“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” (1 John 4:1a) How important is this message today? Lies, deceit, manipulation surround us on the sound waves, the TV, the radio, newspapers, and on the Internet. We must be able to discern the messages we receive. Fortunately we have God’s Word and His Spirit to assist us.
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 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 4:2-3) The spirit spoken here isn’t a ghost necessarily, but rather the person. It doesn’t mean that a person that is born again can’t lie, nor does it mean a person that isn’t born again can’t tell the truth. Rather it’s the spirit behind the action. When the disciples asked the Lord if they should call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans because they would not receive them, (Luke 9:51-56) His response was “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of… ” They were his chosen disciples, but the spirit behind their desire to call down fire from heaven was out of revenge and retaliation, contrary to Christ’s mission.
“They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 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 John 4:5-6) The truth of this statement is magnified today. We wonder how people can fall for what we see as obvious lies and still refuse to listen to the truth of our words. Our loving Father told us this would happen.