The Road to Thanksgiving

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The Road to Thanksgiving is a textual sermon by Mark Hollingsworth.

Colossians 2:6-7

2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Introduction:
Once a person has accepted Christ, they should walk in Christ. What does this mean? It means that once we have received Christ as our personal Savior, we should follow Him, be like Him, walk with Him, and live for Him. This is the kind of Christian growth that leads to thanksgiving and praise.

Notice that Christian walk...that road to abundant thanksgiving:

I. THE CHRISTIAN’S DOWNWARD GROWTH TO THANKSGIVING.

“Rooted in Him.”

All of the strength and fruitfulness there is in us depends on the depth with which we strike down into the life and love of God. Measuring and grasping the love of God, Paul begins downward. “Rooted and grounded.” We can only reach loftily upward, fully inward and broadly outward, as we strike deeply downward.

For as the height of a tree is generally in proportion to its depth, the outreaching of its branches according to the down-striking of its roots, so a Christian cannot fail of attaining to a lofty lily, if only he can first attain to a lowly, humble life. We can see at a glance how much depends on this being rooted in Christ.

  1. Our fruitfulness.

  2. A fruitfulness that continues in spite of surrounding drought, and barrenness, and death — how shall it be maintained? I have witnessed the effects of long continued drought. The growing corn stood parched and earless.

    The reason is not simply the long absence of rain in summer, but also the superabundance of rain in spring — that on this account the roots of the corn and wheat ran along on the surface without striking down into the bottom soil.

    The plants had such prosperous rains in spring that they made no provision for a dry time by going down into the rich depths of the soil.

  3. Our strength.

  4. You have seen the oak smitten by the whirlwind, and how with its giant arms it has caught the tempest in its embrace, and hurled it back, defeated, while itself stood firm and unmoved in its rooted strength.

    It is pitiful to see a godless man trying to be steadfast in affliction. He has no hidden hold on God by faith and prayer. He has not been sinking his faith deeper and deeper into the heart of Christ as the years rolled on. And now, when the shock comes, he has nothing to hold him.

    His friends try to prop him up with prudential maxims. But props can never take the place of roots.

  5. Our Purity.

  6. “Consider the lily how it grows.” It is in the stream, but not of it. Down deep into the rich and nourishing earth it strikes its roots, and so grows on the nutriment of the hidden soil. If you can reach down into God, and feed altogether on Him, you may exemplify this beautiful spectacle.

    Eph 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 
    Eph 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 
    Eph 3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 
    Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

The deeper you go in God, the more thankful you will be.

II. THE CHRISTIAN’S UPWARD GROWTH TO THANKSGIVING.

“Rooted and built up in Him.”

  1. Not built up by good works alone.

  2. Not built up as the house is built, with materials gathered here and there, and wrought together from without. The tree builds itself from the heart, and so does the Christian. Morality seeks to overlay men with good works.

    Its office is to get them to take on goodness in successive layers, by contact with good men and good books. Here is organic growth as against mechanical, vital increase as against artificial.

  3. Built by the grace of God.

  4. The duty of habitual aspiration after the highest attainments in grace is here urged. It has been said that no man can gaze on the marble statue of David by Michelangelo or the Apollo Belvedere by Leochares without standing taller, and straighter, and mimicking the statue's form in unconscious imitation.

    If the perfect physical form of David or Apollo produces such impression, how much more the man who is perfect in spiritual stature and in moral greatness — the man Christ Jesus?

    Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
    Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 
    Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: 
    Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.

The higher you go toward God, the more thankful you will be.

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S INWARD GROWTH TO THANKSGIVING.

"Stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught."

Eph 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 
Eph 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 
Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 
Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 
Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 
Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 
Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

This is were other believers come in. Discipleship is a Biblical principle that cannot be overlooked. we need each other to help get established in the faith. In this case Paul had taught the Colossians and personally helped them grow in the Lord and toward Christlikeness. He was thankful for them and their thanksgiving to God.

We need various mentors in our Christian journey. There may be those who help us grow deep and others that help us grow up and others that help us grow in and others that help us grow out and even others who specialize in helping us grow in praise and thanksgiving toward God. We need all of those who will help us grow stronger in the Lord.

2Th 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
2Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 
2Th 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, 
2Th 2:17 Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.

The more established you become in the Lord, the more thankful you will be to Him.

IV. THE CHRISTIAN’S OUTWARD GROWTH TO THANKSGIVING.

“Abounding therein."

This is the branching out into all service, and fruitfulness, and praise.

  1. The abundance of God's goodness.

  2. The one significant fact concerning the gifts of God to us is their exceeding abundance. The grace of God which bringeth salvation “was exceeding abundant.” The mercy of God is “abundant mercy.” “The Holy Ghost is shed forth abundantly.”

    It is “our God who will abundantly pardon.” “An entrance be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of God.” And as though to sum up all, the apostle writes of Him who is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

  3. His abundant goodness should flow out of us.

  4. What is the abundance bestowed for except that it may flow out in abounding blessings to others? Our main purpose in the Christian life is to help others come to Christ and then grow in Christ. Who have you helped come to Christ or grow in Christ this year?

    Heb 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 
    Heb 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

The farther out you reach for the Lord, the more thankful you will be.

V. THE CHRISTIAN’S GODWARD GROWTH TO THANKSGIVING.

“with thanksgiving."

Col 1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it (heard about your faith), do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 
Col 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 
Col 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 
Col 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

The growing Christian is a thankful Christian. The more we grow in the Lord, the more thankful we are to the Lord. The whole purpose of our downward, upward, inward and outward growth is to lead us to a closer Godward relationship and to greater thankfulness and praise to Him.

Conclusion:
Christ is the reason for our existence. He is the reason for our salvation. He is the reason for our growth. He is the reason for our fulfillment. He is the reason for our fruitfulness. He is the reason for our thanksgiving.

Col 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 
Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 
Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1Th 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.


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