Try the Spirits to see if They are of God 1 John 4:1
This chapter and subject of this chapter are a subject of critical importance. The fact is that john called us to have discernment on this issue regarding trying the spirits. In addition, this epistle of John is often quoted by pastors and teachers for the testing of spiritual beings. However, to many the interpretation has a number of difficulties which I believe are ignored because of a number reason. Here is just one in order to prove or justify or believing every spirit one must make the distinction that involves truth and error, right and wrong, salvation and condemnation. It is only in the Words of God and our Savior that provides the salvation for our souls. Why I say this because I believe that the Lord God showed John about the rise of false teachers and false prophets. In addition, the increase of the spirit of antichrist and the spirit of Jezebel and how much more they would attack the people within the church and attack the word of God in the last hours. Repeatedly the scripture warns believers to have a standard that they must be applied to every teaching of the word of God in every way.
The warning: “Believe not every spirit” Should be taught and preached today!
The apostle John’s instructions one might interpret that we are to prove every spirit, however, there is a present attitude that is at work on the heart and lives of men and women which is the spirit of antichrist that contraries the gospel of Christ. In the world today and in the Body of Christ there are those who would have us believe that nothing is false if the teacher or pastors is honest and sincere. Yet we could also make this that there are many who hold the notion that if one is of the family of God all they need to do is, apart from the New Testament obedience, place trust in Jesus. They might even go so far as to say believing false doctrine would not endanger their salvation. The apostle John did not teach this position in fact he stated “try the spirits.”
Our Lord and the apostle John in teaching the early church that they would soon deal with the false prophets Matthew 24:11. The apostle John is probably writing his epistles after the destruction of Jerusalem. Even with all of the teaching and warnings of Jesus and John the false prophets did not cease from their work, in anything, they became more prevalent. Unfortunately, even today professing Christians are often careless about their spiritual discernment that motivates the religious leaders, teachers, and pastors bombard with the modern world doctrines. Sadly, to state the attitude of the religious world today is stated clearly “I’m a Christian: You’re a Christian: Everyone is a Christian”. To my personal understanding to say the least is this line of thinking confuses religion with Christianity, which are two different things.
My reasoning for stating this is what the epistle of 1 John 4:1 state. What spirits is John referring to in this verse of scripture? Many a good Christian will go through their whole life without seeing the spirits John is referring to before their eyes. I do not know I can only imagine some believe this hideous, nasty little creature with evil features and evil intent. Because we do not see spirits, does that mean we deny their existence or reality of them? I find within the word of God many scriptures that refer to spirits for example Ephesians 6:16 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” KJV John warns us not to believe every spirit, it is a warning for our benefit. Did you know that Christians are to try the spirits as John taught?
My example today’s technology of the airwaves that floods people operating under the influence of the spirit of antichrist and the spirit of Jezebel. Furthermore, these spirits are just as prevalent in the churches today as well as the secular world. Our enemy Satan has set in our mist counterfeiters for everything that is of God’s Holy Word. They may sound and look good but their doctrine will destroy us spiritually if we give in to what they teach. These spirits are enemy of our soul and they do not care about our faith in God or our religious beliefs. This I believe to be a true fact that we do not become a threat to Satan, until we begin to live by the indwelling Spirit of God within our very being. In addition, Satan does not feel threatened by the number of churches or the amount of time we spend pursuing teaching of men. Furthermore, as long as our enemy can keep our attention focus on external or worldly, we will never find the power or authority from the kingdom of heaven. In addition, as long as we focus on pleasing men more than pleasing the Lord God, we become victims and are robbed of our salvation and atonement for which the Lord Jesus shed His blood for us.
Many may have this question; how will we know what manner of spirit to test that we face? First thing I want to address is this fact the natural or human side of you will not know what evil spirit you face for this only happens by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. What I am saying is this that we must have the gift of spiritual discernment in our personal relationship with the Lord. Note in the goes on to tell us that the spirit of antichrist intent is to shut us off from the kingdom of heaven and to turn people from their faith. To try or test the spirits means or to examine, to prove that spirit is of Satan or God. Therefore, it is critical that we Christian learn to identify the wolves, lest we become their meal.
