1 1 Thessalonians 5:18. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Thank Always 2


A. Introduction

    1. Our Text

        a. in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 ), and hence the title, “Thank Always”

        b. we have used this verse as a text before, and also this as a title; but then, as now, we did not expound upon that text

        c. but rather applied it in one specific way

        d. that being, that the sharing of the people of God together at the Lord’s Table is an opportunity for us to lift up hearts in gratitude to the Lord Jesus Christ for the suffering He endured to give us salvation


    2. The Eucharist

        a. that is not a term that we commonly use for this memorial

        b. for in many minds that name carries with it the idea of ritual, of those churches that make a great deal of pomp rather than of the gospel

        c. yet, as we shall note later, the term, Eucharist, has a derivation from Scripture

        d. but for now, let us just note that the word means ‘thanksgiving’

        e. so, it is therefore appropriated to consider the subject of gratitude in respect to this gathering around the table of the Lord


B. Thankfulness for the Lord’s Life

    1. His Eternal Nature

        a. The four gospels are quite different in the way they begin

            (A)    Matthew starts by tracing the descendants of Abraham down to Joseph who was the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus

            (B)    Mark leaps right in to the start of Jesus’ ministry at his baptism by John the Baptiser

            (C)   Luke , getting his information from eyewitnesses begins with the promise to Zacharias and birth of John the Baptiser

            (D)   but John, goes back into eternity, when the Word – his term for Jesus Christ – already was with God and was God and through Him all things came into being

        b. so the story of our salvation begins before creation

            (A)    that God in His foreknowledge foresaw the rebellion of Satan and the curse of sin that would come in the future upon mankind

            (B)    and so in the councils of eternity our salvation was planned

            (C)   that the Creator Son of God should leave the glory of heaven

            (D)   realising this we begin to appreciate the debt of gratitude we owe

            (E)    5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

            (F)    this willing self-humiliation by the Son of God, His kenosis as it is termed from the Greek word for “emptied” because that is the best way that we can describe it because we cannot understand it

        c. how grateful we should be for this alone; but there’s more


    2. His Birth & Childhood

        a. what a wonderful story we share, especially at Christmas of His birth

            (A)    when we echo, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)

            (B)    the way that God the Son entered the world and became man

            (C)   And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 )

            (D)   how the Creator became a humble baby laid in a manger

            (E)    then his parents had to flee with Him to Egypt as Herod sought to take His life

        b. then Luke 2:41ff describes an incident from the life of this young child

            (A)    after going up to Jerusalem to the feast at the age of twelve, He was discovered to be missing as His parents returned home

            (B)    when they returned and found Him we learn how very human this Immanuel – God with us – had become

            (C)   what parent does not see themselves in this exchange

                 (1)    that Mary & Joseph are on an entirely different wave-length than Jesus

                 (2)    Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You.

                 (3)    Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?” or, “in the affairs of my Father?”

                 (4)    yet we then read, “51 And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.” (Luke 2:51-52 )

            (D)   though truly God He also was truly man – how humbling – for that was absolutely necessary for Him to bear our sin and shame

        c. are we as thankful as we ought to be for this?


    3. His Life of Ministry

        a. but after “taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” the emptying or kenosis of the Son of God continued

        b. how did He commence His ministry? By coming to John for baptism

            (A)    He, who had done no sin, had no need of repentance

            (B)    “14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” …” (Matthew 3:14-15a )

            (C)   by this act Jesus humbled Himself so that He the sinless One could be the representative of sinful mankind before God

        c. consider that ministry itself

            (A)    John 1:18: No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. – i.e., that is, has shown us God’s nature

            (B)    how did He do this? ... establishing Himself as one of the renowned Pharisees in Jerusalem? ... becoming the ruler of some synagogue?

            (C)   No: He gathered a group of men – twelve disciples

                 (1)    not of the religious hierarchy, but of humbler class

                 (2)    His opponents would have termed them society’s rag tags

                 (3)    principally from the despised area of Galilee

                 (4)    fishermen, a tax-collector, a political zealot, but one a thief

                 (5)    these He trained to turn the world upside down

            (D)   for about 3½ years He was an itinerant teacher of these men & also teaching the people: men and women whom the religious rulers dismissed by saying “But this multitude which does not know the Law is accursed.” (John 7:49 ) though their officers had to confess “Never did a man speak the way this man speaks.” (John 7:46)

        d. how the heart of Jesus was moved with compassion for people!

            (A)    And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

            (B)    and they, hearing of His healing would come from far and wide, beyond the borders of Palestine, so that many times He was weary

            (C)   all the while that though there were miracles, miracles everywhere yet the religious rulers kept pestering Jesus for a sign

            (D)   and this was done not for any earthly gain, for: “… Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”“ (Matthew 8:20)

            (E)    his was a life of self-denial revealing in Himself the love of God

        e. He faithfully carried out the ministry He had announced at the beginning, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18 NIV)

        f.  by doing so He convinced many, as He has convinced us that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God; for this let us give thanks!


