This is part five of the “Giving THANKS” sermon series that I am preaching on Sunday evenings at the Deer Run Church of Christ. So far we have looked at messages of “Give TIME”, “Give HONOR”, “Give ACTS”, and “Give NOW!”. The fifth message was, “Give What You KNOW”.
God gave me the framework for this sermon series on the drive to work a few weeks ago and now He is giving me the opportunity to preach it! Paul writes in second Thessalonians 4:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” We are never told to be thankful for all circumstances, but we are told to be thankful in all circumstances. As we approach a season of Thanksgiving followed by the Christmas holiday, many people turn to thoughts of thankfulness and giving. This series will give you some great tips on being thankful and some great gift ideas as you give thanks not only to God, but also to the people in your life!
When it comes to giving thanks, it is always appropriate to share what you have. One area of sharing that can be difficult for a variety of reasons is to give what you know! Sometimes others just don’t want to hear it. Perhaps it is hard to give what you know without coming across as being very arrogant. Other times it doesn’t get done because we’ve never stopped to think about it — we don’t really know what we know. 🙂 In this article, I want to look at a passage of scripture and examine four components of what you should know and how to give what you KNOW to others!
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 2:1-5 (NIV)
Paul writes to the Philippians, and to us, and essentially says since you know what you know, then do something positive about it! I will look at them in a different order so it fits my outline word, but here is what Paul says you KNOW as a child of God — and some ways to give what you KNOW!
You give what you KNOW when you give Kindness! Is there any greater kindness than knowing the comfort of Christ’s love? Where would you be without the kindness of God’s mercy and grace? Sometimes it is easy to forget just how great a kindness God has bestowed upon us in extending the comfort of His love. For some reason, many of us reach a point where we begin to think we deserve God’s love and He is lucky to have us on His side. Nothing could be further from the truth! We receive comfort from God’s love when we recognize we don’t deserve any of it, yet we accept it as offered. When we know that kindness, then it is imperative that we give that type of kindness to others. We take on the same attitude as Christ Jesus when we extend kindness to people who we think don’t deserve it.
You give what you KNOW when you give Nurturing! In our relationship with Jesus, God has sought us out with a great tenderness and compassion (as well as the necessary discipline) that is the ultimate example of nurturing. God loves us so much that He’s not content to allow us to remain infants our entire Christian life. When we spend time with God, He purposes to nurture us into growing and productive Christians. When we begin or walk with Christ, He provides the tenderness and compassion that is necessary for us to grow from our infancy in Christ to a mature disciple. No “three strikes and your out” with God! When we know the nurturing of our relationship with Christ, then He calls us to be involved as His servants in nurturing others. We take on the same attitude as Christ Jesus when we nurture the infant Christians around us with the same tenderness, compassion, and patience that Christ nurtures us with.
You give what you KNOW when you give Oneness! To walk in step with the will of God through our being united with Christ brings us into a oneness with Him that should be the greatest encouragement ever. The age-old question of how do I know the will of God is best answered by the all-consuming response, “Know God!”. The more we pursue an intimate relationship with God, the more we walk in a fully surrendered unity, or oneness, with Him. The prayer of Jesus is that all believers would be one in Him just as He and the Father are one. This oneness only comes when we de-value our opinions and center our words and actions in God’s Word and the truth that is Jesus Christ. We take on the same attitude as Christ Jesus when we empty ourself in order to live and share a oneness with God that extends a call to the same oneness with others.
You give what you KNOW when you give Wonder! I don’t believe that anyone could ever experience a greater wonder than God living in them! We experience this wonder fully when we continually walk by, and have fellowship with, the Spirit. I don’t know if you’ve thought about it lately, but when I think about God moving in — about Him taking up residence through His Spirit in me — I just say, “Wow!”. You know yourself and I know myself which makes the thought of God willingly and deliberately living in me one of the greatest wonders of all time! I don’t know how He does it, but I know the wonder of a God who has chosen to take up residence in me through His Spirit. We give what we know when we give the wonder of God’s Spirit living in us to all people. If He can find a way to live in me, He can find a way to live in anyone who would choose to have Him. We take on the same attitude as Christ Jesus when we open our eyes to the people around us and give the wonder of living in fellowship with God’s Spirit.
I pray that you and I are living lives that give what we KNOW to God and to others! I pray that our thanks is expressed as we give what we know through our giving of Kindness, Nurturing, Oneness, and Wonder!