Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: “Quench Not the Holy Spirit”

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Quench Not the Holy Spirit”

Why Are We Failing the Great Commission?
Chapter Sixteen
“Quench Not the Holy Spirit”

People who have had a loved one die know what it means to grieve.  We grieve for someone according to the degree that person is loved and the degree we were involved in that person’s life.  We grieve over the death of a loved one.  We grieve over the sickness of a loved and the pain a loved one suffers.  We can even look upon someone’s suffering with empathy and compassion, feeling to some degree the pain they feel.  Yet, somehow, we cannot connect these aspects of our beings with the character and nature of God in Whose image we are created.  God sees people that He loves in pain, grief, and suffering and is moved with compassion for us.  God grieves over the predicament into which sin has brought humanity. 

We have little comprehension of God’s love for us even as sinners.  Nor can we comprehend the degree He is involved in our lives before and after our salvation.  Therefore, we cannot comprehend the depth of His grief when His “born again” children sin.  God does not view the physical death of one of His “born again” children with grief.  Death of one of God’s “born again” children is graduation day to glory and a time of rejoicing for all of Heaven, including God. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 115:16).  Death for a “born again” believer is the moment of DELIVERANCE to the glories of Heaven.  From God’s perspective, it would be sad if that person would have to return to this wicked world.  Understand all of this and you will understand the shortest verse in the Bible; “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). 

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad {dispersed; disorganized and therefore endangered}, as sheep having no shepherd {pastor; no one to watch over them}” (Matthew 9:36).

As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she immediately went out to meet Him, but Mary still sat in the house” (John 11:20).  Mary was despondent.  She withdrew from the Lord.  Today we would say she went into the bathroom and locked the door.  I believe she was sending a message to the Lord.  She was telling Him, if you don’t care about me, I don’t care about you!  Martha took the direct (and proper) approach in communicating her feelings (John 11:21-22).

Martha was ashamed of the way Mary treated the Lord (John 11:28).

          Martha went to Mary “secretly” (privately).  However, in Mary’s state of mind, it would have done no good to rebuke her (perhaps more harm would have been done).  Instead, Martha speaks directly to Mary’s unwarranted concern that the Lord doesn’t care.  She says, “The Master is come, and calleth for thee.”  SPEAK AT THE LEVEL OF YOUR CONCERN!  Say what needs to be said. 

          Jesus wanted to see Mary.  He wanted to communicate what He was going to do.  He wanted to comfort her like He had just done with Martha (John 11:23-27).  However, until she came and communicated her concerns, He could not help her.  Therefore, Jesus sent communication to Mary from Martha.  Be the voice of God when necessary!  God is always trying to communicate with us.  He is always trying to keep the lines open.  We are the ones who close the doors of communication with God and lock ourselves away behind them and away from the power of His Word. 

          As soon as Mary heard that Jesus was concerned about her, she “quickly” ran to Him.  We do not know how people will respond to the truth, but we know they can never respond if they never hear it from you.  SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE (I Timothy 2:7).  In John 11:32, Mary communicates her concern and her complaint against the Lord.  Where have we heard this statement before? (Read John 11:21 again; “Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”)  We do not know if Martha infected Mary with this bad attitude or if Mary infected Martha (I think it the latter).  Mary may have been bowing at His feet on the outside, but on the inside, she was standing, shaking her finger in His face.

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled {because they did not understand the blessings in the death of a saint}, 34 And said {in despondency over their spiritual ignorance and resulting unbelief}, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? 38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. 45 Then many of the Jews which came to {mourn with} Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him {and now you understand why Mary anointed His feet with oil and wiped His feet with her hair in John 12:3}. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:33-48).

Jesus was grieved in His Spirit (John 11:33, 35, and 38).  “Groaned” is from a Greek word that means He was upset, even angry about the attitudes of these ladies.  According to John 11:37, these ladies had probably infected many other people with this murmuring and complaining spirit.  Their spirit communicated a lie about Jesus.  Jesus was so deeply grieved in His Spirit, He “wept” (John 11:35).

What should have been a deeply moving experience and exhibition of the faith of people who professed to love the Lord and trust Him was reduced to a burden in that He had to prove Himself even to followers (John 11:38).

          Martha still is questioning the Lord’s abilities (v 39).  Jesus must remind her again of Who He is (John 11:40).  What should have been a joyous event for Jesus instead became an agony for Him.  I think we see this reflected in the commands of Jesus in verses 39 and 44.

