Read 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. How can the Holy Spirit be quenched?
This suggests that something about the Holy Spirit is like a fire that we can extinguish. We should remember that the Holy Spirit does two significant things for us: He gives us knowledge of sin, and He gives us power to overcome sin. Both are related to sanctification.
Through the Word of God, the Spirit tells us what we need to know in order to live a holy life, and through His indwelling power He enables us to change our lives according to this knowledge. One way we can avoid quenching the Spirit is to “not despise prophetic utterances” (1 Thess. 5:20, NASB). Paul instructs the Thessalonian believers not to despise prophetic utterances, and yet he called for their discernment (1 Thess. 5:21). While we are to be open to the Spirit in our congregational life and should not quench the work of the Holy Spirit, we also need discernment because false teachings and false prophets will continue to plague the church.
Not all spirits are benign. The Spirit-inspired Word of God, however, is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps. 119:105). By it we have a standard to measure even new prophetic utterances. In biblical times such a lamp involved a burning wick that shed light before the feet of those who walked in the night. The Bible tells us how to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25). We do that by surrendering ourselves to the teachings of the Word of God and by obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit as He points us in the way that we should live.
Many who profess to believe that the Bible is the Word of God interpret it in ways that all but denude the Scriptures of any real authority, robbing them of any real power in their lives. Also, when we despise the Word of God and treat it with disrespect, or neglect to apply it to ourselves, we are snuffing out this lamp that is given to lead us on our way and to stir our consciences toward good works.
|Read 1 Thess 4:7,8. What does it mean to be called “in holiness” (NKJV)? What areas of your life might you need to ask yourself if, indeed, you are acting “in holiness”?|