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Pastor Hal   Bekemeyer

Quench not the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is a vital element in our relationship to God, not only as a member of the Godhead but as the performer of Divine operations that shape this relationship. The Holy Spirit is the one that baptizes us into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13) and seals us there (Ephesians 1:13) and is the earnest of our redemption (Ephesians 1:14). The Spirit is also an intercessor and a helper of our infirmities (Romans 8:26). We also discover that the Spirit enables us to mortify our flesh (Romans 8:13) and is the means of quickening our mortal bodies (Romans 8:11) as it indwells us. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit is the witness to our identity as the children of God (Romans 8:16) and whose witness reassures us of our new identity in Christ.

Paul addresses several issues regarding our bond with the Holy Spirit. He exhorts believers to not grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) which is the result of our living in a manner inconsistent with our identity. The Ephesian epistle is unambiguous in the directive to “walk worthy of the vocation” wherewith we are called. In Christ we are said to be “light” and we are expected “walk as the children of light.” The Holy Spirit is grieved when we fail to do so.

Paul also cautions that the Spirit can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19). This is an interesting notion in that quenching the Spirit would seem to suggest that God can be extinguished. Of course, this is impossible so we must look beyond the literal to discern the figurative meaning. Obviously, you cannot quench God – BUT you can extinguish the work He would accomplish in, and through, your life.

In looking at this subject we should note that man has a spiritual component that serves as one of the mechanisms by which we perceive and know one another. (Prov 27:19) "As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man." Just as man’s spirit is a point of contact between men it is also a point of contact with God (Prov 20:27) “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly." However, the spirit of man alone does not equip us to know God as He intended – we must respond by God’s Spirit within us. (1 Corinthians 2:12-14) "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. {13} Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. {14} But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Perhaps one key in understanding how the Spirit might be quenched is found in the intrinsic link of the Holy Spirit with the Word of God. The mechanism of Inspiration is explained in 2 Peter 1:21; “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The Word of God is also identified as the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) which explains its ability to cut us so penetratingly at the heart. The Bible is the one book that reads us as we read it, discerning all of our thoughts and intentions. (Hebrews 4:12-13) "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. {13} Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

As the Word of God is crucial in generating faith (Romans 10:17) it is primary in the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we reject scriptural truth and refuse to be directed by it we are, in essence, quenching the Spirit. As we heed the instruction and principles of God’s Word we are being led by the Spirit. It isn’t by an indefinable force, or in the Divine manipulation of our circumstances, that we discover the substance of the Spirit’s leading; it is with the voice of God inked on the pages of our Bible. To walk in the Spirit is to make life choices based upon God’s Word. To quench the Spirit is to handle the details of our lives with our own agenda, in our own strength, and by our own wisdom.

The sad result of quenching the Spirit is to alienate ourselves from the life of God. It is to live in futility and it is a contradiction to our identity in Christ.

(Romans 8:5-6) "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. {6} For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."