Test # 11 Relationship with Spirits
1 John 4:1 – 7
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for 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 from God,
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them.
We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Our last test dealt with loving our brother. This test also finds its result in loving our brother, but the source of this love is defined by the spirit we know according to John. Our last test dealt with giving to our brother in need.
This test is defining the spirit we listen to.
Let’s consider John’s claim in verse 6. He is from God. The apostles are from God, but of course not in the same manner that Jesus claims He is from God. Jesus taught that He came from God.
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.
Note that John is also describing believers as being from God, in verse 4. The family of God has their beginning and ending in the Triune God.
John is setting a stage, defining that he and the apostles are true prophets and teachers as opposed to those who are described as false prophets in verse 1.
John is also defining two spirits that are preaching and teaching in his day. The apostles of Jesus have a message to be trusted and the false prophets that are in the world have a message, even during John’s time. How much more today!
John has confidence in his message, and the message of the apostles. John is telling believers to test all messages that you lend an ear to. He includes all messages, even his own. He has no fear of failing the test. (Only those who know they are preaching a false message fear the test!)
Test the Spirits.
Check out the source of the message. The spirit that confesses Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh is from God. This is a test for believers to continually perform on those they hear.
Let me tell you a story that comes to mind.
I love attending home Bible studies and during series of studies, that I was a new comer to, the believers exhibited denominational differences that I thought I might learn something from. Was I uncomfortable? Yes.
In my previous teaching, I had taught against the very thing I was witnessing, but I sought to learn and give these folk an opportunity to provide answers to my questions.
I still remember the room we were in when the key message, in my opinion, became crystal clear.
The teacher was addressing the crucifixion and claimed that the “Christ spirit” left Jesus when He hung on the cross.
I sought clarification, and eventually found out they considered Jesus to have the “Christ spirit” during His ministry years only, that is from the baptism up to but not including the crucifixion.
I closed my Bible, stood up, and declared that I cannot accept that teaching. I turned around and left the meeting.
There are multitudinous teachers out there. John is supplying a test for the message we are to adhere to. If you are listening to a message that is not openly teaching the humanity of Christ, run.
Run far away from that spirit and return to the spirit that is from God.
I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post. Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.
Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com