Scripture for Today: 1 John 4:1-6
“1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we knowthe spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
The pace of life in our modern world is frenetic and intense. A continual cacophony of voices vie for our attention. Advertisements, social expectations, work demands and numerous other pressures scream for loyalty. While we assume that this craziness is a product of modernity, there has actually been this type of competing for the minds and devotion of people for thousands of years.
John warns the early Christians who received his letter, and us who would read it years later, that competing voices would seek to distract us from the truth of God, and would attempt to blur the focus of faith to which we are called. John refers to these distracting messages as “false prophets” or teachers, and warns us against blindly accepting anything other than the truth of God. He offers a simple test to determine truth from the distracting false teachers. He clarifies that those who speak truth are identified by the fact that they “confess (acknowledge) that Jesus has come in the flesh” (vs. 2). Anyone who teaches or speak about faith, apart from the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus is referred to as an “antichrist,” meaning someone opposed to the truth of God through Jesus Christ.
Identifying someone, or something, as a false teacher is only the first step of overcoming the pressures of the competing messages in our world. John goes on to point out one the most amazing theological truths in all of scripture in verse 4, “greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world.” The power of the God of the Universe abides in you, if you are a follower of God and His plan for your life. The same power that conquered death, lives in you. The same power that caused the resurrection of Jesus Christ, lives in you. We have access to this power and can access this it to stand against the voices of false teachers and the pressures of this world, which seek to entice us into straying from the beautiful life God had planned for us.
My NEXT Step: Do I allow myself to be influenced in my faith by anyone who is not inline with the truths of Jesus? If so, how will I remove them from a place of influence in my life?
Questions to Catalyze Growth:
- Based on today’s scripture, what is a “false teacher” and what is an “antichrist?”
- How can we know the “Spirit of God?”
- How can we know if we are “from God?”
- According to the scripture for today, how can we tell the difference between the “spirit of truth and the spirit of error?”