Beloved, test the spirits

Light, love and the love of God series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  49:54
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Don’t just believe

The key question has been, is, will always been until Christ’s return, Who is Jesus Christ? How you answer that question is important, more than the words you use, but the faith used in answering.
(Insert: Do-you-believe picture here)
If you were to do a survey of who is Jesus Christ you would hear many answers. What are some of them?
“He is a good example”
“He is a good man”
“He is a wonderful teacher”
“He is a prophet”
“He is the Spirit of God revealed to man”
We know that John was speaking to the Church, Little children, beloved, and we know the church had and believed the truth (1Jn2:20-21, 27)
1 John 2:20–21 NASB95
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:27 NASB95
27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
In John’s day, just like today there were many who walked among them, but then left them for not really of them (2:19, 4:1). There were those who proclaimed special anointing, special knowledge and people needed that. This too is contrary to the truth.
Confessing Jesus Christ is God is good, but not enough for even the demons do that (Mk1:24). The true confession is a heart confession that comes with obedience (Rom10:9-10, Rom22:16)
It is vital to stay to God’s word, the truth of God’s word which has been from the beginning (Jn1:1-3, 14, 1Jn1:1) The Christian life continues as it began “by faith” and “through faith in the bible message.”
John in his epistle has given us some great things to think of that are tests, that are proofs of:
Who God is (1Jn1:5-6)
Who Jesus is (1Jn2:3-4)
Who the world is (1Jn2:15)
About sin (1Jn3:11)
Below just for the outline not to be said, jump below it.
Other scriptures referenced in this section: 1Jn2:19, 4:1; Mk1:24; Rom10:9-10, Act22:16; Jn1:1-3, 14, 1Jn1:1)
The false teachers, prophets want to take people with the truth and convert them to something other than the truth. Them have come among us but are not of us. They are deceptive and dangerous and John gives some good instructions to the church in the message tonight.
So, here is what we have for tonight (Lord willing)
Gleaning from the truth (1Jn4:1-6)
Testing the spirits (1Jn4:1)
The tests of the spirit (1Jn4:1-3, 6)
The comfort to the believers (1Jn4:4-5)

Gleaning from the scripture

I don’t know how many times you have heard the statement “We are simply Christians studying God’s word so we can live God’s Word.” Many, I am confident. So let’s study together, learn what we can learn from it tonight.
1 John 4:1–2 NASB95
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
1 John 4:3–4 NASB95
3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:5–6 NASB95
5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
What sticks out to you in this passage, why?
In (v.1) you see the who, what and why, can you pick them out?
The who John writing to Christian believers; the what is to test every spirit and the why is because there are many false prophets.
When it comes to testing (vv.2-3) what are the tests?
The one who confesses Jesus came in the flesh is of God
The one who does not confess Jesus is not from God
There is a great truth to the believer “little children” found in (v.4) the truth and the reason, what are they?
The truth is we have overcome; and the reason is greater is He who is in us.
Look at (v.6) how do we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error?
One listens, the other does not listen
(Transition) - Testing the spirits that is what John is telling them, warning them to do so not to be deceived. Do you think there is deception that happens today? The tools they used then are some tools we can still use today.

Testing the spirits

(Insert - multimeter picture here)
We can test circuits, we can take tests, but this kind of test has eternal value to it.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could test everything as easy as it is to test a circuit? Testing the spirits, well, we have the tool to do that too, is the Word and it is the confession.
Do not believe every spirit (1Jn4:1, Eph4:14; Act17:11; Rev2:2)
Do not believe everything you hear, or everyone you hear from, not everything, everyone is what they say.
I think it says it very well (Eph4:14) don’t be tossed around
Ephesians 4:14 NASB95
14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
Be a good Berean (Act17:11) search the scriptures to see if it is true
Acts 17:11 NASB95
11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.
Test the spirits whether they are from God
Test: to examine, to prove, to scrutinize (Thayers); to see if something is genuine or not.
So, don’t just believe what some teacher, preacher is saying, examine, test, prove, scrutinize what is being taught.
Test the spirits like the Ephesians did.
Revelation 2:2 NASB95
2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;
Test every spirit for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1Jn4:1; Mt7:15; 2Pt2:1-3; 2Cor11:13-15)
John is not the only one who warned about false prophets, teachers, some other New Testaments
Like Jesus
Matthew 7:15 NASB95
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
(expand) looked good, but on the inside were ravenous
Like Peter
2 Peter 2:1–2 NASB95
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;
2 Peter 2:3 NASB95
3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
(expand) they are secretly introducing destructive heresies, because they look good, sound good many of the truth will be maligned and leave the truth.
Then there is Paul
2 Corinthians 11:13–14 NASB95
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11:15 NASB95
15 Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
(expand) they disguise themselves even as servants of righteousness, as an angel of light.
So, test, examine, prove, scrutinize the teaching, be it in a class, pulpit, couch or table. Whether in person or on T.V., internet or radio, we must test the spirits to see if they are from God.
(Transition) So we know what, we know why, but we have not spoken of how we are to test the spirits and that will be what we do next.

