Ephesians 5 Series #4



TEXT:         Eph. 5:3-4, 20; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 5:18; Luke 17:11-19; Dan. 6:10; 1 Chron. 23:30; Luke 22:14-20; Psalm 100:4; Psalm 107:1-2, 22, 42-43 Acts 16:25-34; Dan. 4


INTRO:       When you build a house you first pick a design ... then construct a "FRAME" around which the shape and finish work of the house will be done.  Once the framework is up the shape of the house is determined!


In a psychological sense we do this also with our children, we become for them a design or pattern, then we construct the framework of their living conditions and attitudes through a series of reward and punishment reactions, as well as by our example; they then build the finish work around this frame of reference or they tear it down and build their own.


ILLUS:     A mother took her three children to a restaurant to eat breakfast one morning.  The smallest of the three children sat at the very end of the row.  She saw other people being served and eating right away without stopping to say thanks.  It surprised her.  When the food was served to her, she shouted out to her mother: "Mommy, don't people ask the blessing in this place?"  You can well imagine the embarrassment of those present.  Her mother tried to hush her.  But, the waitress said to little Mary, "Yes, we do, sister!  You give thanks!"  Amazingly, at that very moment everybody else also bowed their heads and offered thanks.  Embarrass them and maybe you will bring them to their senses to say "Thank you, God." -- Source Unknown


Unthankful parents will usually produce unthankful children ... because the framework their parent's give them is one of everybody owes them something instead of their having a giving spirit.  Give a child everything including their demands all the time and you will raise a spoiled tyrant who believes the world revolves around his/her existence!  This is why we have to teach our children to be polite and thankful, it is not a part of human nature we are born with, a baby only knows it's own needs and screams when they are not met!


ILLUS:     A man was watching his eighty-year-old neighbor planting a small peach tree.  He inquired of him as follows: "You don't expect to eat peaches from that tree, do you?"  The old man rested on his spade.  He said, "No, at my age I know I won't.  But all my life I've enjoyed peaches -- never from a tree I planted myself.  I'm just trying to pay the other fellows who planted the trees for me." -- James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 259.


PROP. SENT:    Being born again doesn't necessarily make you a wonderfully caring thankful person, this is something that must be learned and disciplined in your new walk with God ... thus developing a thankful frame of mind!


I.   CONDITIONAL?  Eph. 5:3-4,20;  Col. 3:17;  1 Thess. 5:18;  Acts 16:25-34;  Luke 17:11-19


A.   Classifications:    Eph. 5:3-4,20;   Col. 3:17;  1 Thess. 5:18

1.   Notice in all these verses there are no qualifying remarks that give exemption to a believer so they don't have to give thanks!

2.   We are to learn a "thankful" spirit during the "GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY"

3.   It is interesting to note in 1 THESS. 5:18 that it is stated, "FOR THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD CONCERNING YOU!"

a.   There is little guess work left here ... it is always God's will to have a thankful heart!

b.   Nothing is more rude than for someone to be unthankful, especially when you gave up your life for them!!

c.   One of the jobs of parenting is teaching your children "MANNERS," to be polite and thankful when others do things for them or give them some­thing.

4.   We have received so much from God's goodness that we have far greater reasons to give thanks than to complain!


ILLUS:        Be thankful for your problems. For if they were less difficult, someone with less ability would have your job.  Look backward with gratitude and forward with confidence. -- Vern McLellan, The Complete Book of Practical Proverbs and Wacky Wit (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996).


5.   Unthankfulness will yield bumper crops:

a.   Bitterness

b.   Resentment

c.   Anger

d.   Discouragement

e.  Retaliation

6.   Thankfulness however also yields bumper crops:

a.   Joy

b.   Appreciation

c.   Caring for others

d.   Love

e.   Emotional stability

f.    Spiritual power and maturity


B.   Caution!!   Luke 17:11-19;  Acts 16:25-34

1.   Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of 10 lepers who sought out Jesus for healing:    Jesus heals them all - BUT only one returned to give thanks!  Jesus records for us His disappointment in the other 9 who were un­thankful ... they were so overcome with their own need being met they forgot their manners!


ILLUS:      A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman.  While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home.  His host said jeeringly, "That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat."  The farmer answered that with him it was customary, but that some of those on his farm never prayed over their food.  "Ah, then," said the gentleman, "They are sensible and enlightened.  Who are they?"  "My pigs," the farmer answered. -- Source Unknown


a.   I wonder how many times we have failed to give thanks unto God for the many wonderful things He has done for us ... and forgotten to say thanks when the answers come!

b.   It hurts when people don't even say THANKS!

