Complaints Stank instead give thanks
Topic: Giving Thanks Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–:18, Luke 22:17–:20
Complaints Stank, Instead Give Thanks
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.
How is it possible to give thanks in all circumstances, especially when our circumstances are horrible?
Story of Matthew Henry being robbed.
Matthew Henry was not only known for his commentaries but also for being a thankful man regardless of what the situation was.
“Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before;
second, because although he took my wallet, he did not take my life;
third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and
fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Matthew Henry was a man who lived by 1 Thessalonians 5:18
He did not let his circumstance dictate the attitude of His heart. Even when he had an opportunity to complain he instead used it as an opportunity to give thanks.
There are two parts to this message, give thanks, and stop complaints.
Just a little back story on this passage in Thessalonians;
It was written by the apostle Paul to the church in Thessalonica around the year 52 AD. The objective of this letter was to encourage the new Christian believers that were there.
Thessalonica was the capital and the largest city of the Roman province of Macedonia. The city served as the center of trade and commerce.
While Paul was in Thessalonica many people believed his message, and became followers of Jesus Christ.
However, there were certain Jews who were jealous of Paul because of the crowds that were listening to him.
Paul then leaves Thessalonica and heads to Berea and then to Corinth.
Later on, Timothy would bring a report to Paul who was now in Corinth with the news of the new believers in Thessalonica.
He tells how they were persecuted but that they had remained strong and had proven themselves to be examples to other believers.
Timothy tells Paul that they needed further instruction on living holy. So, the purpose in writing Thessalonians was to praise them for their steadfastness even in the midst of persecution, to instruct them on holy living, and to explain the coming of Christ.
In fact, one constant theme in this letter is Holiness in view of the coming Christ.
Christ was indeed coming back for a bride who has made herself ready, and there were certain responsibilities that were to be taken in making herself ready.
One of which was to “give thanks in all circumstances”
Thankfulness should be a way of life for us as believers. We should discipline ourselves to express our gratitude. Even in difficult situations.
(Story of being let go from job)
Jesus gave us the ultimate example of what it is like to give thanks in the midst of trying times.
17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Notice what happens in this passage.
Jesus knows what awaits Him yet He gives thanks. He knows that Judas will betray him, Peter will deny Him, all those that once sang Hosanna will now yell crucify Him, He knows that He will be mocked at and ridiculed, He knows that He will be beaten, put on a cross and left for dead, yet He is giving thanks to His Father
Is Jesus thrilled about the fact that He is about to suffer greatly for a people that have rejected Him? Absolutely not, Jesus in the garden of gethsemane would ask if it were possible for God to take this cup from Him.
Jesus was 100% human and would experience real excruciating pain, and would bleed just as you and I, if we were beaten the way He was.
It is not that He was thankful for thorns that would be jabbed in his skull, nor would He be thankful for the whip that would shred His skin. But He was thankful for the redemption that would come to mankind through His blood being poured out.
Look back at the end of vs 20 “This cup that is poured out for you”
He was thankful that Peter, though he would deny Him three times, would experience redemption, and his disciples who fled when Jesus was arrested would experience a newness of life.
He was thankful because He saw you and I covered in the blood of Jesus, making a way for us to be reconciled to our heavenly Father.
He was thankful because He had seen a future glory, though His present circumstances may have appeared to be hopeless and grim He set His sights to a hopeful future.
He gave thanks for the cup which represented His blood that would be spilled, and He gave thanks for the bread that was broken which represented His body that would be broken for all mankind.
We too can get past our moments of despair by giving thanks.
Job said this after losing donkeys, oxen, servants, sheep, camels, sons, daughters basically all that he had:
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
It’s easy to give thanks for the promotions at work and when you are sitting in the leather heated seat of a new car, but can you give thanks from the seat adversity?
When all hell is breaking loose can you still give thanks?
Jesus not only gave thanks for the bread and the cup, He also encourages the disciples to do the same.
A mark of a true follower of Jesus is to have a heart of thankfulness.
We can do this by setting our eyes on a future glory.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
When we realize that our present circumstances will not last forever, we can be thankful knowing:
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
As Paul is writing this letter to the church at Thessalonica He is speaking as a man who had experienced great hardship even up to this time in his life. Yet his encouragement to them is to
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
But he does not stop there. Not only are we to give thanks in all things look at vs 19
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
Few things will quench the spirit quicker than a complaining heart. Especially a complaining heart that causes discord among believers.
Think back when God had delivered the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians.
The Israelites complained about everything.
* When Moses first approached the pharaoh to let God’s people go, he increased their work load instead and the Israelites complained about it.
* When God had delivered them from the hand of Egypt with a great, strong hand, the people complained when suddenly they were faced with the red sea.
* They complained about food, water, God gave them manna and they complained about that.
* They complained when Moses was taking too long on mount Sinai so they made themselves a golden calf and worshipped it. God wiped out thousands
* Miriam and Aaron would complain about Moses’ leadership. So, God struck her with leprosy.
* They complained when they looked at the land that God had brought them to and they saw the inhabitants that lived there and became fearful. So, God caused them to wander in the wilderness for forty years
* They complained against Moses as a leader so God struck them with pestilence.
* Some leaders rebel and complained against Moses, So God opens up the earth to swallow them whole.
* The people complained one last time against God and Moses, this time God had enough and caused fiery serpents to bite them and kill them.
Needless to say, there is no more mention of complaining after that.
Complaining is a big deal to God and it will not only quench the Spirit of God that is living in you, you will also experience very real consequences. Complaints Stank
Think of the petty things that we tend to complain about in our lives today.
(slow wi-fi, lengthy waits in drive thru, 40 hr work week, weather, the toilet seat being left up, Monday mornings, waking up in the morning etc...)
Sadly, many Christians are murmurers and complainers. In the home, on the job and in the local church they grumble, murmur and complain. They can see nothing good. To them, everything is bad -- their life is miserable and they want to make it that way for everyone else.
Why do we so quickly forget God’s goodness to us? Why do we stop giving thanks? I have a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9pNeT55U_c
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,