John teaches us so much about our relationships with God and each other. It’s important to love one another and understand and know we’re saved. He shows how to know truth and error. Here John directs our thoughts to try the spirits. That means to test them. Anyone can be deceived; the Bible says that even the elect can be. Delusion is a powerful force. People really don’t care anymore how they deceive others. We hear slanted truth on the news. It’s a deceivable world. Things obviously wrong are looked at as all right.
It’s almost the turn of the century at the time of this writing. Deception is high. Look at the shape of Corinth and Ephesus. Read the letters Jesus directed John to write to the churches in the book of Revelation. Discernment is not a mystical gift given to only a few. John wasn’t talking of only disciples and apostles having it. We all have a brain and if we use the mind God gave us to trust and study the Word we can be a discerning person. It’s about differentiating between one thing and another. People are bold with their wickedness; some are very gullible. There is no excuse for us to be deceived. We have the source of truth.
I John 4: 1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
A lot of false religions will say Jesus came and lived a perfect life. They will say he died, was buried, and rose again. They say they have the same Old and New Testaments we do, yet they add to it. They have their “other testament” and say we need to follow its teachings as well. What it amounts to is writings of the founder of that particular religion. Galatians 1:8 tells us that if even an angel brings another gospel not to believe it. Jesus established a gospel that men and women have given their lives to get to us. The world needs the Bible. Families, communities, and nations are so mixed up because they have forsaken the Bible or accepted other teachings.
Test the spirits. I hear Christian radio and some of it is all right; some isn’t. Some can take a verse and turn it inside out and confuse just about anybody. It’s not a new thing but there has never been such a time as now. It concerns and frightens me. You can’t just drop in any church now days, not even around here. There is a great departure from the truth. The devil is the father of lies and scripture warns us that we must keep a connection to the Word. Thank God for the truth.
The Bible is the enemy of many nations. The world is at enmity with it. Test what you hear not by your emotions or intellect but by the Word of God. Don’t stretch it. The Word is made of stone not rubber. We can’t be a Stretch Armstrong Christian. “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Take the Word as it is.
We’ll get to the rest of this next week. Study it out and note how John speaks of light and darkness. The gospel is needed now more than ever. The truth sets us free. Believing lies takes that freedom away. We can be a discerner of truth and error with the Word.