However, how do we learn how to identify a wolf from a sheep? After all, the wolf disguises himself. I will say that they are not immediately way to senses our enemy the wolf for even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light 2 Corinthians 11:14. Not only does this verse of scripture tell us that Satan himself can actually do this, but also other ministers, which I feel and believe are operating under a demonic spirit. Therefore, the first thing you have to do is find out is the spirit that is addressing you is one of God’s angels or a demonic spirit.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that they can show themselves as a servant of righteousness. In addition, with all the churches today they each proclaim to have sound doctrine and that all other churches are teaching wrong and that they will go to hell. Furthermore, they claim the biblical authority and yet they condemn the other. Moreover, they each are concerned about pushing their own personal beliefs, their doctrines, and their patterns of interpretations. The apostle Paul wrote in the book of 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 and Paul describes in these verses of scriptures deceitful workers and how they will bring us into bondage. In addition, this brings me back to the question earlier to say this if we do not quickly learn how to spot these deceitful workers, we will become their easy prey.
To answer this question about I further believe that we are to test those individuals who profess to come in the name of the Lord to determine if they are indeed representing the Lord God. To begin let us consider four points 1 the necessity of trying the spirits, 2 what are these spirits that we are trying, 3 how are we to try them, and 4 to whom is this calling addressed. The true Spirit from God is like an angel this Spirit is never going to teach, do or say, or try to get you to teach or do or say anything that is contrary to the word of God. For your best defense is to know the whole Bible. Why I state this once you read the whole Bible the Holy Spirit will help you to retain and remember the word of God.
The Holy Spirit will remind you and me, what is taught from the Bible that teaches us all good things about life in the Lord. On the side of this thought is what the prophet Joel said would happen in the last days that God would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. In addition, the prophet Jeremiah stated the God would make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah that no man would have to teach of the Lord God for His laws would be written within their heart. When I read these promises it is easier to read the whole Bible. This is time well spent. You do not need to actually memorize the whole Bible to learn how the Holy Spirit will remind you what you have read. However, reading the whole Bible, especially become very valuable for testing the spirits and the spirit of antichrist.
I believe this is one of the sure ways to notice, is to determine how they reflect the Spirit of God in their lives. If in their attitudes and actions bear the fruit of the Spirit, then I would say that this is a good indicator that these individuals are genuine. Our Lord gives us some vital information about how to recognize them by their fruit Matthew 7:16-20. However, I am convinced by what the scriptures states about the wolves’ intentions are to feed upon the sheep of the flock of God by their attitude and actions.
The plain truth is that the call for discernment is written throughout the Bible, in Old and New Testaments, the fact is that God has repeated giving humanity warning concerning the rise of false teachers, prophets; Christ would increase their attacks upon every individual within the church in the last days and hours Matthew 24:5. You will see in this verse of scripture that John calls for specific action to be taken, namely, that of trying the spirits, therefore demonstrates that discernment is a matter of critical importance for the church of the last days.
It is the plain truth that like our Lord, we will find ourselves being tempted by Satan and have spiritual conflict. I believe that God will allow Satan to test and try our faith as God allow Job to be tested. During this chapter we will deal with issues of how Satan will attack our faith. Satan will try to rob and destroy the power of God in our lives by an attack on our faith. In addition, Satan will try to cast doubt upon our most holy and blessed experiences. This attack is inevitable after we accept Christ and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.
Here are another two ways Satan attack us, “Satan will try to cast doubt on our love and devotion for God and Christ Jesus”. However, within my studies of the word of God I always find God and Jesus to be of perfect holiness and purity. In addition, I have found that Satan is lying and sarcastic when he states “if thou be the Son of God turn these stones to bread.” My point is this that Satan uses the same lying and sarcastic words on us as he used on Christ. The second attack Satan will try to attack our heir ship. God created Satan, yet Satan tries to destroy that that heir ship. Satan does this by trying to bring feelings of guilt and despair in our work as a servant of God.
I can be completely honest when I say that we the body of Christ are constantly being confronted with “new doctrine, new teachings” in Christianity to do things in a new way. What shall we say and ask? The scripture repeatedly warns us that there are standards that must be applied to the teaching of God’s Word in every way. What I am saying is to not believe every wind of doctrine and to try the spirits. Therefore, the standard that must be applied to every doctrine is God’s Holy Word, and His truth of grace and salvation. This is just a brief summary of what John states in 1 John 4:1.
