- 1 John 4:1-5
- 1 John 4:1 (KJB)
- Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether
they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
- Try - Scrutinize, test, or prove
- The Christians to whom John were writing to must have had a hard time
with discernment since he was admonishing them to not believe every spirit.
The early church was plagued with false teachers as it has been down through
the ages up to today. Just because a person mentions the name of the Lord
Jesus Christ and even proclaims Him as Savior does not necessarily mean they
are bringing the whole truth. The Lord warned us about this previously.
(Mat 24:5 KJV) For many shall come in my
name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
One of the tactics of the enemies of Christ in the last days (the last days
are from the cross to the last day - Hebrews 1:2) is that they will come as
ones who pretend to bring truth but are false teachers.
(2 Cor 11:13 KJV) For such are false
apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of
Christ. The word “transforming” in the Greek
carries with it the meaning of “changing the outward fashion while the inner
remains the same,” that is, their outward look is religious and Christian
but they are still unsaved within.
- As Christians today, we are not to believe everything we hear. Just
because someone is on the radio or on TV, or on the internet, we must
discern their teachings by means of comparing their teachings to Scripture.
Today the airwaves are replete with false teachers and most are just in it
for the money, they care nothing for the souls of their hearers. It is
incumbent upon the Christian to test everything they hear according to the
Scriptures and we cannot be concerned if someone gets angry with us for
doing that. There are many today who claim to be a prophet and they are
wrong because there are no more prophets in the first century term. The word
“prophet” means “to declare God’s word.” Every true believer is to declare
God’s word. The false prophets can be discovered by such phrases as, “the
Lord told me,” or “I heard the Lord say to me,” or “I had an angel
visitation,” or “the Lord came to me” or other phrases like that. God speaks
to us through His word and no other way. The day of signs and wonders are
- 1 John 4:2 (KJB)
- Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
- One of the major tests that we can use to see if we are dealing with a
false teacher or not is to see what their views are on Jesus coming in the
flesh. Many have denied or decried the virgin birth of Christ. The Gnostics
were known for denying this because their belief was that sinless deity
could not dwell in sinful flesh. They espoused this belief simply because
they did not understand that Christ did not receive the sinful nature upon
birth because Joseph was not His birth father. If they would have understood
this reality, they would have realized that Christ was born and remained
sinless His entire earthly life. Many today under the guise of New Age
teaching claim Christ was not God but an ascended master equal to that of
Buddha or Confucius. It is another way of denying that Christ came in the
flesh from God. They may claim He was here on earth but He was not deity.
Those who are convinced that Christ came in the flesh are definitely those
who have become saved.
- 1 John 4:3 (KJB)
- 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.
- Those who deny that Christ came in the flesh are definitely not of God
because false does not come from a source of truth. John further explains
that those who do not believe that Christ has come in the flesh have the
spirit of Antichrist in them. This Antichrist spirit was prophesied to come
but as John states was already in the world. It was not something which was
going to come at a future date but has been here since the beginning of
time. All unbelievers are, in reality, Antichrists.
(Mat 12:30 KJV) He that is not with me is
against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
The Lord Himself stated that if you are not with Him,
then you are against Him. The word “Antichrist” in the Greek may be
understood as “against Christ.” All unbelievers are against Christ. We don’t
need to look any further into the future than the present to see how
Antichrists are attacking the Lord Jesus Christ and the true Gospel. In
fact, this spirit of Antichrist was from the beginning of time. Look how
Cain slew Abel because Abel was righteous. Those of Christ versus those of
Antichrist will continue to war until the last day.
- 1 John 4:4 (KJB)
- 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.
- Overcome - Prevail, be victorious, or prevail
- There were many whom John wrote to that were very strong in the Lord and
did not fall prey to the false teachers. The word “overcome” is in the
perfect tense which means these believers had faced false teachers before
and withstood their false teachings and were still standing strong in the
present. The key to understanding how these believers were able to prevail
is in the second part of this verse. Greater is He that is in us than he
that is in the world. The Holy Spirit indwells the true believer and since
He is the third person of the Triune God, it is God Himself which dwells in
us. The unbelievers are deluded and blinded by Satan and he is no match for
the great power of God. The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth as
stated in John 16:13 and when we are sensitive to the Spirit’s leading along
with a good understanding of Scripture, the false teachers will be rejected
every time. There will be a consistency in the believer to have the ability
to spot a false teacher and teaching every time. True Christians will always
prevail over the false teachers but sometimes it does cost the Christian and
history has proven this with all the pogroms against Christians such as the
ten major Roman persecutions and with the Roman Catholic inquisition which
was nothing more than the attempt to eradicate true Christianity through
- 1 John 4:5 (KJB)
- They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world
- Those who fostered false teachings are of the world, that is, they are
unsaved and therefore when they speak of their own beliefs, they will find
people of the world who will follow them. For example, we can see this today
when unsaved clergy speak about saving the environment or social justice,
they will garner many into their teachings and gain a following. This is
because they are of the world and their hearers are also of the world so
there is great understanding between them. When a saved person preaches the
Gospel to this same group, they are incensed because they are spiritually
dead and can only see things pertaining to this world and not the next.
Wherever there is no interest in spiritual things, you will find the gospel
of this world.