Summary: Ask why in today’s world. Make sure what you see and hear is part of what God wants. If it isn’t, don’t have anything to do with it. The Holy Spirit was given to help us with this. We can pass the test with Him.
How many of you really take what the news says at face value? I don’t know about you but I don’t trust the news people any further than I can throw them. Something always seems fishy to me about how they report certain events and how they twist the angle of the news to suit their purpose. If they want to support one candidate and not another, they can do so by tweaking how they report the campaigns. If they want you to believe someone is guilty, they will play them off as a scapegoat and criminalize them regardless of the truth and validity of the evidence. I still wonder whether Timothy McVeigh actually bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma City or not because every news story criminalized him without provocation. They had no proof and yet he was already guilty. Now, I don’t want to become a conspiracy theorist but humans in general have been given the capability of doubting and questioning for a reason. God didn’t want us to just accept everything thrown at us like ignorant fools. He gave us minds to use them.
Do you realize it’s ok to ask why? It’s ok to ask why something happens. Gideon questioned God several times before he followed him. Gideon asked God to make a piece of fleece wet and the ground dry and then he had God do the opposite. Gideon questioned and God did not destroy him. God actually encourages us to analyze and study why and how the world around us works. Look at the wisdom of Solomon. Solomon told the sluggard (lazy person) that they should observe the ant and see how hard working it is. God gave Solomon wisdom and yet I wonder if that wisdom stems from analyzing the world around him. Solomon looked at every day items, animals, etc and brought out God’s wonderful design from them. God encourages us to study our world and come to our own conclusions because He is sure that we will find Him in the end. If we can question the news and the world around us, shouldn’t we also question the “religious” teachings we get. If you listen to Christian radio, you can hear all kinds of teachings about everything from sins to the end of time. New books are published daily on the subjects contained within the Bible.
Today, in the book of 1 John, we get a warning and encouragement. He warns us that many have turned away from God and now they teach false ideas. They have given up God for their own twisted ways of thinking and living. Turn to chapter 4 of the book of 1 John and we will cover just the first 6 verses. John tells these Christians that they have some spiritual testing to undergo. John will not always be there to help them and watch them and so they need to take some instruction on how to handle this information. We, today, are pounded by massive amounts of information each and every day. We must know how to handle ourselves in the midst of so many “religious” views. You must learn to handle spiritual tests. You can’t always come to me or the elders. We won’t always be around to answer. John outlines four ideas we should know before we handle the test. 1) we have a built in tutor, 2) a very disturbing enemy, 3) a simple struggle, 4) and finally that the results will be very obvious. Fellowship with Christ means we have to be discerning. Not everyone who says they speak about Christ, really do. You must learn to be ready. Let’s look at how.
A Built in Tutor (3:24b)
“We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”
Fellowship means sharing life and part of that life belongs to the Holy Spirit. John tells the Christians that they can know that Christ lives with them because Christ gave the Holy Spirit to them. Christ promised His disciples that once he had died and sat down at God’s right hand in heaven that he would send someone else in His place to help mankind. Jesus says that he will send a helper in at least four locations in Scripture such as John 14:16 which says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.” John 14:26 identifies this helper as the Holy Spirit: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” This helper, the Holy Spirit, is called a seal of our salvation. If anyone has the Holy Spirit, they are a part of God’s kingdom. A person receives the Holy Spirit when they are baptized according to Acts 2:38. There are two types of receptions of the Holy Spirit: 1) which includes miraculous gifts and 2) which only means that the Holy Spirit lives in us. The first form has passed away but even today we receive the Holy Spirit when baptized. We cannot go through everything about the Holy Spirit but this should give you a good base. The Holy Spirit was sent by God to live in us and help us live more holy lives.