Summary: EASTER 6(B) - Dear friends, believers, are to test the spirits in order to recognize the Spirit of God and then listen to the Spirit of God.
DEAR FRIENDS…TEST THE SPIRITS (Outline)
1 JOHN 4:1-11 - May 1, 2005 - EASTER 6
INTRO: Today’s text talks about tests. As believers we are to put those entrusted with the message of salvation to the test. The message from God that men proclaim is to be just that – God’s message. The only way to know the difference between the message of God and the message of men is to test the truth of the words written, spoken, taught. Paul encouraged the believers in the region of Thessalonica to re-main faithful until the Lord’s coming on Judgment Day. This message from God is still very fitting to-day. "Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil"(1 THESSALONIANS 5:21,22). It is this same message that John emphasizes in God’s word from today’s text.
DEAR FRIENDS…TEST THE SPIRITS.
I. Recognize the Spirit of God and
II. Listen to the Spirit of God.
I. RECOGNIZE THE SPIRIT OF GOD
A. Under divine inspiration, John wrote this letter to defend the believer against heresy, false teaching.
1. The heresy of the day taught that knowledge was god. In v. 1 John says to test the teachings.
2. Only the true teachings of God are valuable. There is an easy test described in verse 2.
B. Those teaching of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were teaching God’s divine wisdom.
1. V. 3 warns about those against Christ and his church. Their own government opposed Christ.
2. False teachers, the government stood in great opposition to this church of new believers.
C. Verse 4 reminded the believers God was greater than any of their enemies. God was with them.
1. The worldly are going to listen to the worldly. Verse 5. Believers have God’s word.
2. Verse 6. Purely by grace believers recognize God’s Spirit in God’s divine word of truth.
D. Today our government does not openly stand opposed to our worship and following Christ. We are blessed to have the great freedom of religion. Still, there are those oppose God’s word and Spirit more in other ways. Jesus warns of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). The false prophet does not come out openly and say he is a false prophet. Rather, false teachings creep in because people like to hear good things. Not many like to hear about sin. We do not particularly enjoy being re-minded of our own wickedness, rebellion, and sin. Until we see our own sinfulness we cannot appreciate God’s gospel of forgiveness. Worse than leaving out some Scriptural truths, some false teachers and prophets add their own teachings. "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them" (2 PETER 2:1). Dear friends, test the spirits.
E. The world around us tries to distract us from listening to the Lord. The devil and our own sinful flesh would often mislead us into trusting in ourselves and forgetting the importance of God’s salvation. These temptations are always present. Many try to ignore these temptations. Worse – so many in this world have made a heaven here on earth that eternal life seems to have little relevance at all. We, too, at times are so caught up in living in this world that our attention may be drawn away from seeking first God’s kingdom. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to de-struction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it"(MATTHEW 7:13,14). Dear friends, test the spirits.
F. Thankfully the Lord God almighty does not leave us on our own. We are given the weapons of God himself to defend against those who are against Christ. In the last chapter of Ephesians, Paul describes the weapons every believer is given to defeat the false spirits in this world. "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the hel-met of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God"(EPHESIANS 6:16,17).
TRANS: DEAR FRIENDS…TEST THE SPIRITS. Recognize the Spirit of God.
II. LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD.
A. The wisdom of the world was not the god that believers needed. Worldly wisdom opposed Christ.
1. Worldly wisdom was only concerned about selfishness and self-love.
2. Not so with the wisdom of God! Verse 9 describes God’s sacrificial love for his church
B. This sacrificial love of God is the basis of Christian love – for God and for one another.
1. God’s love was first shown to the world that the world would know what love is. Verse 10.