1 Thessalonians 5:19
Quench not the Spirit.
I. HOW DOES THE SPIRIT INFLUENCE THE MIND? Not by physical agency but by means of the truth. He persuades men to act in view of truth as we influence our fellows by truth presented to their minds. Sometimes this truth is suggested by providence, sometimes by preaching; but whatever the mode the object always is to produce voluntary action in conformity to His law.
II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS FACT AND WHAT MUST BE INFERRED FROM IT.
1. God is physically omnipotent, and yet His moral influences exerted by His Spirit may be resisted; but if the Spirit moved men by physical omnipotence there could be no resistance. The nature of moral agency implies the voluntary action of one who can yield to motive and follow light or not as he pleases. When this power does not exist moral agency cannot exist. Hence if our action is that of moral agents, our freedom to do or not do must remain.
2. If the Lord carries forward the work by means of revealed truth there must be most imminent danger lest some will neglect to study and understand it, or lest, knowing, they should refuse to obey it.
III. WHAT IS IT TO QUENCH THE SPIRIT?
1. The Spirit enlightens the mind into the meaning and self-application of the Bible. Now there is such a thing as refusing to receive this light. You can shut your eyes against it; you can refuse to follow it when seen; and in this case God ceases to hold up the truth before your mind.
2. There is a heat and vitality attending the truth when enforced by the Spirit. If one has the Spirit his soul is warm; if not his heart is cold. Let a man resist the Spirit and he will certainly quench this vital energy.
IV. THE WAYS IN WHICH THE SPIRIT MAY BE QUENCHED.
1. By directly resisting the truth He presents to the mind. After a short struggle the conflict is over, and that particular truth ceases to affect the mind. The man felt greatly annoyed by that truth until he quenched the Spirit; now he is annoyed by it no longer.
2. By endeavouring to support error. Men are foolish enough to attempt by argument to support a position which they know to be false. They argue it till they get committed, and thus quench the Spirit, and are left to believe in the very lie they unwisely attempted to advocate.
3. By uncharitable judgments, which are so averse to that love which is the fruit of the Spirit.
4. By bad temper, harsh, and vituperative language, and intemperate excitement on any subject whether religious or otherwise.
5. By indulging prejudice. Whenever the mind is made up on any subject before it is thoroughly canvassed, that mind is shut against the truth and the Spirit is quenched.
6. By violating conscience. Persons have had a very tender conscience on some subject, but all at once they come to have no conscience at all on that point. Change of conscience, of course, often results from conscientious change of views. But sometimes the mind is awakened just on the eve of committing a sin. A strange presentiment warns the man to desist. If he goes on the whole mind receives a dreadful shock, and its very eyes seem to be almost put out.
7. By indulging appetites and passions. These not only injure the body but the soul: and God sometimes gives men up to them.
8. By dishonesty and sharp practices in business.
9. By casting off fear and re. straining prayer.
10. By idle conversation, levity, and trifling.
11. By indolence and procrastination.
12. By resisting the doctrine and duty of sanctification.
V. THE CONSEQUENCE OF QUENCHING THE SPIRIT.
1. Great darkness of mind. Abandoned by God, the mind sees truth so dimly that it makes no useful impression.
2. Great coldness and stupidity in regard to religion generally. It leaves to the mind no such interest in spiritual things as men take in worldly things. Get up a political meeting or a theatrical exhibition, and their souls are all on fire; but they are not at the prayer meeting.
3. Error. The heart wanders from God, loses its hold on truth, and perhaps the man insists that he takes now a much more liberal and enlightened view of the subject, and it may be gradually slides into infidelity.
4. Great hardness of heart. The mind becomes callous to all that class of truths which make it yielding and tender.
5. Deep delusion with regard to one's spiritual state. How often people justify themselves in manifest wrong because they put darkness for light and vice versa.
(C. G. Finney, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Quench not the Spirit.