When God created mankind, He gave them five senses to process information through them. Now after we accept the Lord as our savior God gives us a spiritual sense for gaining information through the Holy Spirit. To my understanding this is our sixth-sense, and our spiritual communications which is how we communicate with God. In the epistles of John refers to the Holy Spirit of God and to those whom the Holy Spirit has inspires 1 John 3:24. I believe that God gives instruction that we may discern evil spirits. In 1 John 4:1-6, these verses of scriptures tell us to try the spirits to see if it is the spirit of God or the spirit of evil. In addition, this is a truth for Christian of assurance that if we try the spirits, we have used the instruction to see if it is of God or of evil. Trying the spirits is also using the gifts of the Holy Spirit, knowledge, wisdom, faith, and discerning of spirits, for our inward and outward temptations.
Let us look at this fact of necessity I believe that John was referring to in spiritual discernment. Christian brothers and sisters if we simply focus on ourselves and people in our church, some of our spiritual laziness becomes more apparent out of loyalty to our church a loyalty which is commendable, when it is rooted in the word of God. However, it is easy to take the attitude that I have heard many times during my years of pastoring. Well, all the ministers preach the same old thing over and over, yet we all believe the same, we have the truth, therefore, we do not need to heard the same old thing. There is no danger that we will be misled by any false pastor, prophet, or teacher.
Beware, it is this kind of well I know attitude that our enemy is out there that allows the spirit of antichrist to attack us. Let me say that this is a problem of having such an attitude that tends to neglect our calling that actually breeds spiritual drowsiness, a drowsiness rooted in spiritual pride. This is a grave danger to self and the church. It is a grave danger, because Satan not only attacks the church with the spirit of antichrist but also his false doctrine. In addition, Satan attacks the church just as vigorously with worldliness and the spirit of disobedience to God’s word and truth, a spirit of a lifestyle that does not conform with the spirit of godly living.
What judgment comes by having the spirit of antichrist?
To begin this chapter, it would be good to give you some kind of foundation to help you understand our own personal judgments. Why are people and Christians always passing judgment on others? Another word that can be stated is judgmental of others regarding their personal life and Christian life.
The word defined in the American Heritage Dictionary, “judgmental” an adjective 1. of, relating to, or dependent on judgment 2. Inclined to make judgments, especially moral or personal ones. Therefore, the word judgmental making reference to making judgment, especially about somebody’s moral or personal behavior.
Careful readers of the scriptures will, however, will tell you that judging is an issue that many people misunderstand. In addition, I must state that we all judge, even though we may not recognize it as judging. Furthermore, we all make judgments every day. Whether or not to make a judgment is in itself a judgment. For example, can we judge something is going right or wrong? Should we judge the words and actions of others? What most individuals will tell you that judging is a sin? What does the scriptures tell us about judging? Yes, this pastor has heard it many times by many people using Matthew 7:1 “judged not, that ye be not judged.” The problem is that most people and Christians stop here and fail to read and study the rest of the scriptures in Matthew 7. Therefore, if we stop here, we have contradictions in the scripture, because there are plenty of cases where Christ and the apostles judged.
Beware of the false prophets
Throughout the New Testament you can read this warning “beware of the false prophets” giving Christians warning then as well as today for the Lord knew that they would come in His name. This is a warning not to be spiritually blind and what the consequence would be of that blindness. When we truly begin to search the scriptures, it is amazing the number of scriptures in the Old and New Testaments which speak about the false prophets and the false teachers and their ministry within the congregation then as well as today therefore, this is why I believe the Lord God sent warning in His Holy Word.
In Matthew 7:1-5 I believe that from the context of what Jesus is teaching his disciples and others is about making personal judgments against others, when their own behavior was much more seriously compromised that the individual person they are judging. In addition, Jesus in other teachings made it clear that He especially had a problem with the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes and other religious leaders of His time. Furthermore, Jesus had other confrontations with them and He made some strong statements against these leaders. Therefore, Jesus warning against judging is primarily aimed at those individuals who think that their thoughts are superior to others. What I am saying is we must take the complete passage of scriptures in context and rightly divide the word of God and the gospel of Christ. Then we will have no contradiction in the passages of scripture. The scripture needs to be rightly divided.
