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
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 = 
+ But Christ points him to the Shema /shaw-mah’/
+ Further = Legitimate way to obtain eternal life =  "This do, and thou shalt live"
+ HOWEVER...What does man always seem to want to do =  = "...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