Sermons

Summary: John

FAKE NEWS AND TRUE LOVE (1 JOHN 4)

Have you heard of the term “fake news,” which was popularized by Donald Trump in 2016 to describe the negative press coverage of himself. Fake news (also known as junk news, pseudo-news, or hoax news) is a type of propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media (print and broadcast) or online social media. An analysis by BuzzFeed found that the top 20 fake news stories about the 2016 U.S. presidential election received more engagement on Facebook than the top 20 election stories from 19 major media outlets. According to Craig McClain, over 66% of Facebook users obtain news from the site. Research from Northwestern University concluded that 30% of all fake news traffic, as opposed to only 8% of real news traffic, could be linked back to Facebook. (Wikipedia: Fake news)

A 2019 study by researchers at Princeton and New York University found that a person's likelihood of sharing fake-news articles correlated more strongly with age than it did education, sex, or political views. 11% of users older than 65 shared an article consistent with the study's definition of fake news. Just 3% of users ages 18 to 29 did the same. Additionally, 23% of those polled admitted they had personally shared fake news, whether knowingly or not. A situation study by The New York Times shows how a tweet by a person with no more than 40 followers went viral and was shared 16,000 times on Twitter. A June 2018 poll by Axios and Survey Monkey found that 72% of Americans believe "traditional news outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories at least sometimes. (Wikipedia: Fake news)

The early church had her fair share of fake news and false doctrine from cults such as Gnostics. Gnosis refers to knowledge base don personal experience or perception. Wikipedia notes: “In a religious context, gnosis is mystical or esoteric knowledge based on direct participation with the divine (Wikipedia: Gnostics).” The Gnostics had a dichotomy of life. They favored the spiritual experience with God versus the daily grind of life. To them, matter or the flesh is evil, and spirit is good. Gnosis or spiritual knowledge by direct experience Their spirituality is somewhat like Christian spirituality today, spirituality without Christ.

Be Assured of Victory

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 1-6

This has been said about “The Devil’s Math”:

1. He ADDS extra biblical sources of authority.

2. He SUBTRACTS from the person and work of Christ.

3. He MULTIPLIES the requirements for salvation.

4. He DIVIDES your loyalty from God and Christ by emphasizing the importance of another “religious figure.”

Here is how our faith has changed, from my viewpoint:

Christ + Pentateuch

Christ + Papacy

Christ + Psychology

Christ + Positivity

Christ + Prosperity

Christ + Popularity

Christ + Professionalism

Christ + Patriotism

Christ + Progressivism

Christ + Pluralism

Christ + Pragmatism

The devil works in three ways: deny Christ, discredit truth or dilute the gospel. The imperative “believe” occurs 16 times in the Bible, of which only three of the 16 times are “believe not,” including Mark 13:21 (If any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not) and John 10:37 (If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not), so the negative warning “believe not” is meant for false Christ and disobedient).

The verb “test” (dokimazo) in verse 1 is translated as discern (Luke 12:56), prove (Luke 14:19), approve (Rom 2:18), allow (Rom 14:22), try (1 Cor 3:13) and examine (1 Cor 11:28).

What is the litmus test of orthodoxy and authenticity?

Believe not every spirit Test the Spirits

Spirit of God (v 2) Spirits (v 1)

Acknowledges Jesus Christ antichrist

Of God (v 4) Of the world (v 5)

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