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"These Things I've Written..." (1 John 4:1-6)

"These Things I've Written..."   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Learning to discern betwen the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error is crucial in the Christian life.

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Introduction

Last week, we learned that the commands of God are to believe in the name of God’s Son Jesus Christ and that we are to love one another.
We have spent time learning what it means to follow Jesus spiritually and morally.
We don’t want to simply be people who believe with our words but don’t with our actions.
What are your goals as a Christian? Where do you want them to take you spiritually? I’ve have different goals in my life as a believer and I continue to make them.
Have you ever gone to a Christian book store and attempted to find a book on one subject? If I want a book on how to build a strong marriage, which one do I choose? How do I know if people that claim to be “experts” are pointing me in the right direction spiritually?
In John’s day, people were beginning to feel pressure spiritually. They weren’t exactly sure how to know the truth between Jesus followers and the New Age philosophers of the day. (Gnostics)
The word “truth” is so thrown around in our day and age. We live in an age where people can pick and choose what they would like to hear in their lives and convince themselves that their choice is correct.
There are leaders all over the globe that use tactics to gain a following. Teens are pressured daily to see the world in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time.
We can train ourselves to know and understand whenever truthful content is being presented us and whenever someone is bringing a lie to us.
But we we have to be willing to call it for it is and accept that the rest of society won’t appreciate our views on the matter.
How do we discern truth from lies?
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.

1. Don’t believe everything you hear.

According to a recent study, the average person hears 30,000 unique words in a day. This does not include repeats.
We need to assume that many of these words are not useful to our minds and especially our souls.
“Spirit” in verse 1 refers to the the spiritual source of a teaching or a doctrine.
According to John, every word spoken originates from a spiritual source. (Refer to passage below)
1 John 2:20 NASB95
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.
Because of this anointing, there is an ability given to all Christians to be able to know if what they are hearing is coming from a Heavenly source. God has given us His spirit, but there are other spirits that are active in the world.
In John’s day, there were voices that were not leading people to know and love God because of Christ’s sacrifice upon the cross. The message of salvation was being hijacked by people with other agendas and reasons.
There were people who used to serve as spiritual leaders in their life and had a new message that was causing a great disturbance.
John wanted the Christians of the day to discipline themselves in this time. (Refer to passage below)
1 Thessalonians 5:19–22 NASB95
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Christians were called to examine everything that they heard carefully.
“Many anti-Christs had gone out” - Former church members who had gone out and preached a Gentile pseudo Christianity which is vaguely spoke of as Gnosticism.
Have you ever bought something as seen on tv? The commercials will tell you that you must have this item. Often times, you aren’t getting what you paid for. Be careful what you buy out there.
Mormons will tell you
Today, there are people clamoring for your attention and many different groups (cults) are gaining widespread and popular support. Some of them claim a special revelation or inspiration that seems to make their doctrine authentic.
There is need for Christian discernment.
We don’t want to be misguided.
We also don’t want to be so suspicious that we don’t believe truth whenever is is put right in front of us. We must trust truth when it is given to us.
Avoid falling into extremes, the superstition which believe everything and suspicion which believes nothing.

2. Jesus is the key to a truthful confession.

John wrote that “every spirit that acknowledge’s Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” .
An open and bold profession of faith. Not just a claim to believe in His identity. They were many during Jesus’ ministry that knew Jesus, but they did not acknowledge Him for who He was.
The spirt of God, always honors the Son of God. Jesus taught that the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to testify to, and to glorify Him.
John 15:26 NASB95
26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,
John 16:13–15 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. 14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
1 Corinthians 12:3 NASB95
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
All Christian doctrine which can never be compromised concerns the eternal divine-human person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
John wrote that any voice that does not confess Jesus is coming from an opposing group of people.
Any other message goes against Jesus’ true identity.
John is telling us that any other message that denies Jesus coming to this world in the flesh cannot be tolerated. There is no salvation in this message.
The word proclaims often that anything that is not from God is considered “wordly”. What does that mean?
If something is not of God than is has to be of something.
What makes Hell such a terrible place? Hell is the absence of God.
Have you ever been to a dark place? Even the darkest places have remnants of God in them.
Words that don’t come from Jesus are demonic.
Some of the most demonic things that you see and hear are subtle. We have to be careful and have the ability to know when a “worldly” message is being spoken.
Listen to modern day leaders:
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it’s all that matters. - Audrey Hepburn.
James 1:2–3 NASB95
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
James 1:2 NASB95
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
“People have different reasons for the way they live their lives. You cannot put everyone’s reasons in the same box. - Kevin Spacey.
Ephesians 1:11 NASB95
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
“Sports and School are more important that our relationship with Jesus.”
“Work hard above all things.”
“Follow your heart.”
“Sports and School are more important that our relationship with Jesus.”
Jesus is and will always be the central theme of any message. He is everything that we stand on.
We are called to be fanatics. Not crazy but dedicated.

3. Identify your homeland.

John wrote that true believer prevail over false teachers because of Christ, whose Spirit resides in them, is stronger than the false teachers and any spiritual powers at work in them.
Through Christ, we can overcome the intellectual battles that we face in the day.
The cause of the victory is the superior strength of the one one who is in us.
“He that is in the word is Satan. says, “According to the course of this world, of the prince of the prince and the power of the air.
The values of the world are derived from human society. Christians don’t belong in human society.
In the lives of the people reading this letter, they were those who had left the church and had rejected God’s truth.
The world recognizes its own people and listens to their message, which originates in its own circle and reflects its own perspective.
The “we” in this passage were the prophets of God preaching the truth who represented a small minority in the world they were living in.
There is a connection between a message and its hearers. The Spirit who is in you enables you to discern his own voice speaking through us.
Today we can recognize God’s Word because God’s people listen to it, just as we can recognize God’s people because they listen to God’s word.
John 8:47 NASB95
47 “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”
As a United States citizen, I have the right to visit an embassy whenever I am in a foreign land. While in a foreign land, I will not seek to be disruptive or a nuisance to the society I am in but I will not claim the beliefs and practices of a nation that I am not a citizen of. When things become more than I as an individual can handle, I visit a US embassy to have my affairs sorted out.
Where you are from? What is your destiny?
Do you know that your life is not your own and that God has a purpose for you that goes beyond this world?
God has a purpose and a home for every follower. Discipleship is the purpose and the Kingdom of God is the destination.
Many Christians have found a half way point between this idea and the world.
If I attend enough church and I make sure that people know that my support it behind Christianity, than I have everything in order.
The scriptures call this concept lukewarm.
When you live for the kingdom of God, you will know another Christian when you hear one speak. You will be able to conquer everything the enemy puts in front of you. You will be able to distinguish whenever you’re hearing truth and whenever you’re not.
Your embassy while in this foreign land called the world is the His church. Your purpose is to live for a kingdom that you are not in but you are a part of.
You are to answer the call of Jesus or reject it. There is no other choice.

Be honest with yourself today. Where do you stand?

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