As Christians, we are commanded to have an attitude of gratitude and thankfulness in all circumstances, whether times are good or bad. We should strive to be grateful people no matter how much or how little we possess physically, how large or small the good deeds done for us are, or how great or little our sins forgiven are. Gratefulness in every circumstance prevents jealousy, entitlement, and self-righteousness, and helps us appreciate God's abundant blessings rather than taking them for granted.
Good afternoon. Would you take out your Bible, please, and turn to the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy chapter 8 is where we will be here in just a moment. We'll reference a few other scriptures before we get there, but this will be the first scripture to which we'll turn, and we'll provide the text for our first point in our sermon this evening.
November is here, and Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and in light of our Bible reading for this week, I want us to think for a few minutes about this concept, of being grateful in every Grateful in every circumstance. As Christians we're commanded to do, to be that way in several passages in our New Testaments.
Gratitude is a concept that's important in both the Old and New Testaments, but for us as Christians specifically, we are commanded to be grateful, and to be grateful no matter what it is that's going on in our life from a physical perspective. Notice just three passages really quickly that, that show this point.
I'm not even sure I have to give these passages to you, but I just want you to see this is something that comes up a lot, over and over and over in our New Testament. Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 20, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I mean, that doesn't leave much out, does it?
Always, and for everything. What about this passage? 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5, verses 16 through 18. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Maybe your translation says, in every circumstance. Whatever the circumstance is. We should be giving thanks to God.
We should be able to rejoice. And we know that we're praying to God, not just prayers asking for things, but prayers of thanksgiving for what it is that He's given to us. One more example, this time from the book of Colossians, chapter 3 and verse 17, and this is tied very closely to our worship in song, but it says, And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, Giving thanks, in what?
In everything, in whatever you do, in word or deed. Giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Whatever we do, in every circumstance, always and for everything. We should be giving thanks to God for what He has done. True gratitude is found when we can be grateful always for everything in every circumstance.
And that's one of those grandiose statements that you hear preachers make. But what does that look like? What is Every circumstance. Well, allow me to suggest three ways that we might think about that concept of being grateful in every circumstance. And when we think about circumstances being good and bad, usually there's a spectrum.
And I want to think about three different realms where we have this spectrum from good to bad, quote unquote, where we need to be thankful despite the circumstances that we have. So, three ways to be grateful in every circumstance. Number one. We need to be grateful in times when we have much, and grateful in times when we have little.
Physically. In our physical lives, in the things that we have and that we've been blessed with, we need to be grateful in times when we have much, and grateful in times when we have little. Let me ask you, in your opinion, there's not a right or wrong answer to this, I don't think. But when is it harder to be thankful?
Maybe partly that's based on your life experience, maybe that's based on your personality. But when is it harder to be thankful to God and others? In times of plenty, when you have much and you have need of nothing? Or in times of little, when you're scraping by and you just have maybe just those bare necessities of life?
In what time is it harder to be grateful? Well, no doubt, both present their own challenges. But I've always thought it was those times of lack that were the more difficult times that... That we should find things to be thankful for, when things are hard, and when we don't have much. And we see that kind of concept, I think, in a number of different places expressed.
Maybe not biblically, necessarily, but even in the song we just sang. Count your many blessings. Well, what are the circumstances here in this song? Everything's great, I have so much, so I need to be thanking my, counting my blessings? Well, verse 1. When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings.
Verse 2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings. So amid the conflict, whether great or small, do not be discouraged, God is over all. Count your many blessings. And what's implied there is we need to count our blessings when times are hard, when we don't have very much.
Even as I was searching for images for this particular sermon for my PowerPoint background I was searching for little and much, rich and poor, those sorts of things. And this is pretty small down here. Let me just go back and show you the big picture again. The rich people are what? They are happy.
And the poor people are what? They are unhappy. Well, except for maybe the kids. They still look happy. Maybe there's... Maybe there's some truth in that even as well, right? But I think that's kind of the mindset that it's it's so hard to be grateful when you don't have very much And it's so easy to be grateful when you have much much much much.
Let me ask you this Are we more prosperous now or in the Great Depression? Obviously now, you know the most grateful people that I've known over the course of my entire life Or people who lived through the Great Depression. Because they know, knew what it was to have little. And they were so grateful for everything that they had.
So, maybe we need to think about this from a slightly different perspective than what we normally do. And, and I'll admit that this was kind of the inspiration to go down this rabbit hole of this particular lesson. With thinking about this idea of being grateful even when we have much. Being grateful in plenty.
