FAMILY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

ISAIAH 49:1-7, 1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-9, JOHN 1:29-42, PSALM 40:1-11

Prayer

Father we give you thanks for sending your Son, Jesus Christ to reconcile us to you and to one another. We bring our sins to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness and healing. Help us not to be discouraged by our weakness or demoralised by our failures, but to strive to make our world a better and safer place.

As we go into your Word, open our ears to your call, open our hearts to your love, and open our minds to your purpose, so that we may know you and give ourselves fully in your service; in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!! Praise the living Jesus!!!

Turn to your neighbour and say, “Neighbour, the Lord will make you worthy of your calling.”

Those who claim it say an accepting Amen to that…..

Chorus

  • Thank you, thank you, Lord; thank you L:ord for everything you have done (In our lives – in our family – in this church – at St. Olave’s)
  • We are grateful, O Lord…..
  • Thanks, thanks, we give you thanks, for all you have done. You are so good and we are so glad, O lord we give you thanks.
  • Thank you for saving us, thank you my Lord. (You put an end to the gap between God and us; You open the closed door between God and us)

Let us put our hands together, for the Saviour, our Redeemer, our Reconciler, our Restorer…..

Please sit

My friends who are here and those watching and following us on face book, I welcome you all. I appreciate all of you and thank you for worshipping with us. I pray that the Lord will do something special, extraordinary in your lives and your household in 2020, in the name of Jesus.

Today the Church celebrates Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was pierced for our faults; who bore our sufferings and sorrows and who through his wounds, we are healed. Alleluia

Today is also a special day for us here at St. Olave’s Church; it is the day we have designated, set aside as our “Year 2020 Thanksgiving Sunday.”

When I prayerfully reflected on the subject of Praise, thanksgiving and gratitude: and also trying to link it with the key subject of our gospel reading, which is, Jesus, the Lamb of God; God opened my eyes to see that thanksgiving and Jesus, the Lamb of God are related and very much connected.

And so, my friend, the theme of my sermon is – “JESUS’ BLOOD DESERVES, IS WORTH OUR THANKSGIVING.” Let me hear somebody repeat after me, “Jesus’ blood deserves and is worth our thanksgiving.”

Look, why are we thanking God today? Beloved, we are thanking Him, praising Him, appreciating Him, showing Him our gratitude, for who he is, and for all that He has done for us, is doing for us and will continue to do for us.

Chorus: Thank you for saving us, thank you my Lord..

So, my sisters and brothers why as the Lamb of God, does He deserve our thanks and praise today?

As the Lamb of God, Jesus put an end to the gap created by our sins; He repaired the gap that existed between God and us; He put an end to our suffering and separation from God, the Father. The whole human family was damaged because of sin and it was Jesus who brought us back into relationship with God and one another. The bible tells us in Romans Chapter 5 verse 8 – “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

You see, before Jesus’ time, it was the custom that forgiveness requires the shedding of blood. Blood sacrifice was needed on a regular basis to atone for the people’s sins. So, Jesus’ mission was to take away the sin of the world and He suffered and died for the sins of the world. God redeemed us from the tyranny of sin, not with money, but with the precious blood of his Son. Hebrews Chapter 9 verse 12 tells us that, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.”

Jesus shed his blood; Jesus gave his life, for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to experience spiritual death and eternal separation from God.

Beloved, Jesus is the source of life, not death. After shedding his blood for us; Christ rose from the grave and proclaimed victory over sin and death. From 1st Corinthians Chapter 15 verse 55 – “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

So, Jesus the gentle Lamb of God, died for our sins, so that we could live in joy and freedom of the children of God. He came, as Mark Chapter 10 verse 45 puts it – “not to be served but to give his life as a ransom for many.”

