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DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR

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DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR

1 John 4:1–6 NASB95
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 know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

INTRODUCTION:

The bible warns us that in the last days false teachers & prophets would arise…and that the last days would be days of deception.
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2 Timothy 4:3–4 NASB95
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
Well, those days are here & it’s not going to get any better…and we need to be aware of what’s going on so that we aren’t deceived ourselves.
B/C all around us there messages being preached that are not true…and we need to be able to discern the truth from the false.
Now, part of what prompted this message is a movie I watched on Netflix entitled, Come Sunday.
The movie is based on Carlton Pearson, who was a classical Pentecostal minister in the COGIC.
He attended Oral Roberts University & was mentored by Oral Roberts.
He formed his own church in Tulsa, Oklahoma which became one of the largest churches in Tulsa, with an average attendance of over 6,000 people.
But it all fell apart when he had a crisis of faith.
One night, after watching a television program about the conditions of people suffering and dying from the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and considering the teachings of his church that non-Christians were going to Hell, Pearson believed he had heard from God…and that God told him that hell was a place in life & not a place of eternal torment…and also that all people will be saved.
The following Sunday he stood in his pulpit & stated publicly that he doubted the existence of hell as a place of eternal torment…and said that hell is created on earth by human depravity and behavior.
From there everything began to fall apart & today he is still preaching a gospel of inclusion…meaning that everyone will be saved whether you believe in Jesus or not.
Let me share with you some of the questions that he answers from his website.
Are you a Christian?
I love God and follow the Christ Principle and Person, Jesus, but I do not worship him, something, he would have deplored.
I love God and follow the Christ Principle and Person, Jesus, but I do not worship him, something, he would have deplored.
Is the bible the Word of God?
The Bible is the word of man about God, as best as a finite being can describe an infinite reality...That which we revere as the most sacred lexicon of truth on the planet is not necessarily-- as any true scholar will tell you -- infallible or inerrant.
The only ones who insist that are those who haven’t fully read and studied it.
Does hell exist?
It is assumed that as an Inclusionist I do not believe in hell?
I do believe in hell; but NOT the mythological hell of people burning in pits of fire and brimstone for all of eternity with weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Hell is a place you go through, not to...We all go through it.
There are people who are profoundly tormented right now in a hell that we created for them or that they created for themselves and they can't imagine a worse experience.
Does heaven exist?
No one knows the precise answer to that question and anything we say about it will only be speculative and based on imagination.
I do believe in life after this one as I do in life before it...But this is only because I choose to.
If in fact, there is a heaven, it would be only in consciousness and not necessarily like the one portrayed in religious mythology, Christianity included.
Jesus said in the Fathers House, meaning in the metaphysical realm of realities, there are many mansions. I interpret that to mean many dimensions, spheres, floors, places and spaces of consciousness and reality. I interpret heaven as metaphorical referring to the higher and farthest reaches, regions and rhythms of consciousness.
Jesus said in the Fathers House, meaning in the metaphysical realm of realities, there are many mansions.
I interpret that to mean many dimensions, spheres, floors, places and spaces of consciousness and reality.
I interpret heaven as metaphorical referring to the higher and farthest reaches, regions and rhythms of consciousness.
What is God?
I no longer believe in a God or “the” God, I just believe in God, an ultimate transcendent Omnipresent Reality full of love, light, intelligence and order.
Rather than perceiving a personal God, I prefer the personification of an ultimate Good, expressing itself as God or Divinity.
The most dangerous and destructive misconceptions people have embraced is that of a caricature God, who is biased, bigoted, jealous, judgmental, vengeful and who has a severe anger management problem, who throws violent temper tantrums ranging from natural disasters to cancer, AIDS and ultimately hell. Belief in, and worshipful devotion to such an image leads to the proliferation of that same dangerous habit of acting out such vitriolic behavior and attitude towards others.
The most dangerous and destructive misconceptions people have embraced is that of a caricature God, who is biased, bigoted, jealous, judgmental, vengeful and who has a severe anger management problem, who throws violent temper tantrums ranging from natural disasters to cancer, AIDS and ultimately hell.
Belief in, and worshipful devotion to such an image leads to the proliferation of that same dangerous habit of acting out such vitriolic behavior and attitude towards others.
We believe that experience is not only what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you. Faith is an action and fear is a reaction. We endeavor to always act in faith and never react in fear. Questions are answers in seed form. It takes talent to answer them, but genius to ask them. We don't seek to be a place where every question is answered, but a community of faith where you can feel safe asking them. We endeavor to not only answer questions, but question answers and continue our personal and collective ongoing evolution. We take the Bible seriously, just not always literally. We think it is more important what Jesus said about God than what the church tends to say about Jesus. We seek to help teach and remind people of their personal and powerful and often forgotten Divinity…Jesus said, “Ye are gods.”
When my detractors interpret , "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” they tend to interpret that mean, "No one comes to God except through 'Christianity' rather than Christ Consciousness, or in Christian doctrine, the “finished work of the cross.” 
Now, I have said all of this just to give you a little bit of information of what is out there concerning false teaching today.
They think it means "no one can get to God, except you (they) get down on their knees, confess Jesus, and jump through all the traditional religious hoops in order to reach, appease and please God."
And we in the church need to exercise spiritual discernment to determine if what others are saying is from God or from the enemy.
So, tonight I want to give you 3 observations from our text and talk about Spiritual Discernment.
However, that scripture doesn't mean that at all.

