This is how we know

This is How We Know (1 John 4:1-6) *All scriptures NLT*

1 John 4:1-6 (NLT), Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here. But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.

1. John says to “test the spirits”.

– The Apostle John has been warning his people about some who have left the church, and about the false doctrines they were now teaching. He said we can actually know whether their talk is true.

– The teachers who left John’s church claimed to be prophets, ones who had a special knowledge and truth about God that the rest of us don’t have. Every speaker should be tested by the Holy Spirit.

– One of the false doctrines of that day believed that Jesus was never really in a human body. Jesus was only a spirit that appeared to be a man. This denies that Christ came in the flesh.

– That’s why John provides a test to know if someone is in the truth, which is that they believe that Jesus was 100% man and 100% God at the same time. If they don’t believe this, their massage is false, and not inspired by the Holy Spirit.

– This is not an exhaustive test, but refutes the false teaching at the time. Basically, the test is that a true Christ follower and teacher must believe the foundational teachings that the apostles have given. Those who deny these teachings are from the Antichrist.

– Remember, John is the eyewitness to everything in Christ’s ministry and life. He is the SME!

– This is how we test the spirits, by comparing them to the words of Jesus, and the words of the apostles. John, Paul, and Peter all tell the church to not depart for the gospel that was given to them.

Example: I’m always impressed with speakers who present without any notes. They either really know their stuff, are making things up, or they are relying on you to not know the difference.

– Some are passionate, emphatic, charismatic, and speak authoritatively… but do they have anything concrete to support what they are saying?

– Why do people believe them? Because they planted seeds of doubt in the alternative? They play on our own confirmation bias or fears, or are we to busy and tired to fact-check them?

– We need to be asking them questions like, “Where does it say that in the bible, and is it in context? Does it match what the apostles were saying? Etc…”

– This is why we use a lot of scriptures in our sermons at FVC, and even post our notes online. This is so you can see that we are not twisting one scripture to fit our narrative or trying to trick you.

– So you’ll know there are several scriptures written by trusted sources like the apostles, prophets, and teachers, as to what was said and done in the life of Jesus, even the words of Jesus himself. 

– We need to be more like the Bereans:

Acts 17:10-12, That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. 12 As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

2. This is how we know.

1 Tim 4:1, Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

– John lays out a basic test for us, in verse 2, that we can use to see if a teaching about Jesus is false or true. The question that needs to be answered is, “Who is Jesus to them? and, Is Jesus God?”

Example: When a missionary rings my doorbell, the first question I ask them is, “Do you believe that Jesus IS God?” This was the defining principle the apostles taught about Jesus Christ.

*Mormons believe they are “Christians”. Do you know why they are not?

What Latter-day Saints Believe About Jesus Christ ( 

– this according to Robert L. Millet, former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University, as quoted in 2001. This is on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints website.

– They believe the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament to be historical and truthful. For them, the Jesus of history is indeed the Christ of their faith…. They believe Jesus is God’s son, the Messiah and Savior, and fulfilled all prophecy.

– They believe the virgin birth, and in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. 

– 99% of what they are saying on their website sounds great, and like things we would be preaching ourselves… BUT… They are 1% off, and that 1% is the foundation of true Christianity!

THEY DO NOT BELIEVE that the bible is without error or is the final word of God. Millet says, “While we do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete, or the final word of God, we accept the essential details of the Gospels and more particularly the divine witness of those men who walked and talked with Him or were mentored by His chosen apostles.” (Like John??)

– Basically, in the period between the death of the apostles and the comprising of the Bible, and in an effort to not appear polytheistic like the Greeks, our church leaders invented the concept of the Trinity. To Mormons, God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three separate beings.

– So, to them, every Christian leader and scholar between 100 A.D. and approx. the 1800s were well-meaning, but simply got it wrong. Joseph Smith got it all straightened out though. Millet said, “By revelation, and through the experience of Joseph Smith in a few moments in the grove on a spring day in 1820, brought more light and knowledge and understanding of the personality and reality and substance of God and his Beloved Son than men had arrived at during centuries of speculation.”

