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Not Quenching the Holy Spirit

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
January 19, 2021 3:00 am

Not Quenching the Holy Spirit

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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What is the difference between quenching and grieving quenching is what you do to the spirit grieving speaks of the personal anguish of the Holy Spirit. When a believer quenches the holy fire that he has kindled in the heart so is she wanting to be rightly related to the great Shepherd.

We must not points. The Holy Spirit exactly does that mean, what could you possibly do to prevent the Holy Spirit's work bring those questions to today's lesson here on grace to you. John MacArthur's going to explore the issue of quenching the Holy Spirit as John continues his study the Bible driven church. John, it's been a while since you shared any of the letters we get from our listeners, and I want to do that today you talked yesterday about giving thanks in everything in one of the things that always causes us to give thanks is letters like these, so you have a few excerpts there from letters that we've received recently share them with us yet. Here's one from Steve the down in Georgia. I have used your app that would be the sermon Apco or maybe the Bible study app and website for many years as a primary resource for teaching Sunday school.

Your website is such a well-organized and great resource. It is with tears that I express my gratitude for your ministry. Thank you Steve, thank you so much that's that's a blessing to us and then from Euna, a teenager in California who writes thanks be to God that I was introduced to Grace to you and to your books.

I have been struggling with assurance of salvation, but your book saved without a doubt has opened up the gates of inexpressible joy, gladness and peace in my soul.

While how encouraging is that thank you Euna and here's another letter I'm 18 years old and for the past couple of months I have been listening to Grace to you nonstop.

It is help me see the Bible as it really is absolute truth I've never felt so sure about my salvation.

And that is in part because of your commitment to teach the truth in this 18-year-old scientist named Joshua from Gainesville, Georgia.

Thank you, Joshua, so grateful the Lord is using this ministry in that way in your life and then a final letter from chaplain Tony he says I'm a prison chaplain in Mississippi because of the covert 19 restrictions. I'm unable to hold services I'm still able to visit the inmates.

I recently received two boxes of books from your ministry and I'm thrilled I feel I have hit a Goldmine. I have started giving out the books and trust that God will use the teaching in them to impact lives now and for eternity if it isn't already clear. I'm very excited to have these great books and very thankful to Grace to you signs his name Tony just samples of the people responding to the ministry of grace to you when you stand with us through your prayers and gifts. Your support is being multiplied in the lives of these people and tens of thousands more.

So thank you for trusting us with your gifts and praying for us faithfully we are filling the most necessary need in the world and that is the truth of God's word.

So thank you yes thank you and our mandate is clear to get God's word to as many people as we can if you'd like to help us do that you can make a, but right now, stay here as John continues his look at the Bible driven church. First Thessalonians chapter 5 and we find ourselves at verse 19.

We are studying these staccato commands of the apostle Paul, as he concludes this epistle as he draws it to a conclusion rapidfire. He gives some very basic elements of Christian living in command form to the very young Christians in Thessalonica. If it seems that these commands but beginning in verse 16 and flowing down through verse 22 are rather simple and even's somewhat simplistic.

We need to remember that while being simple. On the one hand, they are profound. On the other and also we need to remember that this is a congregation of relatively new believers, the church is only a few months old.

None of the believers. There is older than that and so they are in need of a reminder and a summarization of the basic elements of Christian living. All of this. You remember is in a context here in the closing part of the epistle where Paul is talking about how the Christians in the church are to be related to the Lord.

He's been talking about growing a healthy flock and that using the flock metaphor, we have noted that he was teaching about how the sheep are to be related to their shepherds how the shepherds are to be related to their sheep. That is, pastors and people.

