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The Rev. John Piper: “Proud People Don’t Say Thanks” (Romans 1:16-23)

November 22, 2012

This being Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., I thought I would mention an actual Thanksgiving sermon, this one being Proud People Don’t Say Thanks by Dr. John Piper.  He takes Romans 1:16-23 and points out that by nature we are not disposed to give thanks to God for who He is and what He has done, but before that he clearly states the case for our offering a sacrifice of praise:

But what can I give my Maker? If he were hungry he would not tell me, for the world and all that is in it is his. The birds of the air, the bugs in the field, the cattle on a thousand hills belong to him (Psalm 50:10–12). Everything that is, is God’s. I cannot improve him. I cannot enrich or add to him. I am utterly and inescapably and always the recipient. “He is not served by human hands as though he needed anything” (Acts 17:25). How, then, shall I live for him? How shall I please him?

Thanksgiving Is the Message of Creation

The answer to that question, too, stands written in the lesson book of creation mirrored in our own conscience. I must be thankful to him! If I cannot add to his glory, then I must honor his glory. If there is an eternally powerful and infinitely marvelous God who made all that is, then there is only one righteous destiny for his creatures—to live for the praise of his glory . . . to join our Maker in his manifest purpose to make his power and glory known and loved among the nations. How shall a mere creature honor the glory of his Maker? We all know the answer to that question: We honor his glory by cherishing it and being thankful. “He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies God” (Psalm 50:23).

Gratitude honors God. Gratitude is the echo of grace as it reverberates through the hollows of the human heart. Gratitude is the unashamed acceptance of a free gift and the heartfelt declaration that we cherish what we cannot buy. Therefore gratitude glorifies the free grace of God and signifies the humility of a needy and receptive heart.

This day and always, let us realize that a grace-full heart is a grateful heart – and offer up that sacrifice of praise.

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