Posted by: missionventureministries | October 17, 2011

1 John 4:1-3, TRYING THE SPIRITS

“Beloved, 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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.”  (1 John 4:1–3).

How can we try the spirits to distinguish between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error?  How can we discern between the doctrines of God and the doctrines of demons? Paul teaches Timothy that: “The Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1–2).

It is the command of God that we do not believe every spirit, but that we try the spirits whether they are of God.

Every Christian, and especially every pastor, has a responsibility to test the spirits of every religious fad or change that attempts to invade the church. This is not an option; it is a commandment. We need to be like the Bereans who “were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

The Apostle Paul wrote frequently of the churches being troubled by certain teachers who had followed after him, imitating his preaching and his gospel in many respects, but adding to it their own particular teachings. The result was often confusion in the churches, and even more, departure from the faith. The Apostle did not hesitate to expose these things as the works of the devil, the father of lies.

He warns us of false teachers with these words: “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve” – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.

Here are some key questions based upon the Word of God that we should ask to determine whether or not a person is a legitimate Christian. They are followed by just a few passages in Scripture that attest to the truth of the answer to each question.

DO YOU BELIEVE: 

  • That Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to Heaven? (John 14:6)
  • In the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ? (Isaiah 7:14)
  • That Jesus is God Almighty? (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-3, 14; 10:33, 1st Timothy 3:16; Colossians 2:9; Revelation 1:8)
  • That Jesus is the Son of God? (John 3:16)
  • That Jesus died upon the cross? (John 19:23; Hebrews 12:2)
  • That Jesus was buried, and rose again physically after three days? (1st Corinthians 15:1-4)
  • That Jesus ascended bodily into heaven after His resurrection? (Acts 1:9)
  • That it is Jesus’ blood which takes our sins away? (Colossians 1:14; 1st John 1:7; Revelation 7:14)
  • In the Godhead (Trinity): God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? (Genesis 1:26, 3:22; 1 Corinthians 8:8; Philippians 2:11; Matthew 28:19-20)
  • That Jesus is a member of the Godhead, equal in every capacity? (Colossians 2:9)
  • That Jesus is perfect, never having sinned even once? (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15)
  • That Jesus existed in preexistent form, before He came to the earth? (John 8:58; Revelation 1:8)
  • In the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ upon the cross, Who died in our place? (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24)
  • That hell is a literal place that burns with fire, to punish all Christ-rejecters? (Matthew 5:29-30; Matthew 10:28; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Revelation 20:11-15)
  • In a literal Heaven, where the saved will go to? (1 Kings 8:30; John 14:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 3:20-21)
  • That Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe? (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16)
  • That Jesus Christ always existed? (Revelation 1:8; John 1:1; Hebrews 7:3)
  • That Christ’s work of atonement is completely finished? (Hebrews 9:26)

The answer to every question above needs to be a confident “YES!” 

Unfortunately the majority of the world’s population DOES NOT pass the above tests. There is MUCH deception today, many false teachers namely antichrists and many liars. The only true way of knowing whether they are of God or not, is to scrutinize their teachings with the Light of God’s Word. 

Remember: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” – Galatians 6:7 and he reaps the consequences of his actions and of what he believes. 

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