C. Thankfulness and the Lord’s Supper

    1. Jesus’ Thanksgiving

        a. we said that we would come back to that term, “Eucharist”

            (A)    Paul recounts how the Lord Jesus gave thanks for the bread, and Matthew how He gave thanks for the cup

            (B)    the Greek word used in these is eucharisteo – give thanks

            (C)   pause for a moment and consider for what Jesus was giving thanks when he blessed that bread and that cup

            (D)   that bread represented His body: that body that He knew would within a few short hours be hanging on a cross, being executed by the Romans at the demands of the Jews, with His life being crushed out of Him

            (E)    that cup of wine represented His blood, which would be shed on that cross, representing His life which He was giving up in order to pay the punishment for others who deserved that death

            (F)    and HE GAVE THANKS FOR THESE!

        b. How really we should feel those words, “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul.


    2. Thanks for His Redemption

        a. but all of His life of Ministry — teaching, healing, comforting — was to one goal; to do the will of the Father as was planned in eternity

            (A)    before He instituted this memorial service He had already settled this question: “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)

            (B)    the ultimate stage of His kenosis was this: He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

            (C)   indeed, Jesus of Nazareth, of all men, was born to die — to die that you and I might have life

        b. that perfect life and ministry just described was so that He might take our sins and sorrows; our guilt and shame; our punishment and death

            (A)    2 Corinthians 5:21 PHIL: For God caused Christ, who himself knew nothing of sin, actually to be sin for our sakes, so that in Christ we might be made good with the goodness of God.

            (B)    18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)


    3. Thanks for the Lord’s Table

        a. For the bread

            (A)    as we distribute the bread, let us each one give thanks for this bread which is a token of His body which was given for us; for the obedience of the Son to the will of the Father so we can have fellowship with God — among other things, the broken bread speaks of that obedience


            (B)    Hebrews 10:5-7 NKJV: Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come — In the volume of the book it is written of Me — to do Your will, O God.’ “

            (C)   “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

        b. For the cup

            (A)    as we distribute the cup, let us each one give thanks for this juice of the vine which is a token of His blood shed as a ransom – the price of our salvation – for many


            (B)    the meaning of the blood being shed is explained way back in the book of Leviticus which established the OT sacrifices that were but typical of the Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary

            (C)   in Leviticus 17:11, the word nephesh, which has the meaning of soul-life is found three time, which is not readily apparent in our English translations, which could be rendered, “For the soul-life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your soul-lives; for it is the blood by reason of the soul-life that makes atonement.” – Jesus’ soul-life was a substitute for our soul-life which was forfeit because of our sin

            (D)   This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.


’Tis done, the great transaction’s done –

I am my Lord’s and He is mine;

He drew me, and I followed on,

Charmed to confess that voice divine. 3


D. A Closing Promise

    1. Death is Not the End

        a. when Jesus had finished instituting that first memorial feast

            (A)    a unique memorial feast since it was while He was still alive

            (B)    but also thereby showing that death would not be the end

            (C)   He confirmed that fact with these words

            (D)   But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29)

        b. even as Jesus gave thanks for the bread and wine,

            (A)    though knowing that they represented His own suffering & death

            (B)    He knew also that there was a victory beyond that death

            (C)   that is the realisation of the prophecy of Isaiah 53:11, “As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

            (D)   the word “anguish” is that used for the labour of a mother in the birth of her child – travail

            (E)    Jesus could see beyond death to the many children to result, the many sons He was thereby brining to glory, that for this joy that was set before Him, endured the cross


    2. And our Hope

        a. is in the Lord, who gave Himself for us

        b. let us then, give thanks to Him, by blessing His holy Name.



© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:


              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

                             New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              IGNT              Interlinear Greek New Testament, Zondervan Publishing, 1956; as well as other Greek Texts as W&H, Nestle, etc.

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

              Philips     The New Testament in Modern Englis, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

              RSV        Revised Standard Version © 1946, 1952 National Council of Churches of Christ; Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd

              WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

              BM       Biblical Museum, Editor James Comper Gray, ca 1870

              CP   -      Decision, July & August 1962, Open Your Bible, by Dr Sherwiood E. Wirt

              EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

                             1, 2 Thessalonians: Robert L. Thomas

              EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

                             1 & II Thessalonians, by James Moffatt

              JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

              Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

              Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

              NCBC –    The New Century Bible Commentary – 1 and 2 Thessalonians – I. Howard Marshall – Wm B. Erdmans

              RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

              TTB      Thinking Through the Bible, Rev’d John McNicol, D.D., © 1944 by the author; The Upper Canada Tract & Book Society.


Largely based on my message of the same title of February 3, 2002 – Kerux sermon #15872.


‘Oh Happy Day,’ by Philip Doddridge (1702-1751)