Monday, November 16, 2020

Blessings - What we're Thankful For

Series = I)  Give Thanks

            II)  Thanks Always - 1 Thess. 5:18

Today = III)  Blessings; What we're Thankful FOR  - Biblical View!!
Definition of "Blessing" - an act of God's favor, a gift bestowed By God On you  (ie:  a good gift, beneficial, results in well-being)

Note:  Categories (types) of Blessings:
1.  material blessings
2.  financial blessings
3.  creation blessings
4.  health blessings
5. relational blessings
6.  community blessings
7.  national blessings
8.  opportunity blessings
9.  ability blessings Deut. 8:17-18
10.  spiritual blessings
(above blessings = current)  so additional:
11.  former blessings
12.  future blessings

Believers say "I'm blessed by God in all these categories .... and more!"

Non-believers?  Some online dictionaries chart recent usage of words.  Example = "blessing"  (in English)
Found great decline in the use of the word from 1800 to present.  Lowest was 1990, slight rise up to 2019.

Perhaps due to the growth of the sense of entitlement that is present.  (God owes me, that's His job, He's supposed to give me what I want and provide me with health, wealth, good stuff.  So why should I thank Him for blessings He's supposed to give me anyway)

Today - we'll divide "blessings" into 3 different categories:

#1.  Blessings of grace - (unearned, undeserved)

#2.  Blessings of Consequence = result of good works, proper lifestyle, obedience to God's will  (generally in this life)

#3.  Rewards - which generally refer to earned blessings "that come in the next life.

These three tend to overlap, therefore, is not always a clear line of distinction.

I.  Blessings of Grace = unearned, undeserved
Blessings bestowed regardless of belief/behavior - bestowed on everybody
Examples:  Life!!  birth place (year!)  Parents, extended family natural abilities (business) mental abilities (IQ), good looks, good health....
Blessings of Grace can be divided into 2 categories:
          A)  Absolute Grace  (those listed above ) nothing required of you. 
and    B) Available grace - on one hand = a free gift, however, requires some action, response from you. 
Example:  Salvation (forgiveness, reconciliation, adoption, eternal life)

II.  Blessings of Consequence - "earned" may be a bit strong, nevertheless these = partly the result of obedience, right choice, lifestyle - (obeying God and His will 4 you)
Example: Gal. 6:7-9
Point = IF follow God's will, ways then (as a consequence) blessings more often will follow.  (this doesn't mean that IF you follow God will never have problems!!  Are in a fallen world!)

Additional category?  - Blended Blessings?!  ie:  God gives, bestows, but we have to Activate it!!
Example:  John 14:27  "peace" with Phil. 4:6-7

Point - is Peace freely given?  or the consequence of ....?  Answer (I think) = sometimes given by absolute grace, sometimes consequence as a result of seeking His will, His grace, etc.
Compare:  Joy - strength - comfort - direction ... 

Question:  IF these blessings = my due and my doing - THEN why should I give thanks?? 
Answer:  Deut. 8:10, 17
(So... "I'm a self-made man... by the grace of God!")  Nobody dies it without God's grace.

III.  Rewards = consequential blessings in the Next life!
                        Matt. 5:11-12
                        Matt. 16:27
                        Matt. 19:29
                        2 Cor. 5:10
                       Rev. 22:12

Note:  these are "earned blessings' that God is NOT obligated to give ... but does so because ... He is Good!!  (gracious)
Believers recognize this ... Hence - Rev. 4:9-11

Question:  IF earthly blessings = temporal and rewards = eternal.. THEN why do we strive for the former?  and often neglect the latter?

good thin you experience and enjoy is because  (1)  God is Good  and (2)  God is Gracious  (3) TO YOU!!!
Therefore, Thanksgiving is in order! 
But more than that ...   Your Repsonse???   Luke 17:14-16  (ten lepers - all healed and grateful.  only one came back to give thanks)

 Closing Scripture:  John 1:16

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