Thanksgiving and Missions

Psalms 18:49 “Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.”

Did you know that there is a connection between missions and thanksgiving? Paul thought so. He quotes Psalm 18:49 in Romans 15:9, “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” The Holy Spirit used both David and Paul to express the message of salvation and the method for communicating that message through Psalm 18.

We are familiar with the message of salvation. That message is that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, His Son. But what about the method to communicate that message? I believe God’s preferred method for evangelization is threefold: prayer, preaching and praise. Praise is the genuine, Spirit-filled expression of our heartfelt thanks to God. It is thanksgiving.

Israel expressed its thanksgiving to God, and the heathen heard. Many Gentiles from surrounding nations believed in God (e.g., Jethro the Midianite, Ruth the Moabite, Uriah the Hittite). Psalm 96:3, “Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.” Psalm 126:2, “Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.”

God’s plan for the local church is the same. The church is to be a living testimony of God’s power and grace on the lives of the believers among the lost (i.e., heathen) of their communities. Hebrews 13:15 in its context clearly illustrates this. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” 1 Peter 1:7 also demonstrates this, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” I am not trying to be confrontational, but I believe “…and ye shall be witnesses…” has much more to do with offering the sacrifice of praise (i.e., thanksgiving) in the midst of life within our community than with knocking on doors and passing out tracts.

In the New Testament Spirit-filled thanksgiving led to explosive, exponential church growth, and it will today!

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