Saturday, 2 September 2017
Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
These words from Paul give us great insight into the work of the Spirit in our lives. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul said, “…be filled with the Spirit.” The verb in the Greek there is present/imperative/passive. In essence, “Right now, certainly, you are to have the Spirit to fill you.” In Ephesians 4:30, he then writes, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit.” The verb there is present/imperative/active. Thus is gives the idea of “Right now, certainly, you are to not do this thing.” Now Paul writes, “Do not quench the Spirit.” What do you suppose is the state of the verb? It is present/imperative/active. Like grieving the Spirit, we are to be active in not quenching the Spirit.
What we are seeing here is a truth concerning the Spirit’s working in our lives. Being filled with the Spirit is a passive thing. A person actively drinks wine, but then there is a reaction when the wine makes the person drunk. A person in a hospital who needs an IV does not fill himself with the drip. Instead, it is received passively. The person could pull out the drip, thus he would stop being filled with it.
The believer has all of the Spirit he will ever receive the moment he calls on Christ, but the Spirit can get more of the person. On the day of a person’s marriage, they are now married and will never get more married, but the spouse can get more of the other spouse as yielding takes place.
The same is true with the Spirit. In order to be so filled, the Christian is to sing praises, pray, worship, fellowship, read the Bible, talk on the things of the Lord, etc. In doing these things, they are “filled with the Spirit.”
Understanding this, both grieving the Spirit and quenching the Spirit are active, not passive. When we do something inappropriate, we grieve the Spirit we already have. Likewise, when we don’t actively do the things necessary to fan the flames of the Spirit, we quench the Spirit. And this is the idea of the Spirit in our lives. It is as a fire. In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” In Acts 2, the Spirit was said to come down upon the believers at Pentecost as tongues of fire.
The Spirit then is as a fire which 1) can be quenched in our lives, 2) must be fanned in our lives, and which will only then, 3) fill our lives. Our actions results in the Spirit’s filling. But there is a truth which then cannot be missed. We possess the Spirit. Paul never says (nor can it ever be implied anywhere in Scripture) that we can accidentally lose the Spirit, remove the Spirit from our lives, or have the Spirit purposefully leave us. We are sealed with the Spirit the moment we believe, and that will never change. He is our deposit, our guarantee, of our redemption in Christ.
And so to not quench the Spirit (something we can actively do), we are to praise God, pray to God, meditate on God’s word, fellowship with other believers, live in holiness, and so on. Those things which are pleasing to the Spirit will fan the flame of the Spirit. Those things which are displeasing will do the opposite. This is why Paul said to Timothy, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:16). The word translated as “stir up” means “to kindle afresh” as in fanning the flames. Paul implored Timothy to actively do this in order to be fully filled with the Spirit he possessed because of his faith in Christ. So we likewise are to conduct our lives in order to be filled. The Spirit will only fill those receptacles which are properly yielded to Him.
Life application: If you are saved, you are saved. Deal done; you are a son! (or daughter). However, your standing in relation to the Spirit you now possess is one which requires you to do certain things, and to not do certain things. When failing to appropriately act, it is we who will suffer. Why are so many Christians dead in the pews, probably because they aren’t even in the pews! What a waste of eternal rewards, staying home and watching football. Instead, let us expend our energies in Spirit-directed activities, and thus we will be pleasing to God.
Lord God, in Your word, we are admonished to not quench the Spirit, to not grieve the Spirit, and to be filled with the Spirit. The first two we can do actively; the third only You can do as we yield to You. Help us to be active in right ways, so that You will then fill us – even to overflowing. May our fellowship with the Spirit be so vibrant and active that others will see it and want some of Your good Spirit which we possess. Amen.