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BLESS THE LORD AT THANKSGIVING!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, November 23, 2003


"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:1-2).


Years ago I used to sing a little chorus. I hardly ever sing choruses any more. We left them for the good, old hymns of our forefathers. But I liked this little chorus because it is based on our text. It goes like this,

Bless the Lord; O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
For He hath done great things, Hallelujah!
He hath done great things, Hallelujah!
He hath done great things,
Bless His holy name.

And then our text says,

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits"
    (Psalm 103:2).

We sang an old hymn a moment ago that has a delightful chorus,

Count your blessings, Name them one by one;
Count your blessings, See what God hath done.
Count your blessings, Name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, See what God hath done.
   ("Count Your Blessings" by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1926).

That was my mother's favorite hymn. I sang it with her on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in her hospital room. She had a fatal stroke the following morning, and this was my last conversation with her. As long as I live, I will never forget the last time I talked with her, and we sang that chorus together,

Count your blessings, Name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, See what God hath done.

Or, as our text says,

"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:1-2).

This is Thanksgiving Sunday, and we have many things to thank God for in our lives. I want us to think of six things for which we should be thankful to God this morning. Here are six benefits God has given us this Thanksgiving, and throughout the year.

I. First, we should remember to thank God for forgiving our sins.

Notice verse three,

"Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases" (Psalm 103:3).

Jesus said,

"The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins"
   (Matthew 9:6).

All of the iniquities and diseases of a lost soul are forgiven when you come to Christ. He died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He rose from the dead, and is alive up in Heaven. His death on the Cross can save you from being punished in Hell for your sins. Dr. John R. Rice wrote a beautiful song about that. It says,

He loves so long, He loves so well,

He loves you more than tongue can tell.

He loves so long, He loves so well,

He died to save your soul from Hell.

("He Loves You Still" by Dr. John R. Rice, 1895-1980).

We should thank God for forgiving our sins through Jesus Christ. The prophet Isaiah said,

"He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

The moment you come to Jesus, God forgives every sin through His death on the Cross.

II. Second, we should remember to thank God for redeeming us.

Verse four says,

"Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies" (Psalm 103:4).

The Hebrew word translated "redeemeth" means to "purchase" or "buy back" (Strong). The word translated "destruction" means "destruction" or "a pit - as a trap" (Strong).

When you come to Christ, God "purchases" you. He "buys you back" from the pit of Hell, and the snares and traps that the Devil sets to destroy you. Those who have come to Christ can sing with John Newton,

Through many dangers, toils and snares,

I have already come;

'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,

And grace will lead me home.

("Amazing Grace" by John Newton, 1725-1807).

Some day, in Heaven, we will sing to Jesus,

"Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation"
      (Revelation 5:9).

III. Third, we should remember to thank God for the good things He gives us.

Verse 5 says,

"Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Psalm 103:5).

The grace of God fills Christians. We are satisfied with the things of Christ. We come back Sunday after Sunday to feast on the good things of Christ in the house of the Lord. Our strength is renewed like an eagle's, which is long-lived, and moults its feathers often, and becomes like a young bird again. So, the person who knows Christ comes again and again to Him, and his spiritual strength is renewed. Even when he is old, his strength is renewed. Like a new Christian, he is excited, and strengthened by the things of God. As the Apostle Paul put it,

"Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day" (II Corinthians 4:16).

If you want to grow old gracefully, you must become a real Christian. Old people who are not Christians become fearful. They are afraid of getting a cold. They are afraid of going out at night. They sit in front of a television and are afraid of life itself. But look at several of the older Christians in our church, people like Mr. Coreas (who is 92), Mrs. Arteaga (who is 75), Mrs. Lyon (who will soon be 78), and Mrs. Quinn (who is 85). Here they come! You can't keep them out of church! At prayer meeting, late at night, there they are! On Sunday night - there they are! On evangelism - there they go! Mrs. Quinn is 85 years old. I saw her on the freeway last Sunday night at 11:00, driving home from church! There she goes!

Thank God that He satisfies us with good things, so that our hearts are renewed like the eagle's!

IV. Fourth, we should remember to thank God for His righteous judgments
on behalf of those who are oppressed.

Verse 6 says,

"The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed" (Psalm 103:6).

Sometimes we forget to thank God for delivering the oppressed. But we ought to do so. David is speaking here specifically of the deliverance of God's people from oppression under Pharaoh, in Egypt. But God delivers His people yet, today. I gave one story after the other about that last Sunday night. In China, in Southeast Asia, in the Sudan, in Africa, God's people are terribly oppressed and persecuted. But God, in His mercy, has sent the mighty power of revival to these oppressed people. They don't need what we have! We need what they have - the power of God in revival - the power of God to endure persecution - and enter the Kingdom with rejoicing!

