The Spirit of God

I. The saints of God are to be aware of False Prophets (1 John 4:1)

A. There are many false prophets gone out into the world.

1. They look like fellow Christians, but are enemies.

a. Matthew 7:15 -- Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

2. They will gain ascendancy and will deceive many people.

a. Matthew 24:11 -- Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

3. They will be able to do “signs and wonders.”

a. Matthew 24:24 -- For false Christ’s and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

4. They will flatter and promote the “majority”

a. Luke 6:26 -- Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

5. They will introduce destructive teachings and will deny the Lord Jesus.

a. 2 Peter 2:1 -- But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.

B. There key factors in recognizing false prophets (2 Peter 2:1-3)

1. They will come from “Christian” churches or backgrounds.

2. They will deny the Biblical Lord Jesus in some way.

3. They will become very popular.

4. They will cause shame to the Ideals of Scripture.

5. They will use human greed and hidden meanings to deceive.

II. The saints of God are to “try” (prove; test) the spirits.

A. The overall “test” is confession (agreement) with the incarnation of Jesus Christ

1. Jesus of Nazareth is God in flesh, fully human, fully God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary

a. Matthew 1:20-23 -- Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, God with us.
b. John 1:1-4, 14 -- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. . . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
c. Colossians 1:13-17 -- the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

2. Jesus Christ is sinless in nature and in deed (Hebrews 4:15); the willing, innocent, and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (Isaiah 53:4-6; John 10:17-18; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 10:10-14).

3. Jesus Christ was resurrected bodily from the grave on the third day as predicted by the prophets of the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 15:1-4);

4. Jesus Christ returned bodily to His Father in Heaven (Acts 1:9-11) after completing His earthly ministry of declaration (John 12:46-50, 17:4-8) and reconciliation (John 3:17; Mark 8:31; 2 Corinthians 5:19.

B. The extended “test” is the “doctrine” (teaching) of Christ.

1. 2 John 7-11 -- For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.  Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.  Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.  If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

2. Belief in the completed work of Jesus Christ secures salvation for all those who repent of their sins and trust in His substitutionary death and bodily resurrection (John 3:16, 5:24, 6:51, 10:28-30, 11:25-26).

3. Repudiation of Jesus’ words ensures eternal damnation (John 3:36, 5:24-29, 12:46-50) to all those who dare to reject the work of God through Christ and deny their desperate need to be "born again" (John 3:3, 18-19).

4. Jesus is the only Way to the Father in Heaven (John 14:6).  All other attempts to teach otherwise labels such a person as a “thief and a robber.” (John 10:1-11).

5. The Holy Spirit would not generate “new” truth (John 16:13), but would “testify” of Jesus (John 15:26) and bring to the mind of the believer only what Jesus had said (John 14:26).  The ministry of the Holy Spirit to the unbelieving world is to bring conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-11), glorifying Jesus, not some human agent (John 16:14).

6. Christ’s Human leaders will be distinguished by their servant’s heart, not by their demands for power (Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:4-16).

C. The negative “test” is the denial of the incarnation and teachings of Jesus Christ.

1. This denial is “not of God” and is antichrist

a. 1 John 5:3 -- every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

2. This denial is “another Gospel” and is to be cursed.

a. Galatians 1:6-9 -- marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

3. This denial is “another doctrine” and is nothing more than idle talk.

a. 1 Timothy 1:4-6 -- As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk

III. The saints of God possess One who is “greater” than the enemy who is in the world.

A. We belong to God and are able to overcome the world.

1. 1 John 4:4 -- You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

2. Romans 8:33-39 --Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

B. We belong to God:  They belong to the world.

1. 1 John 4:5-6 -- They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God.

2. 1 John 2:16-17 -- For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

3. James 4:4-5 -- Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"?

4. John 15:18-20 -- "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.  "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  "Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

C. We are able to tell the difference between the spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.

1. 1 John 4:6 -- 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.

2. John 8:31-32 -- Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

3. John 6:43-47 -- "Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.

 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.  But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

 "Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?  He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."

4. 2 Peter 2:17-22 -- These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.  For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.

 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.

 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: "A dog returns to his own vomit," and, "a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire."

5. Hebrew 6:9-12 -- But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Series: 
Assurance
Lesson: 
#12
Book: 
1 John
Verses: 
4:1-6

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