From the beginning of our Lord’s teaching and ministry He taught clearly about the kingdom of heaven and how to enter the kingdom of heaven. Even the prophets of the Old Testament gave their prophetic word from God speaking God’s message. The prophetic word of the Old Testament is very clear about the dreamer of dreams that arises among you with sign or wonder that you should not listen to them for the Lord God is testing you Deuteronomy 13:3. God was saying to Israel that if they gave way to dreamer of dreams and false prophets that they would remain spiritually blind and remain in captivity for years to come. They were warned to take heed to “beware of false prophets” we need to take heed of the same warning today.
Take heed of the heartlessness of the false prophets
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus teaches this reality that we are to be the disciples in the world to be the salt and light of His word and His gospel and that we are not to put that light under a basket so that it gives no light Matthew 5:15. God told the prophet Ezekiel that there was a conspiracy of the prophets and they were like roaring lions tearing their prey and that their priests have done violence to His law and profaned His Holy Things Ezekiel 22:25-27. In addition, God also gives to the prophet the prophecy against the shepherds of Israel in that day and Ezekiel was to prophesy against them that they were feeding themselves and not the sheep of the Lord’s flock Ezekiel 34:2. Now the prophet Zephaniah spoke these that the prophets were reckless men or treacherous men and the priests had corrupted the sanctuary and done violence to the law. Now God tells the prophet Jeremiah that He will give shepherds after His own heart that will fed on His knowledge and understanding.
Note this writing is not about a judgment or to determine anything about the final judgment of God for this judgment is in the hands of our Lord and savior. This writing is to help Christians to understand what judgment will come by having the spirit of antichrist. One of the problems then as well as today that people rejoice in their heritage and that is all that is needed and lose sight of God and the spiritual heritage God has promised. The scriptures record that people of Jews and Gentiles were very judgmental of one another. For example, Paul reminds us that people that were judgmental of others was committing sins for which they would also be condemned Romans 2:17-24. Paul ask in these scriptures, to these people if the really believe that they would escape the judgment, if they were simply walking over God’s goodness because of the hardness of their heart which is a form of the spirit of antichrist.
How do we judge? To my personal understanding we judge in all things in life and the Word of God. Moreover, judging according to the Word of God does not make us a giver of the law of God or the final judge. According to the scriptures only Christ has that authority given to Him by the Father of who is right or wrong. The New Testament writes much about judgment and God’s judgment which is a righteous judgment Romans 2:5. Another fact that needs to be pointed out is Paul states that the people know the judgment of God Romans 1:32, what Paul is saying the people understands that God will judge sin because He is righteous. As I began to write about the spirit of antichrist, I began to understand how God through His Spirit reveals judgment. In addition, I found that we all also found this fact about the spirit of antichrist, although we may condemn others for things, we are guilty of, God’s judgment is according to the truth against us that commit such acts of judgment Romans 2:2.
Consider the spirit of truth or the spirit of error
It is stated throughout the first epistle of John of which the apostle John makes clear about Christians being deceived. For John wrote by warning them of the spirit of antichrist in two chapters. In verse six of 1 John 4, John states, “We are of God, He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6 NKJV) Here John brings out a realistic concern for the church then as well as the church today that he knew the spirit of truth and the spirit of error and that one opposes the other.
I have found down through the years of my ministry that many passages in the New Testament alone requires our belief as well as the command to believe. In addition, that we should believe on the name of God’s Son Jesus Christ, which you will find in all four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. How do we try the spirits to see if they are of God? Any individual in the first test is simple: any spirit or person who denies this fact written in the epistle of John and the rest of the New Testament regarding the life of Christ and that He came in the flesh, His death, His resurrection, according to John has the spirit of antichrist.
Furthermore, I see John’s message to the small congregation then was to inspire men and women to hear him and what he knows that they were of God. In addition, I see how John is developing for the church of the last days to deal with the spirit of truth and the spirit of error and to demonstrate through their words and deeds the spirit of truth. Another way of addressing to discern whether it is the truth or error, that is being taught or whether it is the Spirit of God or the spirit of antichrist. For us to this line of though it truly commands a test.
