Walking with Jesus is a process. We learn as He reveals.
1:4 Look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure…
Yesterday, we began a study of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 to learn the formula for a godly life. The first three verses constitute our attitude while in this world,
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Today, we look at our relationship with the Holy Spirit, particularly concerning the Word of God.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
- Do not quench the Spirit– “Quench” means to put out, to pour water on, to squelch, to extinguish, to suppress or stifle. In a Christian’s life, our connection to God the Father is through the Spirit of Christ (Philippians 1:19, 1 Peter 1:11). Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” So, in a sense, we choke ourselves when we cut off the flow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Wrong thinking will do that to us because wrong thinking leads to wrong acting. How important is our connection to the Spirit of Christ? “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). The Holy Spirit is our seal, our proof, our redemption. He is the flow of Christ’s life in us.
- Do not treat prophecies with contempt– “Prophecy” means, the gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth, which means that it doesn’t have to be new prophecy or future prophecy to qualify. These prophecies may be written ones, which would include the Old Testament prophecies, or current spoken ones. The idea is to not treat the Word of God with contempt. Just so we’re clear, the Word of God is Jesus Christ; the Bible is a collection of the words of God. Through the ages, the words of God have been misconstrued, twisted, and manipulated. The Word of God speaks to us through His Spirit everyday. In effect, to hold in contempt those who are upholding revealed truth is to hold in contempt what Christ has made known to His church, which leads us to our next point.
- Test them all– Where we need to be careful is whether we are talking about dogma or doctrine. If dogma, which is the absolute truth about Jesus and His mission, then we politely refuse to give ground. If it is doctrine, which is the interpretation of how people view the meaning of the Scriptures, then we can politely offer a different interpretation, understanding that we may not come to an agreement on any given issue. Just know that “God will reveal [His truth] to us” (Philippians 3:15) in time.
- Hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil- The litmus test for this command is this: “If it draws us nearer to Christ, then it is good; if it draws us away from Christ, then it is bad.” Because of temperament, susceptibility, culture, and a number of other variables, each person must determine, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, what is good and what is evil. Some good and evil are universal, but there’s a lot that is as individual as the individual. Paul said in Romans 14:5, “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” Here again, does it draw you to Christ or away from Christ? That is the question.
Abba, I must take my own medicine here. I cannot be someone else’s “Holy Spirit.” Only You can be our Shepherd and Guide. May we learn to listen closely to You everyday in every way. Amen.