Summary: Sermon Series on 1 John

Series: 1 John

Week: 16

Passage: 1 John 4:1-6

Title: How we Overcome the World

Focus: Brotherly Love

INTRODUCTION: So far in this epistle, John has given us five answers to questions that all Christians ask:

1. Question: What should be my relationship be with God?

1 John 1:6 “If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”


2. Question: What should be my relationship be with Jesus?

1 John 2:4 “Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”


1. Question: What should be my relationship be with the things in the world?

1 John 2:15 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.”


1. Question: What should be my relationship be sin?

1 John 3:4-5 “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.”


1. Question: What should be my relationship be with my church family?

1 John 3:11 “We should love one another.”


Now a new question is asked of the believers. Question: What should be my relationship be with the spirits?

SCRIPTURE: “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 John 4:1-6

TITLE: How we overcome the World (1 John 4:1-6)

POINT 1: Test the Spirits (1 John 4:1)

o Explanation: John starts his answer by telling the people that they should “not believe every spirit” or everyone who claims to be from God. This to John would be foolishness. To believe anyone who says he or she is of God would do two things to the church:

1. Put us in a constant state of confusion

2. Misled people by teaching false doctrine (i.e. a state of confusion)

o John continues on in his statement by telling the people that they must “test the spirits” to see “whether they are of God”.

• “Test” Defined: To examine, prove scrutinize or to see whether a thing is genuine or not. same word Paul uses in speaking of the examination of candidates for deacons in 1 Tim 3:10, “10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless.”

• Believer Implications: We cannot simply accept what some teacher or preacher is saying, we must examine what is being taught through a biblical lens.

o Illustration: I heard (insert preacher) on the radio and he has millions of people listening to him so therefore he must be right in what he says.

o Earthly Examples: Christian Books and Bible Studies when elaborates for a while on a theme that is not tied to scripture.

o Biblical Examples: Those who study scripture as one communicates are highly celebrated in the Scriptures.

• The Berean Jews: “The Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

1. The Ephesians: “You have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” - Revelation 2:2

o Application: John said to test the spirits to see whether they are of God BECAUSE MANY false prophets have gone out into the World. Many people warned us of this in biblical times…

1. Jesus tells us to “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15

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