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Living in Light of Christ’s return: Not Quenching the Holy Spirit

Text: 1 Thess. 5:19

Key Concepts:

  • Foundational truths to understanding our relationship with the Holy Spirit
  • What does it mean to quench the Holy Spirit?
  • How is the Holy Spirit quenched?
  • What are the symptoms and consequences of quenching the Holy Spirit?
  • What should you do if you have quenched or are quenching the Spirit of God?

Every blessing the child of God enjoys comes through the Holy Spirit. According to Jonathan Edwards, “The Holy Spirit is the sum of all the blessings that we have in Christ.” Some of the ministries of the Holy Spirit include convicting us of sin, righteousness, and judgement in order for us to take our first step toward salvation through repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are also sanctified by the Holy Spirit. He is the guarantee of our final redemption. Believers are comforted, defended and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. He gives us wisdom, discernment and understanding. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts to serve the Lord and minister to one another. He produces fruit in our lives as the result of being saved. He intercedes on our behalf and works through our weaknesses. In the midst of our afflictions, we find the joy of the Holy Spirit. His ministry is indispensable to the Christian life, our relationship with God. One who is without the Holy Spirit is not a child of God (Rom. 8). Believers depend on the Holy Spirit to live for, to work for, and to serve God, and to minister to one another for the glory of God. But unfortunately, believers often resist the Holy Spirit, we grieve Him and even worst, we quench the Spirit. However, those who are awaiting the return of the Lord are commanded not to quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 5:19). Disregarding this command bears dire consequences.

Foundational truths to understanding our relationship with the Holy Spirit

First, this command is addressed solely to Christians. The Holy Spirit is third person of the Godhead. He has the same essence, nature and attributes of God the Father and God the Son. As Christians, we are sealed and baptized by the Spirit. (This has nothing to do with speaking in tongues which isn’t a gift that remained after the age of the Apostles.) Christians do not need to pray to receive the Holy Spirit. Every believer is naturally indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. There are many sins that can be committed against the person of the Holy Spirit. One can resist the Spirit (Acts 7). One can lie to the Spirit (Acts 5). One can also put the Holy Spirit to the test (Acts 5). One can oppose, grieve, and quench the Holy Spirit. One can insult the Holy Spirit (Heb. 10:29). The blaspheming against the Holy Spirit is the greatest sin against His person for which there is no forgiveness. Among all those offenses one can commit against the Holy Spirit, two can only be committed by unbelievers, the rest by believers. The first sin an unbeliever may commit against the Holy Spirit is to resist Him. It is the denying of His conviction of sin, judgment, and righteousness, as Israel did (Acts 7). This sin leads to unbelief. The second one is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Believers are not capable of this sin. This is also an unpardonable sin. It involves attributing the work of the Spirit to the Devil (Matt. 12).  Rejecting the work of Christ through the Spirit, which is the means of salvation, closes the door to redemption. The reason why that sin is unforgivable is because it makes it impossible to have faith.

What does it mean to quench the Holy Spirit?

As the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit shares all the attributes of Father and Son. He has a mind, will and emotions. As such, the Holy Spirit cannot be quenched. However, the influence of His ministry can be extinguished. The work He is supposed to perform in our minds and hearts can be restrained and stopped. We use the heat of fire to keep us warm, and to cook. It is also used by blacksmiths to soften and purify metals. Fire provides us with energy, and light. We use fire metaphorically to speak of trials and passion. All the functions of fire can be used to explain the work of the Holy Spirit. He is the source of our spiritual energy; without Him we cannot do anything worthwhile to God. Anything that we do without the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with God. He is the source of our passion for God. He gives us the motivation, the zeal, and the desire to Serve God and His people. The Holy Spirit cleanses, purifies, and sanctifies us. He softens our hardened hearts and makes it so God can shape and transform us into the likeness of our Savior. The Holy Spirit fuels our affection for God and each other. Quenching the Spirit effectively removes all those aspects from our lives.

How is the Holy Spirit quenched?

There is a close relationship between grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit, as grieving can lead to quenching. The Holy Spirit is grieved by willful sin and disobedience; the failure to heed the His warnings; the failure to take advantage of opportunities He’s afforded us to grow spiritually. As a parent would be saddened by a child who ignores their wise upbringing and fails at life or lives shamefully, so is the Holy Spirit grieved by our willful disobediences. As we bear the names of those we belong to, dragging that name in filth saddens the name giver. Both grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit leads to a loss of intimacy with God. After putting all His blessings at our disposal, it is reasonable for the Holy Spirit to be grieved by our refusal to live holy lives. The first step to the Spirit’s sorrow is indignation over a refusal to heed His warnings, promptings, and counsel. The second step is His sorrow of sympathy because He has to watch us destroy ourselves. He grieves as a father over a son who’s putting himself in danger. When one persists in disobedience, the quenching begins; He is no longer audible, and His light is turned off. Then the heart can no longer feel repentance. It is like the unplugging of a patient’s life support.

What are the symptoms and consequences of quenching the Holy Spirit?


The first symptom of having quenched the Holy Spirit is spiritual apathy. This happens when one has become indifferent to sins. When one rationalizes your sins and even blames others for them. There will be a total disinterest towards the Word of God. The heart becomes insensitive and cold. This is followed by the loss of the desire to serve and the desire to watch others glorify God. Instead of encouraging others, you find ways to tear them down. You refuse opportunity to serve and glorify God. Even when you engage in church activities, you are just going through the motions. Prayer becomes a thing of routine. It is empty, lacking passion and devotion. There is no desire to be close to God. You become preoccupied with the affairs of the world. You chose your own pleasure over the glory of God. Your affection belongs to the world whose mindset has infiltrated you, forsaking the eternal for the temporal. Basic pride takes precedence over the affairs of God. The very thing you know you should do, you ignore. Are these signs present in your life? How goes your hunger for Word of God? What about your devotion? What of your hunger for holiness? Your hunger for fellowship? Has the pandemic made you spiritually lazy?

The first consequence is a lack of intimacy with God. It is as if you’d unplugged your power source and are running on your own. Your personality and lust takes over. Only crashing can stop you. You become unable to feel spiritual sorrow. One of the Bible’s saddest narrative is that of Samson. He depicts perfectly what it is like to quench the Spirit and the consequences thereafter (Judges 13-16). Once the Spirit is quenched, He becomes inactive in your life.


In conclusion ….


What should you do if you have quenched or are quenching the Spirit of God?


The church of Ephesus quenched the Holy Spirit by forsaking their first love (Rev, 2). Christ told them to consider the reason why they failed then to repent. Heed the warning of the Holy Spirit, learn to cultivate a spiritual appetite, a hunger for the Word of God. Don’t be indifferent to the Word. Do not resist the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is prompting you, respond immediately. Do not postpone your obedience to God, lest you withhold your obedience altogether. The more you delay acting, the colder you will grow. Your spiritual sorrow and repentance will prevent the grieving of the Holy Spirit. Be honest with yourself about the reason you’re growing cold; then surrender it to the Holy Spirit who can soften your heart anew. He will ignite your fire afresh. You can regain your passion and love for God and the desire to honor and glorify Him in all that you are and do. This is the will of God for His children.

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