1 Thessalonians 5:19
Quench not the Spirit.
This is a little text, but it is full of large matters.
I. WE HAVE A SPIRIT TO QUENCH.
1. The possession of the Spirit is the distinguishing prerogative of the gospel covenant; this it is which imparts a life, an energy, a fulness, a reality, to its every part and detail.
2. We are all the depositaries of this great treasure; the holders of a wonderful gift, for the abuse or improvement of which we shall one day have to answer.
II. THE NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF THIS SPIRIT.
1. A consuming fire.
(1) It destroys in us at once that curse which adheres to us as children of a fallen parent.
(2) In those who yield themselves, gradually does one unholy habit of thought, one unsanctified desire, one impure affection after another, succumb beneath its power and influence.
2. A purifying fire; it does not wholly destroy the will, so as to make man a passive instrument; it only strips the will of that evil which makes it at enmity with God. Nor does the Spirit deaden and annihilate the affections, powers, faculties of our moral nature; it only withdraws them from low, base, unworthy objects, and fixes them on others whose fruits will be love, joy, peace.
3. A kindling fire. It raises in the mind of man the fervour of devotion and the heat of Divine love.
4. A defending fire. Like the sword of the cherubim, it turns every way to guard "the tree of life."
5. An enlightening fire.
(1) The Christian, by the Spirit which is given him, is enabled to see what he is in himself. It shows him how degraded is his nature, how forlorn and hopeless are his prospects.
(2) This reveals to him what he is in Christ — Child of God. Heir of glory;
(3) This reveals to him the path of life.
(4) This lays open to him the mysterious, hidden wisdom of the Word of God.
III. WHAT IS MEANT BY "QUENCHING THE SPIRIT."
1. This is done by those who altogether fall away from Christ — by apostates.
2. It is not only, nor generally, by a sudden and violent wrenching and snapping asunder of the ties which bind him to Christ, that the obdurate sinner quenches the Spirit. The integrity and unity of his inner life is damaged and sapped little by little; he quenches the Spirit, more or less, in all the stages of his spiritual decay.
IV. WHAT ARE THE MEANS, AND WHAT THE AGENCY, WHICH OPERATE IN BRINGING THIS ABOUT?
1. Floods of ungodliness swamp the soul.
2. Blasts of fierce and headstrong passions.
3. Want of fuel to nourish and preserve it. In many a soul the Spirit's fire is quenched because it is never replenished by prayer, meditation, self-examination, works of charity and mercy, attendance on Holy Communion, etc.
V. THE AWFUL CONSEQUENCES. Let us quench the Spirit, and how shall the motions of sins which are in our members be rooted out? how shall we be able to purify ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord?
(Arthur G. Baxter.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Quench not the Spirit.