Since the Word of God is active, meaning alive in the sense that it impacts our hearts and minds in different ways, every time we read it we are in some sense reinterpreting what it means to us. When we have conversations with others about God’s word we also hear their interpretation which we should consider carefully. This is the thrust of our text this morning.
1 John 4:1-6 Learning requires testing!
John is writing to the 1st Century church, giving insight into the spread of heresy that has invaded from within the ranks of the believers, and reminding the people to continue to make the main thing the main thing. John provides a word of caution, “do not believe every spirit”. ___________________________
So John instructs, “test the spirits, whether they are of God”. He states the reason for the test at the end of verse 1, “for many false prophets have gone out into the world”. In chapter 2 John made the case that a great sorrow and threat to the believers was being brought by those who had been in the church, “They went out from us, but they were not of us”.
There are people who are good at “church speak” but have little or no evidence of the life of Christ in them. ______________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________ The tools for the test are the word of God and the Holy Spirit. (vs. 2) ___________________________
___________________________________________________________________________________ There are people who can speak well, using the words we are familiar with, yet not speak the truth. There are very carefully crafted messages by the counterfeit teachers. __________________________
____________________________________________________________________________________ John relates to the most fervent heresy that confronts the Church of the 1st Century, the Gnostics, and their denial of the incarnation of Christ. In some circles where the heresy was strongest the early church began to use this phrase when referring to Jesus, “Jesus Christ the incarnate”. I hear people all the time use the term Lord but am unsure if they are speaking of my Lord, Jesus Christ Incarnate. The theological distinctions that rely on the incarnation are significant:
We have a savior who was tempted because He had flesh like the rest of us.
We have a savior who denied Himself in obedience to the Father, our example.
We have a savior who died to save us. The cost of our salvation.
We have a savior who rose from the grave and defeated sin, death and hell.
We have a savior with scars in heaven who is our promise of eternal life in Him.
Paul taught this same thing and put it this way in 1 Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you than no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.” ____________________________________________________________
In verse 3 John names the enemy of the Church and God’s people, the spirit of the Antichrist, “which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.” In broad terms it is the spirit of the world that denies that Jesus Christ is Lord, that denies that we have a loving heavenly Father, and denies that the Bible is truth.
Matthew 4:1-11 – we have an account of what the spirit of antichrist will try to do to us.
The nature of the temptations:
1. Look to the physical world for all our needs and satisfactions.
2. To misapply the word of God for our own purposes.
3. To place anything other than God in a higher position in our lives.
These are the trademarks of the spirit of antichrist.
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