Our Bible passage today is 1 John Chapter 4 verses 1 to 6.
John returns to another key theme of looking out for false teaching, here described as testing the spirits (v.1). One of the issues in the early church was what theologians now call ‘gnostic’ teaching, where people came into the church claiming to have special knowledge and understanding. John issues a warning to his readers to test these things out.
And a key test according to John to see if spiritual teachers are genuine or not, is whether they acknowledge that ‘Jesus Christ has come in the flesh’, and if they do they are from God, and if they don’t they are not from God (vs.2-3).
So is someone teaching that Jesus is the Christ or the Messiah, the One long predicted through the law, prophets and psalms of the Old Testament, the One who has come to rescue God’s people? Are they teaching that Jesus came in the flesh, that He was a real human being, who lived and breathed, talked and ate, and not just some sort of spirit or even philosophical idea? Are they teaching that Jesus was also the divine Son of God?
And that key test applicable in John’s time, is also applicable throughout the history of the church since, as different spirits, prophets and gurus, cults and sects, right up to the present day, come and try draw people away from the one true faith, and are therefore the spirit of the antichrist at work.
So if I find myself in a spiritual or religious discussion with someone who is from a different grouping, or just seems to have some funny ideas, who says things like, ‘I like to think God is a bit like this or that’, I try and move the discussion on to the person of Jesus Christ. Who do you think He is? What do you make of Him, His life, death and resurrection?
And John tells his readers and us not to be worried (vs.4-6), because the Spirit of God, who is in the heart and soul of every believer, has overcome any false spirit, however powerful and attractive they might seem at the time or to other people. The Spirit of truth will overcome the spirit of falsehood.
Hope this is helpful, but as always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
In our daily prayers let us remember today,- Kim Bon & Sin Wei- Charlene, along with Ariah and Samuel