to do right by warning us about what we are doing wrong and then telling us how to do right –
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
We also need to know that God would have been pleased with the offering that Cain brought if he first offered a lamb for an blood offering. When God gave the Law, He set forth the offering of the fruit of the land, but it must follow the offering of blood, the innocent for the guilty. Cain did not admit his sin, his guilt before the Holy and Righteous God.
c). Cain was not thankful for his brother’s example – He was jealous!
And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
1 John 3:12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
The fact is that –
d). Cain approached God in an appearance of worship and humility, but he was not truly thankful to God and his rebellious heart was revealed by his actions through –
(1). The displeasure at being rejected.
(2). The death of Able, His attack on his brother, killing him.
(3). The disobedience of God’s command – Cain established a city to dwell in.
Genesis 4:12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
Yet we learn –
Genesis 4:16-17 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
His rebellious heart led to –
(4). The degeneration of his family.
God gave us the account revealing the results of man’s continual rebellion against God from generation to generation. Society without God does not improve through creating a stable and prosperous living environment. Refer to –
Genesis 4:19-24 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
As we see the improvement of life through man’s inventions, we also see that they are used continually for evil. We note that Cain’s family introduced domestication of animals, entertainment through music and poetry, and working of metals to create utensils and weapons into their society.
Lamech rejoiced in all of these things, boasting of the favour that God would show him if he killed someone as Cain had killed Able –
Genesis 4:23-24 And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
Instead of condemning Cain for the murder, he viewed Cain’s actions as simply the justified actions of a man who had been misunderstood by God and provoked to anger by his brother. Men without God have no standard of right and wrong. Everything becomes relative to their own desire and situation. They do not understand that they are already living under condemnation and judgment of God. Men have no ability to improve themselves spiritually or morally which was again proved through Cain by –
(5). The destruction of his family by God’s judgment.
By “going …out from the presence of the Lord…”, Cain left his family the legacy of rebellion against God. Their refusal to submit to God eventually led to the total corruption of society and the judgment of God upon all living except for Noah’s family as recorded in Genesis chapter six.
You might ask the question “Do you mean that the complete destruction of mankind was caused by unthankfulness”? The answer is ‘Yes’, this was the attitude of the heart that led to the anger that ignited rage in Cain,
resisting the instruction of God,
rising up against his brother,
and rebelling against God’s mandate for him by establishing a city and a name honouring himself through his children and not God.
We see that an unthankful heart leads to arrogance and anger against God and man.
We must develop a thankful attitude to God for all things, understanding that the things in this life are temporary and will pass very quickly and that even in the very worst of times, God is with us giving us His grace, mercy, and peace. Remember what Paul told Timothy in the introduction to his letter –
1 Timothy 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
You may say that your situation is so terrible that you cannot thank God. You need to write these verses in the back of your Bible where you can find them when you need help –
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Romans 8:27-28 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We are told that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made… –
Without thankfulness we begin demanding, directing, and determining what God should be doing for others.
Let’s seek God’s will by
a). Praying for others to know the Lord as their Saviour. Witnessing to them
b). Praying for others to grow in the Lord. Teaching them
c). Praying for others to serve the Lord. Partnering with them
Deciding this morning that will be thankful to the Lord for all things.
Are you saved, having turned to God for salvation?