Open your bibles to 1 John 4:1-6 or read below…
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the “spirit” of the Anti-Christ, which you have heard is was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is GREATER than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.“
Lessons we learn from this scripture:
- We need to be careful when we become students of students instead of students of the Master. What do I mean by that? We have to be careful that the “Christian” books we read, the devotions, the social media posts line up with God’s word. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a good morning devotional to inspire and encourage you and get your day started. But it should never take the place of opening your bible and digging in to learn and know the truth.
- I was following what appeared to be a “Christian group” on FB that has many, many followers. But the post I read the other day was in direct contradiction with the bible. Not subtly – but blatantly. I removed myself from “following” that group. But my heart hurts for those who won’t take the time to dig and instead, fall right into these false ideas.
- False teachers are popular because, like false prophets in the Old Testament, they will tell people what they want to hear. John warns that when you are speaking truth, you likely won’t win any popularity contests in the world. People don’t want to hear about their sins not being pleasing to God. They don’t want to hear that in order to follow God they need to change some behaviors. A false teacher will be well received by non-Christians who want something to believe in, but don’t want to live righteous.
- “Do not believe every spirit but test the spirits” means that we shouldn’t believe everything we hear just because someone says it is a message from God. There are many ways to test teachers to see if their message is truly from the Lord. The first and most important is to check what they are saying vs. what the bible says. There are a lot of people out there saying “Jesus loves me and I can continue to live in sin and do whatever I want because he loves me! The bible says he loves me!” Yes, the bible does say he loves us – even while we were sinners Christ died for us – BUT- the rest of the bible is full of scripture that points the Christian to come out from the world, and live righteous lives. We will sin from time to time, none of us are perfect. But when we sin, we have an advocate in Jesus who goes to God on our behalf. But we should never believe that once we are baptized into Christ, and have put on Christ, that we can continue to live in sin with no desire or progress toward change.
- Other ways to “test the spirits” is to look at their commitment to the body of believers. Many false teachings come from those who distance themselves from other Christians. We can also tell by their “lifestyles” we see in 1 John 3:23, 24 – “And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” to believe in Christ is to pattern your life after his and become more like him. If we are living like Christ, we will “Love one Another”.
- The “spirit” of the Anti-Christ is already here. All we have to do is look around and you will see it. Perversion is no longer hidden in darkness but paraded in the light as it is embraced by the very positions of leadership that should be speaking out against it. Pedophilia is rampant and there are efforts to normalize it. The bible, the pledge of allegiance, prayer – all the foundations of Faith this country was founded on – have been stripped from our children and replaced with strategic lessons aimed to confuse this generation. Children are handed electronics that give them instant access to pornography that will have deep and lasting effects on their brains and relationships. If you love Jesus and love others but call sin what it is, you are labeled intolerant and hateful. The bible says in the end days people will call evil good, and good evil. Tell me we are not watching that play out before our very eyes. BUT…. verse 4 goes on to remind us that while we have to live in this world – we do not have to be afraid! While evil is strong – John assures us that God is even stronger! He WILL conquer all evil – and his Spirit and his Word live in our hearts! Therefore, we can conquer evil in our lives as well!
- Be Truth Seekers! Humans are fallible. Sometimes they mis-speak with ill intentions designed to mislead. And other times they mis-speak unintentionally from a mere lack of knowledge. Always bounce something that doesn’t sit right with you, off the Word of God to see what HE says. But remember, it’s easy to take one verse of scripture and mold it to fit your needs. The devil did this when he was tempting Jesus! In Matthew Chapter 4 vs. 6 the devil quotes scripture to Jesus! He says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down off this cliff for it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” But Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Taking one verse and making you doubt, mislead and question is the oldest trick of the devil. He even tried it on Jesus! But just like Jesus, we need to know “the rest of the story” to truly understand the heart of God and what He calls truth.
You are joining me on this journey because you are truth seeker. May God bless you as your start the beginning of another week ahead!