2.   In Acts 16:25-31 Paul and Silas were in prison though innocent of any real charges ... and in their THANKFULNESS to God; though chained, in maximum security, in darkness, during an earthquake, and not taking advantage of an open jail because of the earthquake, their attitude of THANKFULNESS demonstrated by their singing led to the conversion of an entire family!

a.   Such moments when things are going heavily against us produce the greatest opportunities to show thankfulness!

b.   Some of the greatest moments of witnessing are created out of the ugliest situations in our lives ... IF THEY ARE CONNECTED TO A THANKFUL FRAME OF MIND!


II.  CONDITIONED!!!   Dan. 6:10;  1 Chron. 23:30;  Luke 22: 15-20;  Psm. 100:4;  Psm. 107:1-2,22,42-13


A.   Controlled!   Dan. 6:10;  1 Chron. 23:30;  Psm. 100:4

1.   Daniel was the object of jealousy and hate, and was about to be closed in on by some evil people because of his consistent prayer life.  It is interesting to note in Dan. 6:10 that when he prayed he gave THANKS TO GOD AS ALWAYS!

a.   Thankfulness helped him stay under control!


ILLUS:      Charles Dickens said that we are somewhat mixed up here in America.  He told an audience that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year we should have 364.  "Use that one day just for complaining and griping," he said.  "Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you." -- Source Unknown


b.   It forces out of the heart the bitterness that otherwise would creep in.

c.   He didn't need to lash out against anyone ... he just reached out to God with a thankful heart!

2.   Another person who showed the same heart was Joseph ... he kept a thankful heart even when he was the object MANY times of other peoples evil schemes!

a.   His attitude of thankfulness took him to the top of power!

b.   His attitude of thankfulness allowed him to joyfully forgive his brothers!

c.   His attitude of thankfulness set the stage for God's mighty work in building a nation for Himself!

d.   He was always under control ... BECAUSE of his frame of mind, a thankful one!


B.   Compassion    Luke 22:14-20

1.   Jesus, prior to his greatest moments of pain uttered these words, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you" ... after taking the cup, HE GAVE THANKS!"

a.   Jesus' frame of mind was always THANKFUL, and He was filled with compassion because of it!

b.   When you are THANKFUL, you are THOUGHTFUL!  You will think of others even when you are in the midst of a struggle!


ILLUS:       A mother and her two little children were destitute.  In the depth of winter they were nearly frozen, and the mother took the cellar door off the hinges and set it up in front of the corner where they crouched down to sleep so that some of the draft and cold might be kept from them.  One of the children whispered to her, "Mother, what do those poor children do who have no cellar door to put up in front of them?" -- Source Unknown


2.   Jesus saw the greater picture ... and so gave thanks before the Passover celebration which would include his own death!

3.   Joseph saw the greater picture also, "What you meant for evil, God Intended for good" ... compassion flows from the grateful heart!


C.   Commitment!   Psm. 107:1-2,22,42-43

1.   Note the sense of command in the verse: "GIVE THANKS..."

2.   Then an interesting statement "LET THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD SAY SO!"

a.   The point being to get into the habit of thinking, and even saying "THE LORD IS GOOD,  HIS LOVES ENDURES FOREVER!"

b.   The Psalmist suggests to the redeemed to "SAY SO!"


ILLUS:      One year when Christmas Day came on a Sunday, a farmer decided to go to church.  (Like some people, he thought he was fulfilling his religious obligation by going to church twice a year-at Christmas and Easter!)  The sermon that day was preached from the text, "The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider" (Isa 1:3).  Isaiah is saying that man is dumber than the animals.  After church the farmer returned home and stood among his cows.  One of them began to lick his hand-a practical demonstration of the sermon he had just heard.  Strong man though he was, the farmer began to weep as he thought, "God did much more for me, and yet I never thanked Him.  My cow is far more grateful than I am.  What do I ever give her other than grass and water?" -- Source Unknown


c.   Perhaps we could learn something here ... to get into the habit of reminding our self and others that "GOD IS GOOD, HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!"

d.   (perhaps everyone who is now saved should say so!!!)

3.   Note Psm. 107:22, it is called here a "SACRIFICE OF THANKS" ... the point being made is probably that of setting one's mind and resources to make the commitment to give thanks in spite of negative influences in life!

4.   Just like the commitment it takes to teach our children to say, "Thank you" as a habit and mean it, we too must learn to make the commitment to be a thankful person!

5.   God give us a THANKFUL FRAME OF MIND!!!  It will literally frame the very existence and structure of our lives!

a.   Note in Psm. 107:42-43 that the "WISE will heed these things;" ironically you are one of the biggest benefactors of having a thankful heart, it will keep from you all kinds of evil thoughts and motives!

b.   It is like "casting your bread upon the water, after many days it will return to you."

c.   Thankful people are appreciated by other people - and are strong people!


CONCLUSION:    A "Thankful" frame of mind is both a "MUST" for the believer, and something that "MUST BE PRACTICED" by the believer!  The thankful spirit creates the "frame of mind" that we build upon throughout our lifetime ... what kind of "dwelling" are you building, one with a good frame or one that will topple easily when storms come?