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The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Introduction: The first reference to thanksgiving in the Bible is in the description of the thanksgiving offering. This offering is not just an ancient ceremony. It shows us the true value and of a thankful heart. Through it, we learn how God's expects us to practice thankfulness.

  1. Thanksgiving is a Key Ingredient of Peace
    1. It is part of "the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings" (Leviticus 7:11)
    2. It is necessary for the peace of God to rule in our hearts (Colossians 3:15)
  2. Thanksgiving Must be Made For All Things
    1. The thanksgiving offering was a multiple offering with many different items offered together (Leviticus 7:12-13)
    2. We are to "give thanks always for all things unto God" (Ephesians 5:20).
  3. Thanksgiving Must be Made for the Worst Things
    1. The thanksgiving offering included an offering of "leavened bread" (Leviticus 7:13)
      1. Leaven (yeast) is used in the Bible for negative things like sin, false doctrine, evil events
      2. To include leavened bread in the thanksgiving offering means we are to be thankful for even the bad things in our life
    2. We are to be thankful for even the worst things that happen to us
      1. We are to "glory in tribulations" (Romans 5:3)
      2. We are to "take pleasure in infirmities" (2 Corinthians 12:10)
    3. This kind of thankfulness separates the believer from the lost
      1. Even the lost are thankful for those things they perceive to be good
      2. It takes true faith to be thankful for things in which we see no good
  4. Thanksgiving Must be an Offering unto the Lord
    1. Part of the offering was to be "an heave offering unto the Lord" (Leviticus 7:14) - the priest would take the offering in his hands and stretch his hands toward heaven as a sign of presenting this sacrifice unto God.
    2. True thanksgiving is that which we direct unto God
    3. God will accept the sacrifice of thanksgiving as a special offering; it pleases Him (Hebrews 13:15-16)
  5. Thanksgiving Must be Offered on the Basis of the Blood
    1. The thanksgiving offering was offered with the sprinkling of the blood (Leviticus 7:14)
    2. The sprinkling of the blood was a type of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (1 Peter 1:2)
    3. The shed blood of Christ is the foundation of all the thanksgiving of a Christian (2 Corinthians 9:15)
  6. Thanksgiving is the Basis of Christian Fellowship
    1. The sacrifice of the Peace Offering was enjoyed as a fellowship meal with priest and people joining in together (Leviticus 7:15)
    2. Thanksgiving draws us closer to God and to other saints (Psalm 35:18)
  7. Thanksgiving Must be Offered Fresh Every Day
    1. The sacrifice of the thanksgiving offering must be eaten the day it is offered; none may be left for another day.
    2. The act of thanksgiving must be a present practice. Yesterday's thanksgiving will not suffice for today and today's cannot be held over for tomorrow. We must be thankful each day. (Psalm 118:24)

Conclusion: Do you practice thanksgiving in your daily life? Is it an integral part of your relationship with God? Do you need to confess your unthankful spirit? Will you do so today?