1) YOU CAN’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR (v 1)

1 John 4:1 NASB95
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.
The phrase “do not believe every spirit” means that believers shouldn’t believe everything they hear just b/c someone says it’s a message from God.
“Do not believe every spirit” means that the believers should not believe everything they hear just because someone says it is a message from God.
Just b/c someone has credentials, says they’re a pastor & speaking on God’s behalf means they really are.
Barton, B. B., & Osborne, G. R. (1998). 1, 2 & 3 John (p. 83). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.
Everyone with a bible in their hand isn’t a messenger of God.
Not everyone with the title “pastor” “teacher” or “prophet” is to be given your undivided attention.
Everyone that uses Christian terminology isn’t teaching Christian truth.
Satan can masquerade as an angel of light & he knows the bible…but he is nothing but a liar.
Satan can masquerade as angel of light.
His false teachers & prophets will do nothing but twist scripture & mix truth in with lies.
NOTE: Just b/c it comes from a pulpit doesn’t mean it’s true.
We have to be aware of the fact that not every spiritual teacher is a credible teacher.
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ware of the fact that not every spiritual teacher is a
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There are spiritual deceivers and liars out there, and they work hard to earn our trust & our allegiance.
trust, our allegiance.
NOTE: YOU CAN’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR!

2) YOU HAVE TO TEST WHAT YOU HEAR (v 1-3)

1 John 4:1 NASB95
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.
John says, “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.”
This means that we are to test the message & the messengers to see if it’s truly from the Lord.
But how do we do that?
First of all, we should check to see if it matches God’s Word.
If it doesn’t line up with the entirety of the bible, and verses are being taken out of context to form a particular teaching...then most likely it’s false.
If verses are being taken out of context,
Now again, most false teachers don’t teach blatant lies & heresy…They will have some truth to their teaching & mix their false doctrine in with it.
This is why we have to know what the bible says.
If we don’t the truth - we won’t be able to spot what is false.
If someone comes along, & they claim that God told them something new that no one else has ever seen before…most likely it’s false.
God will never contradict Himself…If He says something in His Word - He will never give a prophecy or a revelation that contradicts the written Word.
Another test is to look at the messenger’s commitment to the body of believers.
1 John 2:19 NASB95
19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
1
John tells us that there were false teachers in the church that left b/c their teachings weren’t accepted…and when they left it proved that they didn’t really belong to the Christian community.
Iow’s, they weren’t true believers…If they had been true believers, they would have repented & stayed.
False teachers won’t hang around if they’re ever called out.
Iow’s, if their teaching isn’t tolerated & they are confronted…they will leave.
Another test is to look at the messenger’s lifestyle.
1 John 3:23–24 NASB95
23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
Is the messenger a loving person? Do they love God & other believers?
Are they keeping God’s commands?
Can you see the fruit of the Spirit being produced in their life?
Finally, the most important test of all is what do they believe about Jesus.
1 John 4:2–3 NASB95
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.
1 John 4:2 HCSB
2 This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.
The phrase “every spirit” refers to the spirit of the person speaking.
This spirit could be the HS or it could be demonic.
The only way to tell would be to discover if he or she confesses that JC has come in the flesh.
NOTE: You can find out a lot about a person when you find out what they have to say about Jesus.
A true teacher of God believes that Jesus of Nazareth as revealed in the gospels is the Messiah…God’s one & only incarnation of Himself.
A true teacher will teach that Jesus became a man…and that He didn’t merely “appear” to be a man.
NOTE: True prophecy & true teaching will present a true Jesus.
But if a person denies the deity or the humanity esp. of Jesus it proves that he/she is not from God.
In fact, John says this is the spirit of the antichrist...and the spirit of error (v 6).
The New American Commentary: 1, 2, 3 John 2. Test the Spirits (4:1–6)

