Summary: message 21 from 1 John continuing the discussion of discerning error from Message 20.

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Discerning Truth & Error Pt 2

1John 4:1-6




The logic of John’s letter is really quite simple.

God is light (pure) and God is love (passionate).

Because of His great love, He invited us into His community or family.

Because of His purity He had to send Jesus to restore life and bear sin.

As children of the God of light and love we are encouraged and enabled to live purely and love passionately.


Last week we extracted some basic principles concerning false teachers and prophets from chapter 4 of John’s first letter.

1. Actively test the origin of every teaching

Beloved, stop believing every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

John’s readers had been indiscriminately accepting everyone who claimed to speak for God. He reminded them to be careful because false prophets are already in the world. Peter reminded his readers that false prophets have been in the world since Old Testament times and would increase in the latter days. It is necessary to carefully evaluate teachers, their teaching and the spirit who motivates them.

2. The Holy Spirit always affirms the person and work of Christ. 4:2

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God

The Scripture teaches that Jesus was, is and will forever maintain His full and complete humanity alongside His full and complete divinity. Anyone claiming to speak by the Holy Spirit will always affirm and embrace the truth of Christ’s incarnation (deity taking on humanity).

3. The unholy spirit (anti-Christ) resists the person and work of Christ 4:3

and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

This is the flip side. Anyone claiming to speak by the Holy Spirit but denying the incarnate nature of Christ is not. Satan can intellectually acknowledge Jesus but will not embrace Him or affirm His person and work. He is anti-Christ, against Christ. He will let people talk about God but vehemently opposes any teaching concerning the true nature and work of Jesus Christ.

4. God’s children overcome false spirits and teachers by the presence and power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. 4:4

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

How can I avoid deception? How can we ever hope to get victory? John quickly reassures them that they have no reason to fear. They can and already have overcome the attempts of the anti-Christ to disseminate their evil teaching through the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit who indwells them.

5. The world listens to their own who speak from the world 4:5

They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.

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