Summary: You cannot believe everything you hear. John gives us some tests we can apply with listening to others.
• SLIDE #1
• Truth is becoming a lost art in our country these days.
• When a person decides to go on a search for truth, a search to find God where do they turn?
• If you are trying to grow in your relationship with Christ, where do you turn, who do you listen to?
• When the critics attack our faith, when the liberal scholars launch another attack on the faith who do we believe?
• When Time Magazine, Newsweek and the other major publications trot out with their annual, “I do not believe the Bible or Jesus” I mean their feature on Jesus issue, who are we to believe?
• How can you tell if a person is telling you the truth or lying to you? Some give it away by their body language, some by the tone of their voice. Sometimes what a person says is so incredible it is hard to believe them.
• How do you tell if a person is giving you the truth concerning spiritual matters? Are we to just be gullible and believe whatever we hear? If a person tells you they are educated, or if they hold a religious sounding title, does that mean they are proclaiming the truth?
• How can we determine if a person is a false prophet or in today’s vernacular, a false teacher?
• Today we are going to look at 1 John 4:1-6. As we study this text this morning I hope what we learn today will help us to be able to determine if a person posses the spirit of truth within them.
• Let’s begin with verse 1!
• SLIDE #2
• 1 John 4:1 (HCSB) — 1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
• SLIDE #3
I. The Logic test.
• The logic test is simple
• One thing that complicates the search for truth is the fact that there appears to be so many different truths out there to believe.
• The problem is, all of these “truths” cannot be true. As bad is it is to say today, someone is wrong no matter how sincere they are.
• So who are you to believe? There are a lot of forces out there trying to lead you astray.
• It defies logic to think that EVERYONE is right and that EVERYONE has truth.
• Who do you believe and why? How about basing belief on evidence?
• A young American engineer named Billy was sent to Ireland by his company to work in a new electronics plant. It was a two-year assignment that he had accepted because it would enable him to earn enough to marry his long-time girlfriend, Irene.
• She had a job near her home in Tennessee, and their plan was to pool their resources and put a down payment on a house when he returned. They corresponded often, but as the lonely weeks went by, Irene began expressing doubts that he was being true to her, exposed as he was to lovely Irish girls.
• Billy wrote back, declaring with some passion that he was paying absolutely no attention to the local girls. “I admit,” he wrote, “that sometimes I’m tempted.
• But I fight it. I’m keeping myself for you.” In the next mail, Billy received a package. It contained a note from Irene and a harmonica. “I’m sending this to you,” she wrote, “so you can learn to play it and have something to take your mind off those girls.”
• Billy replied, “Thanks for the harmonica. I’m practicing on it every night and thinking of you.” At the end of his two-year stint, Billy was transferred back to company headquarters. He took the first plane to Tennessee to be reunited with his girl.
• Her whole family was with her, but as he rushed forward to embrace her, Irene held up a restraining hand and said sternly, “Just hold on there a minute, Billy.
• Before any serious kissin’ and huggin’ gets started here, let me hear you play that harmonica!”
• There are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there. It is up to us to test the spirits. The literal reading of the verse is “STOP BELIEVING EVERY SPIRIT. We would say do not be so gullible.
• All claims were to be put to the test and the teachers were not to be trusted until they passed the test.
• The young lady in the story wanted to test the spirits before she took the leap! She wanted to make sure her man passed the test!
• When this passage speaks of testing spirits, is speaks false teachers and the spirit behind their teaching.