Test the Spirits

Test the Spirits

Counterfeit Christianity is a real threat. It’s easy at times to clearly see who comes with evil intent but the danger lies with those who look like a lamb but breathe like a dragon as John warns us in Revelation.

John is also very clear about this threat in today’s Epistle reading when he directly tells us to “test the spirits”. There were already false teachers in those early days of Christianity and they have only continued to grow in number.

But the Lord makes it clear how and why we are to test our teachers. Spiritual discernment is a tool and our responsibility. Is the message from God or is it of this world? Does it align with Scripture or with human reasoning? We can know it is of God when the message is focused on His love, His redemption of us and His absolution of us. Any other focus steers us the wrong way.

You can read the full text below of today’s reading from 1 John chapter 4,

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 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, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

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Almighty God, heavenly Father, give us grace to trust You during this time of illness and distress. In mercy put an end to the pandemic that afflicts us. Grant relief to those who suffer, and comfort all that mourn. Sustain all medical personnel in their labors, and cause Your people ever to serve You in righteousness and holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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