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Recognizing the Spirit of Truth (1 John 4:1-6)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 13 October 2013 00:00

 

It was great to have Kathy Vanderpool visit on Sunday, October 6th.

On Sunday, October 13th, we considered John’s counsel to us as believers to test the spirits, whether they are of God (1 John 4:1-6).
According to the Lord Jesus, false prophets were to be tested “by their fruits” (Mt 7:16-20). As we observe by reading the passages from Matthew, this does NOT mean that they were to be tested by their works.

On the contrary, as Matthew 12:33-37 proves, their fruits are defined as their words!
As Jesus said, they “come to you in sheep’s clothing” so that they look like sheep when in reality they are “ravenous wolves” (Mt 7:15).

7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

12:33 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

By their behavior they blend in with the sheep. Their behavior does not set them apart from the sheep, but their message does!
This is precisely the kind of test that John is speaking of here in 1 John 4:1-6.

What is the message the teacher is confessing about the person and work of Jesus Christ?
This is the Christological test.
The confessional statement in 2b, Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God can indeed be translated as here in the NKJV, but a more likely translation is this: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as Christ having come in the flesh is of God.
In contrast to every spirit that confesses Christ (v.2b) are the words every spirit that does not confess Jesus as Christ come in flesh is not of God (v.3).

John’s main concern is that Jesus should be recognized for who He is ~ as the Christ having come in the flesh. This truth is what the false teachers denied (2:22 ~ 22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son).
These false teachers evidently erroneously taught that Jesus was a mere man and that the divine Christ was an incorporeal, spiritual being who descended on Jesus at His baptism, but departed from Jesus before He died on the Cross.
But to teach this error was to sever the human Jesus from the divine Christ in the interest of a spiritualized, but false, way.
In this view, Jesus and the Christ were not the same being.
This denial of biblical truth is the spirit of the Antichrist, who, for John, is the ultimate manifestation of false prophecy, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

What is the message the teacher is proclaiming as to how a person is saved from eternal death in the Lake of Fire? Or put another way, “How does a person get eternal life?”
This is the soteriological test.
If a teacher presents anything as a requirement beyond, or other than, simple faith alone in Christ alone, then he is not communicating salvation by God’s free grace.
To avoid confusion and contradiction, it is wise to avoid communication of the Good News that sets forth any requirement other than the biblical one: faith in Christ.

Jesus speaking in John 6:47 ~ “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” As Paul explained how to be declared righteous (justified) in God’s sight in Romans 3:24 ~ “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

By His free grace and for His full glory,
Pastor Dave

 

 

 

 

 

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