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Trying to Control the Holy Spirit

Trying to Control the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Representative of Christ in the Church (body).
The local church should always recognize the sovereignty of the Spirit. By this we mean that He can do as He pleases, and that He will not always choose to do things in exactly the same way, though He will never act contrary to the Word. The symbols of the Spirit used in the Scriptures -fire, oil, water, wind -speak of uncontrollable and unpredictable behavior. Therefore the wise Christian will be flexible in order to allow the Holy Spirit this divine prerogative. It was so in the early church, but soon people became uneasy with meetings that were "free and social, with the minimum of form." Thus controls were added and formalism and ritualism took over. The Holy Spirit was quenched, and the church lost its power.

This shift from the freedom of the Spirit to human control has been described by James Denney. Commenting on the verse, "Quench not the Spirit," he says: "In the First Epistle to the Corinthians Paul describes a primitive Christian congregation. There was not one silent among them. When they came together every one had a psalm, a revelation, a prophecy, an interpretation. The manifestation of the Spirit had been given to each one to profit withal; and on all hands the spiritual fire was ready to flame forth. Conversion to the Christian faith, the acceptance of the apostolic Gospel, was not a thing which slightly effected men: it convulsed their whole nature to its depth; they were never the same again; they were new creatures, with a new life in them, all fervor and flame. In a primitive church anybody who pleased might speak -when it would have been better for him to be silent. It might lead him to break out in prayer or praise or exhortation, in a style which made the wise sigh. And for those reasons the wise, and such as thought themselves wise, would be apt to discourage the exercise of spiritual gifts altogether. Contain yourself,' they would say to the man whose heart burned within him, and who was restless till the flame could leap out; contain yourself; exercise a little self-control; it is unworthy of a rational being to be carried away in this fashion.

It is forbidden to pour cold water on such enthusiasm when it breaks forth in words of fire. That is the meaning of 'Quench not the Spirit.' The commandment presupposes that the Spirit can be quenched. Cold looks, contemptuous words, silence, studied disregard, go a long way to quench it. So does unsympathetic criticism. Everyone knows that a fire smokes most when it is newly kindled; but the way to get rid of the smoke is not to pour cold water on the fire, but to let it burn itself clear. When you meet with a disciple whose zeal burns like fire, very likely the smoke hurts your eyes; but the smoke will soon pass by; and it may well be tolerated in the meantime for the sake of heat. For this apostolic precept takes for granted that fervor of spirit, a Christian enthusiasm for what is good, is the best thing in the world. It may be untaught and inexperienced; it may have all its mistakes to make; it may be wonderfully blind to the limitations which the stern necessities of life put upon the generous hopes of man: but it is of God; it is expansive; it is contagious; it is worth more as a spiritual force than all the wisdom in the world.

I have hinted at ways in which the Spirit is quenched; it is sad to reflect that from one point of view the history of the Church is a long series of transgressions of this precept, checked by an equally long series of rebellions of the spirit. 'Where the Spirit of the Lord is,' the Apostle tells us elsewhere, 'there is liberty.' But liberty in a society has its dangers; it is, to a certain extent, at war with order; and the guardians of order are not apt to be too considerate of it. Hence it came to pass that at a very early period, and in the interests of good order, the freedom of the Spirit was suppressed in the Church. 'The gift of ruling,' it has been said, like Aaron's rod, seemed to swallow up the other gifts. The rulers of the Church became a class entirely apart from its "ordinary" members, and all exercise of spiritual gifts for the building up of the Church was confined to them. Nay, the monstrous idea was originated, and taught as a dogma, that they alone were the custodians of the grace and truth of the gospel; only through them could men come into contact with the Holy Ghost. In plain English, the Spirit was quenched when Christians met for worship. One great extinguisher was placed over the flame that burned in the hearts of the brethren; it was not allowed to show itself; it must not disturb, by its eruption in praise or prayer or fiery exhortation, the decency and order of divine service. I say that was the condition to which Christian worship was reduced at a very early period; and it is unhappily the condition in which, for the most part, it exists at this moment."

The Church then, should never fetter the Holy Spirit, either with unscriptural rules, stereotyped programs, rituals, or liturgies. How grieved the Holy Spirit must often be by rigid understandings that a meeting must end at a certain time, that a service must always follow a certain routine! Such regulations often attempt to manipulate and control the Church, resulting in the loss of spiritual power

- written by James Denney

1Th 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

Amen, Glory to God!
The Church then, should never fetter the Holy Spirit, either with unscriptural rules, stereotyped programs, rituals, or liturgies. How grieved the Holy Spirit must often be by rigid understandings that a meeting must end at a certain time, that a service must always follow a certain routine! Such regulations often attempt to manipulate and control the Church, resulting in the loss of spiritual power
Great Thread Coconut!

2Corithians 3:17
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

This scripture above states that where ever the Spirit of the Lord is , there is liberty. So we can conclude where the is no liberty, there is NO Spirit!

John 8:36
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Jesus has set us free to walk out this new life according to the Spirit at work within us not by the traditions of man but the power of God.

Thanks Sister for stirring me up!
Staff Member
Great thread sister thank you for sharing.

Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 4:31
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Acts 7:51
“You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.

Titus 3:5
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
good scriptures Chad.

Here is one of my favorites,
Galatians 5:16-26
16*So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17*The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. 18*But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.
19*When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, 20 idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, 21*envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22*But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23*gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
24*Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25*If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26*Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.
Glory to God!

Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Great post Coconut, thanks for getting this one rolling! The verses already posted are wonderful and just wanted to add that I am also touched by the all the different ways that the Spirit acts in the Old Testament too.

And it's funny how quenching the spirit goes way back. Notice though, it's well intended and from a faithful servant... just not what God wants.

Numbers 11
Two man had stayed back in the camp; one was called Eldad adn the other Medad. The spirit came down on them; though they had not gone to the Tent, their names were enrolled among the rest. These began to prophesy in the camp. A young man ran to tell Moses this. 'Look,' he said, 'Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.' Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses since he was a boy, spoke up and said, 'My lord Moses, stop them!' Moses replied, 'Are you jealous on my account? If only all Yahweh's people were prophets, and Yahweh had given them his spirit!'

Praise God for His creativity in His pursuit of us in love. Thank you God that You send Your spirit in such unique and beautiful ways and help us to see and accept You.