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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Fourth Key to a Grateful Heart

TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse of the Day - 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Do not quench the Spirit.

Daily Scripture Reading - Galatians 5

Puritan Catechism
Question #44 - Which is the second commandment?

Answer - The second commandment is, "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." (Ex. 20:4-6).

Devotional Thoughts

The Fourth Key to a Grateful Heart: Do Not Quench the Spirit

Remember that the previous keys we have studied are identified as being God's will for us. It is God's will for us to pursue what is good, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything. These flow one from another. If we are pursuing what is good we will be putting others first, living a life of giving instead of a life of getting. When we pursue what is good we will be able to rejoice always, having joy as the fruit and foundation of our lives. As we live in this joy we are compelled to maintain fellowship and communion with God and so we pray without ceasing. The fact that we have so much to rejoice over and the fact that we have unhindered access to God by grace through faith means that as we commune with Him we are truly mindful of all that we have for which to be thankful. Indeed, if we are doing these things we are living with an attitude and a motive of gratitude, and living like that makes it impossible to live in pursuit of our own desires and lusts.

And now we come to the next step in this way of living, and this leads us to ask a question, "How does one quench the Spirit?" I ask because we are told in 1 Thess. 5:19, "Do not quench the Spirit." It is a command, and it is directly tied into being thankful. If we are thinking, speaking, and living as we should then this is an afterthought. But what does it mean to quench the Spirit?

The word translated "quench" means to extinguish, suppress, or stifle. It is used to speak of putting out a fire. Interestingly, the Holy Spirit is identified with fire several times in the Scripture. We are said to be baptized by the Holy Spirit and fire when we are saved (Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16), and the Holy Spirit is pictured before the Throne of God in Revelation 4:5 as seven lamps of fire. Further, in Acts 2:3 when the Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost there is the appearance of flames of fire over those who were filled with the Spirit.

So to quench the Spirit is to stifle Him, to work to extinguish His working. The immediate question to be asked is this - is it possible for believers to stifle the work of the Holy Spirit? In answer we see that the Bible commands us to not quench the Spirit and to not grieve the Spirit. Why command it if it is not possible? The truth is that we are capable of working in cooperation with the Spirit as He empowers us to live the Christian life, or we can disobey and work against the Spirit, quenching Him and grieving Him.

So how do we quench the Spirit? How do we put the fire out so to speak? Simply put - fulfill lust! When we live for self motivated by pride and greed and we seek to fulfill our own selfish desires we quench the Spirit. He is always working in us to exalt Christ and one of the ways He does this is by using us to think, talk, and live in such a way that our words are used to convey grace to the hearers. And when we instead give in to sin and allow lust to dictate what we think, say, and do then our thoughts, words, and lives become truly dis-grace-ful.

Further we could add that to pursue evil instead of good, to fail to rejoice always, to cease praying, and to be greedy instead of grateful is to work to actively quench and stifle the work of the Holy Spirit. If we are to be grateful then and if we are to overcome lust then we must work with the Spirit and not against Him.

Our choice is clear - we can either quench and grieve the Spirit or we can instead die to self and live to God! The alternative to quenching and grieving is found in two verses - Galatians 5:16 and Ephesians 5:18.

Galatians 5:16 tells us to "walk in the Spirit." In fact, the verse is specific, "Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh." What a powerful text. Walk in the Spirit and there will be sustained in victory over lust. And the life we will live is described in the verses that follow. We see both the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. If we walk in the Spirit we will produce the fruit of the Spirit. If we walk after the flesh then all that we will produce is wickedness and sin. How then do we walk in the Spirit?

Ephesians 5:18 tells us that we are to be "filled with the Spirit." The term is used within the context of instructions for walking in wisdom, that is having the right perspective. As we walk in wisdom we will "not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but" we will "be filled with the Spirit." It is an issue of control. Just as drunkenness is being under the influence, or controlled by, a substance, so to being filled with the Spirit is a matter of being under His influence.

We are not to be controlled by anything but the Holy Spirit. And let us be clear, as we have discussed before, we are never in control. We might think we are in control but the Bible is clear. We are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness (Rom 6:12-13). There is never a time when we are in control. We are either being controlled by our sin (Rom 7:8, 16-17), or we are being controlled by the Holy Spirit.

We see then that to walk in the Spirit is to be filled with the Spirit, that is to be under His control and direction. That is why we must pray without ceasing - for to cease praying is to stop listening to the One who leads and directs us. And as He leads us and directs us and controls us we learn that to walk in the Spirit means that we abandon our lust. We walk in gratitude and freedom! We are enabled to live above the battle and to walk in victory.

These are our options then. We will quench and grieve the Spirit, or we will walk in and be filled with the Spirit. Neither of these are accidental, they are both deliberate. We will choose which we will do! We will exercise our will for self or for sacrifice. How will you walk today? In gratitude, or greed? Controlled by sin or yielded to the Holy Spirit?

Make up your mind now that you will surrender to the Spirit and walk by faith, otherwise you will fall and you will fail and your fears will come true. Stand your ground. Stand, firmly planted on your knees!!

Links for Further Study
(links to study each daily topic in more detail if you have the desire and the time)

The Work of the Holy Spirit by Charles Spurgeon
On the Holy Spirit by George Muller

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship

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