14th Sep 2014

WHAT GET’S IN THE WAY? RESISTING & QUENCHING THE HOLY SPIRIT

By Steve Bones

WHAT GET’S IN THE WAY? RESISTING & QUENCHING THE HOLY SPIRIT
 
INTRODUCTION
 
Last week Andy shared on why we need to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and the question ‘are we not filled at conversion?’. The answer to the latter question is ‘yes’, but is that it?  Can we get more?
 
Eph 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of his glory. (NIV)
 
Also in 2 Cor 1:21-22 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (NIV)
 
Proof that we all who are truly saved have the Holy Spirit.  Then why did Paul go on to say:
 
1. Eph 1:15-17 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (NIV)
 
And again later in the same letter he states:
 
2. Eph 5:18-20 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)
We are already filled on conversion, so why encourage them to be filled? What’s more, to be so full that it is equivalent to being drunk!
 
3. Further, as came out on our weekends of prayer and fasting, Jesus said the following in Luke 11 after teaching the disciples to pray:
 
Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (NIV)
 
Why do we need to ask if we get the Holy Spirit automatically on conversion? Also, why did He refer to it as a ‘gift’ if we automatically receive it on salvation? As a gift, can we not say ‘no’?
 
4. In John 20 after Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to the disciples and said:
 
John 20:21-22 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."  And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
 
One interpretation is that this was a prophetic word, refering to Pentecost.  However, why then did he breathe on them?  And why wait until after his resurrection to say this, as he had already said this would happen before he was crucified (John 14:15-27)?
 
Another interpretation is that they did receive the Holy Spirit, as stated in Ephesians 1:13-14 and 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, the deposit guaranteeing their inheritance.  However, Jesus later said for them to wait in Jerusalem until they had been baptised with the Holy Spirit:
 
Acts 1:4-5 "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." (NIV)
What would have happened if they did not wait?  If automatically received at conversion, no need to wait!
Why do we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
 
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (NIV)
 
It is this power we need in the church today!  This was just a recap of last week.
 
Now let us ask the question – can I resist the Holy Spirit?
 
What do we mean by ‘resist’?  Let’s look at Acts 7, the trial of Stephen:
 
Acts 7:51-53 "You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him- you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it." (NIV)
 
The Greek word for ‘resist’ is ‘antipipto’, which means to fall over against.  In other words, to be disobedient to the Holy Spirit and rebellious, to be against the work of the Holy Spirit, to oppose him.  Hence if we are not obedient to the Holy Spirit’s prompting in our lives, and humbly submitting to his will, are we not resisting him!
 
Now let us ask another question – can I quench the Holy Spirit?
 
1 Thess 5:19-22 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. (NIV)
 
In the New King James Version it is translated thus:
 
1 Thess 5:19-20 Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. (NKJV)
 
The Greek word for quench is ‘sbennumi’, which is also used in:
 
Matt 12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, (KJV)
 
Eph 6:16-17 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (NIV)
 
Hence it appears that to quench the Holy Spirit is to prevent him moving at all in our lives, perhaps even stronger than just resisting him.
 
How can we do that in our lives?  I think a clue is in the next verse ‘do not despise prophecies’.  Are we open to change in our lives, for God to speak to us about something new, something we did not expect?  A prophecy is a word from the Lord which must align with the Bible but needn’t specifically be in the Bible!  Are we open to receiving such a word from the Lord?  If not, could He stop speaking after a time?
 
The elders have read an article by David Watson, written in 1982 encouraging Christians to be filled with the Spirit.  In the section on resisting the Holy Spirit he writes ‘If we cling firmly to the particular patterns and traditions that we already know, we may find ourselves resisting the Spirit.  We must always be open to the new thing that God is doing among us.’
 
The Pharisees knew from scripture that the Messiah was to come, and where he would be born.  Yet they missed him as they did not believe Jesus was the Messiah.  We have been seeking revival for some time, but could we miss it when it comes as we do not believe it is revival?  I think it is possible! Could we reject it because there are gifts of the Spirit we feel uncomfortable with, for example prophecy, tongues, casting out of demons?  I tell you now we will feel uncomfortable as we will not be in control, the Holy Spirit will be!  Let us not resist or quench the Holy Spirit.
 
In 1 Corinthians 12 we read:
 
1 Cor 12:7-11 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.   All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. (NIV)
 
The Holy Spirit determines which gifts we move in, not us!  
 
There is, strangely, some comfort I believe to be drawn from the fact we can resist and quench the Holy Spirit. He is a gentleman and does not ‘take us over’ or ‘possess’ us.  He waits to be invited.  Even when we are filled, we are still in control, as it states later in the same letter:
 
1 Cor 14:32-33 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. (NIV)
Time of prayer
 
I will confess to you all that I have both resisted and quenched the Holy Spirit – partly through fear but also for an easy life!  I have had to repent before God and humble myself.
 
Isa 58:13-14 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the LORD, (NIV)
I felt this morning to read the vision for SMBC based on Acts 2:42-47 which has appeared in the last two monthly magazines (see below). After reading this, while waiting on the Lord I felt the Lord say ‘Numbers 13:2’, which says:
 
Num 13:1-2 The LORD said to Moses, "Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders." (NIV)
 
The Israelites were promised the land, and God told Moses to send in the spies, being leaders or princes from amongst the people.  Yet only two believed God, the rest resisted God and hence the whole people suffered 40 years in the wilderness.  Do you believe God wants to fulfil this vision in South Molton? We can only do this by the power of the Holy Spirit!
 
We are called to:
 
Rom 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
 
Do you want to know God’s will for your life?  I do.  But we are called to be ‘living sacrifices’, not just partners with Christ where we can choose what we can and do not do. Are you willing to submit to God, to pray ‘thy Kingdom come, thy will be done’?
 
If anyone wants prayer, either to be filled with the Holy Spirit or a fresh filling, Julie and I and Andy are here. 
Vision for the future
 
Following the weekend of prayer and fasting in June 2014, the elders waited on the Lord for what we believe the Lord is aiming for in South Molton Baptist Church, and the passage in Acts 2: 42-47 came:
 
They devoted themselves to:
  • the apostles' teaching, and to 
  • the fellowship, to 
  • the breaking of bread and to 
  • prayer.

 

  • Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 
  • All the believers were together and had everything in common. 
  • Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 
  • Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. 
  • They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. 
  • And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. 
Can you imagine a church like this, our church?  With the help of the Holy Spirit, the elders can!   
We believe this is the type of church God wants SMBC to be.
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