Quenching the Spirit – Part 3

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–19, ESV)

One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to teach us. (Jn 14:26) Are we allowing Him to teach us or do we ignore spending time with Him. Do we spend time in prayer and rejoice always in His work in our lives? The Spirit bears witness to the life of Jesus (Jn 15:26) Our lives therefore should be that light on the hill to bear witness to the life of Jesus.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church the things that are not of the Spirit and the things that are of the Spirit. If we walk in those dark places we are quenching the light of the Spirit in our lives.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:16–26, ESV)

The only really effective way to be able to walk by the Spirit is to quite our flesh, and listen to the Spirit in our lives through prayer and the Word of God.

In Ephesians Paul teaches us that we are to be filled with the Spirit, this really is the opposite of quenching the Spirit, it is allowing him to flow out from our lives…

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18–21, ESV)

What occupies us when we come together? Do we spend more time talking of all that God is doing in our lives, speaking of what God is revealing to us in His word, rejoicing and making melody in our hearts? What occupies our conversations, is it the Lord, or is it the world? What do we glorify in our lives?

The Apostles passed on instruction to other disciples all the things that they had received and their greatest desire was to be faithful in imparting those instructions to us. So, Paul’s words to the Church of Thessalonica still hold true today…

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1–8, ESV)

The Spirit wants to work in our lives, but we must listen to the things that have been passed on to us, and seeking His wisdom through Prayer, the word of God, and the People of God. Let’s learn from what Paul imparted to Timothy…

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Timothy 1:6–10, ESV)

Fan the flame, share the good news of Christ, keep the Temple of God Holy and allow the Spirit to shine brightly through our lives in the unity of the whole body. We are to be the city on the hill that cannot be dimmed. Our lives must be lived so we do not prevent the spirit from working through us to accomplish the works he has prepared beforehand in Christ that we should walk in them.

Quenching the Spirit – Part 2

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–22, ESV)

In what ways might we quench the Spirit of God?

First, what does it mean to quench the Spirit? The Theological Dictionary of the NT, Abridged says this:

This word means “to quench,” passive “to go out”; b. “to suck dry” (“dry up”); c. “to die”; d. “to steam”; and e. in a transferred sense “to still,” “damp down,” “restrain,” or intransitively “to rest,” “abate,” “die down.”[2]…In the LXX (some 45 times) the term is used literally for the quenching of fire or burning objects, figuratively for light or lamps going out, and in a transferred sense for the extinguishing of anger or stilling of emotions…the admonition not to quench the Spirit has reference to the restraint of his manifestations in charisms[3]

Jesus had some teaching that could reveal some light on this subject…

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13–16, ESV)

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:7–15, ESV)

The Spirit is often described as light and that light shines in the dark places to reveal and convict the world of sin. Today I have heard many preachers redefine our sins to make them more palatable. We can’t redefine what God has called sin, we are then dimming or quenching the light of the Spirit when we don’t stand for the principles that God has given us in His word.

Many of the songs we hear in the Christian music industry seems to focus on me or us. But the Spirit always exalts Christ and points us towards Christ. I have noticed that when we sing songs that exalt the Lord or the Father the worship just seems so much better. J.I. Packer said it well

“…think of it this way. It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit’s message to us is never, ‘Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me,’ but always, ‘Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace.”

When we put our focus on ourselves and not on Christ then we quench the light that the Spirit can give through our lives to others. We must remember the commands of our Lord – Love others and Love God!

Where is your focus this day, in a world with so much uncertainty?

Quenching the Spirit – Part 1

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–22, ESV)

Have you ever considered what it truly means to “quench the Spirit”? As I was reading through 1 Thessalonians, I came across this verse again and had to stop and think about it. What does it mean to quench the Spirit, or better what do we do to not quench the Spirit? If we do quench the Spirit how does that impact our lives in Christ?

To really answer this question, we must first look at how the Spirit works in the body of believers.

The testimony of the Scriptures shows us God’s spirit at work in the lives of His people, and with the resurrection of our Lord, the actions of the Spirit of God have been made new in the people that God is calling back to himself. What are those things that we see of the Spirit in Scripture?

First, as in Genesis, He gives life. Jesus expressed this in the passage that we quote so often – “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”” (John 3:3–8, ESV) Being born of the Spirit is considered the new life of every believer called by God.

Then what happens after that? The spirit (whom we are told is sent forth from the father and son – another expression for our benefit) will teach us (Jn 14:26), bear witness to the life of Jesus (Jn 15:26), guide us in all truth (Jn 16:13), represent the power of God in the lives of his people (Acts 1:8, Rom 8:26, 15:13), bears witness to our spirit that we are His children (Rom 8:16, Gal 4:6), instill in us the qualities of God’s character (Gal 5:22), and as it is in Genesis, the Spirit Speaks. (Rev 2:29, 3:6, 3:22)

A very important role of the Spirit in our lives is to give manifestations of Himself through the people of God. The Greek word for this word found in 1 Cor 12:7 is phanerosis and essentially means acts in which the Spirit manifests himself.[1] Paul speaking to the Corinthians discusses with them the Spiritual gifts of the body. There are all kinds of gifts given by the Holy Spirit which are to be used for that common good of the body. What I find interesting is that it says to each is given the manifestation, but if we are all given this, then why do we not see His power moving that well in the body today?

 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” (1 Corinthians 12:4–11, ESV)

So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12, ESV)

Are we living lives that allow the Spirit to manifest his presence through us, or are we doing things that hinders the Spirit in our lives?


[1] [2] [3] Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 1245). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.