Thanksgiving

 

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[The following scripture passages and questions are here to guide you in your thinking. The questions are not answered.  If you are truly seeking, you will sense God guiding you.  You will see and understand those things which are most needful for you.  And, most importantly, you will know that God cares for you.]

 Read Colossians 2:1-5

This is a short Bible study about Thanksgiving. More specifically, this is about the source of the Christian’s thanksgiving. Like a mighty spring of water, there gushes from our relationship with Christ a flow of thanksgiving that is unstoppable, flowing into the world around us, touching and refreshing those we know and love, especially those brothers and sisters in the Lord. Thanksgiving should be the spiritual state of a believer who has a close relationship with Christ. In order for this spiritual state to be reached we must focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:1-3 ESV For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, (2) that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, (3) in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

The Apostle Paul wanted the believers to know about his great struggle for them that their hearts would be encouraged. Christians have many problems to deal with. This is a normal life experience for the believer. Jesus assures his followers that they would have tribulation:

John 16:33 ESV I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

The Greek word translated “tribulation” is the same word used in verse 21 of the same chapter which mentions a woman’s “anguish” when giving birth. This Greek word means to be under extreme pressure, caught between a rock and a hard place. Like childbirth, it is an experience that one must endure until the end. This sounds bad, but Jesus said that in him we can find peace and even take heart because he has overcome the world.

Paul mentions the supportive relationship between Christians: “being knit together in love.” What a comfort it is to have the prayerful, gracious support of those who love us when we are hurting! But even more comforting is “the full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of Christ!

Question: How would the following verse help your understanding when you encounter hard times?

Romans 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Question: If we could grasp the following passage with faith, should we ever feel alone in our pain?

Romans 8:35 ESV Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Question: How would this passage help a believer in pain?

Romans 8:37-39 ESV No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, (39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Yes, we can have full assurance that our momentary afflictions will work out to good and that they are never a sign that we are forsaken by our Lord. Our faith grows under stress and our ministry to others grows because we can comfort them with the comfort we have received.

Read Colossians 2:6-15

Colossians 2:6-7 ESV Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, (7) rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Question: How did we receive Christ Jesus the Lord? Which is the wrong answer?
1.     We received him as Savior, the payment for our sins.
2.     We received him as Lord of our lives.
3.     We received  as our Servant to give us what we want.
4.    We received a relationship with him by faith and through his grace.

Question: Paul says that we should walk in him. How is it  done? Fill in the blanks:
1.     _______ and ________ in him.
2.     ___________ in the faith.
3.     abounding in ______________.

Colossians 2:8 ESV See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Question: What things does Paul mention that can take us captive and distract us from walking in Christ? Fill in the blanks:

1.     ______________
2.     ______________

Question: What is the source of these distractions? Fill in the blanks:

1.   empty ____________
2.   according to human __________________.
3.   according to the elemental _____________ of this world.

Colossians 2:13-15 ESV And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, (14) by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (15) He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Question: What stands between the believer and God? True or False: We must over come our old sinful ways through self-discipline and self-denial because, if we do not, God will punish us for breaking His Law.

Question: When Paul says that we have been forgiven of all our trespasses through Christ, does that include our present and future trespasses? In other words, did Christ pay for all sin for all time?

Summary

In Christ, we have very much to be thankful for! We have peace with God and can be assured of his faithful love. Nothing in our lives is beyond His care and keeping. Our guilt is washed away by the blood of our Savior who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Our past guilt and shame is just in our memories. Our fears of the future are just in our imagination. In the present, right now, we are loved, safe, and secure in the love and care of our Lord Jesus Christ. Right now, we are okay. We are always okay right NOW. Faith is now. Hope is now. Thanksgiving is now!

Have a very happy Thanksgiving brother or sister, whoever you may be. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your savior but you would like to, say a simple prayer to him, confessing your sinfulness and acceptance of him as the payment for your sins. Ask him to be Lord of your life and begin walking in him,…

Colossians 2:7 ESV  …rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission.  All rights reserved.