1 John 4:1-6 (TPT) A Warning against False Teaching
4 Delightfully loved friends, don’t trust every spirit, but carefully examine what they say [prophesy] to determine if they are of God, because many false prophets have mingled into the world. 2 Here’s the test for those with the genuine Spirit of God: they will confess Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh [fully human and fully God to bring salvation—God with us]. 3 Everyone who does not acknowledge that Jesus is from God has the spirit of antichrist, which you heard was coming and is already active in the world.
4 Little children, you can be certain that you belong to God and have conquered them,[the spirit of antichrist that denies Jesus the Christ] for the One who is living in you is far greater than the one who is in the world [the devil and the culture of the world]. 5 They belong to this world and they articulate the spirit of this world, and the world listens to them. 6 But we belong to God, and whoever truly knows God listens to us. Those who refuse to listen to us do not belong to God. That is how we can know the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit [antichrist].
The Apostle John teaches in the Word there are eight ways we can discern the difference between a teacher of truth vs. deception: 1) they must confess Jesus as God—perfect and sinless Love—who came in a human body to save humanity through his death, burial and resurrection[vv. 2-3]; 2) they do not condone the spirit and culture of this world under Satan’s rule, rather they obey the commands of the Lord [v. 5]; 3) they listen and honor the Spirit of Truth who makes them fruitful [v. 6]; 4) they demonstrate sacrificial love [vv. 7-21]; 5) the Truth is in them growing and comes out as witnessed and affirmed by the Holy Spirit [vv. 4-6]; 6) they honor the written Word of God as the foundation for life [v. 6, 5:10, 2 Timothy 3:16]; 7) they are overcomers because Christ lives and serves in and through them [v. 4]; and 8) they have a commitment to the Body of Christ to see each member follow Christ’s commands and commission to make more disciples [Ephesians 4:12, 16].
Prayer: Father, in this world that is loaded with accusations and condemnation in every direction, help me to identify between truth and deception then empower me stand for Truth. Your Word teaches Satan is the Accuser of your sons and daughters and he is certainly busy right now. As Truth is revealed to my heart, help me to keep love as my focus for my words and to go about loving others. Help me put a watch over my mouth that I would not sin against you or my brothers and sisters in the faith. Holy Spirit, I offer myself to your work to make me a fit vessel in each of these areas to share the Truth of the Father’s heart and Love found in Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.