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What is Truth

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What is Truth?

1 John 4:1-6


Information overload.  We are bombarded with information.

Question:  Do you believe everything you read? 

·       Penny Brown is missing

·       For every person that you forward this e-mail to, Microsoft will pay you $245.00 For every person that you sent it to that forwards it on, Microsoft will pay you $243.00 and for every third person that receives it, You will be paid $241.00. Within two weeks, Microsoft will contact you for your address and then send you a check.

·       At the grocery store the headline on a tabloid reads:  Evidence of Noah’s Ark found on Mars.(some believes anything that is in print!)

What to believe?  This is nothing new.  Look in Bible to Pilate, a man with no particular spiritual discernment.  The Priest and Scribes, the “religious authorities” on one side saying one thing, when questioning Jesus, Pilate hears another.
Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"  John 18:38 NASU

(Some times I identify with Pilate – I don’t know who to believe!)

That same question is being asked today over and over and many different ways

·       What is true and what is false? Is this for real?

·       How can I know the difference?

·       Whom and what do I believe?

Da Vinci Code?  People are too willing to believe?  Is there any truth to it?

The Gospel of Judas??

Open your Bibles and we will read from God’s holy Word:

1 John 4:1-6

1 Dear friends, 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 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (NIV)


Tonight we will examine:  Why you should not believe all you hear, read, or feel and

How you can know what is true.

II.  Don’t believe everything you hear, read, see, touch, or feel.

      Don’t always believe your senses.

The situation in John’s time:

  • False teachers--Gnosticism:  one of the branches of which said that Christ came upon Jesus at His baptism and left Him at Calvary.

  • Little or no Scriptures no written authority-No New Testament.

John warns us about not believing everything you are told.  New Living Translation reads:

1 John 4:1

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. NLT

Why?  Verse 1 Many false prophets are in the world

  • Waste your time (at very least)
  • Hurt you (many cults)
  • Lead you away from God

Who are these false teachers?

John tells us in verse 3 they are the spirit of the anti-Christ
In the Greek “anti-“ means “against” or “instead of” or even a substitution.

Let me tell you a little about my AF job.  I work with flight simulators – I certify that a pilot can train in them instead of a real aircraft.  A pilot get in the simulator, starts the engines, takes off, fly to a far away destination.  They experience weather, system malfunctions, troubles, emergencies, and the pilot overcomes them.  He experiences and feels all the realities of the flight.  He goes through all the steps and does all the right things, but when we he gets out, he finds that he has gone no where.

So many things in life will looks right, feels right, but gets you nowhere.  So many things are substitutes.  So many things are deceptions.

What is behind all these false teachings? Satan. Satan is responsible for the deception in our world today.

The Bible tells us in John 8:44

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (NIV)

  • Satan is the master of deception, miss information.
    The worst lie is the one that is 99% true
    That one percent has lead many to their ruin.

  • Satan is counterfeit.  The Bible tells us in 2 Cor 11:14 --  2
    13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve NIV.

There are many cults and “isms” out there.  Its not just Islam --

Just turn on the TV!

  • “May the Force be with you”  New age religion  (actually it is ages old just Hinduism“repackaged”.
  • The feel good generation.  What is wrong with living together with out being married? (movies – TV)
  • Its about protection not abstinance
  • TV preachers – Can you trust them?
  • Political climate makes you cover up your Christianity but will preach evolution and humanism as fact in the classroom.
  • The woman right to chose because after all it her body and, that is not a baby but just a mass of cells.

All this and more is coming from our authorities, our role models. No different now as it was in the days of Pilate.

Look at Verse 5 – offers us another clue someone is not from God:

Who listens to them?  God message is now and has always been unpopular.

How will they lead you away?

  • Intellect – what appeals to our human reasoning.

·       Why is Islam the fastest growing religion in the world today? –

·       It make sense to the world, have I done enough for God?

·       That big scoreboard in the Sky surely shows I have done more good than bad (good being defined as doing something for God – like killing those who oppose Allah (Is Islam’s God the same as our God? – short answer – NO!)

·       John 3:16 is so hard to understand by the world.

·       Feelings  -- Are we slaves to our senses?  Listen young people!

§       “But this feels so right!”
Thank God my salvation is not based upon my “feelings.”

§       Your feeling cannot be trusted, only as it backed up by truths in God’s word.

But John Gives us a TEST to use:

III  So, how can you know the truth?

  • If we cannot use our human reasoning and intellect, and
  • we cannot trust our feelings


John gives us the big picture and works his way to details

First is quite obvious:  Verse 2

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God

Do they acknowledge that Jesus came in the flesh?   ASK!

ASK:  Who is Jesus.  Who is Jesus to you?

  • Islam denies Jesus.  Said he was just good teacher/prophet
  • Buddhism – same
  • Hinduism – same
  • Mormonism – you may have to dig deeper.  They will tell you Jesus, the son of God, came in the flesh, die on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended to sit at the right hand of the father.  What they fail to tell you is that believe Lucifer is Jesus’ brother, Jesus was once a man like us but became a god like one day we all will become gods. 
  • Other “isms” will do the same.
  • Now it is the popular culture that is telling us this- There is no God other than the god of science

However, How often do we hear that “my beliefs” are private.  Politicians often will want you to separate their public life from their private life.

No confession is a confession – Not to confess Christ is to deny him:  Matt 10:32-33 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. NIV

But confession about Christ is crucial – it effect their World View – how everything is perceived

Therefore, no matter how convincing or eloquent the deceivers may be, they still must be judged by their own confession to Christ. The confession is crucial. It will affect every other aspect of one’s theology and worldview. What one thinks about Jesus always has far-reaching ramifications.

Christians “needed to be reminded that demonic activity could penetrate their churches.” Spiritual activity is not necessarily Godly activity. We must be discerning. We must listen and evaluate carefully the message and messenger against the infallible authority of Scripture.

Jesus tell us also to dig deeper – not to just believe the words – sometime there are people who know “all the right words”

Matt 7:15-20

15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.


Sometimes, we must be fruit inspectors.

Verse 4 (because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world) goes further and says that the Spirit in us is greater than the spirit that is in the world  --  we can take good comfort in that.
Christians, how are you filling yourselves with the Spirit?
Eph 5:18 commands us to be filled with the Spirit.  How?

One way we are filled with the spirit is feed ourselves with the Word of God.

Phil 1:9-11

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,

(from New International Version)

2 Peter 3:17-18

…be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

(from New International Version)

Ps 1:2

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

(from New International Version)

Ps 119:11

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

(from New International Version)

Paul, arguably the best preacher ever, was said in Acts 17:11

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

(from New International Version)

The Bereans did not blindly follow Paul, we too, are not to blindly follow.  We need to be weary.  Jesus tells us Matt 7:20 - you will know them by their fruits (NASU)

We are to be fruit inspectors.  Kind of like when we vote for our politicians – do we just listen to their high sounding words or do we look at what they have done.

  • Do you know what Godly fruit looks like?


How much time do you spend in God’s word?


Christian, there are many things in the world just waiting to take you down

1 Peter 5:8

Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.


Christians, what have you been filling yourselves up with? 

  • Do you know the word of God? 
  • Would you recognize teachings and paths that would lead you and others astray?
  • Do you long to know God’s word more fully?

    I ask you tonight if you would recommit to hiding God’s word in you heart.  Commune with Him daily, to rededicate yourself to His ways.

If you do not know God, if you have been living on feelings or substitutions, if you do not know the Truth, I want to invite you now to invite the Truth into your life 

Jesus said  "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

(John 14:6, from New International Version)

      I invite you to come forward and public accept Jesus

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9-10, from New International Version)

Prayer:  Gracious Heavenly Father,

Thank-you for revealing your Truth to us through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank-you for not leaving us empty handed and defense-less with the enemy, but providing us with Your Spirit and Your Word to lead, guide and direct us.  Lord, I pray that reading of your Word and the moving of Your Spirit in our lives will help us discern what is right, True, and everlasting.  I pray that you will move in the lives of those that need to make some of decision that they will know Your will in their lives.  Thank-you Lord for the work you are doing and will do.  In the holy name of Jesus we pray,…

Please stand as we sing….

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