Summary: John instructs us to test the teachers and the preachers to see if what they are teaching and preaching is genuine. We can also tell if our faith is genuine by what we believe.

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1 John 4:1-6 (NLT)

Intro: In 1848, James Marshall was the first man to discover gold in California. After his discovery, thousands flocked to the area around San Francisco and they became known as the forty-niners. When they heard or used the term Eureka, it meant riches beyond their wildest dreams. It is a Greek word that’s means I Have found it. They found out quickly though that all that glitters is not gold.

. The rivers and rocks around the area were filled with golden specks that resembled Gold but in essence it was not. Thus the term fool’s gold was born. It was iron pyrite and while it looked like gold, it was worthless.

. While sometimes the miners could distinguish the fools gold from the real gold, they could not do it consistently. Tghey developed two ways to test the gold there in the streams and mines.

. The first test was the bite test. They would literally take the rock and bite it. Gold was much softer than the fool’s gold and you could actually leave your teeth prints in the gold. I’m sure you have seen the old westerns on TV where people bite the gold or gold coin.

They were checking to see if it was authentic.

. The second test was the scrape test. The miners would find a white rock of some kind and they would scrape the metal across the rock. True gold would leave a yellow streak whereas fool’s gold would leave a greenish black streak on the rock.

. After the miner had preformed these tests, and was sure that he had actually found gold, you could hear them yelling through the mountains and hills of California.


. Christians find themselves with the same issue as the miners spiritually.

. We hear many doctrines and religious teachings in our world and many of them differ from each other.

. Just because a preacher or someone claiming to speak for God says something, that does not necessarily make it true.

. I have long postulated that we preachers have done as much damage to the faith as we have helped bring people to faith.

. We preach and speak out of ignorance of scripture. We add our own bias’s and many add rules and regulations to salvation.

. If you don’t walk like me and talk like me and live exactly by the rules and regulations that I lay down, then you are not saved.

You and I, as people of God, should be like the miners and test everything that we are told about God.

. The prospectors would cry out Eureka only after they were sure that what they had was genuine.

. Christians Need to test what they are being taught, not by what they have heard from other people or pastors but by what God’s word has to say.

. Let’s read our scripture. 1John 4:1-6

1Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

2This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God.

3But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.

4But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

5Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them.

6But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.

. The first thing we see here is that we should not believe everything we hear or read.

. We should test for false teaching.

. Look at verse 1 again

1Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.

Look at how the Bible translation “the message” translates this verse.

1 My dear friends, don't believe everything you hear. Carefully weigh and examine what people tell you. Not everyone who talks about God comes from God. There are a lot of lying preachers loose in the world.

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