Responding to The Spirit’s Work
Sermon Series: The Affectionate Gospel
Sermon Title: Responding to the Spirit’s Work
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
We are dependent on the Holy Spirit; we should always put a high value on His work and influence on our lives; and we should never disregard His active presence among us.
At the end of his first letter to the Thessalonians, the apostle Paul inserts “bullet point” imperatives, exhorting us regarding the Holy Spirit--a person of the trinity who is God Himself. We must be keenly aware of the Holy Spirit and His work so that we do not quench Him and His activity in our lives.
Point 1: Do Not Quench the Holy Spirit (v. 19)
As God Himself, the all-powerful Holy Spirit leads us into all truth (John 16:13), opening our eyes to the truth of God’s word. He also provides fruit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23). Yet we can quench (suppress and stifle) both His truth and His fruit through unbelief, preferring to rely on our own feelings and the culture around us. Believers must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7) in order to avoid quenching the Spirit. It is only by faith that we please God (Heb. 11:6).
Point 2: Do Not Despise Prophesying (v. 20)
Prophesying functions as a forth-telling of God’s revealed word. The preaching of the scriptures is a form of forth-telling. In addition, the gift of prophecy (1 Cor. 14) occurs when a person speaks “merely human words to report something God brings to mind” (Wayne Grudem). Instead of a directive, prophecy is a Holy Spirit-inspired revelation communicated clearly for the edification of the church (1 Cor. 14:3). And ultimately, prophecy must magnify Jesus (Rev. 19:10). To be unimpressed with and unaffected by prophecies is to despise them.
Point 3: But Test Everything; Hold Fast to What is Good (v. 21)
The infallible Holy Spirit works through fallible people. But rather than dismissing all prophecy, Paul calls the church to evaluate them by God’s word. Ask yourself: Does the prophecy line up with scripture? Does it exalt Jesus? If so, respond to and act in faith regarding the Holy Spirit’s work through the prophecy.
In response to prophecy, we should allow faith to be stirred in us, preparing our hearts to receive from the Christ-glorifying Holy Spirit (John 16:14). We, too, glorify God by believing in and testifying to Jesus.