Mormons believe: The bible has errors and needs more added to it, Jesus is not God but only the Son of God, and the trinity is simply a made up concept and not biblical. 

– The 1% off just became 100% wrong, because their foundational Christian beliefs are wrong.

*Jehovah Witness believe they are “Christians”. Do you know why they are not?

What Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe? ( 

– According to their website: “As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we strive to adhere to the form of Christianity that Jesus taught and that his apostles practiced.” These statements summarizes their basic beliefs.

– They worship the Almighty God, the creator, the same God of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

– They believe the Bible is God’s inspired word, and their beliefs are based off of all 66 books of the New and Old Testament… the raw material of the scriptures, not as has been predetermined pre-1870s, (meaning the way you and I might have interpreted it.)

– “Salvation and deliverance from sin and death is possible through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. To benefit from that sacrifice, people must not only exercise faith in Jesus but also change their course of life and get baptized. A person’s works prove that his faith is alive. However, salvation cannot be earned​—it comes through “the undeserved kindness of God.”​ Jesus is the only way to heaven and eternal life because of his death, burial, and resurrection. 

– They say they “follow the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and honor him as our Savior and as the Son of God. Thus, we are Christians. However, we have learned from the Bible that Jesus is not Almighty God and that there is no Scriptural basis for the Trinity doctrine.”

J.W. DO NOT BELIEVE: that Jesus is God, and they do not worship him. They don’t believe in the Christian bible (they have their own version). They don’t believe that a person is saved by grace through faith alone, but works are an essential part of attaining salvation. (Works based theology).

– They are not Christians because their foundational beliefs don’t line up with the apostle’s teaching! 

– The Mormons and J.W. both say they believe the writings of the original apostles are true, but then what did the original apostles actually said about Jesus?

John 1:1 & 14, In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John 1:18, No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.

Phil 2:5-6, You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

2 Peter 1:1, This letter is from Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.

Colossians 2:8-10, Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

– Contrary to popular belief, Jesus said that he was God!

John 10:30, (Jesus said) The Father and I are one.

John 10:33, The (Pharisees) replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.

John 8:58, Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even bornI am!” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.

The great “I AM” is the name of God, Yahweh of the Old Testament. Jesus is saying he is the “I Am”, God, Yahweh, and was around even before Abraham was. The religious leaders understood this, that’s why they tried to stone him!

– Jesus forgave sins here on earth, only God has the power and authority to do this, and the religious leaders knew that. This is a clear declaration to the people that they cannot misunderstand, that Jesus says he IS God.

Mark 2:5-11, Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 

– Mormons and J.W.s are known to us, but there is a large prominent “Christian” church in New York that openly says from the pulpit that Jesus is not the only way to heaven. How many are still fooled?

– There are still witty arguments, compromising words, slick social media videos, and fear inspiring messages that can fool us if we also don’t know who Jesus is according to the apostles. 

– Christian author J. Oswald Sanders said, “The deity of Christ is the key doctrine of the scriptures. Reject it, and the Bible becomes a jumble of words without any unifying theme. Accept it, and the Bible becomes an intelligible and ordered revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ.” 

– (Forrest Gump voice), “I’m not a smart man, but I know who Jesus is.”

3. The Holy Spirit inside you will help you decern

1 John 4:4, But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

– Don’t be afraid of being led astray, just be aware. Don’t be complacent, just stay connected.

– If you are a believer in Jesus and have been saved and redeemed, then you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you! He will be your guide and your filter.

John 14:26, But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

1 Cor. 2:10-11, But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.

– This is for the believer. For the unbeliever this probably sounds like confusing nonsense. 

– As the Apostle Paul said to the church in Corinth upon first ministering to them, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified… that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 

– That’s means that until an unsaved person receives Jesus as their Lord and Savior, none of this other stuff, no matter how smart or logical, is going to really seem important or make sense. 

– Without the Holy Spirit, you cannot rightly divide scripture, and can be led astray. You must be saved first before any of this will help you.

– prayer –

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