First Thessalonians 5:19 commands us to not quench the Holy Spirit. We must first understand that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who magnifies the Lord Jesus Christ, convicts, comforts, and empowers. To explain the meaning of “quench”, the Amplified Bible defines it as suppressing or subduing the Holy Spirit. The New Living Translation says to not stifle the Holy Spirit, while Phillips’ translation says “never damp the fire of the Holy Spirit”.
By putting this passage of Scripture into context, how can we not quench (stifle, subdue, or suppress) the work of the Holy Spirit?
- Recognize and respect spiritual leadership in the church (I Thess. 5:12, 13). Scripture teaches that we should appreciate the labor of the pastor and esteem him in love. This does not mean to idolize the pastor or put him on a pedestal.
- Be at peace among yourselves (v. 13). Dissension between church members as well as dissension between church members and the pastor will suppress the move of the Spirit. Spurgeon said, “Do not despise His operations, either in yourselves or in your brethren. Do not quench Him by neglect, much less by open opposition.” Someone else said, “The Spirit’s Fire is quenched whenever…the fervor He kindles in the heart is dampened by unspiritual attitudes, criticisms, or actions.”
- Warn those who are unruly (v. 14). This is in an effort to restore the unruly person. When they don’t want restoration, Matthew 18 calls for church discipline. It’s funny how we find it okay for police to pull over those who are disorderly, but we think that the church should overlook someone who is doing harm to self and others in the church. If I see you throwing your life away and I don’t say something in love, I should be ashamed of myself. That means that I really don’t care about you like I should.
- Comfort the faint hearted and uphold the weak (v. 14). If the church doesn’t do this, it is nothing more than a country club.
- Be patient with all (v. 14). This is a tough one that I bet some wish we could erase from Scripture. Do we really need to be patient with everyone? God said it; I didn’t make it up. This is a work of the Spirit of God as we grow. We should be patient with all because we never know what they are going through.
- Refuse to retaliate (v. 15). Vengeance belongs to the Lord, and He does a much better job. So, leave your hateful comments off Facebook and your mouth off the phone line😀.
- Strive for what is best for everybody (v. 15). This does not mean people-pleasing. This is about unity. As a pastor, I have to pray and make decisions about what is best for the whole. I cannot make a decision to pacify one person or group at the expense of the church’s unity.
- Be a person of praise (vv. 16, 18). This is a command that is God’s Will and to be done IN everything. Warren Wiersbe said, “An attitude of gratitude is a wonderful weapon against unbelief, disobedience, a hard heart, and a bitter spirit.” Billy Graham said, “Nothing turns us into bitter, selfish, dissatisfied people more quickly than an ungrateful heart.”
- Stay in an attitude of prayer (v. 17). Philippians 4:6 commands us to pray about everything. Ephesians 6:18 teaches that prayer is an offensive weapon we can use against the devil.
- Embrace and obey what the Bible says (v. 20). We are not to despise prophetic utterances – the forthtelling of God’s Word. He gives us these guidelines to help not hurt us.
- Test all things (v. 21). Don’t foolishly believe everything you heart. Test it! If it is good, don’t let it go.
- Abstain from every form of evil (v. 22).
Guzik said, “We can quench the fire of the Spirit by our doubt, our indifference, our rejection of Him, or by the distraction of others. When people start to draw attention to themselves, it is a sure quench to the Spirit. Though there is a sense in which fire can not be created, we can provide the environment in which it can burn brightly.”
Don’t quench the Holy Spirit! Give Him full room to have His way in your life and those around you.