Unchanging Reasons for Thanksgiving
Illustration: The Atheist and the Bear1
UNCHANGING REASONS FOR THANKSGIVING
Nov. 18, 2007 – PPHC - Text: Hebrews 13:5-15
Intro: One of the most explicit Bible verses related to the matter of thanksgiving is 1 Thes. 5:18. This verse says, "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." This verse commands believers to give thanks to the Lord, not FOR everything, but IN everything! There is a big difference there! Certainly, we ought to be thankful, not just because we are told to be thankful, but because we have much to be thankful for!
However, I have discovered that thankfulness is a very fickle thing. Often, our thankfulness focuses on things that are physical in nature. We are thankful for our health. We are thankful for our families and our homes. We are thankful for our financial stability. We are thankful for the things we have. Yet, all of these things are subject to change. Think about it, health can break, families can split and bank accounts can run dry. What do we do then? How does that affect our thankfulness?2
I would like to suggest that we remain thankful for all the physical blessings we enjoy, and that we learn to look beyond those changing things to some things that never change. I would like to share a few of those unchanging blessings with you this morning. Notice in these verses some Unchanging Reasons for Thanksgiving.
I. OUR SAVIOR - v. 5-6, 8
· Ill. These verses tells us of just a few of the unchanging glories of our Lord! The things revealed here are causes for thankfulness at all times.
A. His Abiding Presence – v. 5
1. Regardless of where the path of life leads, the saint of God will never walk alone - Matt. 28:20; Isa. 41:10!
a. He is COMMITTED to you3…don’t have to rely on another’s word - HE tells you that Himself…
1. Note the actions of the Berean Christians…they wanted to know what God said to them.
B. His Assisting Presence – v. 6
1. The word "helper" comes from a word which means to "to run". The idea is that when we are in need, the Lord runs to our aid.)
a. He is our Comforter – Jn. 14:16 - Paraklete - One called alongside to aid / comfort!
2. His promise is CONDITIONAL4… “why do so many promises prayed seem unanswered?”
a. Along with the promises there are given conditions which need to be met, and put into action, to release the potential.
C. His Anchoring Presence - v. 8
1. One of our greatest sources of thanksgiving is in the truth that Jesus never changes!
a. What He was then is what He is now! From before creation into eternity…
b. He is still "I AM!" He still possesses all power in heaven and earth, Matt. 28:18.
2. We can have CONFIDENCE in Him5 - Ps. 121 Pilgrimage (take eyes off the mtns…let them ascend higher…keep them on the Lord…in an ever-changing world, he remains CONSTANT.
We can always be thankful for our Savior!
II. OUR SALVATION – v. *9-12
A. The Price of It – v. 9
1. This verse mentions grace! We can thank God that salvation is given without cost, Isa. 55:1; Rev. 22:17 *to us.
a. How you came to know Him! Dead in sin and He sought you, He called you, He died for you, He redeemed you and He continually keeps you. All you did was exercise the faith that He gave you. He did it all! (Eph. 2:8-9)
B. The Pain of It – v. 12
1. For us the price was low, for God, the price was unimaginable! Cost God the life of His Son.
a. His death on the cross is what provided salvation for you and me!
1. The prophet Isaiah tells us something about what He suffered for us, Isa. 53:4-7.
b. We can be thankful that even though He knew what we were and what we would be like after He saved us that He still went to the cross and died for our sins!
A look of love was on His face
The thorns were in His head
The blood was on that scarlet robe
And stained it crimson red
Though His eyes were on the crowd that day
He looked ahead in time
For when He was on the cross
I was on His mind
He knew me, yet He loved me
He whose glory makes the Heavens shine
So unworthy, of such mercy
For when He was on the cross
I was on His mind. 6
C. The Purpose of It – v. 12
1. He suffered the death so that He might "sanctify the people."
· "Sanctify" means "to separate from vain things and set apart for God's use." 7
a. He died to rescue sinners from their sins for the glory of God.
b. So that God could transform us and be able to use us for His glory, 2 Cor. 5:17.
We can be thankful that we which were lost have now been 1cleansed and 2set apart for God's glory through the blood of Jesus!
III. OUR SEPARATION – v 13
A. Willingness to Take a Stand
1. The call of this verse is for us to do on the outside what He has already done on the inside.
a. He has set us apart inwardly through the redemption of the blood of Jesus.
b. The call to take our stand with Jesus on the outside - in society. (take up your cross)
IV. OUR SANCTUARY – v. 14
A. Something Better Lies Ahead for the Believer
1. In a continually-changing, disappointment-filled world, there is a world coming that will not disappoint.
2. A place where we can “rest” from our labors…and enjoy the sweet presence of God.
a. The pressure of this life will not be allowed there. Rev. 21:4
· “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Conc: This evening we need to take a close look at the real blessings of the Lord! Let us be thankful for all the things He gives us. Let us praise Him for our health, our families, our financial blessings and so on. Let us not take them for granted. But, let us learn to be more thankful for those things which we can never lose! Let's learn to be ever thankful for those things that cannot change! When all the physical blessings have faded and we can find no reason for praise in them, let us thank the Lord that there are some things that will never change! In these things we have an unchanging reason for eternal thanksgiving!
Why not come before Him right now and just thank Him for Who He is and for what He has given you and me!
1 Sermon Central
2 The Sermon Notebook
3 Colin Coombs, God’s Presence in Practice – The Commitment
4 Colin Coombs, God’s Presence in Practice – The Condition
5 Colin Coombs, God’s Presence in Practice – The Confidence
6 When He was On the Cross, I Was On His Mind, Ronnie Hinson/Mike Payne
7 Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, Libronix Digital Library