6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Test the Spirits


Dr Charles Swindoll…The world system is committed to at least four major objectives, which I can summarize in four words: fortune, fame, power, and pleasure.

1. First and foremost: Fortune, money. The world system is driven by money; it feeds on materialism.

2. Fame. That is another word for popularity. Fame is the longing to be known, to be somebody in someone else's eyes.

3. Power. This is having influence, maintaining control over individuals or groups or companies or whatever. It is the desire to manipulate and maneuver others to do something for one's own benefit.

4. Pleasure. At its basic level, pleasure has to do with fulfilling one's sensual desires. It's the same mindset that's behind the slogan: "If it feels good, do it."

Jesus told us over and over NOT to buy into the world’s lies for He has overcome the world.

Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p.219.

Thesis: We Are In A Spiritual Battle And If We Are To Prevail, We Must Do So On The Spiritual Plane!

I. Testing The Spirits 1

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

A. John Calls Believers To Caution

1. Caution is the word for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2. Notice some things that jump off the page at us…

a. Beloved…

i. John’s heart is once again revealed!

ii. John’s love is once again revealed!

b. Believe

i. John says, “do not believe every spirit…”

ii. Why? Many false prophets have gone out into the world.

a. Wait a minute, Bro David, are we talking about SPIRITS or PROPHETS?

b. That is a good question and deserves a good answer.

1. Even though the underlying Greek word here is pneuma, we can easily translate John’s meaning by the last phrase in verse 1 as

because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

—1John 4.1c

2. We are dealing with false prophets

c. Antichrist

1. It is interesting that in the original language of the Bible, the false prophets are called pseudo-prophets.

2. It is even more interesting that the word antichrist in the original language of the Bible is a transliteration

a. The Greek letters are kept in their same arrangement and moved into English.

b. A new word was formed in English and becomes a cognate.

c. A word that sounds the same and means the same in both languages.

i. John used the word antichrist to refer to both the pseudo-prophets and to the world.

ii. Neither operate for the benefit of the church or for true believers.

c. World 3

i. The word cosmos is here translated “world”

ii. The word world can have a variety of meanings, but here are the two I think John was shooting for.

a. The ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

b. The whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

B. John Calls Believers To Scrutiny—How Do I Test The Spirits?

1. Real prophets confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God,

—1John 4:2

2. False prophets deny that

3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

—1John 4:3

a. They do not have the Spirit of God.

b. This denial is the real spirit of antichrist.

3. Real prophet have the Spirit of God—not the spirit of this world.

4. Real professors have the Spirit of God

a. Gladly hear his prophets

b. Gladly do the will of the Father.

C. Application To The Church

1. True prophets

a. ? Billy Graham

b. ? David Jeremiah

c. ? Charles Stanley

d. ? Max Lucado

e. ? Tony Evans

f. ? Chuck Swindol

2. False prophets

a. ? Crefelo Dollar

b. ? Benny Hinn

c. ? Oral Roberts

d. ? Robert Schuller

e. ? Jim Bakker

f. ? Jimmy Swaggert

II. Overcome The Spirits 3

A. You Have Overcome Them

1. Because YOU are of GOD

2. Because God is greater than the Spirits

B. You Have Defeated Them (You Recognize Them)

1. Because they are of the world, not of Christ

2. Therefore they speak as of the world

a. There is a problem when

i. We look like the world

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