It is only in this line of reasoning and the subject of testing the spirits that every Christian should at least know the prophetic word that encounters the spirit of antichrist verses the Spirit of God in this day and time especially for living in the event to come in the book of Revelation. Of course, the Spirit of God is always righteous, however, the teaching that comes from various spirits that have gone out into the world inspire evil. It must be noted and understood that evil spirits including Satan himself do not often appear bad in their external appearance within the Body of Christ 2 Corinthians 11:12-14 for the apostle Paul make it clear about their appearance.
Furthermore, it is written by John that we can find numerous individuals in that century teaching doctrines about Christ and in their appearance on the outside look good they could trick others making them think they were apostles of Christ and yet they were instruments of Satan 2 Corinthians 11:12-14. Has a matter of fact Satan himself appears as an angel of light 2 Corinthians 11:14. Therefore, the only real protection we as Christian has is to try the spirits to see if they are of God.
The power to test or discern the spirits
First in the power of discernment we must learn to understand God’s will; His purpose for our lives and then we must be able to hear His Divine guidance regarding every decision we make. To discern is the spiritual ability to enable the Spirit of God to determine the source of the spiritual manifestation, whether it emanates from God, Satan, the world or mankind. Yes, with all honesty we all have this one question: Do you and I find it difficult to discern whether it is God’s voice we are hearing or our own? Therefore, it is vital for all of Christianity to attain the power of spiritual discernment. Moreover, discernment is essential to clearly communicate God’s purpose for our lives; however, we must also discern God’s guidance on making decisions that affects our lives.
There are three sources recorded in the Holy Scriptures and they are the Spirit of God, the human spirit, and the spirit of evil. Within these three holds the scriptural knowledge of what people did in the natural and spiritual realm. When we have a spiritual experience, or the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, we need to be aware of what John wrote to try the spirits to see if the Lord God is speaking or whether it is the spirit of antichrist speaking his evil manifestation. It is only through the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we know the manifestation of the Lord God where we have the true discernment of God. When the gifts of the Holy Spirit are presence in our personal life and worship then these three sources will be made known whether they are the Holy Spirit, the spirit of humanity, or the spirit of evil.
Many throughout the church today focus on God’s loving nature and feeding off of just that nature of God, however, God has another side of His Divine character and it is also of vital importance to identify that God has warring nature. I state this because I believe God will always fight against evil, with all His might to protect those whom He has called Psalm 44:7. God is the supreme leader of the force of good and righteousness and He has all authority over the heaven and the earth. Whether most Christians want to accept this fact God has commission them to enforce His Holy Word as well as the kingdom of heaven. We are entering the time period I believe to be the time of the book of Revelation for God has poured out His Spirit upon all flesh since His Son’s death and resurrection and our Lord is coming back and there are yet millions to be saved. I further believe that there is a perfect deliverance; it is in this deliverance where our Lord wants us to be.
Discerning of spirits and the power of discerning of spirits is such a vital gift to the church. I speak these words for the enemy has gotten away with far too much evil within the church because the gift of discerning of spirits is not functioning in the leadership as well as the whole body of the church. The gift of discerning of spirits gives the Body of Christ His ability to detect the presence of evil spirits, in addition it is just not the evil spirits it discerns it is also the good being done for the Lord God. As Christians we must be able to see the spiritual realm to discern between good and evil. Furthermore, our ability to discern by the Spirit of God will cause our spiritual perception to quicken and be sharpened with the spirit of truth. In addition, we must also be aware not to confuse perception with suspicion as discernment.
Let us be honest about this fact that although they are not visible to the eye a spirit is a voice in the conscience of man which is are spiritual discernment. In addition, again spiritual discernment is the special gift to make us aware of godly presence or the presence of demonic spiritual forces around us. Yet another way of addressing this subject the Holy Spirit has given the discerning of spirits so that when we encounter these spirits, we will be able to see them masquerading as the spirit of light. Furthermore, the gift of spiritual discernment can have a great impact upon one’s emotional and mental wellbeing in life. Spirit of Antichrist Still Working Chapter Four