Summary: We are called to test the spirits, we cannot blindly follow every teacher.
• 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 come out with their “I do not believe the Bible or Jesus” I mean their feature on Jesus issue, who are we to believe?
• One of the things that complicates a persons 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.
• Who are we to believe? There are a lot of forces out there trying to lead you astray.
• 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 we are going to learn some things about the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. I hope what we learn today will help us to be able to determine if a person posses the spirit of truth within them.
• SLIDE #2,#3,#4
• Let’s read 1 John 4:1-6 together this morning.
I. YOU CANNOT BELIEVE EVERYONE! (1)
1. We are to test the spirits.
• 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 lasses. 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. John’s use of “beloved” may suggest the readers were gullible. The literal reading of the verse is “STOP BELIEVING EVERY SPIRIT.
• 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.
• Everyone can get things wrong but some are bent on perverting the truth.
• We need to test the spirits before we just accept them at face value because; CLICK #6
2. Some are from God and some are from Satan.
• Not everything we hear is from God, some of it; a lot of it is a lie from the Devil himself! SLIDE #7