Testing for Truth
1 John 4:1-6

Testing for Truth

1 John 4:1-6

Big Idea:

There are many False Spirits that are in the world. We must know and hold fast to the truth about Christ to discern Spiritual truth from error.


Review of where we’re at in 1 John

Love & Assurance

2013, Christian rapper Shai Linne

Don’t be deceived by this funny biz, if you come to Jesus for money, then he’s not your God, money is! Jesus is not a means to an end, the Gospel is. He came to redeem us from sin, and that is the message forever I yell! If you’re living your best life now you’re heading for hell! Turn off TBN, that channel is overrated. The pastors speak bogus statements, financially motivated. It’s kind of like a pyramid scheme. Visualize heretics Christianizing the American dream. It’s foul and deceitful, they’re lying to people, teaching that camels squeeze through the eye of a needle!

1 John 4:1-6

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Big Idea:

There are many False Spirits that are in the world. We must know and hold fast to the truth about Christ to discern Spiritual truth from error.


  • Are you following False Prophets? (1)
  • Do they confess the divine Lord (2-3)
  • Do they possess divine life (4)
  • Do they profess the divine truth (5-6)
  • Are you following False Prophets? (1)
  • Beloved-Constantly using his words to remind them of who they are in Christ. Since we are hidden in Christ, one with Him, we are those beloved by the Father. This love from God should inform the way we love one another.
  • Warning-Don’t be gullible! Don’t believe every Spirit.
  • False Spirits aren’t always as obvious! It starts out well. Friendly, welcoming, interested in you. Leading you straight to hell.
  • Romans 16:17-18- I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,[f] and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
  • There is a Spiritual Realm that is invisible, but very much real!
  • Ephesians 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
  • Test the Spirit’s- The nature of a test is to reveal, to disclose, to make evident what isn’t on the surface. This isn’t spiritual paranoia but humble, intentional, prayerful spiritual discernment! The word “test” was often used for examining metals to make sure they were genuine and pure.
  • Story about me jumping off a cliff in college because my friends did, cutting open my feet, hitting my knees….I didn’t test and examine before I jumped and am fortunate that I didn’t pay for it with being paralyzed.
  • We know there’s a physical reality, physical truth that will confront and shatter our deception……why don’t we believe there are moral and spiritual truths that have as much and even more damage? We believe that simply because we can’t see them they don’t exist! Wrong.
  • Jim Jones and Jonestown suicide (1978 Guyana……)

B.) Do they confess the Divine Lord (2-3)?

  • They Confess the truth– Confession isn’t something merely regurgitated….it must come from the heart
  • 1 John 1:9-If we confess our sins God is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness
  • Apologizing to your siblings….doing it not because it’s true but because you’ll get in trouble if you don’t….You could pay someone to speak true doctrines about Christ….get them be afraid and they’ll speak whatever you say……(Missionaries in Africa visiting in hospital, people of other faiths say the truth just to get them to go away).
  • Confession of truth is expressed verbally because it’s held with conviction internally.
  • The Person of Christ– Jesus has come in the flesh. The nature and personhood of Christ are the foundation upon which our faith is laid. It has been tested and tempted for 2,000 years and will do so again and again….For Jesus is the gospel and means of our salvation and to distort Him is to hinder our way to God.

False Teaching:

  • Jesus is just a good teacher– As long as Jesus is just a moral teacher he stands as one option among many.
  • Jesus is a Created Being-Jesus is Michael the Archangel incarnate. He is a god, but not THE GOD. This Jesus is not able to save. He can’t rescue man from sin! He can’t truly represent God to us. Exact representation…Hebrews 1.
  • Jesus became a God-Official Mormon doctrine. God the Father was once a human who became a God. He had physical relations with Mary and she conceived Jesus. Jesus had wives and children. All who follow this path will become a God, like the God of the Bible, and populate planets….
  • Jesus died so you could be financially prosperous-Denies the purpose of the Incarnation, to deal with humanities rebellion and sin.
  • Spirit of the Anti-Christ– He appears as an Angel of Light that he might deceive.
  • 2 Cor. 11:13-15- For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

C.) Do they possess divine life (4)?

  1. From God– We are from God! He’s already discussed that we come from God by being born again. As we trust in Christ we are born again and have a new source! He is our Father now….this takes time to sink in. Our identity as Christians takes awhile for us to really grasp and walk in!
  2. Overcome them– We have victory over the Spirit and the world. It means that the Spiritual battles you’re facing will ultimately be won, because we have been born of the Overcomer.
    1. Nikeo– It means victory over your enemies.
  1. The Greater Spirit- The Source of our strength and hope for victory isn’t in ourselves but through the power of the Spirit.
    1. Christ has defeated Satan and that same power and Spirit lives in us.
      1. David vs. Goliath…..Christ victory through the cross

D.) Do they profess the divine truth (5-6)?

  1. The World’s Audience-The world communicates and receives It’s own source.
    1. 2 Timothy 4:3-4  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
    2. 1 Cor.2:14-The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
      1. So do we never communicate to the world? Never share the gospel? No! But we don’t try to communicate the same way the world does….We realize that if they are to hear us and the message it’s going to be God who opens their eyes and ears.
        1. Can’t change them and make them hear our message politically
        2. Seeker-Sensitive (Seeker Aware)- Bait and switch….
  • God’s Audience– Those from God listen to the message of God. “US” isn’t every single Christian leader, but rather the Apostolic message. How do we get this now? As those entrusted with preaching faithfully expound not their own ideas, opinions, topics but seek to be faithful to the intent and context of the Scripture. Expository preaching.
  • John 10:27-30-27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
  • John 15:20- 20 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 also keep yours


We are desperate for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He reveals and applies the truth about Christ to our lives. He opens our eyes to see His beauty and glory. He guides us into the truth and protects us from error.

  1. Christian- Humbles us and makes us yearn for the Spirit’s leadership in our lives.
  2. Non-Christian-Trusting in Christ and discerning Spiritual error is something you need the Spirit for. God is generous and gives the Spirit to those who cry out for Him.