An alarm may be annoying but, face it, most alarms are your friend. The alarm clock in the morning - without which you'd lose your job. The smoke detector. The fire alarm. Now most us don't carry an alarm with us, but for some people, it's a very positive idea. Recently, my wife was in a nursing home on an errand of mercy when suddenly this loud alarm went off. Immediately, a nurse came running to a door where she intercepted one of their elderly residents who was headed for that door. The manager explained that some of their residents are afflicted with serious memory loss or disorientation, so much so, that they have left the building and wandered off, not knowing where they were - including right into the middle of the road! So the woman who triggered the alarm has been fitted with a special bracelet - one that triggers an alarm whenever she is on the edge of a possible danger zone. Apparently, she does remember what the alarm is for. When it went off, she instinctively stopped where she was. That alarm could literally save her life. Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "The Danger Zone Alarm."
When you're moving into danger you don't realize, it's good to have an alarm that alerts you. And it's good to pay attention to that alarm. Your Lord has built that kind of alarm into you in the Person of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you as a follower of Christ. Jesus said the Spirit would "convict the world of guilt in regard to sin" (John 16:8). One important ministry the Holy Spirit has to you is warning you when you're wandering into the danger zone spiritually. A danger you may not know is there, but a danger that could do you a lot of harm.
That's why God's warning in our word for today from the Word of God. It's so important. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Four words: "Quench not the Spirit." After that, it goes on to say, "Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil." When the Holy Spirit is talking to you inside, don't ignore Him. Don't put out the fire He sets inside you. Don't blow right past His warning that you've crossed the line.
The Holy Spirit is active in your heart, your mind, and conscience all day long, representing how God feels about what you're saying, what you're watching, what you're listening to, what you're doing with His temple (your body), what you're thinking about, fantasizing about, the motives behind what you're doing. And when you're starting to wander out of bounds, He puts a check in your spirit - a restraint, or even a twinge of guilt. The alarm goes off - God's quiet inner alarm that says, "You're out of bounds. You can't see it, but you have just entered the danger zone."
The Holy Spirit knows exactly where the choices you're making are going to ultimately end up. Like a disoriented older person, where you want to go looks very desirable and perfectly harmless. But God knows this will take you into deadly heavy traffic - and by the time you realize it, you may not be able to get out. No sin remains isolated. The first compromise may be hard, but it seldom stays just one compromise. The next one is always a little easier, until one day you have done what you never thought you'd do, become what you never thought you'd become.
It may be that God's alarm has been going off in you recently, warning you not to keep telling or living that lie. Or making you feel shame or guilt or uneasiness over something you watch or listen to or laugh at. Maybe warning you against leaving your family when it looks so tempting to bail out. Or the Spirit-alarm may be trying to move you away from that wrong relationship, that dangerous flirtation, that growing anger or bitterness.
God's warning is clear - don't quench the Holy Spirit of Almighty God. Listen to God's alarm going off in you. You don't know the trouble this is taking you into. He does. Back away from this door. It takes you where you do not want to end up. You are entering the danger zone.