Summary: One way to know God's will for your life is to believe His word.
June 27, 2010
Text: 1 John 4:1-7
Subject: Testing the Spirits
Title: Understanding God’s Will for Your Life
You have heard me talk in the past about George Mueller – a great man of faith from the nineteenth century.
George Mueller was a man who knew the word of God, trusted the word of God and acted on the word of God.
He knew that knowing God’s will was the key to living an effective life for God and this is how he began each day to ascertain God’s will:
1. I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. This is the trouble with most people. Most of our difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do God’s will, whatever it might be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.
2. Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.
3. I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.
4. Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.
5. I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me.
6. Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
I want to share with you today how you can know God’s will for your life.
Read 1 John 4:1-7.
Lord, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear what the spirit is saying to the church.
I. FALSE PROPHETS IN THE WORLD… 1Dear 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. Let’s begin by doing a word study on some of the words in this first verse. Spirit – pmeuma - a current of air, breath, or a breeze… depending on the context this can refer to wind, or a spirit (not from God), the human spirit, or the Holy Spirit. In the context in our passage it may have a duel meaning. 1) a wind as in a wind of doctrine. Ephesians 4 tells us that this is the reason Jesus has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to the church… 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming… I got a message on Facebook the other day from a friend who I am guessing had forwarded a link to my sermons to another website and this other website proceeded to accuse me of non - biblical teaching. The truth is that I am very secure in the things I teach from the bible because I know they are just that – from the bible. I don’t have to make anything up. I don’t have to make it sound good. I don’t have to add anything to it. 2) Breath…something spoken under inspiration… For many, this may be a word spoken from the natural man from the natural man perspective. It stems from his surrounds and from his common experience or circumstances. Though it is from the natural man it often has its root in demonic influence. Paul wrote to Timothy about those kinds of teachers. 1 Timothy 4:1-2, 1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3) The Holy Spirit…there is a great difference between a word that is spoken under the influence of a demon, from self or the psuche (human nature) and the Holy Spirit. What is from the Holy Spirit will always line up with the word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 16All Scripture is God-breathed (given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Now look at eh words false prophets. In the Greek the word is pseudopropheôteôs. It is a compound word. The first part, pseudo means, untrue, erroneous, deceitful or wicked. The second part is obvious – propheoteos – a foreteller or an inspired speaker. When you put them together you get the idea of a pretended foreteller or a religious imposter. Many false prophets have gone out into the world…and they are still here today. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but 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. Look at verse 2, Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God… True teaching and true prophets will represent a true Jesus. So many of our world religions recognize Jesus as a real person. The Gnostics of the early church believed that because God is spirit that there was no way that He would come to earth and become something that was less than perfect. Others believed that Jesus was only a spirit that appeared to be a man. Even today religions like the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons deny that Jesus was really God in the flesh. The Muslims believe that Jesus was a holy man but not God. Hindus believe that Jesus was an incarnation of God but not virgin born. Still others believe that Jesus didn’t really die, didn’t really rise from the dead, didn’t really ascend into heaven… All of these are holding to beliefs that John says in verse 3, does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. And then he says, This is the spirit of the antichrist… Anti-Christ… against Christ. Every person who denies the Christ of the bible is under the influence of the antichrist.