My friends, we can never say thank you enough to Jesus, for saving us, for giving us new life, for giving us freedom, for pulling us from the jaw of death. His blood which he shed for us is worth more that the thanksgiving we can give or offer him. You and I, may not understand what Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb of God did on the rugged Cross; But Isaiah Chapter 53 verses 4-5, says – “Surely He took up our grief, our infirmities and carried our sorrows”…”He  was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.” Therefore, all we can do, today and always is to offer our God of Reconciliation and Restoration, our thanksgiving and praise. And, yes His blood is worth far more our thanksgiving.

So, I charge you; let your souls, spirit and everything about you praise the Lord. All that the Lamb of God sacrificed for you, all that he did and is doing for you; you receive without deserving any of them.

And, let me say this to you, no matter how difficult your life’s journey may have been in these past years, and some of us have been through some very challenging, painful and rough times’ nevertheless we can always count our blessings and praise God today for them.

Chorus: Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings. See what God has done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

God not only created and redeemed you and me, but He maintains us; He sustains us day by day. As a result, let thanksgiving to God be an integral part of your life. And, when you offer appropriate thanks to God; He will remember it and make you to become more positive, gracious, humble and loving.

OK, 2020 is our year of Restoration, elevation and promotion. A year the Lord has promised us that everything we have lost or been taken from us will be returned and restored in bountiful fold and measure.  I pray that in this year, God will do for you and your household what only He can do, in the name of Jesus.

Beloved, in order to be partakers of this great promise, blessings, multiplication, increment, glory, renewal and restoration of God in 2020, I urge you to do the following:

First, this year be content to do what God wants you to do and let Jesus Christ be honoured for it. Don’t take the glory for yourself. Our God is a jealous God, who will never share His glory with anyone. Like John the Baptist says in John Chapter 1 verse 30, “This is the one I meant when I said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” Be truly humble, remove the clothes of arrogance, because humility is yours and mine greatness in any work we do for Christ. I pray that God will do great things through you in 2020, in the name of Jesus.

The second thing you must do in 2020 is to point others to Christ. Somebody repeat after me, “POINT OTHERS TO CHRIST.”

John the Baptist job was to point people to Jesus. The truth of the matter is that today we live in an insecure and uncertain world, where there are so many people looking for someone to give them security. Therefore, like John, you and I, have a responsibility, a job to point them to Christ, who is the Bread of Life, the Chief Shepherd, our true, only and ultimate security ,who will satisfy every of their need and we are to show them that He is the one whom they seek.

The third is to get to know Christ more in 2020. In our Gospel reading, Jesus’ new disciples, Andrew and Simon Peter used several names for Jesus. They called him in verse 36 – The Lamb of God; In verse 38, Rabbi; In verse 41, Messiah; Son of God in verse 49 and King of Israel in verse 49. And so, as they got to know Jesus, their appreciation of him grew. I charge you in 2020, to spend more time to get to know Christ; because the more time you spend attending Sunday services regularly, Bible Study regularly,  Revival Services, Yoruba Language Service and Midweek Communion Services, the more you will understand and appreciate who He is.

My friends, like the disciple who made the verbal shift in the names they called Jesus in few days; you too may find that words of faith come easily, but deep appreciation comes with living by faith.

The fourth is to use this year 2020 to follow Christ for the right reasons. Not because I want so, so, and so from Him. Remember what Matthew Gospel Chapter 6 verse 33 says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” – can you see, no strings attached. It simply says seek Him, follow Him first. And in accordance to His will, every other things you desire will follow. Alleluia!

I pray that as you follow Christ, all His promises regarding your lives and family shall be fulfilled, in the name of Jesus.

In verse 38 of our gospel, when the two disciples, Andrew and Simon Peter, began to follow Jesus, he asked them, “What do you want? In the same way, I say to you in 2020; your following Christ will not be enough unless you follow him for the right reasons. You see, to follow Christ for your own purposes is like asking Christ to follow you; Is somebody following me?

To follow Christ for your own purposes would be asking Christ to follow you; to align, to agree with you; to support and advance your cause and not His.