Then he talked about how the people are to be related to each other and now is talking about how the people of the sheep are to be related to the great Shepherd. The Lord himself starting in verse 16 some commands with regard to our own spiritual relationship to the Lord, we come to command number four are in verse 19. We've already discussed. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, three commands, which are the will of God in Christ Jesus. Now we come to command. Number four. Do not quench the Spirit. This is very direct, not difficult really to interpret what needs careful understanding if we are to apply it. Living in the time in which we live. Let me first of all say that there are some commentators in fact quite a large number of them who have felt that verse 19 is really connected to the next three verses that it is a reference to some abuses that were going on in the Thessalonian church with regard to charismatic gifts and that when Paul says do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances, but examine everything carefully hold fast to that which is good.

Abstain from every form of evil. He is really offering a corrective because they were abusing charismatic gifts. Those who hold the view that he is here talking about these charismatic gifts would say that when he says do not quench the Spirit, he means, do not stifle the exercise of certain charismatic gifts in the assembly of the church, particularly that in verse 20. Do not despise the prophesying's which come by the Holy Spirit and then in verse 21 and 22 they would interpreted as saying no matter what is said you need to examine it and if it's good hold to it and if it's evil abstain from, and so they would wrap this whole passage around the charismatic gifts. The gifts of prophesying that occur in the church are word of knowledge, word of wisdom, perhaps, or even the speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues. They would therefore conclude that in the Thessalonian church.

There was some abuse and that this indeed is Paul's way to try to straighten that out all the commentators who hold that you would connected with first Corinthians 12 to 14 and suggest that the Thessalonians were not understanding the truths of first Corinthians 1213 and 14 where you have great detail outlining the abuses of charismatic gifts in the Corinthian church and then of course Paul corrects that in very very careful terms how those gifts are to be used whether or not to be used, how to recognize a true gift. Allison tell the false gift how it is to be used in the service, how it is to be controlled and so forth. There's tremendous detail about it even gives the priority list of those gifts and what is more important than all of the gifts, namely, love is the talks about in chapter 13 of that section so they would say that there were problems along the lines of spiritual gifts in Thessalonica, the people were not following the instructions say first Corinthians 1213 and 14 did not understanding those principles that are given there and so he is here correcting that problem. However, having read about 10 or 11 commentators you take that view, I have to confess that I remain unconvinced.

And in spite of all of the arguments that they put together. I still remain unconvinced for a number of reasons, there is no compelling reason. First of all to see this passage that way.

There is no compelling reason to see in verse 19 that he is saying anything more than don't quench the spirit. In general, there is no compelling reason to see that he is not simply saying in verse 20. Don't despise prophesying that word is used of spoken revelation from the spirit and of written revelation from the spirit and he is simply saying when the spirit speaks not despise it. Just a very general statement in verse 21 again a very general statement you need to be discerning examine everything whatever is good hold to it, whatever is evil abstain from, if he was talking about prophesying's if he was talking about things that are being spoken. He would say hold fast to what is true and abstain from what is false, but here he says hold fast what is good and abstain from every form or every kind of evil. It has to transcend the specificity of simply some kind of prophetic utterance, so I see these simply then as different commands do not quench the spirit that's one issue.

Do not despise the revelations that come through prophesying, whether written or spoken, examine everything in your life and when you find that what is good, hold onto it and when you come across something that is bad.

Stay away from basic principles for spiritual life, so there's really no compelling reason to read some abuse into the text. Furthermore, it would seem to me that if there was an abuse going on in the Thessalonian church.

Such a young church.

Paul would have been literally passionate about solving it because he would've seen the potential for damage and he would not of been nearly as oblique as this as general as this. If he was attending to address himself to a major issue in the church. In fact, he would've written to the Thessalonian church what he wrote to the Corinthian church. If the abuse had showed up here first. So we would have to assume then that if there was a problem along this line. This was the first time it came up in the Thessalonian church before the Corinthian church was ever founded and he would've addressed himself to it with the same seriousness and the same length in the same concern that he did in the case of the Corinthian.

Therefore, we conclude that there was no such problem there. There was no such corrective needed and there are no compelling reasons why we should make this address itself to that. Simply stated, he gives you several commands here in the same flow that we saw starting in verse 16 that are summarizing the basics of the Christian's relationship to his Lord here.

