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Summary: In Ch.1 John established that we have fellowship with the Father through the Son, and we demonstrate the reality of that fellowship: to the world; and to our self (assurance) - by living a holy life. In ch.2 & 3 we enlarged on the idea of the assurance of

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A habit of devout fellowship with God is the spring of all our life, and the strength of it.

+ That should be the goal of our Christian walk

+ And that was our stated reason for starting this series from 1 John

+ [1:3] = Horizontal AND vertical fellowship

+ Both = How to have it = And how to maintain it

In Ch.1 John established that we have fellowship with the Father through the Son

+ And we demonstrate the reality of that fellowship = To the world

+ And our self (assurance) = By living a holy life

+ In Ch.2 & 3 = We enlarged on the idea of the assurance of our fellowship

+ By obeying God’s commands = Namely, loving our God by loving our brothers

+ And by way of comparison and contrast = By not loving the world

And God has been repeating and emphasizing these themes so much that now He seems to

anticipate the natural question which might arise = "Who is my brother?"

+ Now we would NOT be asking this in sense of the lawyer in Luke 10 = His motivation = [25]

+ But Christ points him to the Shema /shaw-mah’/

+ Further = Legitimate way to obtain eternal life = [28] "This do, and thou shalt live"

+ HOWEVER...What does man always seem to want to do = [29] = "...Good Samaritan..."

No, that’s not where we’re coming from

+ First = Our view point is as one already possessing eternal life = "Beloved" & [4a]

+ But also because if we are going to demonstrate our love to God by obeying His command

+ And His greatest commandment involves loving our brother

+ Then we’d better be able to know who are brother is

+ And how to spot those that aren’t our brother

+ And that’s precisely the concern God has in mind

+ "Who is my brother?" = How will I know who I should love?

+ Let’s see how God responds

1 John 4:1= Beloved, believe not every spirit,

+ Judaism especially associated the Spirit of God with prophecy

+ But acknowledged the existence other false prophets inspired by false gods

+ Then = Mystics of various stripes = Jewish & pagan = Claiming special revelation from God

+ We should be able to identify with that concept in 21st-C America

+ Now = Many who name, name of Christ = Claim to be a God-sent pastor / teacher / evangelist

+ They will profess to speak with the authority of "Thus saith the Lord"

+ They will desire to influence others in Spiritual matters

+ The need for discernment was acute then = It is no less so now

And so God says = 4:1 = but try the spirits

+ "dokimazo" /dok-im-ad’-zo/ them = Examine them

+ Let the pastors / elders / mature believers give them a test

4:1 = whether they are of God:

+ If they are, fine = You approve them = Allow them to speak in the church = Bible study = Etc.

+ If they aren’t = You take a play out of John’s 2nd epistle = 2 John 1:7, 10-11

+ Why? = 4:1 = because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

It’s a fairly simple concept = True men of God will be led by the indwelling Holy Spirit

+ And by the Scriptures He inspired = Not so with false teachers = And this is not a new problem

+ => Jer => The rebellion of Korah in Moses day = Jer. 2:5, 9 = 2 Cor. 11:13-14

+ And God tells us that the appearance of false prophets / apostles / teachers will only plague the church worse & worse in the last days = 1 Tim. 4:1-2 = 2 Tim. 4:3-4

+ How much more urgent is it in our day than John’s to be able to discern Truth from fiction, and true teachers from false? = This is how much more urgent = 2 Pet. 2:1-3

And so how vital is it to be led by the Holy Spirit?

+ Only He can with absolute certainty and absolute clarity recognize a seducing spirit

+ But how will we know? = Again, according to the Scriptures He inspired = He tells us = [4:2]

+ Early in 20th-C leaders from every "stripe" of Christianity came together = Problem

+ "Higher criticism" = German rationalism = 19th-C = Great seeds of doubt concerning Bible

+ Began to see this in the fruits of Darwin & evolution = Westcott & Hort & revised Greek text

+ (Really, the "invented" greek text...but...)

+ And so these great men of God and the Word ~ Dr. James Orr, United Free Ch, Scotland ~ Dr. James Gray, Dean, Moody ~ Dr. A.C. Gaebelein, noted NT scholar ~ Dr. B.B. Warfield, Princeton Theo.Sem. ~ Dr. R. A. Torrey, Dean, BIOLA

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