          There are many things that grieve the Lord besides the disobedience of open rebellion or sinful thoughts.  Other things that grieve the Lord are things like unbelief, complaining against Him, and the unwillingness to trust Him with our lives.  Jesus is grieved by our apathy and complacency.  The “stone” on the tomb of Lazarus represents much more than the seal on a dead man’s grave.  It represents our doubt, worry, anxiety, despair, fear, discouragement, and unbelief, all the attitudes that grieve the Holy Spirit.  The “stone” represents everything in our lives that says to the Lord, You are not what you claim to be.

          “Said I not . . . if thou wouldest believe . . .” (vs. 40).  Here is the one thing that grieves the Lord Jesus the most; the unwillingness of professing believers to believe Him (NOT IN Him, but truly believe what He says) and to trust Him with our everyday lives.  Winning souls is not a priority of our lives because we really don’t believe Him.  If we believed Him, nothing would be more important than communicating to the world the truth about Jesus Christ.  Unbelief comes wrapped in subtly self-deceptive packaging.  Hypocrisy is an occupation that wears many masks. 

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was” (James 1:22-24).

Modern Christianity has redefined the word faith to merely mean believing.  This concept of faith is totally foreign to the Hebrew (Jewish) understanding of faith.  In the Hebrew concept of faith, to believe something means to ALWAYS do what is believed.  The way a person lives is radically changed by what he believes. 

If BElieving without doing is your definition of faith,
what you have is not faith at all!

When confronted by the death of a loved one, do not be deceived into being angry with God.  Be angry with Satan!  It is Satan that brought death into God’s perfect creation.  The message of John chapter eleven is that when faith is real, death is not permanent, and your ACTIONS should CORRESPOND.

          We often miss the teaching of a portion of Scripture, not because we fail to see or understand what the text reveals to us, but because we fail to see the obvious things that are missing that should be there.  For instance, John chapter four is one of those texts.  Christ is trying to teach His disciples (and all of us) an important lesson in evangelism.  This lesson is both about a vision for evangelism and spiritual requirements for its accomplished. 

          Every local church must be dependent upon the Holy Spirit if they are ever going to be effective in evangelism.  We must learn to see through the eyes of God’s compassion.  That means each member of a local church must be filled with the Spirit of God, yielded to His directing, and following His leadership.  When Christians fail to be what they ought to be because they fail in this area of their life, they grieve the Holy Spirit.  However, this results in much broader ramifications for the local church.  When any member of a local church lives in such a manner as to grieve the Holy Spirit, he quenches the Holy Spirit in the local church.

          In I Thessalonians 5:19, we are told to “quench not the Spirit.”  “Quench” is translated from the Greek word sbennumi (sben'-noo-mee).  It simply means to extinguish, suppress, stifle, or quench.  The word picture is that of pouring water on a fire to extinguish it.  In quenching the Spirit, the Spirit’s potential for both light and heat is removed.  The Spirit-filled Christian SHOULD be both light and heat!  Some Christians want to be light with no heat.  Others are just heat with no light.  There is balance between light and heat in the Spirit-filled believer’s life.

          The word “quench” is in the imperative mood.  That means it expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding.  It does not express an invitation to do something.  It is an absolute command requiring full obedience on the part of all hearers.  Therefore, this is an expression of singular and utmost importance.  If any local church wants to succeed in evangelism this command must be obeyed.  Do not quench the Spirit of God in your life!

Christ never lost track of His purpose on earth.  To do the will of God MUST be every believer’s priority!

5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:5-7).

Christ had a purpose in this life.  His life was consumed with that purpose.  He was sent to earth on a search and rescue mission.  His purpose was the redemption of lost souls.  That purpose was always before His face.  Every action in His life was seen through that purpose.  His life was driven by that purpose.

          Secondly, there was a moral and spiritual urgency in the life of Christ.  Every waking hour of His life was consumed with the salvation of souls.  Even though He was the Son of God, He spent much time in prayer telling His Father what He was going to do and asking for His help.  Although He was God, He was also man.  In His humanity He needed the power of God on His life to fulfill His purpose in life.  We are sent with that same purpose.

“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21).

