1 Thessalonians 5:19
Quench not the Spirit.
"Quench not the Spirit." Put not out that heavenly fire which you did not kindle, but which you can extinguish. Put not out that holy fire which is the real heart of your life, and without which spiritual death is sure to follow. Put not out that fire by sensual pleasures and indulgence of fleshly appetites, as did Sodom and Gomorrah; by love of the world, as did Demas; by careless neglect, as did the lukewarm Church of Laodicea.
I. THE FIRE CAN BE PUT OUT.
1. You may put it out by indulgence of the body. The brutalizing power of fleshly sins, of whatever sort, always blunts the conscience, and makes the spiritual eye unable to discern the true nature of God's requirements. A man who has given himself up to these becomes coarse. If the sins be such as men can see, he becomes visibly coarse and earthly. If the sires be of the far wickeder and yet more secret sort, he often retains much outward refinement and even softness of manner, but coarseness and earthliness of soul; with little sense of disgust at impurity, with a low and animal idea of the highest of all affections.
2. The fire can be put out by worldliness and a life devoted to self and selfish hopes. What can be more miserable than the condition of that man whose powers of mind have shown him the truth of God, whose understanding has been too highly cultivated to allow him to shut his eyes to the eternal laws of heaven, who can appreciate, perhaps, till his very heart thrills with admiration, the high examples of love, of self-sacrifice, of a pure and brave service, which history has recorded, and yet who cannot be, and who feels that he never can be, what he himself admires; who feels that while he admires the noble and the true, yet he is not attracted by it? The end of such a character generally is to lose even this much appreciation of what is good, and to retain admiration for nothing but refinement without a resolute will within; to despise all self-sacrifice, all generosity, all nobleness as romantic and weak; and, of course, either to give up religion altogether, or to make a superstition to suit the worldly temper.
3. Lastly, and most often of all, the fire of the Spirit can be put out by mere neglect. The Spirit holds before the sight, time after time, soul-stirring visions of what our lives and characters might be. As we read, as we live with our fellows, as we worship, as we listen, we are touched, enlightened, half roused to real resolution. But we hear not, or if we hear we make no effort; or if we make an effort, we soon give it up. The greatest thoughts, the noblest thoughts flit before the minds of men in whom their fellows suspect nothing of the kind; but they flit across the sky, and those who share in them, yet feel them to be as unreal as those clouds. There is no waste in nature equal to the waste of noble aspirations. What is the end of such coldness? The end is an incapacity to heart what they have so often heard in vain. In such men there comes at last an utter inability to understand that the message of God is a message to them at all. They hear and they understand, but they find no relation between their lives and what they learn. They will be selfish, and not know they are selfish; worldly, and not be able to see they are worldly; mean, and yet quite unconscious of their meanness.
II. THE LAST, THE FINAL ISSUE of "quenching the Spirit," I cannot describe. A fearful condition is once or twice alluded to in the Bible, which a man reaches by long disobedience to the voice within him, and in which he can never be forgiven, because he can never repent, and he cannot repent because he has lost all, even the faintest tinge, of the beauty of holiness. What brings a man into such a state as this we cannot tell; but it is plain enough that the directest road to it is by "quenching the Spirit."
Parallel VersesKJV: Quench not the Spirit.