7506 - Test of Good Spirits

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Audio transcript

We’re so glad you’re with us today.

The first Epistle of John has given us some excellent teachings in the first three chapters.

Now we are making progress in Chapter 4. As we have noted before, the Apostle John’s writing style has been called circular by some people.

We find this occurring in the opening verses of Chapter 4, where he again opens up the subject of false teaching by teachers or leaders in the Church.

In our last study we noted that John bids Christians to be aware of how to ascertain whether the teaching or statement of certain people is indeed a message from God or whether the declaration is another guided missile from the devil aimed to disturb or shoot down the faith of a weak or lame inquirer about the Son of God. John tells Christians that they are to know how to test the spirits to discern the truth in this matter.

How can we really tell if a statement is true, or whether the declaration is another thought from the intellect of man, which does not have the ring of truth?

Let me read 1 John 4, verse 2; then we can examine it.

“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.”

If this test is positive then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is the stimulating power behind the utterance or writing of a doctrinal statement.

The test is this: Does the message acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?

The literal meaning of these words in the original language is “Does the message and the messenger speak the same truth as conveyed by God to His people through the Scripture?”

Now, lets focus upon the fine print. What is the bedrock truth found in the words, “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?”

The name Jesus speaks of the Son of Man, the Human-Divine One. Totally human, while also totally Divine. It translates as Jehovah Saves. Christ is from the Greek “Christos,” a translation of the Hebrew, “Messiah,” the Anointed One, the Son of God.

Now, the verb forms, placed with what has already been recognized, shows that the statement speaks of the God of the Old-Testament who in the Person of His Son became incarnate in human flesh, who lived without sin, died on the cross to satisfy the just demands of God’s law which man broke, and arose from the dead in the renewed body in which He died; thus, He became the living Savior of any sinner who places his faith in Him in view of what He accomplished in our behalf on the cross.

Any person who teaches these interwoven truths is indeed energized by the Holy Spirit. We should notice that this positive statement, in all its ramification, rules null and void partial statements of these truths.

Ruled out are such statements as “Jesus was a good teacher.” meaning the speaker denies that He was divine in every way.

Also ruled out are the heretics who hold to the swoon theory – that is, that Jesus really never died but revived in the tomb and was whisked off to obscurity to hide the truth.

This positive statement from John tells us that every facet of any teaching must agree in entirety with God’s Holy Word. God is immutable –– that means He never changes; so He certainly will not change His Word by some new message!

In John’s day there was danger from false teachers and prophets who did not give the entire counsel of God. This same danger exists today and each Christian should be primed to evaluate what others may write and say. The Word of God is the template by which comparison is made.