Quenching & Discerning (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)

Aug 31, 2023 By: David Meyer Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: 1 Thessalonians Scripture: 1 Thess. 5:19-22

As we come down the home stretch in our study of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonian church, our attention turns to verses 19-22. We see five commands, two are negative (v.19-20) and three are positive (v.21-22).

First, we should see the connection between what we learned in verses 16-18 (The “RPG”) and these verses (v.19-22). The habits of rejoicing, prayerfulness and thanksgiving are vitally important if we are to keep from quenching the Spirit. It is possible that through fear, pride, disobedience or indifference, we may be guilty of quenching the Spirit, as water quenches a fire. We may also be guilty of quenching the Spirit in another by impatience, resentment or belittling another brother or sister in Christ.

In verse 19, Paul cautions the church to be careful not to quench the Spirit by despising prophecy. While there is room for disagreement on what New Testament prophecy is, Paul provided an important check on prophecy in verses 21-22. All prophetic utterances are to be tested and judged with discernment. From the same author, the church in Corinth was given some guidelines regarding prophecy (1 Cor 14:24-25, 29-31) and commanded to earnestly desire to prophesy (1 Cor 14:39).

For our church, whether prophesy be a public word preached or a personal word that God brings to mind through a brother or sister, or maybe your conviction is that prophecy is not a continuing gift, all Christians bear the personal responsibility to test everything by God’s ultimate standard (the Bible) and hold fast to what is good.

Questions for Consideration & Discussion:

  • In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul expresses his major concern for the church in Corinth. Based on this chapter, why do you think he prioritizes love higher than the other miraculous gifts mentioned in the chapter?
  • In Ephesians 4:30 we are told not to “grieve the Holy Spirit.” How is this different from the command to not, “quench the Spirit” in 1 Thessalonians 5:19? Reread as necessary for the overall contexts.  How would we go about answering a question like this?
  • How can we be more sensitive to the Spirit’s leading? How does responding quickly and obediently to His leading and conviction benefit us?   
  • What does verse 21 teach us about discernment? What other verses in the Bible speak of the importance of spiritual discernment?