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In All Things Give Thanks

"always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; 21 and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ."
Good Morning Beloved,
Welcome to worship this Lord's Day.
We're so glad you're here.
We have all heard the expression "ignorance is bliss." I believe this is particularly true of Scripture. Just when you think you've got, that you read it, studied it and you're sure you have it's meaning down. Then, you have to read it again, in my case, to prepare for a message for all of you wonderful people, and you begin to realize that you haven't even begun to exhaust the depths of the tremendous wisdom and truths that are here. I can't tell you how many times I experience that feeling.
But if I had to summarize the truths of this tremendous passage, it would be that all of our Christian living, the whole concept of walking worthy, the overwhelming joy, the rejoicing in all things can be summed up in one phrase, "being filled by the Spirit." I believe that if you are filled by the Spirit, you have been given the whole package. You have it all. You've got Christ, you have wisdom and righteousness, you've got knowledge, and a glad and joyful heart. It's all there.

And, as we ascend into spiritual maturity, we grow, insofar as we are filled with the Spirit. The times when fail to yield to the Spirit, our lives become stagnated, there is no progress. But when we allow the Spirit to control our lives, we grow. I believe then, and only then, the power of God flows from within us. Now, to ensure there is no misunderstanding as to what I'm saying, every believer possesses the Spirit. We have already established that. But the key to the passage is continually yielding to the control of the Spirit. To further expand your understanding, as a footnote, I'd like to point out that are all of the New Testament apostles, all the leaders of the church, are characterized specifically as people filled with the Spirit. 

John The Baptist, the forerunner for Jesus Christ, the greatest man that ever lived up until his time,  of him it was said in Luke 1:15, "...and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb."
And in Luke 4:1, it says of our Lord Jesus Christ, "Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit.." 
And Peter, in Acts 4:8, on the Day of Pentecost was what? "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit.."
Acts 13:9 says "But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit..."

Do you see it? They were all "filled with the Holy Spirit." That's the key!

Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father, 

Father, we again thank You for the Word You have for us, such powerful and tremendous truth. Help us to prepare our hearts for what You have for us in Your Word. Cause us to be ever grateful for Christ, for the indwelling of Your Spirit, let us be humbled, and always in thanksgiving and gratitude as it springs from within our hearts. Help us to know the simplicity of being controlled by the Spirit. Make us understand, that we can do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can ask or think according to the power that works in us.

May it flow freely from us, and be manifest in Your church, that our lives would bear much spiritual fruit. Able to be seen and felt in the lives of those we touch, that You would be glorified.
We pray this in Christ's name

Today's Message: In All Things Give Thanks

The reason we sing is because there are depths and heights and intensities and kinds of emotion that will not be satisfactorily expressed by any other means. No poetic readings, or lines of prose, no great grammatical or lexical words, for mere words cannot adequately express what is truly in our hearts. I believe that singing is the Christians way of saying the only way to accurately reflect what occurs in our hearts, when God reveals Himself to us through His Holy Spirit is in the outpouring of song. Singing from overflowing emotions in our hearts.

I really don't believe the secular world sings to our music, because it is the expression of a Spirit-filled life. God has given high priority to song. I believe that's why our music unique, it filled with the Spirit of God. 
Johann Sebastian Bach, who was perhaps the greatest musician of all time, said that the aim of all music is the glory of God. In his own life and work the great composer and organist sought to live out that aim, frequently initialing his works S.D.G.: Soli Deo Gloria - to the glory of God alone.
Open with me your Bibles the fifth chapter of Ephesians, verses 20-21. As we continue in our journey through the book of Ephesians, we come to another important portion of the Word of God. I would like to encourage you to follow along with me as I read to get it set in our minds.

"always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ."
In verse 19, we learned that when you are filled with the Spirit, singing occurs. God puts a song in your heart. Now, there are certainly many other things that happen, but singing from our hearts in one of them. But I believe there are three primary things that occur. Singing is one. It flows from the heart.
I fear how many Christians are merely singing out of familiarity without really thinking about what their singing. A song that pleases God comes from our hearts! When we gather together and sing, we sing to God. He is our audience. And the song that most pleases God incorporates both our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationships with each other.
God enjoys a variety of singing and music. No wonder that the psalmist five different times commands us to sing a “new song” to God and that when we read about the worship in heaven in the Book of Revelation, there are also several references to a "new song." I know that some of you are reluctant to sing because you feel like you don’t have a very good voice. But if you are truly singing from the heart, that what God hears and it pleases Him. I'm fairly certain that Paul didn’t write this passage to the most talented singers, who are to use their voices to praise God. Paul doesn't say anywhere in the passage that we must only sing in tune, I want you to know that. Song is always the expression of the joy of the Holy Spirit.

As a footnote, I hear many "Christian songs" and they sound just like the world. Our song, our music is not for the world, they're on the outside. Our music is Spirit-filled.
Now we come to verse 20, and we the second one, giving thanks. The result of a Spirit filled life is singing and giving thanks, it's very personal.It's a beautiful thing. When you realize what God has done for you, what He has rescued you from, your heart is filled with thanksgiving. Giving thanks has to do with God. It amazes me how wonderful it is of God, that He gives consideration to how we respond.
We see this same things with Jesus in the Beatitudes. He starts with happy, blessed, happy, blessed, happy is the man, happy is the man. That's how God approaches us. "This is for you." That's always God's first consideration. And at the same time, there is an element that is for Him, which touches everyone else. That's pretty amazing how it just all fits together. 
Charles Dickens once said that we are mixed up in America. He suggested that instead of having one Thanksgiving Day each year we should have 364 days. Use that one day for complaining and griping. Use the other 364 days to thank God each day for the many blessings He has showered upon you. I believe that he may well be on to something. I believe that it is not our life's circumstances that determine the quality of our life, but rather how we respond to them.

