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Summary: The ministry of the Holy Spirit allows us to hear from God; to discern His voice. Therefore, prayer, meditation, and knowing the voice of Him is critical! Do we know His truth over the noise of everything else competing for our attention?

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Testing the Spirits

1 John Bible Study, Part 9

1 John 4:1-6

Introduction

- John gives us an incredible truth to hold onto (20)

-- We will fail, even though we desire to be holy and to live right for God

-- However, even in that, God knows our heart and knows everything we are

-- Even in our failings, He still accepts us and rejoices that we are His

- Why? We are created in His image; born to serve and exalt Him in everything

-- He knows that we believe in Christ; that our desire is to love Him always

-- Therefore, our heart is not the final standard … God is! (21)

- Our command therefore for living rightly is simple (23)

-- Believe in Jesus Christ and love one another as He has commanded

- Today, we are going to examine the importance of knowing what you know

- Read 1 John 4:1-6 / Pray

∆ Point 1 – Testing the Spirit

- It’s important that we not just believe/accept everything that comes along

-- For example: Just because it’s on television doesn’t mean it’s awesome

-- Consider the amount of diet commercials and solutions offered to us all

-- APP: Does anything really take the place of diet and exercise?

- The same application can be made when it comes to spiritual matters

- John’s mention of “spirits” can be interpreted in three ways:

1) The spirit behind the prophet speaking (there are false spirits sent to deceive)

2) The prophet himself (spirit is a figure of speech)

3) The message being relayed (another use of spirit as a figure of speech)

- While all three are possible, the focus is the same for us to consider

-- Each says: Don’t automatically believe it just b/c someone says it’s true

- What we must listen carefully for is simple: How do they treat Jesus?

- Do they treat the Gospel with reverence and respect; drawing others to Him?

-- Or, is it about what the Gospel can do for them; ex: How can we benefit?

-- IMP: True, the Gospel benefits us, but God is not playing “let’s make a deal”

- False prophets routinely deny that Jesus is the Messiah; or the Son of God

-- It is an IMMEDIATE litmus test of what their message is placed on

-- However, be prepared with the follow-up question as well!

Ex: JW approached me to chat, so after he talked I asked him:

Who is Jesus Christ to you?

His answer was, “Well, He is the Son of God” (hooked …)

I asked the follow-up: “Is there any other way to Heaven but by His salvation?”

He stumbled for some time trying to remember is training

Eventually got out … “God provides us all a way to get to Heaven”

- Did he answer the question? Nope! He failed the litmus test!

-- John is encouraging the believers to do the very same thing in this letter

- Re-read v2 – v3 …

- If they cannot identify who Jesus is, and what His authority is … they fail

-- They are the spirit of the anti-Christ; one who is against God’s word

- The bible never said that Jesus was a “nice guy” … but Lord of all

-- Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?”

- For us, there can be no test greater than how we handle the word of God

-- It is where our promise is; and where we must be prepared to lead others to

- TRANS: So if we understand the test … what’s next?

∆ Point 2 – John’s Lasting Encouragement

- John’s following statements then gives us encouragement to stand firm

-- We are from God … we have already overcome the anti-Christs in the world

- John’s reminder is that the church is already won the victory

-- Jesus is greater than anything that is in this world (v4); and He is in US!

-- APP: There can be no other certainty that Christians need today than this!

- We have resisted the urge of false teachings; stood firm on what Christ declared

-- It’s when we start trying to do it ourselves that we falter and veer off course

- Who is within us?

-- Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”

- Who is in the world?

-- 1 John 5:19, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

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