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“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 Antichrist, which you have heard 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” (I John 4:1-6).
1. Don’t automatically believe every Christian speaker (v. 1).
2. The purpose of “testing” is to see if they are of God, not to criticize or argue with them.
3. There will be many false teachers (v. 1).
4. Christians know the Spirit of God (v. 2). “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16).
5. You must believe Jesus was virgin born and was truly human (v. 2).
• If a spirit, Jesus couldn’t die.
• If not human, Jesus couldn’t shed His blood for sins.
• If not physical, Jesus couldn’t raise from the dead.
6. The spirit of Anti-Christ is twofold.
• To oppose Christ.
• To take the place of Christ.
7. There has been false teaching from the beginning of the church (v. 3). “There’s nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9).
8. God promises we can be overcomers (v. 4).
9. False teachers get a positive hearing from the world (v. 5).
10. A true Christian is known by his/her love of God and others (v. 7-8).
B. HOW TO TEST THE SPIRITS
1. THE BIBLE TEST: Does their teaching agree with the scriptures. “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily [to find out] whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
2. THE RELATIONSHIP TEST: Do they have a relationship with God the Father? “By this you know the spirit of God” (v. 2). “Jesus said to him . . . ‘No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).
3. THE JESUS TEST: Do they believe Jesus was a man who could die for their sins, and was He God who could raise from the dead? “For [there is]one God and one Mediator between God and men, [the] Man Christ
Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).
4. THE PROOF TEST: Do the false teachers appeal to the world and its ways to prove their point? Or, do they appeal to biblical authority? “They are of the world. Therefore they speak [as] of the world, and the
world hears them” (I John 4:5).
5. THE MONEY TEST: False teachers. “Through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (II Peter 2:3, LB).
6. THE MORALITY TEST: Does their lifestyle reflect godly living? They should love God. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (I John 4:8). “Those who turn truth into error because of their fleshly living” (Jude 4, ELT).
7. THE FRUIT TEST: Jesus taught, “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing . . . ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15-16).
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