Being grateful when we have a lot in our lives, but it led me to a place that I really didn't expect, necessarily. If you're there in Deuteronomy chapter 8, I think we see this juxtaposition. The people of Israel when they had little, and the people of Israel when they had much. And maybe this can give us a little insight into our concept of being grateful.
Start there in Deuteronomy chapter 8. This is Moses recounting all of the things that they've been through. It's second law. He's looking at the law again. And he's reminding them to, to keep the commands of God based on the things that they've been through. Notice beginning in verse 2 of Deuteronomy chapter 8.
And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way, these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commandments. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you did not know, and which your fathers did not know, that He might make you know.
That man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell in those 40 years. So for 40 years, they wandered in the wilderness and God provided for every need. You remember how that manna worked?
They gathered it in the morning with the due. If they tried to take extra, it ruined. Except on Friday, in preparation for the Sabbath day, they gathered twice as much. And if they tried to gather on the Sabbath, there was none to be had. None came with a due. I think this is the ultimate example of God just providing necessities.
What we might call our daily bread. God provided it. And all they had to do was go out and gather it. There was no questioning where it came from. It came from God. It was, there was no questioning who deserved. And they didn't have much, but they had everything that they needed. God provided for every need.
Even their clothes didn't wear out. They might have only had one change of clothes. But those clothes and those shoes didn't wear out. And this is so similar to what we are promised as Christians. As Christians, we're not promised some great wealth in this life, though God often grants that. What we're promised are our necessities, our needs.
If we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things, these physical things that we often worry about, will be added to you, Jesus says in Matthew chapter 6. So, since they didn't have much and God provided for everything and it was so clear God was providing it, these people in the wilderness were the most grateful generation of all time, right?
Well, you know the story. It was just the opposite. They were whiny and entitled and they complained about everything. God brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And where is the thanks? It's really hard to find their thanksgiving in the book of Exodus. and Leviticus and Numbers. We see them complaining about everything.
As soon as they get out of Egypt and God gives them all of these gifts from the Egyptians, they're no longer slaves, they get to the Red Sea, and the first thing they do, they look back and they see Pharaoh coming and they complain, and they say, You've brought us out to be killed here. And of course, God delivers them there.
But over and over, we see their rebellion against God with the golden calf and the giants in the land. But we also see their ingratitude. We want, we want, we want. We want water. We want bread. We want meat. We want it now. We want it our way. And even when God gave it to them, they weren't grateful about it.
It didn't matter what, what God did, they were going to complain. Why? Because they were ungrateful people. That was their heart. That was their attitude. And God could give them everything. And they were still going to be ungrateful. So no doubt when things are tough, it can be tough to be grateful. But I'm beginning to think, as I've studied this over the last couple of weeks, it might be just as hard, at least for some, maybe most, to be thankful in times of plenty as well.
That's where Moses goes with this. If you keep reading, drop down to Drop down to verse 7. Moses says this, For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs that flow out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.
Basically, it's just the opposite of the wilderness. You're going to have more than you need. You will lack nothing. So what's the warning that Moses gives them, verse 10? When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you. Bless, another way to say that is thank.
You're to thank God. You're to God for what He's given you when you have all of this. Abundance from Him. But there's a warning. Verse 11. Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today. Lest, when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, when you lift, when your heart is lifted up and you forget, The Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt from the house of bondage, who led you through that great and terrible wilderness in which were fiery serpents and scorpions, and thirsty land where there was no water.
who brought out water for you out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you, and that He might test you to do good in the end. Then you say in your heart, My power and the might of My hand have gained me this wealth. And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He might establish His covenant which He swore with your fathers.
As it is this day, then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day, you shall surely perish. Their problem in the wilderness, they were ungrateful. And Moses warns them and says, you need to be careful when you get into the land.
Because in this time of plenty. The temptation is to be ungrateful and to forget the Lord. So the point, perhaps, is this. We just need to be grateful people in every circumstance. And if we are thankful in much, we will likely be thankful in little. And if we are thankful in little, We likely will be thankful in much.
That's very similar to what Jesus says in Luke chapter 16 in verse 10. One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much. And the one who is dishonest in very little is also dishonest in much. We could just insert into this verse thankful and unthankful. One who is thankful in a very little is also thankful in much.