The spirit of the arch enemy of Christ is “now” in the world “already.” His presence was active in John’s day. It remains active in our day. It will continue until this age ends with the revelation of God’s Christ, the true Christ (cf. 2:28–3:3)

The spirit of the arch enemy of Christ is “now” in the world “already.” His presence was active in John’s day. It remains active in our day. It will continue until this age ends with the revelation of God’s Christ, the true Christ.
NOTE: The spirit of antichrist was present in John’s day & it’s still present in our day.
The spirit of the arch enemy of Christ is “now” in the world “already.” His presence was active in John’s day. It remains active in our day. It will continue until this age ends with the revelation of God’s Christ, the true Christ (cf. 2:28–3:3)
(cf. 2:28–3:3) (Akin, D. L. (2001). 1, 2, 3 John (Vol. 38, p. 173). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)
And it’s the spirit that opposes the true Jesus & offers a substitute Jesus.
Akin, D. L. (2001). 1, 2, 3 John (Vol. 38, p. 173). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
NOTE: The devil doesn’t care if you know Jesus or love Jesus or pray to Jesus - as long as it’s a false Jesus…a make believe Jesus…and therefore a Jesus who cannot save.
We can’t listen to people who don’t preach & proclaim Jesus.
NOTE: YOU NEED TO TEST WHAT YOU HEAR!!!

3) YOU MUST TRUST THE SPIRIT WITHIN YOU (v 4)

1 John 4:4 NASB95
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.
John says we have one greater living in us than the one that is in the world.
The HS in us is greater than the devil & deception that is in the world.
So, when it comes to spiritual discernment we can trust the HS within us to lead us & guide us.
If we listen to His voice, He will never lead us astray…and He will keep us from falling into error.
John 14:26 NASB95
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
John 16:13 NASB95
13 “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
The HS is our teacher & time spent with Him is our greatest weapon against the attack of the enemy.
NOTE: Don’t ignore the promptings or feelings that the HS may stir up within you.
If something doesn’t feel right, check it out.
You can trust the HS within you.

CONCLUSION:

The days that we live in have been marked by deception.
The truth has been twisted & lines have been blurred.
Right is now wrong & wrong is now right.
Things that were once seen as black and white, now appear more gray.
It seems harder to recognize what’s true or what’s false…what’s light and what’s dark. 
But the best way to expose the false lies of the enemy is to know the Truth of the One voice who matters most.
And he’ll stop at nothing to gain new ground.
He and his forces have quoted God’s words since the beginning of time, twisting it, trying their best to manipulate truth, their main goal only to deceive and lead astray.
They know who God is and the Bible says they “shudder” in fear at His name. ()
They know that God alone will be victorious and no matter what traps are used today to try to distract us away from Him, in the end, they will not win.
Many times the wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing knows God’s Word better than we thought, crafting and twisting it so much, we might even find ourselves feeling confused over what real truth is anymore.
NOTE: If you’ll know the real - you'll know the false.
So how can we see through their deception to protect ourselves? 
The best way to expose the false lies of the enemy is to know the Truth of the One voice who matters most. Know the real and you'll know what is false.
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