GRIEVING AND QUENCHING THE HOLY SPIRIT
by paul hoffmaster
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What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Believer? Some Christians believe the Holy Spirit only functions in a secondary role in their lives. They acknowledge His role in the New Testament church, but believe that is not how the Holy Spirit works today. They see the Holy Spirit as a dispensational factor in which His ministry was limited to the birthing and expanding of the early Church; the Spiritual Gifts which include healings and miracles had a purpose unique to the Biblical generation, but not for modern day Christians. They believe that the Fruit of the Spirit is what really matters. There is also a group of Believers that sees the Holy Spirit as the primary focal point of worship. The Dove replaces the Cross as Believers seek the Gifts of the Holy Spirit for personal gratification. Signs and wonders become the evidence of God’s pleasure with His followers. It is not my intent to address the polarization of these different movements, but to draw attention to how the Holy Spirit interacts with Believers today.
The Scriptures make it clear that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is three fold in purpose. He will convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8) To achieve this ministry, He will use the Believer to represent the Kingdom in power. Under the Anointing and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Believer will be the physical manifestation of the Kingdom and will draw people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will also illuminate the Believer with a holy and contagious righteousness that will draw the world to the righteousness of God. Finally, the Holy Spirit will reveal through the Believer God’s judgment on the world. The Holy Spirit is never to be the center of attention; rather, He will glorify the Son and will reveal unto the Believer whatever is revealed to Him. (John 16:13-15)
One of the favorite phrases that are uttered around emotional worship services is, “I feel the Spirit in this place.” The evidence of His presence is not goose bumps and emotional releases, but an empowering to spread the Gospel message. The Holy Spirit is the revealer of our Savior and Heavenly Father. When we do not respond to the Holy Spirit’s promptings to reach out with God’s message, we are “grieving” the Spirit, which is to cause Him grief and sorrow. (Eph. 4:30) To those who don’t understand the Holy Spirit’s ministry, His role becomes secondary in their lives. The problem is that without the Holy Spirit, the continuation of Jesus earthly ministry is severely handicapped. By not responding to the leading of the Spirit, we not only grieve Him, but are in danger of “quenching” Him, which is to limit and extinguish the spiritual fire within us. (I Thess. 5:19)
Many times we hear sincere Christians promote the ministry of the Holy Spirit by claiming that if one does not exhibit a certain evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, then he does not have the Spirit. Scriptures are elasticized and taken out of context to promote teachings that support biased interpretations. The real evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the outreach we exhibit. If we do not share the Gospel message, or exhibit the righteousness of God’s Kingdom, or climb the watchtower to proclaim the coming judgment, we have grieved the Holy Spirit and are in danger of quenching His consuming fire. The Holy Spirit is a vital part of the Divine Commission. He does not keep us warm and cozy until Jesus returns; rather, He sets a fire within us that will continue to burn until all the lost are reached or God calls us home!
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