Summary: When the message sounds great, and the proposition sounds as something fantastic, look it all up in God’s Word. The world is anxiously seeking in something to believe; the world is desperately seeking in someone to believe, but we can’t believe everythin
If you remember, last week I briefly spoke to you about a person that had asked me for advice over the Internet, because this person was saying that the Holy Spirit was instructing him to move from his church. Like I explained, I could not understand how this could be, as the Holy Spirit will never lead us away from God’s presence. This was something that I think I was able to firmly establish during last week’s study, but due to the fact that the time that we share is limited, I think that there were some unanswered questions that I would like to address today. This is why today I want us to explore some questions that I am sure many of you have asked yourself at one point or another. And they are questions that we should definitively ask ourselves when thoughts of feelings that appear at first glance to be good; however, that for some reason we still feel a little uneasy about the whole experience. Now comes the big questions, how can we know if God is the one speaking to us? Is it possible to listen to listen to the enemy’s voice by mistake? How can we prove that what we are hearing is correct? These are the questions that we will explore today. Let’s now turn to the Word of God to find the answers.
1 John 4:1-6 - 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. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3and 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. 4You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Like I always say, to have a better understanding of the message that God has for us today, we will need to conduct a brief history review. Although no one can fix an exact date as to when this epistle was written, it is estimated that it was authored before 96 A.D., as this epistle does not contain any reference of the persecution of Christians that took place towards the end of Dominitian’s reign which lasted from 81-96 A.D. The reason why John wrote this epistle is because the apostolic doctrine was being attacked by the proliferation of false teachings. Just like second Peter and Jude, John’s first epistle contains a positive and a negative thrust; the epistle exposes the false teachings and encourages the readers to walk in the knowledge of the truth. John lists the criteria and characteristics of a genuine fellowship with God, and teaches that those abide in Christ may have confidence and security before Him.  Having briefly established the purpose of this epistle, let’s now continue with out study for today.
As I have said on numerous occasions, whether we chose to believe it or not, we are in the middle of a war. And this is something that is clearly stated in Ephesians 6:12 when we read, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The truth of it all is that all of us are right smack in the middle of a war that we can’t see, hear, or touch. But regardless of this, the fact still remains that we are at war and the enemy is fiercely attacking. We are in a war that it is impossible to count the casualties, as we can not use our senses to detect what is happening around us, but just by looking around to what is happening in the world lately, it is not too difficult to see that the looses are vast and keep mounting. I say this because it is not uncommon to see how the majority of people today completely deny God, and others abandon the sound doctrine to follow philosophies, speculations and doctrines of men. We are speaking about people that have chosen to separate themselves from a genuine fellowship with Christ because they have permitted the enemy to whisper in their ears, and they have not been able to discern between God’s voice and that of the powers of darkness. But, is it possible to mistakenly listen to the voice of the enemy? Unfortunately the answer is yes, and this is why here we see that the apostle tells us, “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.” The problem that exists is that many still do not understand the concept of the spiritual war; therefore, allow me to illustrate this entire thing in modern terms so that you will be able to have a better understanding.