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One of the greatest tragedies of life is the inability or the neglect of a father to pass on to his children the benefits of his experience.

Fathers must instruct, warn, and encourage their children.

For the next while Wednesday evenings messages will be from John’s first epistle and are titled “The Counsel of a Spiritual Father to His Children.”

Today we are discussing Identifying the Imposters.

Text

1 John 4:1 (AMP)

Testing the Spirits

4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit [speaking through a self-proclaimed prophet]; instead test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets and teachers have gone out into the world.

Scripture Reading

1 John 4:1-10 (AMP)

Testing the Spirits

4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit [speaking through a self-proclaimed prophet]; instead test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets and teachers have gone out into the world. 

2 By this you know and recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges and confesses [the fact] that Jesus Christ has [actually] come in the flesh [as a man] is from God [God is its source]; 

3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus [acknowledging that He has come in the flesh, but would deny any of the Son’s true nature] is not of God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is now already in the world. 

4 Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind]. 

5 They [who teach twisted doctrine] are of the world and belong to it; therefore they speak from the [viewpoint of the] world [with its immoral freedom and baseless theories—demanding compliance with their opinions and ridiculing the values of the upright], and the [gullible one of the] world listens closely and pays attention to them. 

6 We [who teach God’s word] are from God [energized by the Holy Spirit], and whoever knows God [through personal experience] listens to us [and has a deeper understanding of Him]. Whoever is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know [without any doubt] the spirit of truth [motivated by God] and the spirit of error [motivated by Satan].

God Is Love

7 Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. 

8 The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] 

9 By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] into the world so that we might live through Him. 

10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].

Introduction

Nothing is simple about satan.

The archenemy of God and humankind likes nothing better han to be portrayed as a red skinned simpleton with horns and a pitchfork to be laughed at and joked about.

He feels quite comfortable when he is linked to the halloween setting, complete with witches and goblins and ghosts.

He is equally at home with cultured intellectuals, who smile condescendingly at the “myth” of satan, regarding him merely as a superstitious carryover from a primitive religion.

But the truth of the matter is that “satan is alive and well.”

In every generation he updates his devious strategies and methods of attack.

Nevertheless, Christians have every reason to rejoice in the fact that satan is marked for defeat.

Just as a wounded animal in the bush is more dangerous and ferocious that at any other time of it’s life, so it is with satan., who has been mortally wounded by Jesus Christ.

The death dealing blow was inflicted when Jesus cried from the cross, “It is finished” in John 19:30.

Satan is marshalling every evil supernatural power at his disposal to keep unbelievers blinded from the truth.

In our passage for todays study, John outlined four ways in which we can identify the imposters, the instruments of satan.

  1. First, John said that we must recognise our enemy. 1 John 4:1,3.
  1. Note that John said that we are not to “believe every spirit,” but we are to “test the spirits”.

We might infer that many false spirits exist in the world, and we may need to be aware of them.

One is the “human spirit.” Which is subject to satanic influence until it comes under the control of Jesus Christ.

Another spirit is “the spirit of the world” in 1 Corinthians 2:12, or the “world system,” which is dominated by satan, or the god of this world as 2 Corinthians 4:4 puts it.

Also active in the world are “evil spirits” or demon powers, who are representatives of satan.

B. What should we do about these spirits?

John said that we are to “try the spirits.”

That phrase literally means “to put to the test.”

Verse 3 constitutes the test.

Matthew 22:42 (AMP)

42 “What do you [Pharisees] think of the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed)? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.”

Anyone who does not believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh is anti God.

2. Second, we must realise our identity. 1 John 4:2,4.

  1. Here is the positive side of the test we have just discussed.

When we confess our sin and place ourselves at the mercy of God, the Holy Spirit regenerates us, giving us new life.

This, in turn, makes it possible for us to believe and confess that Jesus is the Christ.

B. Verse 4 is a beautiful reiteration of verse 2.

John said that the Holy Spirit’s presence in a believer’s life is superior to and more powerful than any other spirit in the universe.

Each of us can say with Paul, “ I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”

3. Then John said that we must emphasise the truth. 1 John 4:5-6.

  1. John presented a stark contrast in these verses.

On one side are those of the world system, who’s thoughts and actions are dominated by satan.

One the other side are those of us who belong to God and who are indwell by His Spirit.

God gives us supernatural understanding so we can “recognise the spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood” 

B. Two classes of listeners hear the truth and accept it.

  1. Unbeliever’s who yield to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and receive the Word in its life changing power. 

2. Believers who are already indwell by the Holy Spirit.

One of the Spirit’s ministries is to enlighten believers of God’s truth.

4. Finally, we are to publicise the gospel.

  1. This is our message!

Christianity is a way of life based on the fact that even though we did not love God, He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sins.

B. This is a kind of love that we cannot understand.

It is to be experienced, and when we experience a life filled with this love, we experience God, who covers our sinful past and seals our future forever. 

Conclusion.

In summary, John has told us that satan is real, he is committed to keeping unbelievers lost and to harassing Christians.

We must realise who we are, 1 John 4:4 (AMP)

4 Little children (believers, dear ones), you are of God and you belong to Him and have [already] overcome them [the agents of the antichrist]; because He who is in you is greater than he (Satan) who is in the world [of sinful mankind].

We must emphasise the truth of God, because that is the truth that sets us free.

Finally, we must share the good news that “God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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