The second thing about giving thanks, is it recognizes the sovereign goodness of God. It recognizes the sovereign goodness of God. And so, we are to give thanks to God always and for everything. Now, that sounds great, but that's not always as easy to do is it? How do we give thanks when we lose our job? When the doctor reads the test results and tells us we gave have cancer or some other life threatening illness? Or when you learn that your spouse has been cheating and your marriage is over? Or when you discover that your child is addicted to drugs? How can you possibly give thanks for those things?
We know that is what Paul says to do, but did he really mean literally everything? The only possible way that we can always give thanks for everything is that we have to trust in the sovereign goodness of God. We have to stake our life on the fact that His Word is true! We have to believe Romans 8:28 when it states "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
When we come to realize that God is indeed good and that He is able to take even the most painful, sorrowful and hurtful things that occur in our lives and turn them into something good. And once we truly understand that, mere words are often inadequate to express what we experience in our hearts. 
In verse 21, Paul writes "and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ." So the third thing is submission. That has to do with God and everyone around us, so that every possible relationship is made right by the filling of the Spirit. I am right with God, I am right with me, and I am right with you. Everything comes together when we submit to God and to one another in Christ. 
By the way, the third one, submitting, become the basis for everything in chapter 5 verse 22 through chapter 6 verse 9. That entire section is an exposition of verse 21. So then, in Ephesians 6:10 and following, the armor of the Christian shows what happens to someone who lives walking in the Spirit. Satan moves in to try to stop him, and that’s how you deal with Satan there. So the whole rest of the thing, it really deals with this response to being filled with the Spirit. 
I believe the Lord is deeply disturbed today by what He sees in our Christian relationships. He knows the love He offers is not just for some but for everyone. Yet, many Christians ignore the application of the Word of God to their life. They never experience the deeper joy of His sweet love. Superficially, Christians may acknowledge love is from God and believe with head knowledge "God is Love," but fail to understand how to make this love operational in their lives and daily live it out in their relationships. Therefore, mankind strives in his own power, looking for love in all the wrong places, finding pleasure perhaps for a season in sin but when the season passes and longing and emptiness is the one who wins.
I believe that being subject to one another in the fear of Christ is the secret to finding love. Submission to Christ and His order of things unleashes the love that escapes so many in failed relationships today. All we need do to confirm this, is take a look at the world around us. Subjection goes against the logic and will of human nature. The flesh is resistant to having another’s will impose upon it. Our carnal weapons are activated for battle and ready to defend against any attacker that encroaches upon our will. But believe me, God will give you the victory He has already won at the Cross and you will then discover a love that abounds more and more. I can assure you, it won’t be easy for the enemy always resists the application of God’s truth to your life. But it is worth it, because you will experience love that isn’t contingent upon the response of people or your circumstances. However, we have to be willing to lay down our carnal weapons in a relationship and put on the spiritual armor that God provides.
In doing so, it means we have to trust in God and that He really loves us, cares for us and knows what is best for us. We have to trust that God will defend us and show us great and mighty things we know not of. Ultimately, you must trust the Lord to the point you are well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when you are weak, in Him you are strong.
I believe the problem is our human understanding of subjection. Subjection does not mean you are a doormat. It does not mean submitting meekly to domination or mistreatment by others. The term subjection comes from a Greek military term "hupatasso" meaning "to arrange in a military fashion under the command of a leader." God is a God or order. In non-military use, subjection was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden." It is to submit to one’s control or to yield to one’s admonition or advice. Therefore, subjection involves obedience to the One you are trying to please. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are to be in a state of "subjection" to one another in the fear of Christ. Christ is the One you are trying to please in every relationship. This is the principle Paul is teaching the believers in Ephesus.
The simply stated words of Ephesians 5:21 is a very profound truth to a world longing for love.
Philippians 2:3 teaches us, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves."
The catalyst is the fear of God. He is the object of your affection and the One you want to please in every relationship and circumstance. The Greek word for fear in verse 21 is "phobos." It means to fear, dread or that which strikes terror. It comes from a primary "phebomai" which means to be put in fear. In other words, I love God but I also fear Him. Much like a son loves his father, however, there is also a fear when growing up that if you cross the line with your father you will reap the consequences of loving discipline. 
Paul is teaching us that when you are filled with the Spirit, it will be show n by your mutual submission to each other; and the submission will be done in the fear of God, not the fear of man, but in fear of God. It has been written, "Submission because of the fear of man is coercive; submission out of the fear of God is a beautiful act of love." If you fear the Lord, you will submit to His order and control of your life. And true love always involves discipline, for this you will endure.
I John 1:7 teaches "but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin." How great and beautiful is the love for God in your relationships? 
In Closing.... 
When you are obedient, there is an added loving kindness God will grant you. You realize the truth that God is in control of your relationships. God will teach you through your faith in Him to look beyond the person and the circumstance and trust Him and His unchanging truth regardless of what your temporal eyes may see. God will use your obedience and faith in Him to develop godly character in your life.
As a result, you will be blessed and fruit will be your offspring and the sweet love the world so desperately needs will overflow from your life pouring into the lives of others. 
Shakespeare once wrote, "How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child!" But how much more unnatural and repugnant is ingratitude in those who have been redeemed and become the sons and daughters of the One true living God? Lack of thankfulness comes from pride, from the conviction that we deserve something more than we have. The one can genuinely give thanks to God is the humble person, the person who knows he deserves nothing. And rather than complaining about what he doesn't have, he therefore gives thanks even for the smallest of blessings, for which he is undeserving.
So when Paul says in I Thessalonians 5:18, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." 
This does not mean that we are to enjoy suffering, but it does mean that we are to rejoice because we know God is going to do something in our lives through suffering.
May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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