Quenched


I was studying 1 Thessalonians and this message was laid on my heart to share.

Let’s take a look at a portion of Chapter 5.  In this section Paul is closing the Epistle; giving instructions to the believers in almost a bullet point fashion:

Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.

Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-22)

Many messages can be preached from this passage of scripture.  Paul is speaking on very practical things concerning how Christians should live in this passage.  I want to focus in on verse 19 for this message.

Quench not the Spirit.  1 Thessalonians 5:19 (KJV)

These are 4 words that really stand out from the page for me.  Paul has just finished talking about thankfulness, being good to people, taking care of the weak, encouraging the timid and honoring our leaders.  Right after he tells us to always be joyful, never stop praying and to always be thankful he hits us with “Quench not the Spirit.”

This is a command (not a suggestion) as much as “always be joyful” and “never stop praying”.  Here is the same verse from other translation of the scriptures:

Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; (1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV)

Don’t suppress the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19 The Message)

Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit; (1 Thessalonians 5:19 AMP)

Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 5:19 NLT)

The Greek word that is translated as “quench, put out, suppress, subdue and stifle is σβέννυμι (sbennymi). It is translated as:

1) to extinguish, quench

  • of fire or things on fire
  • to be quenched, to go out
  • metaph. to quench, to suppress, stifle

This is very serious statement.  The apostle commands us not to “stifle, suppress or subdue” the Holy Spirit.

We can look at this verse in several ways.  Here are three ways that I would like to share.

  1. The Holy Spirit’s influence and empowerment to live the Christian life

  2. The Holy Spirit’s power to draw unbelievers to Jesus Christ

  3. The Holy Spirit’s manifestations through signs, wonders, miracles and of course, gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit’s influence and empowerment to live the Christian life

Grace is administered in our lives by the Holy Spirit.  Biblical Christianity is not possible separated from the power of the Holy Spirit.  To stifle, subdue or suppress the Spirit’s work in our lives is to attempt to be a Christian in our own strength which at its core is diametrically opposed to the grace of God. Paul dedicates much of the Epistle to the Galatians to this subject.  Here is more scripture that discusses this:

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. (Romans 8:11-17)

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. (John 15:1-6)

Quenching the Spirit

Here are three ways that believers can quench the Spirit of God in their lives.

  • Ignoring His voice
  • Disobeying His commands
  • Living disconnected from His power

Not everything that is written in the scriptures is fun and exciting.  In fact, much of what is written causes our flesh to react passionately.  It is for this reason that the Holy Spirit lives within us; to lead, guide and help us in our life of faith and to provide access to the grace of God, empowering us to live like Jesus.  We overcome the world through faith (1 John 5:4).  We cannot overcome the world with flesh.

Quenching the Spirit takes places after repeated willful ignorance or disobedience to the written word of God and/or the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Quenching the Spirit does not take place from a single act.  Quenching the Spirit is a prolonged event that takes place when we choose to live disconnected from the influence and empowerment of God even though we have invited Him into our lives.  We drown out His voice with that of our own and of the world.  We replace His fire with our own passions.  We replace faith and dependence upon Him with religion.

Quenching of the Spirit can be described as the elimination of the leading of the Spirit in the life of the believer.  “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

The Holy Spirit’s power to draw unbelievers to Jesus Christ

We cannot convert people to Christ.  We cannot cause people to be born again.  We cannot redeem the lost, forgive the sinner or fill someone with the Holy Spirit.  It is beyond our ability.  These are things that only God can do.

The Spirit will come and show the people of this world the truth about sin and God’s justice and the judgment. The Spirit will show them that they are wrong about sin, because they didn’t have faith in me. They are wrong about God’s justice, because I am going to the Father, and you won’t see me again. And they are wrong about the judgment, because God has already judged the ruler of this world. (John 16:8-11)

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.” (Matthew 16:16-17)

For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. (John 6:44)

We are definitely involved in bringing other people to Christ (Matthew 28: 18-20; 1 Corinthians 1:21), but it is the Holy Spirit who changes hearts.  Our words, our songs and our ministry are only a part of the equation.  The Holy Spirit is the active ingredient in all gospel endeavors; without Him we are merely speaking or singing.

Quenching the Spirit

Here are ways that we can quench the Holy Spirit

  • Not preach or share the gospel with those who are lost
  • Not provide opportunity for the lost to come to Christ in our services
  • Limit God to our way of reaching the lost

Jesus Christ came into this world to save those who are lost (us).  He uses His body (the church) to communicate.  We are His hands and His feet.

