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Author Topic: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24  (Read 292 times)

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Hidden In Him

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
« on: January 09, 2019, 01:29:34 PM »
The Importance Of Not Quenching The Spirit, Part 2

     While congregations could give place to the Devil if they allowed bitterness and strife to enter in, the will of God was that it be the Spirit who manifested Himself among them. And Paul now revealed what such manifestations should look like: Continual rejoicings, incessant prayers, blessings and thanksgivings being offered up to God in all circumstances, particularly in tongues, their continuance of prophetic utterances, and ultimately the complete sanctification of the church in body, soul and spirit. 

     See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue the good, both towards one another and towards all. Rejoice always, pray incessantly, and give thanks in everything, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus towards you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not hold prophecies in contempt, but prove all things. Hold fast to the good, [and] abstain from every form of wickedness. And may the very God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your entire spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is the One calling you, who will also perform it. (1 Thessalonians 5:15-24)

     The apostle Paul would say essentially the same thing in Ephesians, and in the same order. Instead of giving themselves to conduct that quenched the Holy Spirit among them (Ephesians 4:21-32), they were to give themselves to practices that edified the church (Ephesians 5:18-21):

     Let not the sun set on your provocation, nor give place to the Devil. Let the one stealing steal no more, but rather let him labor, working good with his own hands that he may have something to impart to those who have need. Let no foul word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for edification when needful, that it may bestow grace upon the hearer. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by which you were sealed till the Day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and indignation, and wrath, and shouting, and slander be removed from you, together with all malice...
     And be not drunk with wine wherein is foolishness, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking unto yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and praising in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks at all times for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ. (Ephesians 4:25-31, 5:18-21)


     If the absence of genuine supernatural gifts is any indication, it would appear most churches and even denominations today have long since quenched the Holy Spirit among them and now simply operate in the flesh. For many it's no big deal, since they attest that the supernatural gifts were only necessary during New Testament times in order to establish through signs and wonders the Bible as the true word of God in the earth. But on closer analysis the spiritual gifts were actually accomplishing something just as significant that they overlook: The sanctification of the church. Though most downplay its importance, the absence of supernatural gifts today makes the sanctification of most churches a virtual impossibility.


Rejoicing In Trials: A Manifestation Of The Spirit

     To rejoice in the midst of trials was not a normal human reaction. For Christians in the early church, it was evidence that the power of God was present among them, leading them to rejoice even in the midst of sufferings and persecution. This is clear from passages like 1 Peter 1:3-9:

     Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has given us new birth unto a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from among the dead... unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, regarding which you exult, though now if necessary for a little while having been put to grief through various trials so that the proving of your faith, much more precious than perishing gold and proven by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love, believing in Him whom you do not now behold, yet you rejoice with an inexpressible and glorious joy, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of [your] souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

     Technically, the Greek actually reads here "a joy that is inexpressible and has become glorious." Why? Because in the midst of trials and sufferings it was evidence that the Holy Spirit was present among them, empowering them to not just endure such things but suffer them joyfully in Christ, to their glory. One such instance can be seen in Hebrews. The believers addressed there did not simply endure he plundering of their goods, but accepted this joyfully:

     Call to remembrance the former days, in which having been enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings; partly in being made a spectacle through both reproaches and afflictions, and partly in having become partners with those also going through them. For you also sympathized with my bonds, and accepted with joy the plundering of your belongings, knowing that you have for yourselves a better and [more] enduring possession in Heaven. (Hebrews 10:32-34)

     This was a manifestation of the Spirit of God abiding within them. As he did with the Thessalonians, Paul likewise told the Philippians to "rejoice always" in the Lord in the midst of enduring negative circumstances. They were not to allow any form of anxiety to overcome them but rejoice continually in the Lord. Tempering their anxieties in this way was a work of the Holy Spirit, for the peace and joy they continued to walk in regardless went beyond what anyone or even they themselves could understand in the natural. Their reactions were not the result of rational thinking, but something that could only be accounted for through the presence of Holy Spirit among them:

     Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice. Let your temperance be known unto all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God that exceeds all understanding shall safeguard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)


Offering Blessings And Thanksgivings In The Spirit

     Just as "rejoice always" was a command to continually abide in the Spirit, so too were the next two phrases of "pray incessantly, [and] give thanks in everything." These two went together, in that through tongues the Holy Spirit was constantly blessing the Lord and giving Him thanks for His works among them. This is evident from what Paul said about praying in tongues in First Corinthians:

     But now, if I come to you, brothers, speaking in tongues, what shall I benefit you if shall not speak to you in either revelation, or in knowledge, or in prophecy, or in teaching?...For if a trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for war? So also you, if you do not give intelligible speech by means of a tongue, how shall that being spoken be known? For you will be speaking into the air...  Therefore, let the one speaking in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray in the Spirit, but I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing praise in the Spirit, but I will also sing praise with the understanding. Else if you bless in the Spirit, how shall the one occupying the place of the uninstructed say "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? For you give thanks well, but the other is not being edified. (1 Corinthians 14:6, 8-9, 13-17)

     They were doing something similar at Pentecost. As Jesus promised, the apostles began to be His witnesses to the world that day, when the Holy Spirit came upon them in fire to proclaim His wonderful works from the dawn of creation:

