1 John 4: Testing the Spirits

How can the message of a “false prophet” be of any danger to a Christian?

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2 Timothy 4:3 You will experience times when people reject sound teaching for what suits their desires. They will love those who preach what they want to hear.
1 John 4:1 My dear friends in Christ, don’t believe every voice when you first hear it. Question whether the message is really from God, because many false prophets are loose in the world.
King James
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

What should we think about Christian ministries that seldom mention the name of Christ?

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Matthew 10:32–33 “If anyone publicly acknowledges me before men, I will publicly acknowledge him before my Father in Heaven. But anyone who denies me before men I will deny before my Father in Heaven.”
1 John 4:2–4 Test the spirits, whether they are from God, by whether they confess Jesus Christ his Son, who came in the flesh. Any message that denies Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born in human flesh, is not of God. This is the spirit of the antichrist you heard would come, and now it’s here. You are of God, dear children, victorious over the false teachers because the Spirit within you is greater than the spirit of the world.
King James
Matthew 10:32–33 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
1 John 4:2–4 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

How does someone “test the spirits”?

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1 John 4:2–4 Test the spirits, whether they are from God, by whether they confess Jesus Christ his Son, who came in the flesh. Any message that denies Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born in human flesh, is not of God. This is the spirit of the antichrist you heard would come, and now it’s here. You are of God, dear children, victorious over the false teachers because the Spirit within you is greater than the spirit of the world.
King James
1 John 4:2–4 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

In what ways should the message of God’s people differ from the world’s message?

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1 John 4:5 Messengers of the world say what people of the world want to hear, so the audience listens and cheers.
King James
1 John 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

How should we feel about people who don’t listen to God’s message?

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1 John 4:6 We who are of God are eagerly heard by fellow believers, but others don’t listen. Thus we can distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of deception.
King James
1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

In loving others, how important is our relationship with God?

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1 John 4:7–8 My dear friends, let’s love one another, for that is God’s nature. Those who love others are born of God and know him as Father. Since God is love, those who don’t love others don’t know him.
King James
1 John 4:7–8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

What must we do to experience God’s love?

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1 John 4:9–12 God revealed the greatness of his love for us when he sent his only Son so we might live through him. We know love, not because we loved God but because he loved us and sent his Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins. If God loved us that much, my friends, then we should love others. No person has ever seen God face-to-face. But if we love others, we have him living within us and his love finds its full expression through us.
King James
1 John 4:9–12 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

How do we know that the Holy Spirit is working in our lives?

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Galatians 5:22–23 If the Holy Spirit is guiding your life, you show true love—giving to people without regard to whether they can return the favor. You have joy, peace and patience in stressful situations. Kindness, generosity, and faithfulness expresses who you are, not what people deserve. You are gentle and even-tempered. There’s no law against such behavior.
1 John 4:13 This is how we know we live in him and he lives in us: we have his Holy Spirit working in our lives.
King James
Galatians 5:22–23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
1 John 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

Why was John so passionate about the message he preached?

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1 John 4:14 With our own eyes, we have seen the evidence and declare the truth: the Father sent his Son to save the lost people of this world.
King James
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

What effect does our confession have upon our sense of God’s presence?

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John 14:23 “People must love me enough to do what I say. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to live with them.”
1 John 4:15 God dwells in those who confess before others that Jesus is God’s Son. They live in God’s presence.
King James
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
1 John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

Why might some Christians have difficulty trusting God?

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1 John 4:16 In knowing how much God loves us, we put our trust in him. God is love. Living in that love makes God at home in us, and we are at home in him.
King James
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Of what things should Christians boast?

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Proverbs 16:18 Pride will destroy a person. Arrogance is sure to take a fatal fall.
Luke 10:19–20 “Sure, I have given you authority to trample snakes and scorpions and have power over the enemy, so nothing can harm you in any way. However, you should not rejoice that evil spirits obey your commands. Instead, rejoice because your citizenship in Heaven has been recorded.”
2 Corinthians 12:8–9 I prayed at three different times for the Lord to remove my affliction. But God said no. “My grace is sufficient,” he said. “In your weakness, your dependence upon me makes you strong.” Therefore, I will boast of this affliction if it makes the power of Jesus Christ alive in me.
Ephesians 2:9–10 Since eternal life is God’s gift, we cannot boast that we have done something to deserve his favor. We are God’s creative masterpiece, brought to life in Jesus Christ so we can do the great work he designed for us in the beginning.
1 John 4:17 When we are like Christ in this world, our love is made perfect enough to boast on Judgment Day.
King James
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Luke 10:19–20 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
2 Corinthians 12:8–9 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Ephesians 2:9–10 Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

If we have no fear, how is fear the beginning of wisdom?

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Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Always doing what he says just makes the best sense. Throughout eternity, he deserves the highest praise.
1 John 4:18 The fullness of our love for God leaves us no reason to cringe in fear of him. That’s because the fear is based on our anticipation of his punishment, which is impossible when our love in him is complete.
King James
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Why does God’s love precede our loving others?

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1 John 4:19–20 Because God first loved us, we make a habit of loving others. We’re lying if we say we love God but don’t have love for others. If we can’t love the people we see, we can’t love God whom we haven’t seen.
King James
1 John 4:19–20 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Why is loving God and others the most important of commandments?

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Matthew 22:37–39You must love God with your whole heart, with all your being and all your strength. This is the first and most important of all commandments. But the second commandment is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself.
1 John 3:14 When you love people who have nothing to give in return, you have passed from death into life. Anyone who doesn’t have that kind of love is walking in death.
1 John 4:21 Remember our most important commandments: to love God and love one another.
King James
Matthew 22:37–39 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
1 John 4:21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.