Verse 19 stands alone as a general command.

Do not quench the Spirit.

Now obviously the next statement assumes that the spirit is behind prophetic utterances, but it too stands on its own.

So let's just take this as a statement in and of itself.

Do not quench the Spirit. A general command. The metaphor here is very graphic.

The word quench means to extinguish it means to stifle to retire or as it's translated to quench is used in Mark 948 for putting out a fire is used in Matthew 25 verse eight for putting out a lamp. That's what it means to extinguish to quench to stifle pouring water on a fire you, I'm sure are also very much aware that the Holy Spirit throughout Scripture is depicted as a fire, that you find that in the book of acts chapter 2 when the spirit of God came upon the church there appeared cloven tongues of fire of the spirit of God is seen in a number of places as a fire. In fact, you remember that in Paul's letter to Timothy. He told him Kindle a fresh the. The gifts of the spirit that is in you.

In other words, the fire is there, throw some more wood on it. Get started again. It's so low, so the spirit is on a number of occasions seen as a fire, a flaming fire and the apostle is saying don't pour water on that fire don't put retardant on that fire don't stifle the work of the spirit, not the Holy Spirit can be quenched obviously or he wouldn't have to command us in this regard, we shouldn't be too surprised by that the Holy Spirit can also be grieved in Ephesians 430 it says grieve not the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can also be resisted.

In acts 751 we read about resisting the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit can also be blasphemed.

Matthew 1224 to 32. Jesus condemns the pharisaical leaders of Jerusalem because they blaspheme the Holy Spirit, not just dividing that unbelievers can blaspheme and unbelievers can resist the Holy Spirit, believers can quench the Holy Spirit and grieve the Holy Spirit is what is the difference between quenching and grieving quenching is what you do to the spirit. Grieving is how he responds to what you did grieving speaks of the personal anguish of the Holy Spirit. When a believer quenches the holy fire that he has kindled in the heart. You do not quench the Holy Spirit without grieving the Holy Spirit and you will not grieve the Holy Spirit unless you quench the Holy Spirit.

There simply to sides of the same problem one describes what you do. The others describe what he did you quench he grieves. He grieves because you quench so as she wanting to be rightly related to the great Shepherd. We must not quench the Holy Spirit. Now, in order to understand this when you talk for a minute or two about what is the Holy Spirit's work and how do we quench it we had to get very practical about this and I think we can do that. You remember when our Lord was coming near to his death and his crucifixion was imminent. He promised to send another helper, the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, who was one exactly like himself. His promise was that the Holy Spirit is going to come after I sent her the father will send the Holy Spirit and he will assume the role with you that I have had he the Holy Spirit being another member of the Trinity, God of very God, he will come and fulfill the role that I have filled in the lives of the disciples.

In effect, he is saying I have been your teacher, he will be your teacher in the future. I have been your friend he will be your friend. I have been your guide, you will be your guide. I have been your resource you will be your resource. I've been your helper. He will be your help bribing your comforter. He will be your comfort.

In other words, the Holy Spirit will step into the role that I have had I have done alongside of you. He will do it in you. I have been, as it were, the fire around you. He will be the firing you and so the Lord Jesus promised and sent on the day of Pentecost, and consequently to every single believer that whatever comes to Christ the Holy Spirit to live within that believer. All Christians are indwelt by the spirit of God and he is there, like a fire not to be quenched, but to be fanned to full flame is I believe common not only a life of believers. But on a wholesale scale in the church of Jesus Christ to quench the fire of the spirit. When we speak in a general sense. First of all, as I have pointed out in my book on our sufficiency in Christ. I believe the Holy Spirit is being seriously significantly quenched today and therefore is deeply grieved by what is going on in the church. First of all, I believe that the mysticism of the charismatic movement, while promising and purporting to exalt the Holy Spirit's work really quenches his sanctifying purposes.

And that's a that's a very difficult thing to say.

I know and to hear and perhaps even to believe because if there would be anything we would assume to be true about the charismatic movement.