     But [Jesus] said to them... "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be My witnesses in both Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth”... And when the day of Pentecost was to be completed, they were all together in the same place. And suddenly there came out of heaven a sound as of the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared tongues as of fire being distributed unto them, and sat upon each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit was giving them to speak.
     Now there were Jews dwelling in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. Having arisen at the rumor of this, the multitude came together and were confounded, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and marveled, saying, "Behold, are not all these speaking Galileans? And how are we each hearing in our own dialect from which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and those inhabiting Mesopotamia, and Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia... Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our own tongues the great works of God. (Acts 1:7-8, 2:1-11)



Testing The Spirits Behind Prophetic Utterances

     Do not quench the Spirit. Do not hold prophecies in contempt, but prove all things. Hold fast to the good, [and] abstain from every form of wickedness. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)

     Why would they potentially hold prophecies in contempt? Because Satan was sending in false prophets among them to give supernatural credence to false and heretical doctrines that could potentially corrupt the church. One such example was the woman Jezebel spoken of in the Book of Revelation, who together with her family was regularly present in attendance at the church at Thyatira:

     To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God... I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and misleads my servants into committing sexual immorality and eating meat sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time that she might repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will cast her on a [sick] bed, and those committing adultery with her into great affliction if they will not repent of their ways. And I will strike her children with death, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and will repay to each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:18-23)

     According to the early church fathers, these were the same doctrines preached by the Gnostics, an early heretical sect who were followers of Simon the Magician mentioned in the Book of Acts. According to Irenaeus, he taught that sexual immorality and eating meat sacrificed to idols were both acceptable practices for followers of "Christ." It was also recorded that he and his followers performed "signs and wonders" to confirm their version of "Christianity," but the prophecies, exorcisms and other works of power they accomplished were through the power of demons.
     So was there any way to prove if a prophecy was coming from a demonic spirit or the Holy Spirit? Yes, a very simple way, as described by the apostle John:

     Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits whether they are of God. For many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ having come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit which does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard that it should come, and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:1-3)

     They were to prove the spirits by forcing them to confess which "Jesus" they were preaching. The "Christ" taught by the early Gnostics had supposedly not come in the flesh but merely in the spirit. Therefore, if anyone in the congregation prophesied something questionable, they were to ask that spirit if Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. Any spirit that denied this was to be rejected, lest it ultimately begin seducing the congregation into sin. Rather, they were to abstain from "every form of wickedness," meaning not only rejecting the false prophecies being uttered by demons but the sinful practices being promoting by these spirits as well.
     Under such circumstances it is easy to see why some might have held prophecies in contempt. But Paul's command here was not to do away with prophecy altogether in light of these things but to prove all things and hold fast to that which proved to be truly from the Lord. How many today have done away with prophecy completely in fear of what Satan might do, in direct violation of this commandment of the Lord in First Thessalonians?


Without The Gifts, There Can Be No Sanctification

     And may the very God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your entire spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is the One calling you, who will also perform it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

      Paul was not addressing them individually but as a church here. The command was to the entire congregation; that they be sanctified and preserved blameless through the power the Holy Spirit, and the manifestation of the supernatural gifts among them. Why? Because it was the Lord Himself who would protect them and preserve them blameless in spirit by exposing evil spirits prophesying falsehoods among them. The Lord Himself would preserve them blameless in soul by rebuking demonically-inspired behavior, lest they give themselves over to things like bitterness and strife (James 3;6-15). And the Lord Himself would preserve them blameless in body by bringing judgment upon the sexually immoral, and/or excommunicating them from among the congregation, just as was referred to in First Corinthians regarding the man who was fornicating with his father's wife (See also 1 Thessalonians 4:1-4):

     Sexual immorality is commonly being reported among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles, such as for one to have sex with [his] father's wife. And here you are having become inflated with pride, and rather did not mourn because the one having done this deed might [soon] be removed from your midst!  For, indeed, I being absent in the body but present in the spirit have already judged regarding the one having done this thing as being present: In the name of the Lord Jesus, when you have been gathered together in the power of the Lord Jesus, and with my spirit, you are to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved on the Day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)

     What do these passages imply with regard to the sanctification of the church? It means that without the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself supernaturally among congregations, there IS no sanctification of the church, nor can there ever be. The Presence of the Spirit is what sanctifies congregations, as Paul likewise attested elsewhere, telling the Thessalonians in his next letter:

     But we ought always to give thanks to God concerning you, brothers, who have been beloved by the Lord, in that through the sanctification produced by the Spirit and the faith produced by the truth God chose you unto salvation, to which end, through our gospel, He [even] called you to attain to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14)

      Through the manifestation of gifts like prophetic utterance, the Lord was exposing and expelling wickedness in all its forms from the Christian congregations. But where does that put us today, now that few operate in such things any longer? Satanists regularly attend churches pretending to be believers in Christ, yet secretly curse and undermine the work of God at every turn, and they usually go undetected because the gifts of the Spirit are not in operation. Fornication and sexual immorality run rampant, particularly in the younger churches, yet such sins are hidden from view and go unexposed because the supernatural gifts are not in operation. And what of those who regularly give their souls over to gossip, slander, bitterness, contentiousness, envy, jealousy, and other such foul spirits? Only when the Lord Himself again returns to exposing and chastising such things through the utterances of the Holy Spirit will there be any hope of again attaining true sanctification in the churches. Until then, preach against such things until you are blue in the face, but they will not receive correction, even from the pastor. Spiritual uncleanness will be the order of the day in every church until the fear of the Lord returns, and the Lord Himself again sanctifies them through supernatural manifestations of the Spirit.   





« Last Edit: January 09, 2019, 05:31:35 PM by Hidden In Him »