“Be careful how you live; you may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”  (W.J. Toms)

Believers and ministers can both quench the Spirit.  We have been given the ministry of reconciliation and have been called and empowered by God to bring people to Him by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18).  We quench the Spirit when we do not speak the words God lays upon our hearts.  We quench the Spirit when we do not give Him the opportunity to use us to reach those around us.

I learned a long time ago that if the Holy Spirit doesn’t show up when I am sharing the word of God that it is just me talking and I know that me talking is not going to make an eternal impact on someone’s life.  In our zeal to fulfill the Great Commission and bring others to Christ we must be wholly dependent upon the Holy Spirit to produce any fruit.  Our responsibility is to be prepared, willing, obedient and surrendered vessels for Him to use.  Do not quench the Spirit by building your ministry or church on human talent; it must be build upon the Word of power of God.

Do not quench the Spirit by refusing to share the gospel.  It is the most needed message in the world and of course it is therefore the least popular.  Do not descend into a life that waters the gospel down and confuses love with a refusal to preach truth.  True love shares truth even when that truth is unwelcome.

The Holy Spirit’s manifestations through signs, wonders, miracles and of course, gifts of the Holy Spirit

This is the point that always causes the strongest reaction among Christians.  God is alive.  God is active in the earth today.  God desires to manifest Himself to believers and unbelievers.

Jesus is Savior, Deliverer, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit; He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  Regardless of your theology, denomination tradition, dogma or doctrine the scripture remains unchanged.  I know these are inflammatory statements, but I believe they are biblical.

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. (Mark 15:15-19)

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:3-5)

There are many Christians who have never been instructed or taught that the book of Acts is still being written by the Holy Spirit in our lives today.  Many Christians have never been taught that the gifts are for today and that Jesus wants to baptize them in the Holy Spirit, empowering them to witness for Him.

Paul came across believers like these as well:

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.

“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

“Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked.

And they replied, “The baptism of John.”

Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.”

As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. (Acts 19:1-7)

Quenching the Spirit does not happen because you are ignorant of His existence (although if you have a Bible that is not much of an excuse).  Quenching the Spirit happens when you refuse to allow God to manifest Himself and touch, heal, deliver and bless people.

The Great Commission in Mark 16 says, “And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.”  God is not shy or bashful.  The power of the Spirit of God working in the lives of Christians is modern evidence that the message we speak is true.

Quenching the Spirit takes place when:

  • The gifts of the Spirit are not allowed to operate in our services
  • The manifestation of the Holy Spirit is ignored, stifled or spoken of as “not of God”

Quenching the Spirit in this manner is asserting our control over the church and the gospel as opposed to obeying God.  He is the head and we are the body.  We should be responding to Him, not trying to control Him or create a religion about Him that does not include Him.

I know that last statement was a little harsh.  However, to sing about Jesus, pray to Jesus and preach and teach about Jesus and then not allow Jesus to manifest Himself in the ways He said He would in His word is very backwards.  It is illogical and yet it is common place in many houses of worship.

The arguments against the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit by those who consciously quench the moving of the Spirit are numerous.  I am not promoting wild emotionalism.  I am promoting New Testament Christianity.  The gifts and power of the Holy Spirit and given to the church.  Paul even discusses proper etiquette in spiritual gifts and manifestations in public worship (1 Corinthians 14).

You may be content to live and worship with believers who do not want to see the manifestation of the Spirit of God in their midst as declared in the New Testament.  There are many arguments for and against this subject.  I only ask a question, “If scripture declares that the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself in and through us in signs, wonders, miracles and gifts, why we would not want Him to do so?”

Conclusion:

Christianity is a supernatural relationship with Jesus Christ.  We are born again (recreated) by the Spirit of God as a result of our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as a result of our faith.  The Holy Spirit is our Advocate – He is here to empower and help us to live like Christ, overcome the challenges of this life and fulfill God’s calling upon our life.

We cannot live separated from the Spirit of God and call ourselves Christians.  We cannot habitually ignore His voice, disobey His commands and stifle His moving in our lives.  We must not quench the Spirit.

I challenge you to listen to His voice and obey His leading.  Not quenching the Spirit involves death to our flesh.  As we move more and more with the Spirit of God we have to surrender more of our lives to Him.  We stop asserting ourselves and we begin to allow Jesus to assert Himself through our lives.  We begin to look less like us and more like Jesus.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. (Romans 8:14)

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