One who is unthankful in very little is also unthankful in much. And we know which end of the spectrum applies to us more. And again, this is part of why I was thinking about this. We talk about not having very much and need to be thankful when we don't have very much. Well, we have a lot. We are much more like the children of Israel in the Promised Land than in the wilderness.
And we are so very blessed, spiritually and physically. We live in a state of perpetual blessedness. And we need to be grateful in this time where we have... And this kind of gratefulness in all circumstances does a number of things for us. Being grateful in every circumstance wards off jealousy. Now, I had a conversation after services a few weeks ago about taking notes and when not every single thing is up on the PowerPoint.
When do we take notes? If you're taking notes, write this down. This is a point to remember, okay? Write this down. Being grateful in every circumstance wards off jealousy. Do you have much or little right now? I mean, many of us have much, but there are some in here who have little. Maybe even very, very little.
However much or however little we have, what should our attitude be toward others? Romans chapter 12 Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep. If we are grateful for what we have, for what we have, then we can be happy for others. Even if they happen to have more than us. And the reality is, there will always be someone who has more than us.
I'm off Cokes right now. You know, you know me long enough to know I love Cokes, man. I'll drink four or five a day if you don't watch me. And I'm not drinking the sugar. I want all the sugar. Never had a cavity, you know, a famous last words. But I'm off Cokes right now, trying to lose a little weight, trying to be a little healthier, those sorts of things.
It's temporary, I'll go back on Cokes probably sometime after the first of the year. Because I, I enjoy them, they're fun. But, I'm off of them right now, and Stephanie and I went to our favorite place for lunch. We went to Moe's, we got a burrito, and I sit down with this lovely, beautiful burrito, I'm so excited about it.
And Stephanie sits down, and she takes a drink. I'm drinking my water. She takes a drink, and she says, Oh, this cherry coke is so good. And her eyes get real big. Like, I thought she was kidding with me, but her eyes get real big. She says, I am so sorry. I forgot, right? Well, you know, I got a choice in that moment, right?
Am I going to be grateful for what I have, or am I going to look across the table? Am I going to be jealous of what I don't have that somebody else does? Now that's a really, really small, insignificant example.
But if I have that attitude in little, I'll have that attitude in much. I'm glad our Coke was good. I didn't want it to be flat, you know? I didn't want it to be, you know, it's the worst when just the carbonation comes out, there's no syrup in there. We should be glad for others when they have much. We should rejoice with them when they have much, especially when it's our brethren.
And if we are grateful for what we have... Then that sort of jealousy just won't appeal to us, because I know what I have. I'm grateful to God that I have it, and I express that thanks to Him. Almost all of us in here have found ourselves living month to month, week to week, maybe even day to day at some point in our life.
But many of us now are in a different place. Are we more or less grateful than what we were? Do we have the same attitude of gratitude in every circumstance? So you see the idea here. We see this contrast. Let me give you two other examples just a little more quickly. Secondly the second way to be grateful in every circumstance is grateful when great things are done for us.
And when small things are done for us as well. Maybe we get into our minds sometimes that we should be grateful when people do big things for us. But not worry about it when people are just doing small things for us. And I say people, maybe sometimes that's God. Gratitude. Here's another good thing to write down if you're taking notes.
Gratitude is not strictly dependent on the greatness of the deed. I think sometimes that's what we get in our head. If somebody does a big favor for me. Well, then I'm going to be grateful. Then I have that attitude. But again, just as we talked about with point one, if you're not a grateful person, if you don't have a grateful heart, if somebody does something huge for you, you're probably not going to be grateful.
And if you have a grateful heart, you're going to be grateful even for the small things that people do for you. Christians should be grateful whatever another does for us, whether that is big or small. Go back to Luke chapter 17. I say go back because this comes from our Bible reading from this week.
And you probably studied this at least briefly this morning. Jesse's laughing. How much of Luke 17, 11 through 19 did you get to? Okay, well let's, a little bit, a little bit he says. Well let's, let's read it together. Now it happened as he, Jesus, went to Jerusalem and he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
Then as he entered a certain village, there met him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, Jesus Master, have mercy on us! Now they had to yell it because they weren't allowed to get too close to Jesus. In the junior high class we threw wads of paper at, at lepers this, this morning.
Because the rabbis actually said you could pick up rocks and throw them at lepers if they got too close. You're supposed to yell, leper, unclean. And so these lepers from afar off were yelling at Jesus, cursed with this incurable, debilitating, ultimately fatal disease that led them to be an outcast in society.
Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And so when he saw them, he said to them, Go, show yourselves to the priest. And so it was, that as they went, they were cleaned, cleansed. If you were to ask these lepers, before Jesus did this, What is the greatest thing someone could do for you? What would they say? Number one, number one on the list by a wide margin would be, If someone could cleanse me, cure me of this leprosy, that would be the greatest thing they could do for me.
This is the greatest thing that could be done for them from a physical perspective. And yet, what happens next? Verse 15, And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God. He had a loud voice when he asked for things. Now he has a loud voice in thanking God for things.
He fell down on his face at his feet, Jesus feet, giving him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner? And he said to him, Arise, go your way, your faith has made you well.
Were not ten cleansed? All ten received the same initial blessing. The problem with the nine is that they were not grateful. This was the biggest thing that someone could do for them, and yet they don't express their gratitude. And if they wouldn't thank Jesus for this, for this, would they thank Him if He had done anything else for them?
In other words, if we are not resolved, if we are not committed, if we don't live our lives in such a way that we are going to be grateful people, it doesn't matter how big something is that someone does for us, we won't be grateful. But if we are grateful people, if that's what's in our heart, if that's what we resolve to be, it doesn't matter how small something is that someone does for us, we will be grateful for that small thing.
And I think there is a temptation to only be grateful when we think it is really, really merited. And that's dangerous. And I'm not talking about false flattery, but this attitude of thanksgiving and everything. We need to strive to be grateful no matter how large or how small the things done for us are.
And anything less than that... Can lead us into some very dangerous waters. I once, this is many years ago, I went to a restaurant with a group of Christians. And, and while we were there the, the waitress, I think it was a waitress, maybe it was a waiter, I, I don't remember. But the waitstaff let's call her a waitress, the waitress came and she gave us our drinks are refilled by drink or something along those lines, and I said thank you very much for that.
And one of the Christians at the table with us once she left, said, you know, I don't do that. I never say thank you when someone does something they're just supposed to do. Now, not so coincidentally, this person was a horrible tipper. It was embarrassing to go out to eat with them. Maybe there's a connection there, right?
Now, is there a sense, even here in Luke chapter 17 and verse 10, We have to do our duty, and in those moments when we do, we're still unprofitable servants, those sorts of things. There is a sense where people just need to do their duty, and they don't have to have constant praise in order to do that.
That's kind of what that parable is about in verses 5 through 10. It provides a really nice contrast with the ten lepers. So is there a sense where we need to do our duty, and whether people thank us or not for that, we still need to do it. Is that true? Yeah, of course. But what about us when others are doing their duty but we benefit from it?
We need to err, or err, as my granddad used to say, on the side of being too grateful, too thankful. Rather than not grateful enough. Here's another thing to write down, notetakers. Gratitude in every circumstance destroys entitlement. And really that's what that attitude is. An ungrateful heart is an entitled heart.
So often, I deserve this, this is what I deserve. I'm not gonna thank you because this is what you should have done to begin with. And there is so much to be grateful for, even in something like going out to eat. We live in a time and a place where we can go out to eat. Have you ever thought about how incredible that is?
To live in this time and in this place where it is commonplace for us to go to some restaurant where they have great food and we can eat as much as we want? And somebody cleans up for us afterwards. It's incredible. And I can be grateful that I have the money to do so from time to time. You know, eating out is not a fundamental right.
Anybody else in here grow up and you didn't eat out growing up? We didn't eat out. We didn't have the money to eat out when I was little. And I'm grateful for their service, especially if they do a good job. And I know it's what they signed up for. And yes, they're being paid for it. And yes, I have the right to expect them to be friendly and nice and those sorts of things.
But, but wait staff, they are not my slaves. I should be grateful. It's not as though I deserve somehow to walk into a restaurant and be waited on hand and foot. I don't deserve that. I should be grateful and thankful for it. Is that a small thing? Absolutely it is. But if we are not grateful in what is small, then we will not be grateful in what is large.
That's the reality. Think of it this way. Maybe, maybe you've not ever been you know, in food service and those sorts of things. What about raising children? Is it my duty to raise and provide for my children? Yes or no? Thumbs up, thumbs down. Is that my duty as a parent? Absolutely. Are my children, thumbs up, thumbs down, children I'm watching, are our children supposed to be thankful and grateful for the raising and the things that we provide for them?