It would be that they above all others exalt the Holy Spirit. There always talking about the Holy Spirit, always talking about the gifts of the spirit are always talking about the power of the Holy Spirit. Their heavy into that kind of Holy Spirit theology which they have highly developed but the fact of the matter is, no matter how much they talk about the Holy Spirit's work. They are in fact quenching the true sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit by misrepresenting it and offering a counterfeit substitute for the real thing is a quenching of the Holy Spirit of severe proportions. So while the charismatic movement has an obsession with the Holy Spirit is at the same time a quenching of the true sanctifying work of the spirit. When you establish a false standard of sanctification, a full standard of spirituality, you quench the spirit. I also point out in the book that the current obsession with psychology also quenches the work of the spirit by again substituting a false operation for the real thing. They substitute human wisdom, human resources, human power packaged in human techniques is the path to solving spiritual problems. They reject the only true power. The only genuine problem solver, the Holy Spirit, who alone can heal the sins of our lives and make us holy. We have to ask the question, do we need a therapist or do we need the Holy Spirit. Much of the contemporary church while affirming its belief in the Holy Spirit would say we need a therapist in my book. I say psychological sanctification has become a substitute for the spirit filled life. What point is there in seeking the Holy Spirit's comfort. If, after all deep-seated emotional problems can be addressed only by a trained psychologist, or if people can come to grips with their lives. Only by getting in touch with their childhood or if the answers to our deepest hurts are buried deep within us. If those things are true, we don't need an advocate. We need a therapist and this is precisely the route many in the church have chosen and it is a quenching of the Holy Spirit. So many people have bought into this and it's not new. It goes all the way back to Galatians chapter 3 in Galatians chapter 3 in verse three he says are you so foolish. Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh.

Have you found some human agency technique, methodology, therapy, or whatever that is going to do the real deep stuff because the spirit can't do it I mean is this ridiculous you began in the spirit you think you be perfected by the flesh was you mean by that. Think about do you believe that the Holy Spirit can do the saving work.

The transforming work, justifying work, the Holy Spirit came into your life and in the power of the gospel translated you from death to life, from darkness to light from heaven to hell from sin to holiness from Satan's child to God's child.

The Holy Spirit did all that what he can't do the sanctifying work you believe that the Holy Spirit was powerful enough to convict you of your sin including making you weary of yourself effort to please God on your own, that the Holy Spirit was powerful enough to make you repent from a sense of shame about your sin, and a fear of the wrath of God to turn from your sin and follow Christ. You mean that the spirit was powerful enough to energize the gospel so that it could come to you is truth in your spiritual deadness and that the Spirit of God was powerful enough to regenerate you create you all new plant.

The very seed of the life of God within you and he did all that but he now can handle your problems. It seems to me the hard work is done when you were saved at the moment of your conversion.

The spirit of God affected a complete reversal in renewal of your heart. There was a radical transformation, miraculous and supernatural. It set you apart from sin to God. It placed you into the body of Christ, the Holy Spirit took up permanent residence within you. He gifted you for spiritual service.

He secured you and sealed you unto eternal glory. He poured out the love of God in your hearts, making you a new true worshipers of God and lovers of men. He did all that at the time of your salvation. And Paul says to the Galatians and anybody else who comes along with the same kind of folly are you telling me that he did all of that and now you can't trust them for the rest and you turn to some human resource and you now think that for the problems of life. The Holy Spirit is a Band-Aid and psychology is deep surgery that's absolute folly, folly, look at what the work of the spirit is. Let's consider it now. We talked about the fact that in the Christian culture in which we live today. There's a quenching of the spirit through psychology through the mysticism of the charismatic movement and II added in the book.

Another section on pragmatism. Their people are quenching the Holy Spirit by replacing powerful preaching with manipulation powerful teaching powerful exposition of Scripture with entertainment who think that the church grows not by the power of the spirit, but by the cleverness of creative entrepreneurial activity. Now what about the personal life. Let's get away from that big picture down to you and me was the Holy Spirit want to do in me that I can quench very simply stated he wants to move you along the path to ever-increasing holiness to understand that wants to move you along the path to ever-increasing holiness.

