Test the Spirits

Scripture: 1 John 4:1, ‘Dear 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.’


Observations: John has just told us that God’s command is that we are ‘to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ. (3:23)’ And now he gives us two further commands, we are not to ‘believe every spirit,’ rather we are to ‘test the spirits.’ When John talks about spirits he isn’t really referring to demons and angels, although demons and angels may be behind it. Rather John is referring to the heart of the message that someone is bringing. Either their message is ‘from God,’ or they are ‘false prophets.’ They either agree with God’s word, as we have in the Bible, or they twist God’s word. John goes on to tell us how to recognize the Spirit of God, ‘every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, (v2)’ whereas every spirit that denies this ‘is the spirit of the antichrist. (v3)’ John wants us to be discerning, don’t just swallow any line we’re fed. Weigh up what people say about Jesus against what the Bible says about Jesus.


Application: Do you believe the Bible? Do you know what the Bible says? Are you able to discern what is biblical and what is false? There are so many false prophets in our world, from scientists who do away with God, to Mormons who add to God’s word, to Jehovah Witnesses who twist God’s words, and countless others who prefer their own version of Jesus than the one God has preserved for us in the pages of Scripture. The only way to protect ourselves from the spirit of the antichrist is to know and live and breathe what the Bible says about Jesus.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You aren’t silent when it comes to telling me about Yourself, or Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have revealed everything I need to know to be saved in Your Word, the Bible. Lord, by Your Spirit grow my knowledge of Jesus and my love for Him. Protect me from the lies of the Evil One, in whatever form they take, especially when they sound so much like the truth. Lord, help me to honour Jesus in every way, and help me defend the truth about Him. In His name and for His glory I pray. Amen.


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