Thumbs up, thumbs down. And if they're not, if they're not grateful and thankful, What do we call them? Spoiled. Right? Brats. Unthankful. Entitled. Think about it this way. Is it your duty, is it my duty, to serve my spouse in a loving, kind, and respectful way? Thumbs up, thumbs down. Is that my duty? Absolutely it is.
But how do you feel if you never receive any thanks or gratitude for loving, for loving your spouse in a kind and respectful way? If there's never any gratitude, how do you feel? Well, probably you feel taken for granted. Unappreciated. Is it your duty to do your job at the workplace? Sure. But how do you feel if your boss never compliments any of your work?
Never thanks you for the things that you do? When you pick up the slack for your coworkers and they never give you so much as a thank you? How does that feel? Well, you're doing your duty, sure, but there still should be some gratitude attached to that. In some ways, what we see with the ten lepers is the worst kind of ingratitude.
When we have so much, and we're given so much, and we still aren't thankful. Because that leads straight into that entitlement that I talked about before. I deserve this. This is my right. JFK famously said, Think not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. I mean, how would that fly in today's day and age?
That's anathema. I'm supposed to put the good of my country above my own good? What my country can do for me? It's about what others can do for me, not what I can do for others. That's the attitude of the world, for much of the world, for most of the world. But it cannot be that way for us as Christians.
But sometimes that attitude seeps in. The church ought to be doing things for me. What is the church going to do for me? What is the church going to do for my kids? No. What are you going to do for others in this church because of what Christ has done for you? That's an expression of gratitude. It can show up too sometimes in this, Well, why don't we do things my way?
This is the way I think we ought to do them. That kind of attitude. Well, are you just thinking about what's best for you? Or are you thinking about what's best for everyone? That there are others who need to be benefited in a different way. And I'm so grateful that that's not at all a common attitude here.
And that manifests itself in several ways. When you're thankful, you take better care of things. I remember back through the years, several of these young ladies are now grown. Who would help clean and wash dishes whenever we had devotionals over at our house. That shows gratitude. Even without them saying thank you, although they did, it shows a grateful heart.
On the other side of the coin, in the past there have been occasions where things were not taken care of. Where, where young people were destructive. Well that shows an ungrateful heart. You know, there shouldn't be gum spit out on the concrete. Like, we gotta, we gotta think about these things. I'm gonna take care of things.
That shows a grateful heart for what's being done for me. But let me brag for just a second on something recent. We had our big Halloween party. Everybody was invited. If you, if you didn't come, well, you missed out. You should have come. We had like 140 of y'all and a few others who were there for that big party.
And our neighbors across the street, we texted them about parking and so forth, and of course they were more than willing for us to do that. And it was funny because the day after the party one of these neighbors texted Stephanie about how clean everything was, and they said, that's incredible, like you can't even tell that you had all of these people at your house the day before.
You know why that is? Because we have grateful people. We have thankful people. You expressed your gratitude for us hosting by, number one, taking care of things when you were there, and all of these people stayed to help clean up afterwards. That's an expression of a grateful heart. tHinking about Halloween and trick or treating specifically, I know that there are some here who no longer do Who no longer provide candy at Halloween, they, they go off and eat and those sorts of things because in recent years they've had experiences like this.
Somebody rings on the doorbell, they open up, maybe they don't even say trick or treat and you put the candy in and I know what you're thinking and the kids don't say thank you. No, let me take it a step further. Some of the kids say, is that it? Is that all you're going to give me? I mean, that's, that's an ungrateful heart.
And we as Christians, we have to be lights to this world. We have to be salt to the earth to show that there is a different way, a way of gratitude. And no matter how small things are that are done for us, we're grateful for those things. If we don't have that, it harms our faith. Well, it harms us because we become obnoxious and ungrateful and self centered people, sure.
But also, and this leads into our last point, when you have this entitled attitude, where you believe that everything should just be given to you because you deserve it, you'll start feeling that way about God, the things of God and His grace, the death of Christ, and the forgiveness of our sins, where we just expect God to forgive us, because that's what He has promised.
And so the last thing that I want us to think about, three ways to be grateful in every circumstance, be grateful when we are forgiven, quote unquote, little.
There are a couple of places we could, we could turn to, to look at this. Turn to Psalm 51. You think about big sins with big consequences. Certainly David's sin with Bathsheba had long standing consequences. Immediate consequences, consequences in his family, consequences in the kingdom, consequences in his own life.