God gives grace and power to the oppressed. Affluent people in our nation often sit in front of a TV or computer, waiting to die, while Christians in Asia and Africa are rejoicing in Christ, amid persecution!

The Bible says,

"Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them" (Proverbs 22:22-23).

I often think of the 44 million children who have been slaughtered by abortion in America. And, although this is no excuse for Christians to be inactive in their cause, it is also true that commonly the only person who will be in Heaven is the murdered child. Most likely, everyone else in that family, often for generations back, will be in Hell. Jesus said,

"I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto [babies] babes"
   (Matthew 11:24-25).

Thank God that He defends "all that are oppressed"!

V. Fifth, we should remember to thank God
for making Himself known to Moses and Israel.

Look at verse seven. Let's stand and read it together out loud,

"He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel" (Psalm 103:7).

If God had not "made known his ways unto Moses" and to "the children of Israel," you and I would not be here in church this morning. God made Himself known to Moses, and Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Those first five books of the Scriptures are the bedrock, the foundation of our religion. We learn from the writing of Moses how the world was created, how man was created, how man fell by sin, how God promised to send a Redeemer who would bruise Satan's head (Genesis 3:15). God revealed those things to Moses.

And God made "his acts [known] unto the children of Israel." If it were not for the self-revelation of God to Israel in His mighty acts, there would have been no nation of Israel, no prophets, no Old Testament, and no Messiah. The whole Christian faith rests upon the foundation of God's self-revelation to Moses and Israel.

Every true Christian should give thanks to God for making known His ways to Moses, "his acts unto the children of Israel." Thank Thee, God, for making Thyself known to Moses, and to Israel! Thank Thee for preserving the Jewish people and their homeland throughout the ages of time, as a testimony of Thy mercy and grace!

"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Romans 11:26).

Thank Thee, Oh God, for thy merciful hand on Israel!

VI. Sixth, we should remember to thank God for removing our transgressions.

Not only does God forgive all the sins of those who trust Christ, but He also removes those sins. Look at verses 10 through 12,

"He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us" (Psalm 103:10-12).

What a wonderful promise to those who fear Him! God has not only forgiven them, but has removed their sins, never to remember them again - through the sacrificial Blood of His Son on the Cross! Turn to Romans 5:8, and let's stand and read it out loud,

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:8-9).

O,  thank  God,  that  through  the  Blood  of  His  Son,  sinners  can  be  justified  in  the  sight  of  God!

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions [our sins] from us" (Psalm 103:12).

Or, as the sweet hymn writer Charles Wesley put it,

No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Amazing love! How can it be That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
   ("And Can It Be?" by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788).

What a marvelous display of God's goodness and mercy is given to us in this great Psalm! How we should read it and rejoice with the angels in Heaven for the promises it gives!

"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:1-2).

And if you do not yet know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, how we plead with you to come to Christ - so that you, too may be able to sing that chorus with us. Mr. Griffith, come and sing the chorus based on these verses.

Bless the Lord; O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
For He hath done great things, Hallelujah!
He hath done great things, Hallelujah!
He hath done great things,
Bless His holy name.

Let's stand together. If you do not know Jesus Christ, I would like to speak to you in my office about coming to Him, and trusting Him. He is alive. He rose physically from the dead. He ascended up to Heaven - in another dimension. When you come to Him, His Blood washes your sins from God's record. I would like to talk to you about trusting Jesus. Come and stand here in front of the pulpit while we sing that chorus together. After you have come, we will go up to my office and talk about your need for Jesus. You come while we sing.

Bless the Lord; O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
For He hath done great things, Hallelujah!
He hath done great things, Hallelujah!
He hath done great things,
Bless His holy name.

God bless you, and we'll see you tonight, at the Thanksgiving banquet here at church!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Psalm 103:1-12.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"A Gladsome Mind" (by John Milton, 1608-1674).


THE OUTLINE OF

BLESS THE LORD AT THANKSGIVING!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:1-2).

I.   We should remember to thank God for forgiving our sins,
Psalm 103:3; Matthew 9:6; Isaiah 53:5.

II.  We should remember to thank God for redeeming us, Psalm 103:4;
Revelation 5:9.

III. We should remember to thank God for the good things He gives us,
Psalm 103:5; II Corinthians 4:16.

IV. We should remember to thank God for His righteous judgments
on behalf of those who are oppressed, Psalm 103:6;
Proverbs 22:22-23; Matthew 11:24-25.

V.   We should remember to thank God for making Himself known to
Moses and Israel, Psalm 103:7; Genesis 3:15; Romans 11:26.

VI. We should remember to thank God for removing our transgressions,
Psalm 103:10-12; Romans 5:8-9.