Sunday, 28 November 2021

Practical Christianity


Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5 v 14 - 22: "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 
15  See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16  Rejoice evermore.
17  Pray without ceasing.
18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
19  Quench not the Spirit.
20  Despise not prophesyings.
21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22  Abstain from all appearance of evil."

People often say they enjoy the blogs which give them practical things to do to enhance their Christian walk.   So this portion of scripture is an exhortation from Paul concerning Christian conduct. 

It starts off with warn the unruly!  In modern times we have to weigh this against being politically correct and not offending anyone.  Sin is difficult to openly warn against.  The early apostles had a word for it when facing imprisonment, It is better to obey God than man!

I watched a tv show last night where a gay pastor and his gay wife married because it was expected of the pastor to have a wife.  They carried on their gay affairs secretly until the wife was murdered.  After he was acquitted of killing his wife, the pastor said he would move away and start another ministry but now be openly gay.  As Jeremiah said, they were not ashamed neither could they blush.

However we must comfort and support the feeble and weak, showing patience to all men.  We must not retaliate when someone wrongs us, rather turn the other cheek in humility.  Rather respond with goodness and let the Holy Spirit convict the evildoers with the way we respond to their bad actions.  In fact we must abstain, never do anything that has any appearance of evil attached to it.

Verse 19 says simply - Quench not the Spirit.  The dictionary interpretation of the word 'quench' is extinguish, cool, stifle and suppress; as well as slake one's thirst.

Therefore we must be careful not to do things that grieve the Holy Spirit. We must be sensitive to His presence and submit to His anointing. Some things that quench Him are gossip, lies, poison pen letters, undermining of a minister or ministry, rejecting the anointing or mocking the leadership.   Outbursts of raucous laughter in a church meeting would quench the pure and holy anointing and cause Him to withdraw. 

The prophet, Elijah, did not find Him in the storm, the earthquake or the fire; but in the still small voice. (1 Kings 19 v 11 - 12). So when the Holy Spirit is present be quiet and reverent before Him in true consciousness of His being, and you will learn many things that others will probably miss.

We need to wait on the Lord in holiness and 'Be still and know that I am God' - Psalm 43 v 10. When we have prayed we must wait to hear what the Holy Spirit would convey. Turn off all cellphones, TV, music and other influences and in the silence receive the treasures of wisdom He wants to impart.

I have heard of pastors instructing the ushers in the church to stop people bringing a message in tongues or prophecy as 'we have a tight schedule in church today'! This is a deliberate quenching of the Holy Spirit that may cause the anointing of that church to cease until repentance before God is made. You may visit a church like this and realise that what they have done to the Lord has been repaid to them. Nothing happens in that church anymore - no altar calls, no healing, no deliverance, no gifts and the preaching falls flat.

In the mid 1800's the Holy Spirit began to move amongst the people of Russia. Before He could bring about revival in that nation the Russian Orthodox Church suppressed this move and refused to allow the Holy Spirit any place in Russia. The result of that was the overthrow of the Tsar in 1917 and the rise of Communism, which rejects God completely. They quenched the Holy Spirit and got an Antichristian government.

The same thing happened in Germany after the 1st World War. They too rejected and quenched the move of the Holy Spirit and they got Hitler; concentration camps; gas chambers and the murder of 6 million Jews across Europe in another World War.   They also got permanent occupation by US peacekeepers to make sure they did not get unruly again.

Britain did not stifle the Holy Spirit, but grieved Him in their hindrance to the Jews returning to Israel after the war by holding them on Cyprus.  No other nation lost so much territory as the Commonwealth did in the 15 years after the War as God's hand of blessing was stayed.

Recently Almighty God has punished many great nations with fearsome economic restraints and recessions for making it lawful to abort the unborn and to reject God's Word. World leaders give token acknowledgement to some God but totally ignore what He says in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is quenched and nations wonder why they suffer.  Sin always has heavy consequences and is judged by a Holy God who is always fair.

There is always hope if you turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in sincere repentance and invite the Holy Spirit to come into your heart again. Welcome Him with holiness in your approach and He will reward you with His gifts, fruit and anointing to help you grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord.

This week we are facing another drama in the Covid saga, Omicron, the new variant has made its appearance and seems to be very easily transmitted.  Passengers on two KLM flights that landed in the Netherlands from South Africa are all in isolation because 61 passengers tested positive for Covid, and are still being checked if its Omicron.  

We need to pray without ceasing and give thanks for everything because this is the will of God concerning us.  He is busy separating sheep from goats concerning Covid.  No matter how it started, or where or who.  He is judging the world, no matter what controversies, accusations, conspiracies or fake news flows through the media.

Omicron has 32 markers whereas the previous nasty variant, Delta, only had 3.  So Omicron is scaring the governments which must protect their citizens, close borders, have more lockdowns, ruin holiday travel, and generally walk the tightrope of public opinion.

As Christians we must obey the Lord and His Word is true. Warn unruly, disobedient, sinful people of the consequences of what they are doing.  Be gentle and kind to those who do evil.  Rejoice evermore because we are forgiven, protected, free and blessed  through the power in the Blood of Jesus, and the love of our Father.

Prayer: Heavenly Father it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God to be chastised. Help us to be respectful and sensitive to the Holy Spirit of Truth so that our worship is received. If we have quenched the Holy Spirit please forgive us and restore our anointing. If we have fallen into the doctrines of man that offend You, please deliver us from every part and help us to walk the Christian walk in a practical way.  In Jesus' name. Amen.