************ Sermon on 1 Timothy 6:17b ************

By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman

This sermon was preached on November 26, 2020

1 Timothy 6:17-19
1 Timothy 6:17b
"God Richly Provides Us with Everything"
Thanksgiving Day 2020

I Negatives and Positives
A "God ... richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim 6:17b). Notice what God does: God provides.

I am sad to say some Christians look on the dark side of everything. They focus more on what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask them about their spiritual life, and they describe their conflicts, afflictions, adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts; not a word or scarcely a word about the mercy and help of God. Ask them about their physical life, and they describe problems, worries, trials, and health concerns; again, not a word or scarcely a word about the God who has blessed them with so much.

I admit that in this day of COVID there is much to cry about. People have lost jobs and business, health has suffered, there has been sickness and death, the number of homeless has swelled, family members are out of reach behind closed borders, funerals and weddings are small affairs, our elderly languish in nursing homes, education takes place over the internet, alcoholism is up, spousal abuse is up, marital conflict and divorce are up. The spiritual cost has been even higher as one in six churches are expected to shut down, worship is neglected, devotions are forgotten, people drift away from the faith, churches have fights and splits over how to respond to government orders and guidelines, pastors fed up with all of this are thinking of quitting the ministry.

B Yes, there is much to cry about, but on this Thanksgiving Day -- and everyday -- a Christian whose soul is in a healthy condition focuses on the blessings of God. Like the psalmist:
(Psalm 40:1-3) I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

(Psalm 126:3) The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
That's the language of the Christian.

It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our sins, and mournfully know this, but it is just as true that we have an all-sufficient Savior who delivers us. In looking back on the past year it would be wrong to deny there have been hard times but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been upheld by God and saved by grace.

Here is a quote from Spurgeon: "The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God." I love that quote.

What has the Lord done for you? Has He forgiven your sins? Has He covered you with His robe of righteousness? Has He set your foot upon a rock? Has He prepared a place in heaven for you or a loved one? Has He written your name in His book of life? Has He given you countless blessings? Has He laid up for you blessings which eyes have not seen and ears have not heard? Think of how He has loved you and given Himself for you! Do you know the power of that love? Of course you do! So thank Him, praise Him, glorify Him, love Him. Today and everyday.

II Richly Every Day
A "God ... richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim 6:17b).

Let's look at that word "richly." It means our Lord Jesus is ever and always giving, and does not withdraw His hand for even a moment. Remember Elijah's jar of oil. As long as the drought lasted, the oil was always replenished by the Lord. Remember Elisha's jar of oil. As long as there was a vessel of grace not yet full to the brim, the oil continued to pour. The Lord is a sun ever shining. He is manna always falling to the ground. He is a rock in the desert ever sending out streams of water. The rain of His grace is always dropping. The river of His bounty is ever flowing. The well spring of His love is constantly overflowing. Because He is our almighty King, His provision can never fail.

So, daily we pick His fruit. Daily His branches bend down to our hands with a fresh helping of mercy. There are seven feast days in His week. I repeat, there are seven feast days in His week. Yes, everyday with the Lord is a feast day.

B "God ... richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim 6:17b).

Let's take a second look at the word "richly." It also means God is giving generously. Can you count your many blessings and name them one by one? No, they are beyond number like the grains of sand on the seashore and the stars of heaven above.

Back in August I mentioned Jeff Bezos (pronounced Bay Zos). God is not like Jeff Bezos. Who is Jeff Bezos, you might ask? Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest man; he holds Amazon stock valued at about one hundred and thirty-seven billion dollars. Yet, he is known as a cheapskate when it comes to giving away money. God is not like Jeff Bezos. Listen to these texts:
(Ex 34:6) And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
[It says "abounding in love and faithfulness." Not stingy.]

(Lam 3:22-23) Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. (23) They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
[It doesn't say, "small is your faithfulness." "Great, great, is your faithfulness."]

(Jn 10:10) I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
[It doesn't say, "I have come that you might have a little bit of life." No. "Life to the full."]

(1 Cor 3:21-23) All things are yours, (22) whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, (23) and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
[It doesn't say, "Some things are yours." No. "All things are yours."]

(2 Pet 1:3) His divine power has given us everything we need ...
[Some things? NO. "Everything."]

(1 Tim 6:17b) God ... richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
[Not poorly. "Richly." "Richly." ]

Is God generous or is God like Jeff Bezos? God is so generous that we possess whatever God possesses. We possess the world; God made it for us. We possess spiritual life, eternal life, in Christ. We possess the full future life and its rewards. We possess things present and things to come. We possess God's love and faithfulness. We possess everything we need: food, drink, clothing shelter, love, grace, forgiveness, communion with Him and with one another. God is so great, so good, so generous, so plentiful, so abundant. He takes care of everything. It all comes from His fatherly hand. It all comes from God.

Every Thanksgiving Day in my home we go around the table before we pray and eat and everyone is asked to say one thing for which they are thankful. Everyone mentions something different. Richly. God has richly blessed us.

III Our Enjoyment
A "God ... richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim 6:17b).

I want you to notice that word "enjoyment." This is not the only time we find that word in the Bible. For instance, one of the recurring themes in Ecclesiastes is, "Enjoy the blessings of life" (Eccl 2:24; 3:12-15, 22; 5:18-20; 9:7-10; 11:9-10). This is not sinful "hedonism," living for the pleasures of life. It is simply enjoying all that God gives us for His glory.

So enjoy yourself today. I hope your table is filled with turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, green beans with bacon, seven layer salad, baby onions in a creamy cheese sauce, pumpkin pie with whipped cream (I just told you one of my favorite meals). Enjoy your family and loved ones. After this service Ruth and I are bringing a Thanksgiving dinner to Aunt Ella and her best friend. But we have a problem. The friend doesn't like anything in the turkey/chicken family. Ella doesn't like ham or pork. Whatever is on the menu we plan to enjoy ourselves. And, we want the ladies to enjoy themselves. So, enjoy what God gives you. And be thankful.

B Let me state this a little more strongly. God wants us to enjoy ourselves. God is not a spoil sport who hates it when someone somewhere is having fun. You know, that's what people believe about the Puritans: that they didn't want anyone anywhere to ever have fun. But that is not the Christian life. That is not what God wants. There are times we can relax and enjoy and take pleasure in what God so richly gives.

On this Thanksgiving Day hear, again, the words of our text: "God ... richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Tim 6:17b).
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