Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving and His Courts with Praise! (Psalm 100:4-5)
The residents of St. Croix have a “Supplication Day” at the beginning of hurricane season, and, at the end of hurricane season, they have a “Hurricane Thanksgiving Day.” We never forget to ask God for bountiful blessings, but do we ever pause to thank him for his answering those prayers? When was the last time you thanked the Lord for answering your prayers? When was the last time you were thankful to the Lord?
This Thursday, this nation will pause to give thanks to God on “Thanksgiving Day.” We make a grave error if we leave thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November; for the Christian thanksgiving needs to be a way of life, not a holiday.
Scripture calls upon us to give thanks to the Lord. We are to be “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as [we] have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:7). “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body: and be thankful” (Col. 3:15). “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
Thanksgiving should permeate our lives and our worship; in fact, Spurgeon said that thanksgiving “is like the incense of the temple, which filled the whole house with smoke.”
The text we have chosen for this morning, speaks much of thanksgiving. The psalmist says, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” The call to enter the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise is a call to worship. Those who worshiped at the temple entered the temple courts through the gates.
But, why? Why should we enter the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving? The psalmist answers that question, and he expounds why one should enter the Lord’s gates with thanksgiving. This morning, we want to examine Psalm 100:5 to see for what we should thank the Lord.
The Lord is Good
Scripture teaches over and over that in fact the Lord is good. “The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD” (Ps. 33:5). “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him” (Nah. 1:7). “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17). “Consider the goodness and severity of God; on those who fell, severity: but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness” (Rom. 11:22).
The Lord has been so very good to us, and he blesses us so very richly.
The Lord gives us physical blessings.
Scripture teaches us that our physical blessings come from the Lord. “He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with good and gladness” (Acts 14:17). “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).
Think about the physical blessings God has given us—a free country, food on our tables, roofs over our heads, clothes on our back, family, jobs to support our families. Are we grateful for the physical blessings God has given?
The Lord gives us spiritual blessings.
Scripture teaches that every spiritual blessing comes from the Lord. “Those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” (Gal. 3:9). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
Think about the spiritual blessings God has given you—the Lord Jesus Christ. the forgiveness of sins, his written Word, his church, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Are we grateful for the spiritual blessings God has given?
The Lord’s Mercy is Everlasting
Scripture teaches us that the YHWH is merciful. “Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy” (Mic. 7:18). “God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4-5). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Tit. 3:5).
Think of the goodness of God’s mercy. Think about all the sins for which God has forgiven you—the times you have said what you should not, the times you have lost your temper, the time you have fostered lust in your heart, the time your actions cast the church in a bad light.
Think of the completeness of God’s forgiveness. “Their sins and their lawless deeds l will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). “You, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all your trespasses” (Col. 2:13)—every single one has been forgiven.
Think of how you do not deserve forgiveness. There’s not a one of us who deserves to be saved; we deserve to be damned to hell. The very meaning of the word “mercy” means “unmerited favor,” favor we do not deserve.
Think of the price God had to pay to secure your forgiveness, his Son Jesus Christ. Jesus had to come and give his blood so that you could be saved—what a price that is. “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
Thank God that he forgives and forgets our sins! Have you thanked the Lord for forgiving you of your sins? Are you as grateful as you ought to be?
Notice that the text says, “His mercy is everlasting.” The Lord will never stop being merciful toward us as his children. “If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). “Cleanses” is a present active indicative in the Greek and refers to continual action; the blood of Jesus Christ will never stop cleansing us from all sin. But do notice that this is a conditional promise—if we walk in the light, we have the cleansing of Jesus’ blood. As long as we strive to our best, strive to do what is right, Jesus’ blood will never stop cleansing us.
His Truth Endures to All Generations
Scripture teaches that God does abound in truth. “Let God be true but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4). “It is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18).
God is ever true. Notice the wording of the text—”His truth endures to all generations.” There is never a time that God has been untrue and there will never be a time when God will not be true.
We know that God’s word is true. Scripture teaches that God’s word is true. “Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). “The word of our God stands forever” (Is. 40:8). “Your word is truth” (Jn. 17:17).
What a comfort it is for us to know that the Word of God is true! Every teaching we read in Scripture is true. When we read that God will provide his faithful a home in heaven, he will do so; when we read that God will answer our prayers, he will do so; when we read that God will forgive our sins, he will do so. Are we grateful for the truthfulness of God’s word?
God’s being truthful means that he is faithful. Since what God says is true, we can be assured that he will keep his promises. “Know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy” (Deut. 7:9). “Your testimonies, which You have commanded, Are righteous and very faithful” (Ps. 119:138). “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ” (l Cor. 1:9).
If God has promised it, you know it will come to pass—God is true, and he will always be true. Are you grateful for God’s faithfulness?
Remember when Jesus cleansed the ten lepers (Lk. 17:11-19)? The lepers went on their way to show themselves to the priests. One leper came back to thank Jesus, but the other nine, as far as we know, never uttered a word of thanksgiving.
What a shame for God to give great blessings but never to be thanked? Let us determine not to be like the nine lepers who did not return, but to be like the one who returned and thanked the Lord. Are you grateful for what God has done in your life?
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.