Every person has a worldview. This worldview is either born of a truth or a lie. We all begin life believing the lie because it is natural. When the Spirit comes to us and reveals the truth, many believe Him, but many more do not. They prefer the lie.
4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
v1 There are deceiving spirits. How many? Good question! Evidently, there are quite a few–enough to go around! Let’s look at some supporting Scripture concerning fallen angels:
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads [Satan. The name, Lucifer, is actually a Latin derivative and not his real name]. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth [these would be the angels with him]. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth [Mary], so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son [Jesus], a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days [from this point, I would be speculating].
7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him [a description of Satan’s fall along with the angels who sided with him].
Hebrews 12:22 uses the word “innumerable” for the number of angels in heaven. Obviously, there is a finite number; it is just too vast for our finite minds. The concept I want us to grasp this morning is that God’s spirit world is much larger and much more real than our world. It’s like our world is the yolk of an egg whose white portion is limitless.
I love the account of Elisha in 2 Kings 6:8-23 when the king of Aram sent forces against Israel where Elisha lived. Elisha’s servant cries out in fear, but Elisha says, “Do not fear, for more are with us than with them.” He opens his eyes to see angels in fiery chariots surrounding the army. Elisha prays, and the whole army is struck with a kind of blindness so that they don’t realize where they are. They are led to Samaria where they are fed and sent back home [grace]. Aram no longer raided Israel after that event.
One of the boundaries that Satan and his followers crossed is the one of speaking for God. Satan did it with Adam and Eve and with Jesus, and his followers do it continuously with those who do not have the Spirit of God in them. Thus, we test the spirits.
How do we test the spirits? It’s simple: The spirit (in the person) must acknowledge Jesus as God’s Son and that He came to earth in the flesh. Why so specific? Because Satan created a lie for each facet of the redemption story:
- He didn’t really come from God; he was a man who became a god (Mormonism)
- He wasn’t really God’s Son, but just a prophet who spoke for God (Islam)
- He wasn’t really human, but just an incarnation who looked human (Gnosticism)
If there’s a way to twist the Truth, Satan has done it. Any variation of the Gospel as given in 1 Corinthians 15 is from the spirit of the antichrist and his way of thinking, which is, basically, Satan’s way of thinking. What IS the TRUE Gospel?
1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ [the Messiah had to be human and God together, tried but sinless; otherwise, He could not have been our sin sacrifice] died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
v4 We have overcome this spirit of deception through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!
v5 This verse is key to understanding our daily news: Satan controls the airwaves. Paul refers to him as the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). The world listens to Satan and his cohorts and is deceived. Paul talks about strongholds and arguments in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, and rulers and authorities in Ephesians 6:12. BIG verses!
v6 The Spirit bears witness with our hearts when truth is spoken (Romans 8:16). Whether a person believes the truth or rejects it tells the tale of which spirit to which they are listening. “This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”
We know that if 12:00 is the correct time, then anything else, no matter how close, is the wrong time. That’s the way it is with truth. It’s narrow, just like the gate, and the road that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).
Let’s get on the right road each morning and walk with Jesus on that road all day!
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming to earth, living a sinless life, and dying for us–and then rising from the dead! Thank You for including us in so great a salvation. You love us so; may we love You with all our heart, soul, mind, and with all our strength. Lead us on this narrow road of Truth. Amen