1 Thessalonians 5:19
Quench not the Spirit.
What does it mean to quench the Spirit?
And how do you know if you have quenched the Spirit?
And why is that important to know and understand?
What does a person do that has quenched the Spirit?
This is something to consider in light of the fact that we are taught not to quench the Spirit by the Apostle Paul.
There are certainly really good reasons in life why a fire should be quenched or extinguished. Just ask the people from the State of California who are experiencing historic wild fires that are destroying communities and lives.
Or how about that thirst that must be quenched when suffering from dehydration? Those people that have gone without water for a period of time can testify to the fact that water is essential to life. Just ask the Israelites who were wandering in the wilderness (Exodus 17).
But what about this matter of quenching the Spirit? First of all, we find that the Spirit is a reference to the Holy Spirit (pneuma), which is the third person of the trinity. That’s right, the word Spirit is a reference to the Spirit of God! And that is an important distinction to make, as we are not referring to a superficial force of nature or the New Age reference to the Presence.
As we consider why this matter is so important, we must first understand what the Scripture says about the attributes of God. Two verses come to mind for further consideration, which includes:
1 John 1:5
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
We find from these passages of Scripture that there is no darkness at all with God. He is holy, righteous, just, and true! And in that, he has given His people instruction as to how we must worship Him, and that is in spirit and in truth. That worship is not confined or limited to songs of praise, as some would suppose, but is a life commitment where there is no way out and no room for compromise or half-heartedness.
That is a worship that cries out to God from the inner reaches of the depths of our being, a cry that is known of the Father which identifies one’s belonging to the God of all creation. This kind of worship has to do with our whole person which is devoted to the will of God, and it underscores the command from the Lord to be holy!
The way in which we live our lives matters to God! Jesus said, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24). In that, those that follow the Lord have turned from their sin and have placed their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no turning back!
Romans 10:9, 10, 13
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
For those that have been born again, they have taken on a new nature in Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Those who are in Christ are temples of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
So we find that for those who are in Christ, there is a responsible for walking as children of God. In Romans 8, the Apostle Paul describes those that walk in the flesh and those that walk in the Spirit. Saints of the Most High God walk in the Spirit.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). And what a glorious blessing that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in those who are in Christ (Romans 8:11). Dwells! Think about that for a minute!!
Saints have the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15). The Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession (Ephesians 1:14).
No person is a child of God without first being baptized in the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1, Matthew 3:11)). So it is a blessing to be children of God. Going further, Saints are given gifts of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:7
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
We can see from Scripture that the Holy Spirit is essential to the lives of the children of God, so much so that without the Spirit of God, we are none of His (Romans 8:9). So when we consider what it means to quench the Spirit, it is important to note that this matter is a really big deal! Do we want God’s best in our lives, or are we content in living mediocre lives according to the lusts of the flesh? Is quenching the Spirit something that we want to do? Absolutely not!!!!
In the Webster’s dictionary, there are several examples of what it means to quench something, which includes:
- Put out, extinguish; To put out the light or fire of quench glowing coals with water; To cool (something, such as heated metal) suddenly by immersion (as in oil or water) ; to cause to lose heat or warmth
- To bring (something immaterial) to an end typically by satisfying, damping, cooling, or decreasing
- To terminate by or as if by destroying : eliminate
- To relieve or satisfy with liquid quenched his thirst at a wayside spring
As we consider the meaning of the word “quench”, as it relates to the Christian life, this word references an action. In the Greek, the word is sbennymi, and it simply means to suppress or to stifle. Wow! That is heavy!! (Blue Letter Bible)
Do we want to stifle or suppress the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives? The answer should be a resounding NO! So as we move forward in examining 1 Thessalonians 5:19, let’s put it in context.
And what better way to put it in context than to quote the whole text.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-24
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
We find that the context has to do with how the children of God live their lives as we wait for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. What a joy it is to know that we are not appointed to wrath, but have hope in that Jesus is coming again for us real soon! Now that is cause to rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4).
In this passage, the Apostle Paul delineates certain instructions, one of which is “quench not the Spirit.” What does it mean to quench the Spirit? Simply put, this is something that a person does when they are disobedient to the Lord Jesus Christ. Think about it for a minute! Jesus said, if ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15).
Those who are partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), who abide in the true vine, (John 15:1) know what it means to be full of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). In the lives of Saints who are full of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God flows as a river of living water. Some people are content with standing in ankle deep water, while others go further up to the knees. Others would dare to go further to the point of the river being up to the loins. And in verse 5 of Ezekiel 47, we find that waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over.
In considering this matter, where do you find yourself? Does your cup runneth over (Psalm 23:5)? Those who do walk in the Spirit know for certain when they have crossed the line and have quenched the Spirit, as the Spirit is life. There is no life apart from Christ. When a Christian sins willfully after coming to the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, and there is the consideration that the work of the Spirit in our lives is then subsequently suppressed.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
The word “grieve” in that passage of Scripture means: to make sorrowful; to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow; to grieve, offend; to make one uneasy, cause him a scruple (Blue Letter Bible).
Consider for a moment what it means that the Spirit of God dwells in the children of God. What happens when we sin? Are we in effect making the Spirit of God a partaker of our sin when we do what is wrong? Absolutely! There is no fellowship between light and darkness (2 Corinthians 6). We are called to be holy! And for good reason. We have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
So what does a person do when they have quenched the Spirit? First of all, this is not a matter of whether or not a person is saved. If you have been sanctified through the Spirit and justified by faith (Being Born Again, 1 Peter 1), then you are a child of God. But quenching the Spirit should be something that causes concern. Take it to the Lord in prayer!
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Don’t make excuses for your sin. Know that the children of God are responsible for mortifying the deeds of the flesh (Colossians 3). And in that we make a conscious effort to live for the Lord and to do what is well pleasing in His sight. For it is by the Spirit of God that we have the power to overcome the world.
1 John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Consider what it means to overcome. Don’t give up and don’t give in, have no pleasure living in sin. Some people in life feel as though they are in so deep that there is no way out. Know that truth matters. When a person does not love the truth, they are given over to delusion. For some in life, that delusion can lead to reprobation. Not good!
If you find yourself in that place of despair, perhaps it’s drug addiction, alcoholism, or sexual immorality (to name of few), know that there is a way out. Hold on to and embrace every Word of God (Matthew 4:4). Be obedient to His Word. Abide in the true vine. Love the truth and delight in knowing the Lord. He must increase, and we must decrease. The more and more that we are like the Lord, the less and less we are like ourselves.
And if there are things in life that are causing you to stumble, get rid of it! Consider the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 – 7. The way we live our lives matters to God! Walk in the light of the Lord!
In conclusion, the children of God delight in the law of the Lord (Psalm 19), and they make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14). In fact, we have a responsibility to mortify (put to death) the deeds of the flesh. When we do sin, we take it to the Lord in prayer and repent. Grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit is something that is not acceptable. When we draw nigh to the Lord, He draws nigh to us.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.