For us holy mean separate. He wants to separate you further and further from sin and the further you get away from sin. The closer you get to God is the process of separation.

He wants to produce in you the decreasing frequency of sin.

The decreasing frequency of sin. The decreasing power of temptation, the decreasing preoccupation with the world. The decreasing victimization to the flesh and increase your longings for God. That's the progress of sanctification that some movement toward holiness. That is his work, and the goal of that of course the perfect goal of that is Jesus Christ.

I press toward the mark right for the prize and its Christ Jesus. I want to be like Christ. David the Psalmist said, I'll be pleased. I'll be happy I'll be satisfied when I wake in your likeness.

That's my goal.

Paul said I have pain until Christ is fully formed and you. Galatians 419 in Colossians says we work preaching, teaching, warning every man, that we may present every man perfect in Christ.

We want them like Christ. We want to be Christlike. We want you to come to the fullness of the stature of Christ. Ephesians 413 so the Holy Spirit wants to move you from where you are to being like Christ along the path of ever-increasing holiness that sanctification is just the separation process further and further separation.

That's what he wants to do holiness was like a seed planted at the time of your salvation that grows and as it grows, it bears more and more and more and more fruit. And that's the working of the Holy Spirit. John Owen, the great Puritan writer had some rich insight.

He said this sanctification is an immediate work of the spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying and cleansing of their natures from the pollution and uncleanness of sin, renewing in them the image of God and thereby enabling them from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace to yield obedience under God according under the tenor in terms of the new covenant by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ. It's a work of the spirit on your soul purging purifying cleansing from the pollution of sin as you move more and more to the image of God, or more briefly. He said it this way. It is the universal renovation of our natures by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ. Now that's what the Spirit desires to do psychology can do that human wisdom can't do that. Nothing can do that with the Holy Spirit. The only agency that can do is the Holy Spirit you can quench the spirit and the progress of that sanctification by substituting ecstatic experiences, emotions, feelings, methodology, therapeutic methodology, gimmickry, formulas, whatever pragmatism, mystical, intuitive, self authenticating experience, psychology, emotions, feelings, all of that will never do what the spirit is to do and alone can do with spray. We know father that the only way to override the residual sinfulness in us. Our evil desires, and temptations is to walk in and be filled by the spirit.

We know that not to be filled with the spirit, is to fall back into the deeds of the flesh, immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, disputes, dissensions, factions envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like that. We know that we don't even have to consciously choose to do those things if we are not living in the control of God's spirit.

They'll just happen.

The sole defense against the negative power of temptation, sin and Satan is the positive power of your spirit.

Lord, help us not to quench the spirit, but to give him full power to operate in our lives to move in the way that he alone can move to accomplish our sanctification and make us like Christ, whose name we pray.

This is grace to you with John MacArthur.

Thanks for being with us today is look at how a believer can quench the Holy Spirit is part of our current study the Bible driven church and friend before the lesson John read some letters from people in vastly different stages of life, but they all have this in common.

Their lives were changed by verse by verse Bible teaching that they heard on grace to you.

If you have a story of your own to tell. We'd love to hear it. Let us know how God is using grace to you in your life when you contact us today. Drop us a note at grace to you.

Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 or you can reach us by email at and to download the MP3s or transcripts of the lessons in John's current study the Bible driven church.

You can point your browser to

That's our website and if I can make one more request grace to you is in to you what the people at this radio station know that you can call them or send an email and let them know that you appreciate their daring grace to you in programs like that were the word is preached as sound Bible teaching becomes harder to find on the radio stations like this one play a vital role in taking the gospel communities across the United States. So as you are able encourage them in this vital work now for John MacArthur and the grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson inviting you back for our next broadcast when John will look at the blessings the Holy Spirit can bring to you and your church. It might not be what you expect, so don't miss the next 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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