The tests of the spirits

What you believe matters, and what you confess matters. Not only you, but what you believe about what others confess matters.
Do they confess Jesus has come in the flesh (v.2; 2Jn1:7)?
Maybe better put scripture up again.
1 John 4:2–3 The Message
2 Here’s how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ—the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person—comes from God and belongs to God. 3 And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God. This is the spirit of antichrist that you heard was coming. Well, here it is, sooner than we thought!
There was a gnostic like belief at the time, and still prevalent today that Jesus did not come in the flesh.
2 John 7 NASB95
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
These were people who were leading people away, astray from the truth. They were deceivers who still claimed inspiration by the Spirit, but this was not the Holy Spirit but the spirit of Antichrist.
Do they listen to the apostles of Jesus Christ (1Jn4:6; Jn13:20; Act2:42; 1Cor14:37; 2Pt3:15-16)
1 John 4:6 The Message
6 But we come from God and belong to God. Anyone who knows God understands us and listens. The person who has nothing to do with God will, of course, not listen to us. This is another test for telling the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception.
OK, who is the we and the us in (v.6)? OK, bonus questions who is the anyone in (v.6) too?
The “we” and the “us” is the apostles, and the “anyone” is the people who listen to the apostles
What we find here in (v.6) is how we can test, distinguish the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Those who truly know God, the Spirit of truth, listen to the apostles
Those who are not of God will reject the teachings of the apostles.
Does the teaching line up with the apostles teaching?
To receive the apostles teaching was to receive Christs?
John 13:20 NASB95
20 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
You find this true from the Day of Pentecost forward and was a staple of the church.
Acts 2:42 NASB95
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
They understood and accepted the words of the apostles as the commands of the Lord
1 Corinthians 14:37 NASB95
37 If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him recognize that the things which I write to you are the Lord’s commandment.
Even the apostles acknowledged one another as writing inspired scripture
2 Peter 3:15–16 NASB95
15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
(Transition) to summarize this for then, and applicable for now, is those who are of God hear and adhere to the apostles teaching. - - - - now there are a couple of O.T. tests that can but used too, consider these not on your outline.
Deuteronomy 18:21–22 NASB95
21 “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
Someone who claims they are of God, if what they say does not hold true, they are not of the Lord
Deuteronomy 13:1–2 NASB95
1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’
Deuteronomy 13:3–4 NASB95
3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.
If the doctrine being taught is contrary to what God has already said, well, they too are to be rejected just as John said.
(Transition) - - - So the testing, proving, the scrutinizing is apparent, the results are in, and we can have some comfort, some assurance too.

The comfort to the believers

After the warning to test the spirits, John gives some comforting words, some assuring words.
You are of God (1Jn4:4)
1 John 4:4 NASB95
4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
Oh just for fun, need to, want to give you another version
1 John 4:4 The Message
4 My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world.
You are of God for you have listened to the teaching of the apostles
You are of God and you have overcome, have a big victory over the false teachers.
Why? Because the Spirit of truth that is in you is greater!
1 John 4:5 NASB95
5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
The false teachers are from the world, they listen to the world and do as the world does.
They maybe appealing, but they are not true.
This is why John is writing this to
1 John 4:1 NASB95
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Test every spirit!
(Prayer) (Exit)
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