Summary: How do we know that what we hear is truth or false? We have been told to study the Word, and when we do this, we will learn to discern what is being presented/preached.
In the first three verses we are told not to believe everything we hear. False teachers give words that they don’t want those of the world to be offended by - James 4:3. We are told to have faith, but don’t be gullible. And by all means, verify the message presented with God’s Word.
It may seem ridiculous, but we often get scared by the sin and wickedness that surrounds us. Earthly problems overwhelm us and anxiety creeps in. Granted, alone, this evil world is stronger than we are. John is writing to tell us that God is even stronger than the world. Jesus conquered evil and death when He hung on the cross. As believers, Christ’s Spirit and His Word is in our hearts.
The world loves its own kind and believers are hated by the world. Why is this? It’s because Christian values differ from the world. Christians don’t unite with the world and its sin. We’re not part of the ‘in crowd’. So, it is no wonder that people of the world cling to those similar to themselves. A true Christian lifestyle highlights the immorality of the world because the world does not follow Christ, but the Devil.
False teachers/prophets are loved by the world because they tell the world what they want to hear, and they teach things that are contrary to God’s Word. John warns believers that the world doesn’t think to highly of Christians who follow God faithfully. Sinners don’t want to hear about their wrongdoings. They can’t understand the truth, or they refuse to listen. God’s children should know the voice of God, so test what we hear (read the Scriptures). Remember, it’s not us condemning them but the Holy Spirit condemns them.