DO NOT QUENCH THE SPIRIT – 1 Thessalonians 5

Do not quench the Spirit

1 Thessalonians 5:19 RSV

The word for “quench” was used of putting out a fire, and the thought is that the child of God should not put out the sacred fire within.

This verse is parallel with the following:

Many are weak and sickly among you, and some sleep (1 Corinthians 11:30).

The last state is become worse than the first (2 Peter 2:20,21).

There is a sin unto death (1 John 5:16).

It is impossible to renew them (Hebrews 6:4-6).

She that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she lives (1 Timothy 5:6).

Whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin (Mark 3:29).

In all seven of the references cited, the unpardonable sin is in view.

Regarding quenching the Spirit

The reference here is most certainly to the earnest of the Holy Spirit given to every Christian upon his obedience to the gospel of Christ (Acts 2:38f and Ephesians 1:13).

Just as fire may be smothered by an element such as earth or water, so the spirit of God may be quenched in people’s hearts by things which the Spirit cannot abide.

The cares, riches and pleasures of life choke out the word and quench the Spirit.

The blessed fire can be put out by the cold drizzle of worldliness, by the heavy blanket of selfishness, or by the companionship of evil people.

The negligent student of the holy scriptures can let the fire go out. The stormy winds of false doctrine can blow it out!

Of all the outrageous interpretations of this place, the prize must go to them who see the passage as an admonition not to discourage charismatic gifts, namely, tongue-speaking!

The church would have been harmed by the discouragement of men with gifts of spontaneous utterance!

It is too bad Paul did not know that, for he did everything that even an apostle could do to stop it altogether down at Corinth.

Besides, the word here is not “discourage” but “quench,” which means to put out altogether.

The emphasis is ethical, a warning against conduct which might stifle the Spirit’s operation.

Any sin that quenches the Spirit of God in Christian hearts is the eternal and unpardonable sin.

The soul draws back from the contemplation of so terrible a disaster as that.

Oh child of God, keep the holy fire alive.

As the vestal virgins in the ancient Roman temple guarded the sacred flame with their lives and constant devotion, let Christians tend the sacred token of heaven that burns in their souls.

In Atlanta, Georgia, there is a burning street lamp, the flame of which dates back to the Civil War, a link with the past which that community has faithfully guarded for over a century.

How much more should people who have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit guard against those evils which continually threaten to quench his blessed presence in their hearts!

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:13 RSV

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