All sorts of terrible things. This was a, a horrid sin. In so many ways. And yet we see David crying out to God in Psalm 51 about this sin. And he says in verse 1, Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness. According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight, that you may be found just when you speak, and blameless when you judge. He asks later in the psalm for God to give him a clean heart and all these sorts of things.
But I think David realizes something here. David wrote this poem, this psalm, I assume, after the events with Nathan, that's what the psalm heading tells us. And he has already been forgiven of this sin, though there are still consequences he will have to bear. And yet David understands, as we all should, that forgiveness is not some unalienable right forever promised to us no matter what we do.
Sometimes, when a gift is offered over and over and over again, we forget that it's a gift. And we've all seen that, maybe even in our own lives. Where the generosity of one is taken advantage of, or at least not appreciated, and when they withdraw their favor... The beneficiary is insulted and offended. How dare you not give me my gift!
But that's not David's attitude at all. There is not a stitch of entitlement or taking this process for granted in David's words. There is no presumption that God is required to do this.
And when we think about the comparison, grateful when we've been forgiven of little and when we are forgiven of much I, I can't help but think of another passage from Luke. Bear with me. Turn to Luke chapter 7 if you would. This will be the last passage to which we turn this evening. Luke chapter 7.
In Luke chapter 7, Jesus is at the house of a Pharisee. And he's sitting down to eat. And there's a woman in the city who's a known sinner. And she comes and sits at Jesus feet, and she begins, she begins washing his feet with very fragrant oil. And she begins to wash his feet with her tears and wiping them dry with the hair of her head.
And this Pharisee, in whose house Jesus is staying, says to himself, Oh, if Jesus knew who this woman was, he wouldn't allow her to touch her, touch him, because she is a sinner. And this Pharisee's name was Simon, and in verse 40 Jesus answered and said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. So he said, Teacher, say it.
There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him more? This is the very thing that we're talking about, right? Forgiving little versus forgiving much.
Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave more. And he said to him, You have rightly judged. And he turned to the woman and said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I entered your house and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wiped my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head.
You gave me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss my feet since the time I came in. And you did not anoint my head with oil, but this woman has anointed my head with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
And he said to her, your sins are forgiven.
Here's the catch,
we all have been forgiven much. Whether we see it or not, that's the reality for every single one of us. And if we have the attitude of, well I've just only been forgiven a little, we call that self righteousness. Though disciples, we continue to be unworthy. of the granted favor of God's forgiveness. We are given a second chance and a third chance and a hundredth chance.
Over and over and over, God is gracious toward us. And we are forgiven, every single one of us, forgiven much. So what should we be? We should be grateful much. We should love much. Write this down. Being grateful in every circumstance suffocates self righteousness. The kind of attitude that says, God has to forgive me.
And I'm going to keep sinning, but He has to forgive me. That's the kind of attitude that Joel addressed in Joel chapter 2, verses 12 through 14. This is a great definition of what repentance is. But notice what he says in verse 14. Who knows if He will turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God.
Who knows if God will actually do this? Our attitude is that I'm not going to be presumptuous when it comes to repentance and confession. I confess, I did it, now you have to forgive me, God. That's not our attitude. Our attitude is, I have sinned against my God, I come before Him seeking forgiveness, and I am so incredibly grateful.
that he promises to forgive again. And this whole concept that is so common in religion today, that grace means I don't have to do anything, is an easier thing to sell, In a time when many people have everything given to them and nothing is expected in return. We are so incredibly blessed. But that blessing cannot blind us to what we have been given by God's grace.
We cannot fall into the attitude of so many who profess to be Christians that God can't require anything of me. He just has to give me salvation and blessings. That is spiritual entitlement and self righteousness of the worst kind. But if... If, brothers and sisters, if we are truly grateful in every circumstance, then we will see our circumstance for what it is, that I have alienated myself from God through my sin.
And, oh, happy day
when He washed my sins away. And I live my life with an attitude of gratitude because of that more than anything else. Because I know what it is to be forgiven. Forgiven of much. Forgiven of many.
And now I am grateful.
Have you done something to deserve God's forgiveness? No. But you can accept it. Even tonight. You can work hard because of it. And you can be grateful for it. Even this evening. What an opportunity. To be given much. To have much. And to be forgiven much. Even this evening. And if we can help you with that, won't you come now?
Where together we stand and while we sing. Call three gleeful rings over land and sea