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by Dr. C. L. Cagan

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, November 23, 2014

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

The title of this message is just two words: “With Thanksgiving.” The Greek word translated “thanksgiving” in our text is eucharistia. It means gratitude, grateful language, gratitude to God, the giving of thanks (Strong). The Oxford English Dictionary says it means to be grateful for what has been done for you, and you do something to show it to the person who was kind. You say words like “Thank you.” You tell the person who helps you that you are grateful. Then the dictionary says to be especially thankful to God. The Bible says,

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4).

But most Americans are not thankful tonight! They don’t even want to call it “Thanksgiving.” They call it “Turkey Day.”

I. First, what it means to be unthankful.

Most Americans will start stuffing turkey in their mouths next Thursday without even bowing their heads to thank God. They will stuff their mouths with turkey, fill their stomachs with beer, and never even stop to think about God, much less thank Him. They remind me of a man in the Bible. This man was the butler of the Pharaoh of Egypt. He had been put in prison for an offense against Pharaoh.

The patriarch Joseph was also in prison. God showed him in a dream that the butler would be pardoned and released. This gave the butler great comfort. Soon it came to pass and he was let out of the prison. “Yet did not the...butler remember Joseph, but [forgot] him” (Genesis 40:23). Once the butler was out of trouble, he went on his way and forgot all about Joseph. He did nothing for Joseph. He was unthankful. He didn’t even say, “Thank you”!

The Bible says that Jesus healed ten men of leprosy. He cured all ten of them from this terrible disease. But only one man came back to thank Him. The other nine took what He gave them and walked away without saying one word of gratitude to Jesus [see Luke 17:12-17]. Many Americans are like that. They leave God out of their lives. They don’t thank Jesus for helping them. They don’t even take an hour to be in church on Sunday. They don’t even thank God in a short prayer on Thanksgiving! The people who founded this country were real Christians. They started the celebration of Thanksgiving. But Americans have forgotten all about them. All they think about is stuffing their stomachs with turkey and watching a football game. They don’t think about God at all! They don’t give thanks to Christ at all!

I hope you people who are members of our church will not be like that. Our text says, “In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). The Bible tells us to thank God when we pray. When you give thanks for God’s blessing in your life it increases your faith. You will have greater faith that God is able to do even more in the future. If you never thank God in your prayer time, you will forget the times when He has answered your prayers in the past. That will not be in the front of your mind. When you give thanks, preferably at the beginning of your prayer time, it increases your faith to believe that God will answer the things that you are asking for now. Every real Christian ought to pray with thanksgiving!

II. Second, what it means to be thankful.

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

Being thankful means to be grateful and appreciative for things you receive. How can you be thankful? I’ll give you a true story to explain what it means. The city of London was burned to the ground in a great fire. The King of England told an architect named Christopher Wren to draw up plans to rebuild the city. Christopher Wren was responsible for building 51 churches, and other buildings. He built the most important church in London, St. Paul’s Cathedral. A few years later his body was buried inside that cathedral. His son put these words on his tomb, “If you seek his monument, look around you.” The rebuilt city and the great church were the monuments of Christopher Wren. That’s what you have to do to be thankful. “Look around you!” An old hymn says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

I have an incredible list of things to be thankful for. I did not believe in the existence of God for the first 21 years of my life. I had no hope. I had no life. My family was cold and far away. I did not have one close friend. I am deeply grateful that God changed all of that. One night I was alone. I was facing an extremely hard test in college. I couldn’t remember the material. I prayed for the first time in my life, “God help me!” Without going into detail, I can only say that God came to me for the first time and I knew He was real. I am incredibly happy that He did that. Without God there is no real hope in life. But I wouldn’t trust Christ. I was afraid of what He would do with my life. I was afraid He would cancel the plans I had. I was afraid He would make me do something I didn’t want to do. But God kept knocking on the door of my heart. God didn’t give up on me. Then one night Christ came to me and I trusted Him. Jesus cleansed me from my sins by His Blood. Jesus put me in this church, and I am now the associate pastor. God gave me a loving wife and two fine sons. I would never have had a wonderful family like this if it hadn’t been for Jesus. Thank God for my wife, and thank God for John Samuel and David, my sons. God, I thank you for Jesus. I thank you for sending Jesus, Thy Son, to die on the Cross and pay for my sin. I thank you for the Blood of Christ that cleanses me from all sin!

Look at your own life. Think about the things in your life that God has given you. Even if you are not a Christian yet, think of the blessings God has given. Think of all that God has done for you, how He has protected you and blessed you. Then you will be thankful for what you have received from God.

Look at what God has done in our church! Look at this building. It cost 1 1/2 million dollars. There were only 39 people here. How could they pay for it? By a miracle it was done. You will see a video of the pastor burning the mortgage on the building in a few minutes. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I look around this room and see changed lives. I see young people successful in school. I see them making top grades and graduating with honors. I see people with fine careers. I see marriages that will last a lifetime. And I see something that is very rare today. I see stable families – the father and the mother and the children staying together for a lifetime! I see people from 22 different ethnic groups. Look at the news on television. Racial tension is one of the greatest problems of our time. But not here in our church – because God is here! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! What else do I see? I see young people bought by the Blood of Christ – saved from sin, death and Hell. Thank you, O Lord, for all you have done for our church. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! And thank God that these sermon manuscripts and videos go out to over 90,000 people in every nation on earth – on the Internet and on YouTube in 29 languages. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Look around you and you will see people who have been saved. They are living answers to prayer. Thank God for them, and pray for more! May God give our young people the Spirit of prayer. O God, give us the Spirit of prayer! Help us to pray for conviction of sin. Help us to pray for revival! God, increase our faith, send a great revival to our church!

“Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!” (Isaiah 64:1-2).

Do it, God! In Jesus’ name we ask, Amen. Let us stand as Dr. Hymers comes to lead us in grace before the meal.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Mr. Abel Prudhomme: Philippians 4:4-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Now Thank We All Our God” (by Martin Rinkart, 1586-1649).



by Dr. Christopher L. Cagan

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).

(Psalm 100:4)

I.   First, what it means to be unthankful, Genesis 40:23.

II.  Second, what it means to be thankful, Isaiah 64:1-2.