          Thirdly, Christ had a passion for people. That is what is expressed in John 4:4, “He must needs go through Samaria.”  The shortest route to Galilee from Judea was through the country of Samaria.  However, most Jews made a detour around Samaria to avoid contact with these people.  Christ did not.  He had a passion for the lost.

15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:15-17).

          If Christ had not lived His life yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit and yielded to the will of God, neither His purpose nor His passion would have been accomplished.  Until we realize that truth in our lives, we will never be focused enough to fulfill the commission of God for our lives.  All Christians have a purpose.  However, it is our passion for Christ that will motivate us to fulfill our purpose.  This is the priority of evangelism; our passion for souls will flow out of our relationship with Christ.

          Most Christians recognize their purpose.  However, most do not understand the necessity for passion.  They pray for a burden for souls, but it never comes.  Passion comes from God.  God’s passion comes from a right relationship with Him.  A burden for souls flows from a heart that views people through the passion of Christ.  There is only one way that will happen, when our lives our controlled and empowered by God’s Spirit. 

Jesus and the disciples were not wandering aimlessly from one place to another.

          They were on a mission, not just a journey.  The Spirit-filled Christians sees life as a mission.  Christ had a plan for every moment of every day of His life.  In this portion of the plan of Christ, He was teaching His disciples a lesson about viewing every mission in life through the overall purpose of their calling in Christ (“as the Father hath sent me, so send I you”).  Every Christian needs to learn this lesson.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

The vision that sees through the eyes of purpose and passion sees the potential for a harvest in every soul.  In John chapter four, the Samaritan woman would become the vehicle Christ would use to bring most of the city of Sychar to salvation.  The mission of evangelism is accomplished through referrals, one satisfied person telling others how to get the new life Christ has given them.  As Spurgeon said, evangelism is just “one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.”

          When the Samaritan woman went back to Sychar, she went back referring people to Christ because she was infected with Christ’s purpose and with His passion for souls.  She viewed Christ as a Person with genuine concern for her and her soul.

Purpose without passion will always result in dead works and a fruitless Christianity.  Communicating the Gospel can be nothing more than dead ritualism when it is done in the flesh and without Christ’s passion for souls.  The disciples went to Sychar and failed to bring people to Christ because they did not see their lives through the eyes of their overall missional purpose.  The reason they failed to fulfill their purpose was because they did not have Christ’s passion for souls.

          They did not just need to see the city of Sychar through the eyes of their purpose in Christ, they needed a change of heart (passion).  Without passion, Christianity dies and evangelism dies with it (even when it is attempted).

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing” (I Corinthians 13:1-3).

Passion is not about feeling.  Passion is about having the heart of the Lord. 

When our lives are consumed with being like Christ, living for Christ, and being faithful to Christ, our lives will be consumed with His purpose and filled with His passion for souls.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35).

          Christians are always waiting for God to do something.  God is always doing something.  God is usually waiting for believers to do what He has commanded so He can bless them with His power.  When our lives are consumed with being like Christ, God will open our eyes to see what He is doing.  When our lives see every moment through the eyes of His purpose and with the passion of His heart, we will become involved with harvesting the souls He has already made ripe.

          When we are in the flesh to any degree, we quench the Spirit of God in our lives.  When the Spirit is quenched, our eyes are darkened.  God’s workings are no longer visible and ripe fruit soon becomes rotten fruit because it is never harvested.  How many souls have withered on the vine because our eyes were focused on the things of this world rather than the things of Christ?

          We need to believe and live the words of the hymn, “Give me a passion for souls, dear Lord, A passion to save the lost; O that thy love were by all adored, and welcomed at any cost . . . How shall this passion for souls be mine?  Lord, make Thou the answer clear; Help me to throw out the old life-line to those who are struggling near.”

          The souls are there friends, but without Christ’s passion (the fire of God’s Spirit burning within us) and the leading of the Spirit of God we will never see who they are.

37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38).

Disciples are Christ-followers.  True Christians are personally involved in His mission, preaching His message of redemption, possessing His passion for people, and are willing to die for His purposes.  These are the characteristics of true DISCIPLES called CHRISTIANS (Acts 11:19).  Dare not to take this honored title of CHRISTIAN upon yourself until these characteristics are the everyday testimony of your living.  These characteristics are antithetical and contrary to the ambiguous, shallow vagueness of the modern-day use of the word Christian that identifies Christ-professors with nothing and everything.  

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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