The United States of America celebrates Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. The first thanksgiving was conducted in October 1662. About 90 Native Americans and 50 pilgrims attended the feast which was conducted in celebration of the harvest for the year. The festival was instituted as a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863. This came not long after the famous battle of Gettysburg where 60,000 lives were lost. As Lincoln walked among the graves and buried his own son, he consecrated his life to Christ. Some conservative scholars therefore regard his proclamation as a sign of gratefulness to God for all that was done in his life.

Sadly, the spirit of thanksgiving is largely lost in present times as it is replaced by fanatical consumerism and lustful partying. Many look forward instead to the upcoming “Black Friday” to gouge on the various deals offered by businesses and merchants. There is little genuine offering of thanks unto the Lord on Thanksgiving Day!

In Tabernacle BPC, we celebrate Thanksgiving Sunday as a godly tradition. The giving of thanks is a command and privilege for believers. “Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High” (Psalm 50:14 KJV).

However, there is a danger that Thanksgiving Sunday may turn into a meaningless ritual if we treat it lightly. That was the problem with some of the children of Israel in those days. The command in verse 14 to offer thanksgiving unto the God (zebach lelohim todah) is literally “to sacrifice unto God a thanksgiving offering”. This refers to the Isra-elite practice of offering thank offerings unto the LORD as commanded in the ceremonial law of Moses. However, many were doing so as a perfunctory exercise. Therefore, God had to rebuke them of their apa-thy and hypocrisy. “Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?” (Psalm 50:7-13 KJV)

The Israelites failed to grasp was the spiritual significance of the thank offering. It was meant to signify the gratefulness of the believer for the goodness of the LORD in his life. God did not just want physical sacrifices to be offered, for all these sacrifices belonged to God in the first place. What God truly desires is for sacrifices to be offered with a heart of genuine thanksgiving unto the Lord. Similarly, the singing of hymns and the offering of tithes and offerings must not be regarded as a routine. They must always be done with hearts filled with gratitude unto the LORD for His salvation and manifold blessings given unto us.

The Psalmist adds in verse 14 that the offer of thanksgiving must be accompanied by the performing of vows. The Israelites must be serious with what they have vowed in their praises and prayers to God. The same holds true today. We must mean what we sing during the worship service.

Dear brethren, as we commemorate Thanksgiving Sunday, let it be in a true Biblical spirit of thanksgiving unto the Lord. Is it not a joy to worship the Lord?

On this day, we must also remember to give thanks to the Lord for preserving our families. and pray with great earnestness that every member would be godly and faithful to Christ.

We live in times where the family is under siege. It is invaded daily by worldly fashions and lusts that are propagated by the media. We also fear for young people who further their studies in tertiary institutions, whether local or abroad. Instead of clinging on to the Word of God, they imbibe the godless teachings and philosophies of their professors as though it is truth! Some return from their studies no longer devoted unto the Lord. Others may even end up denying the faith.

Another attack comes in the form of the LGBT movement. This is a movement that cannot be stopped as the Bible says that the end times would be like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:28-29). Lately, the outgoing President of the United States of America handled out a Medal of Freedom to an openly lesbian actress. This act was celebrated on social media including Facebook, and many Singaporeans of the younger generation joined in to laud the “achievement”. Alas, there were also many professing Christians including those in conservative circles who praised the LGBT community. Where is the discernment? Moreover, news emerged of a church elder who was involved in “personal indiscretion” and “abuse of power” with someone of the same sex (The Straits Times, 18 November 2016). Shocking times indeed!

Homosexuality is not a disease, nor a genetic dysfunction. The Bible expressly teaches that it is a sin and a sign of an unregenerate mind. “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And like-wise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:24-32 KJV). Those involved in homosexuality must be ministered with the gospel. They must repent of their sin and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

However, those who call for “tolerance” of the LGBT movement are growing increasingly “intolerant” of those who follow the teachings of Holy Scripture concerning the family unit. Those who stand against the movement are now reviled as “unloving”, “bigoted” and “propagators of hate”. Tragically, many professing young Christians are rapidly being converted to such a false position. Will the younger generation in the B-P church follow suit?

O Lord, have mercy on our families!

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew