How does the Gospel make you thankful today?
NOVEMBER 23, 2023
How does the gospel make you thankful today? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
If you suffer too long under a do more, try harder religion, Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free. Steve invited Matt Heard to teach us this week. Find more from Matt at ThriveFullyAlive.com he’s a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and author.
Thank you Matthew. Hey Matt. Matt Heard is this week here with us in studio. He’s one of the voices of Key Life. He’s a consultant and a preacher and a teacher and a scholar and an author. And I love having you in the studio, it’s fun to do. We’ve been doing something kind of unusual. We’re in Thanksgiving week, and by the way, Happy Thanksgiving, and today is Thanksgiving. And we’ve been talking about the gospel, and you say, what does the gospel have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, if you’ve been listening, you know it has everything to do with Thanksgiving. Now yesterday, Matt, we were talking about hunger and thirst, that God had created us for himself, and there is a thirst and a hunger that is never satisfied except with the gospel. Let’s move a little bit away from that metaphor of bread and water and get a little bit more specific. What are we, what is it? Now, we’re right now, some people are listening, getting ready to having Thanksgiving dinner and they’re hungry for turkey. But spiritually, there are other places of hunger in our lives. Talk to us some about that.
Matt Heard: Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.
And to you.
Matt Heard: Thank you. You know, with Jesus, with the woman at the well, he said.
Everyone who drinks this water is going to be thirsty again.
It’s in John 4, verse 13, he says.
But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
And when I say eternal life, what do most of us think about?
Matt Heard: Yeah, we equate the two and you know, since Key Life’s all about promoting different heresies according to the day, I’ll just go ahead and say it. Eternal life and heaven are not the same thing. They’re not synonymous. But it’s not heresy. That’s truth. Because the one time Jesus defines eternal life is in John 17, he says.
This is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God.
Our problem is there’s a grammar issue when it comes to eternal life, because we, there’s an adjective and a noun, adjective eternal, noun, life. Adjective eternal, quantitative. Noun life, qualitative. Eternal life is both about, has a quantitative meaning, but also qualitative. I was backpacking long ago in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and I came out of the woods after about three days starving to death. Asked a good guy at the trailhead, is there restaurant around here somewhere? And he said, you know what? There’s a diner down the road, a couple of miles. And so, I went down and looked like something straight out of Back to the Future, 1950s a metallic building, you walk in jukeboxes playing there’s burgundy vinyl booths that were repaired with duct tape, greasy, sticky, and you can’t even slide because they’re so dirty. The menu, you grab the menu, but the menu won’t let go of you. And the jukebox is playing. Waitress walks up, dirty apron, holding a pad of paper and a pencil, chewing gum. No kidding. And she says, what do you have? I’m not making it up. She said, what do you have? And I said, I was trying to relax her. I said, you know what, I just came out of a two day backpacking trip and I am starving to death. I’m not interested in quality. I’m interested in quantity. And she didn’t hesitate. She says, well, you’ve come to the right place. And when the food came. She’s telling the truth, there was a lot of it, but it was gross. So, this whole notion of we put so much emphasis on the eternal that we ignore the life part. And the life is that Zoe that was robbed from us in the garden. And when God restores us to himself, he restores through his Spirit that Zoe life. And so, all of a sudden I’m now in relationship with him and those thirsts for things like significance. In fact, this would be, I was sitting here scribbling out a few. These would be some things that we could be thankful for, things like significance because we’re all thirsty for significance. Where do we ultimately find it?
Matt Heard: In him. We’re, everybody’s thirsty for intimacy.
Matt Heard: But where do we ultimately find it?
In him. Oh man, you’re talking about Thanksgiving. This is a meal, big, satisfying and real. Intimacy. What else? Meaning.
Matt Heard: Love.
Matt Heard: Meaning. Yeah. Dignity.
We’re setting the table, by the way, the real Thanksgiving table.
Matt Heard: Security. What if we have this banquet table for forgiveness, acceptance, purpose, Shalom. I, you know, we all yearn for that wholeness.
What does the word Shalom mean?
