Monday, February 26, 2018

The Church and the Holy Spirit (1) – The Law of God in the Life of the Church (9)

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The Church and the Holy Spirit (1)

The Law of God in the Life of the Church (9)

Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19

That is a curious word, “quench.” It means “to extinguish” or “to put out” or “restrain.” It’s curious to think that human beings somehow possess the ability to restrain or extinguish the work of the Spirit in their lives.

But what is the work of the Spirit? In simplest terms we can say that the work of the Spirit, Who dwells within each believer, is to make us willing and able to do the good pleasure of God (Phil. 2:13). Notice the dual emphasis: the Spirit must work both on our desires and aspirations—so that we are, first of all, willing to do God’s pleasure; then He must actually empower us for the doing of whatever it is that pleases God. Our hearts, we know, are not naturally inclined to seek or obey the Lord (Jer. 17:9); thus, if we are ever going to be, in the first place, willing to do what pleases God, we must have some drastic overhaul of our hearts, our affections.

This is precisely what the Spirit comes to do in bringing us into the new covenant, as David, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel testify (Ps. 51:10; Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:26, 27).

From the moment we are given the Spirit of God, through the agency of new birth (Gal. 4:4), we begin to be willing to do what pleases our heavenly Father, out of gratitude for the saving mercy He has extended to us in Jesus Christ.

But being willing is not enough. We must also be able. Jesus said that, when the Spirit of God comes upon us, He would bring with Him spiritual power to enable us to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. Apparently, being witnesses for Christ pleases the Father, for it is this work that the Spirit is primarily commissioned to accomplish within us. But being witnesses is, first of all, a matter of the kind of people we are and only secondarily of what we do in the world.

Thus, we should expect that the work of the Spirit in us will focus on making us the kind of people who are by nature willing to do what pleases the Lord. And what it is that pleases the Lord?

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In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T.M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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