1 John 4:1-6 Discern The Truth

by | Oct 5, 2023 | 1 John, New Testament

I. Don’t Believe Everything, But Be Discerning V. 1-3

A. Don’t Believe Every Spirit

1. Do not believe every spirit- Literally, stop believing every spirit. (Visiting teachers)
2. There always have been and will continue to be false prophets, false teachers, false worldviews about God, life, humanity, eternity, etc.
3. They were to not be childish or accommodating in believing everything they were told
4. Truth re. God is not relative. There is absolute truth about God, & there are those who are sincere, but sincerely wrong regarding God, life, & humanity.
5. There is much at stake when one is wrong about God, life, & humanity.

a. Quality of life: Sobriety, sexuality, family, marriage, death of loved ones, illness.
b. Eternal destiny: Heaven or Hell. Eternity with or w/o God.

6. There is a sentiment that permeates our culture that says we should accept every belief and never disagree with anyone about anything spiritual.

a. Nowhere could that be more wrong than in the area of spirituality.
b. Most people disagree on sports, politics, etc. but take little or no stand on God.
c. Having one’s own opinion doesn’t mean we are to be mean spirited or unlovingly aggressive; but accepting all views re. God is foolish and dangerous.

B. Test The Spirits

1. There are many false prophets, false spokespersons, false philosophies among us.
2. How do we test the Spirits?

a. In John’s day, the main heresy was called Gnosticism, which denies the humanity and physicality of Jesus.

i. They claimed that Jesus wasn’t a man, but just a spirit
ii. Why does that matter? Isn’t it enough that Jesus taught, healed, loved?
iii. NO! A phantom can’t die for your sins. A sacrifice was needed for your sins, and a ghost could not have offered itself as a payment for your sins.

b. They were to test the spirits thru the discovery of one’s opinion about Jesus.
c. Not to discount spiritual discernment, but this is usually a test via discussion.

i. Many Christians think that “testing the spirits” is some mysterious pursuit.
ii. The most direct way is to ask: What do you believe about Jesus?

C. What Do Others Say About Jesus & Why Does It Matter?

1. The Koran-quote found at http://www.leaderu.com/articles/opinions-about-Jesus.html

a. If Jesus wasn’t crucified as the Bible says, then we can’t believe the Bible, nor are we saved, for Jesus was not made a sacrifice for our sins.
b. Muslims do speak of Jesus as a great prophet, but deny His death on a cross.

2. John Lennon-quoted found at http://www.leaderu.com/articles/opinions-about-Jesus.html

a. Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha gave conflicting teachings, not the same teaching

3. The Dalai Lama-quote found at http://www.leaderu.com/articles/opinions-about-Jesus.html

a. Why would Jesus teach conflicting messages?
b. The Dalai Lama’s goal is about us being better people, not saved people.
c. Acc. to DL, we do that transforming work. No mention of sin or redemption.

II. The Spirit Of Antichrist Vs. 2 & 3

A. The “Us & Them” Factor

1. People are spiritual beings. We are all influenced by an unseen spiritual world.
2. There is God, and there is Satan. Truth & Lies; Light & Darkness.
3. Most Christians I know HATE the idea of “us & them”, but that is what the Bible says.
4. There are 2 groups in the world: Those influence by God, & those influenced by Satan
5. What group one is in is revealed by what they think about Jesus.

B. The Spirit Of Antichrist V. 3

1. The specific test for John’s readers was re. Gnosticism
2. They were influenced by the spirit of antichrist.
3. Anti- opposed to, against, or instead of, i.e. substitute or replacement.

a. Speaks of a spiritual influence against the person of Jesus.
b. Speaks of a person in whom the fullness of this Spirit eventually possesses.
c. That “spirit” has existed throughout all human history, starting in Eden.

4. The Antichrist is spoken about in 2 Thessalonians 2.

III. Additional Distinctions Between “Us & Them” Vs. 4-6

A. The Overcoming V. 4

1. This speaks of the fact that these Christians had not been fooled by this heresy.
2. They had not been deceived by the spirit of antichrist, but had spiritual insight.

B. Of This World, Or Of God? Vs. 5, 6

1. There are two groups: those of the world, and those in whom God dwells

a. Unbelievers speak worldspeak. They only understand worldspeak.
b. They have an unbiblical & distorted view of God, life, & humanity
c. They listen to each other, b/c they all have the same origin & source. (See 3:10)
d. This has nothing to do with intellect, education, intentions, etc.

i. They are blinded both by choice & by default (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4)

e. It is a spiritual separation & distinction.

i. John calls it a spirit of truth vs. a spirit of error. (See 1 Cor. 1:18-25; 2:12-16)

2. The Christian’s ability to have true spiritual understanding has nothing to do with the Christian’s natural abilities. It exists because of the indwelling Holy Spirit
3. Those in whom “He” dwells.

a. “He” (Jesus) is greater than the “one” who is influencing the world.
b. Satan is currently the prince of this world.
c. Ultimately, he will be defeated and his power broken, and he shall be cast away.

4. If you are a Christian who walks with God and has Biblical understanding of God and life, you will discover that other like Christians will understand you.

a. The degree to which you read/understand the Bible will bring understanding
b. The degree to which you commit your heart to God will bring understanding
c. The degree to which you walk in the Spirit will bring understanding