Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jesus Don't Wants Us to Believe Every Spirit but to Test Them all (1 John 4:1-3)

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Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here
(1 John 4:1-3, NLT).

We know that the Holy Spirit is from God. And, since the times the Bible was written, some people claim that they alone can show God’s Spirit. The Apostle John here was writing to people who were dazzled by the unusual and the spectacular. They were misled by people who promised all kinds of miracles and wonders. Soon the Christians became confused about whether these wonders were from God or not. So we need to apply a test, since not every spirit comes from God. There are evil spirits and demons that come from Satan rather than from God. So we must “test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God.”

What are the test? John says that we know that a spirit is from God “if a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God.” Jesus Christ really became flesh. Such a spirit is from God and will honour Him. Jesus “the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:14).

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament comments 1 John 4: 1-3 (page 743):

“Judaism especially associated the Spirit of God with prophecy but acknowledged the existence of false prophets, who John says are moved by other spirits. His readers would understand his point; Jewish people were familiar with the idea of other spirits besides the Spirit of God. There were many pagan ecstatic in Asia Minor, as well as Jewish mystics claiming special revelations; the need for discernment would be acute.
            The issue may be the secessionists’ denial that that Jesus has come as the Christ (if the opposition is Jewish); more likely it is a Docetic denial that Jesus was actually human and actually died, a heresy an eyewitness would be well positioned to refute. It may simply be a relativizing of Jesus’ role to the position of a prophet like John the Baptist, which allows enough compromise to avoid persecution. Whatever the error, the secessionists are claiming the authority of inspiration for it, as do some similar cults today. John does not deny the reality of inspiration; he merely denies that the spirit working in them is God’s Spirit.”

So, when we are talking with someone who claims to have “the truth about Jesus” or promises amazing results because of believing in a particular teachings, we need to ask: “Where is Jesus in all of this? What do you really believe about Christ?” If a straight answer that shows honour and love for Christ is what we hear, then there’s a pretty good chance that the other person is a real Christian. But if the person gives indirect answers and avoids dealing with the question, be very careful; for such a person may be trying to lead you into a false teachings. Avoid these people!

You will know false teachers by their fruit (the patterns of their lives).
But most important of all: Get to know the real Jesus.
Soak your mind and spirit with Jesus and His Word until you're so familiar with it,
that you can instantaneously know if the spirit is from God or not.

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