#777. DO NOT PUT OUT THE FIRE (23/3/23)
This week we continue in our 9-week series entitled ’Praying Together’; this series is loosely based upon the book and course, ‘The Prayers of many’ by Mike Betts. During this series, we want to learn about the importance of corporate prayer.
‘‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.’ (Ephesians 4:30)
Summary: Let’s do all we can to nurture rather and to quench the work of the Spirit among us
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During this week, we have been using the analogy of building a fire as illustrative of praying together in God’s powerful presence. I’m sure that we’ve all had experience of pouring water onto a fire and hearing its hiss as it goes out. We may also have experience of an open fire in a home that doesn’t burn very well because it is choked with ash. Fires can be fanned into flame, but they can also be quenched. Likewise, the presence and work of the Spirit when we pray together can be encouraged or hindered. Just as we need to tend a fire and remove any obstacles that might prevent it from burning brightly, we need to nurture our prayer meetings and remove any hindrances that might prevent the Spirit from working powerfully among us.
Here are three examples of how we can quench the Spirit:
1. WE QUENCH THE SPIRIT THROUGH LACK OF ZEAL FOR THE SPIRIT
It’s really important that we understand that God loves us but He can be offended and His work among us be hindered. God says to the Church as Laodicea whose primary fault seems to be lack of zeal - lack of fire:
‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth…Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.’ Revelation 3:15-16, 19)
2. WE QUENCH THE SPIRIT BY FAILING TO PRAY TOGETHER
We grieve the Spirit and limit His work when we fail to pray together and vice-versa. The Bible undeniably teaches that we are to understand our identity as God’s people who join together to worship and pray. The Spirit’s zeal for us to have praying together as fundamental to our identity is seen in Jesus’ outrage when He cleared out the temple:
‘Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.”’ (Matthew 21:12-13)
3. WE QUENCH THE SPIRIT BY IGNORING HIS GIFTS
‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)
We are told to seek Spiritual gifts in order to build up the church (See 1 Corinthians 12-14). Specifically we are urged:
‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.’ (1 Corinthians 14:1)
Gifts of various kinds are the Spirit working through us to build up His church and we grieve Him when we fail to use them in love. Following on from the first point, it’s in the context of prayer that Spiritual gifts are experienced.
4. WE QUENCH THE SPIRIT THROUGH DIVISION
‘Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Ephesians 4:29-32)
It’s easy for our relationships to be marked by unloving speech and division. This grieves the Holy Spirit. God loves to pour out His presence and blessing on people who are pursuing true fellowship as we read in Psalm 133:
‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head… For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.’ (Psalm 133: 1-2a, 3b)
If we want the raging fire of God’s presence with us when we pray, let’s pursue Christlike love and unity.
RESPONSE - HONOUR WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT LOVES
Let’s do all we can to nurture rather and to quench the work of the Spirit among us. Let's submit to the Spirit’s preferences for things like praying together, respecting His gifts and pursuing true fellowship.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
During this series, we will be using the 'Prayers of Many' course by Mike Betts.
I encourage you to buy a copy of the book from: https://prayersofmany.org/book#buybook
If you need assistance in buying a book please send an email to the church office and we will happily purchase you a copy.
Please download the course handbook from: