Test the Spirits

1John 4:1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 

‘Beloved’ the Greek word agapetos meaning dearly beloved: worthy of love. ‘Spirit’ the Greek word pneuma, the equivalent to the Hebrew: ruwach. The primary meaning of both words is an invisible force. The spirit of man is the intellect, will, mind, conscience, and other invisible faculties that make him a free moral agent and a rational being. “Pneuma” is used of God as Spirit (John 4:24; 2Cor. 3:17); Christ (1Cor. 6:17; 15:45); the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18, 20; 3:11, 16 – altogether of Him over 240 times); Christ’s personal spirit (Mark 2:8; 8:12; Luke 2:40; John 11:33; 19:30); angels (Heb. 1:7, 14; Ps. 104:4); spirits of men (Matt. 5:3; 1Cor. 2:11; 6:20; 1Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12; 12:23); evil spirits (Matt. 8:16; 10:1; 12:43; Acts 8:7; 16:16; Rev. 16:13; 18:2); the resurrection body (1Cor. 15:44).

‘Try’ the Greek word dokimazo meaning test. The reason here given is because of many false teachers going abroad. These are Biblical ways to test false prophets: By their confession of Jesus life in the flesh (4:2-3); their relationship with the world (2:15-17; 4:5; Jas. 4:4); how they receive Christianity (4:6); their attitude toward the commandments of God (3:20-24; 4:6; John 14:15); love of the brethren (3:11-16; 4:7-21; John 13:34-35; 15:12-15); the indwelling Holy Spirit (4:4-6); the Word of God (4:6; 5:10; 2Tim. 3:16; 2Cor. 4:4).

‘False prophets are gone out into the world’ seven ways false prophets are known: By outward general conduct (Matt. 5:20; 6:1-24; 7:15; 23:1-33; 2Tim. 3:5); by inward state (Matt. 5:22, 28; 7:15; 23:25-28; Mark 7:21-23); by the kind of fruit in works produced (Matt. 7:16-20; 23:1-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; Php. 1:15-17; 3:3, 17-19); by the kind of fruit in doctrine taught (Matt. 7:16-20; 12:33-37; 15:1-9; 16:12; 23:1-33; 1Tim. 4:1-6; 6:3-5; 2Tim. 3:1-8; 4:1-4; 2Pet. 2:1-22); by professing to do, not doing the will of God (Matt. 5:20; 7:21; 23:1-33); by satanic backing (Matt. 7:22; 24:24; Acts 8:9-13; 13:6-13; 16:16-24; 2Cor. 11:13-15; 2Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:1-18; 16:13-16; 19:20); by their destiny (Matt. 7:23; 25:41, 25:46; 2Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 19:20; 20:10-15).

‘Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God’ every spirit inspiring any teacher to deny the incarnation, His passion, death, physical resurrection, and physical ascension to heaven is not of God and is antichrist (4:2-3). Anyone against Christ is anti-Christ.

‘And even now already is it in the world’ satan who will produce the future Antichrist is now in the world (2Thess. 2:1-12). He already is producing many antichrists (2:18-22).


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