So, today, I ask you to examine your motives for following Christ. Is it to gain position and control in the Church? Is it for financial benefit? Is it to gain favour of the pastor or priest? Is it to obtain letter from the priest that will support your application to regularise your stay in the United Kingdom and thereafter disappear? Is it to sign admission letter and support your children’s application to be enrolled in a Church of England or Catholic Schools? So, I ask you, what is your purpose and reason for following Christ?

Again, let your following of Christ be consistent. Don’t follow him only when you need him – when you are in trouble; when you are carrying heavy burdens; And, once relief has arrived, you dump him until another time, when you need him again.

Many of you will remember years ago, when men and women used to troop into this church pledging to be members, but not realising that their membership is linked to their desire to get marriage solemnized in the Church. And, of course majority are no longer here, because they came for the wrong reasons. They believed they have used God and His church and dumped him. 

I say you will not miss Christ. Jesus will not turn His back on you. He will not fail you, in the name of Jesus. 

I urge you, my dear friends to follow Christ every single moment and days of your lives without looking back. In Luke Chapter 9 verse 62, Jesus said, “No one who puts his hands to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God.”

In 2020, Jesus wants your undivided attention; no going to; no seeking other powerless power. Give Jesus your total dedication, and not half-hearted commitment. Accept the cross along with the crown. Focus only on Jesus; don’t pick and choose among Jesus’ idea; don’t follow him selectively. Don’t allow anything, nothing to distract you in 2020 from following Jesus. I pray that the grace to seek the glory of God and not yours, the Lord will grant you, in the name of Jesus.

Just raise your hand if you accept Jesus as the Messiah; as your Messiah.

And, this is where the fifth comes in; in 2020, if you accept Jesus as the Messiah, then you have a task to make him known. Is that a fair and reasonable deal? 

The Bible tells us in John Chapter 1 verse 41; “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon, and tell him, “We have found the Messiah,” that is the Christ. My friends, like Andrew, if you are sure, if you are certain, if you believe that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is the Messiah; I urge you to tell your family, your relatives and friends of this truth and to willingly and eagerly introduce others to Jesus. If you look at our society and many of our churches today – that generational chain – that used to bring stability to family and society is no longer there. Where three generations or more used to serve to serve and follow Christ is no longer common. It has been broken. The reality in many homes are situation where Mum, sometimes Dad, goes to Church, believe in Christ; but their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren don’t.

I have witnessed in this my limited time on earth, a far better world than we have today. Our world is becoming more selfish, more cruel, uncaring, unloving and so on. Something is definitely missing and I believe that we have departed from the one who created us. This is the reason why our world is subsumed, submerged in the many challenges we face which we cannot, left to ourselves get out of. We need to return our people, our family and our world to God. So, how many people in your life have heard you talk about your relationship with Jesus? I beg you, let that change this year.

Like David proclaimed in in verses 9 and 10 of Psalm 40 – “In the roll of the book it is written concerning me: “I love to do your will, O my God; your law is deep in my heart. I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation; behold, I did not restrain my lips; and that, O Lord, you know.”

Beloved, speak of God’s faithfulness and salvation to those around you. You, who have been blessed in these past years, cannot hide that impact on your lives. Tell other people what God has done for you.

I pray that God will grant you the strength, courage and wisdom you need to share Christ with others and to live as Christ lived, in the name of Jesus.

Finally, my sisters and brothers, as you appreciate and offer your thanksgiving to Jesus, the Lamb of God; you and I have a job to do, a role to take, and a contribution to make for the Gospel. In 2020 be available to God by placing your gifts at his service. Let us continue Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew Chapter 28 verses 18-20; to take the light of the gospel to all nations. God wants you to be involved and so use your time, talent and resources to help spread the message of Christ. God’s love for you and me is absolute.

I pray that despite our constant bent towards sin that God will keep all the promises He made for us in 2020, in the name of Jesus. Amen.