Matt Heard: It means wholeness. It’s not just an absence of conflict. It means being a connectedness, we’ve been put back together. When we yearn for Shalom, we’re yearning for resolution, which is something else that we all want. We’re hungry for justice. We’re hungry for connection. Look at those people around the table being grateful for the connections that we can have for the sense of belonging. We all yearn for that, but ultimately it’s only going to come in the gospel. Influence, destiny, goodness, truth, beauty, joy, justice, triumph, freedom, resolution, home. You know, that’s a banquet.
Yeah, that’s a big one.
Matt Heard: And so, it’s not just the turkey and the dressing and please bring the cranberries, yes. But it’s looking at not just food for my Bios, my biological life, but food that’s Zoe that goes back to that Zoe of the gospel, and we’ve talked about it throughout the week, but it’s that Greek word that Jesus uses to say, you know, this is the life that you’re lacking. And it’s the life that I’ve come to give you. And it’s the life that I alone can provide. And so, what we’re doing is we’re yearning, you know, the Psalmist talks about. I’m thirsty for God. I’m thirsty for the only one that can address my ultimate thirst.
Oh man. The beginning of the week, I said, we’re going to talk about gospel and thanksgiving. And some of you guys said they don’t go together. How is that have anything to do with thanksgiving? But we have this week begun to see that the gospel is a lot bigger than the Four Spiritual Laws. Four Spiritual Laws are important.
Matt Heard: Sure.
But the gospel starts at Creation. It goes to the end and it hits us in the middle, so the Thanksgiving becomes a real Thanksgiving, deep and profound and life changing.
Matt Heard: And the Thanksgiving table, it’s a preview of that banquet where we’re once again going to be gathered under the tree of Zoe, the tree of life. We were banished from it in the garden. It’s waiting for us in the new heaven, the new earth. In the meantime, Jesus says, I’ve come that you might have Zoe. Now, it’s partial, it’s muted because of a fallen world, but I’ve come that you can start experiencing that. And then once we’re unleashed from a fallen body in a fallen world to be able to sit down at that banquet of the lamb that Jesus talks about.
Matt Heard: And he serves us. And what if Thanksgiving, a Thanksgiving meal were a preview of that final meal?
You have heard, I’m sure, and most of our listeners have, the sermon illustration about save the fork. These people say they, that when they would go to their grandmothers, they’d have a great meal and then she would say, save your fork. Hold your fork, and somebody said when they were buried, they were going to be buried with a fork. When they said, she said, save your fork. You knew something really, really good was on the way. It’s called dessert. And that’s what you’re talking about. You’re talking about the meal being great. The things that satisfy the joy and forgiveness and redemption and peace that we taste this side of heaven. But you should save the fork.
Matt Heard: Yeah Yeah. Lewis referred to it sehnsucht, a German word, means longing, yearning, thirst, ache, and throughout his entire journey, you know, after he had rejected God because God didn’t answer his prayer, his mom died of cancer. So, he walked away from the church. He dove into, a lot of people don’t realize Lewis took a swan dive into the occult and sensuality, and obviously very smart, became an Oxford Don. But he said, then he began to come out of that moving from atheism to agnosticism and into Biblical deism, theism, then Biblical Christianity and saying, you know, what accompanied me that entire way was my sehnsucht, my thirst or what he referred to is his joy. It finally came to resolution in the gospel.
Great week Matt. Thank you. And by the way, we at Key Life, Matt and I, Jeremy, the producer, and all the staff wish you a joyous Thanksgiving. Amen.
Thank you Steve Brown and Matt Heard. What a perfect way to wrap up our week exploring the idea of being thankful for the gospel. And tomorrow, as you emerge from your turkey coma, join us for Friday Q&A when Steve and Pete will answer this question, should Jesus have raised Joseph from the dead? Hmm. Well, it’s funny how our perception of Christmas changes. When you’re a kid, I mean, come on, presents, all about the presents. As you get older, you focus more on the giving than the getting. And then one day, it’s much more about, I don’t want to miss this. I don’t want Christmas to come and go again and feel like I never really experienced the real thing. Well, if that’s you, we’d like to send you a special free gift. It’s a booklet called Christmas Meditations. A reprinted collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas. Claim your copy now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet, to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the booklet called Christmas Meditations. And finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card. You can include a gift in your envelope. Or you can now give safely and securely through text. How do you do it? Easy, just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, just text that to 28950 then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving.