1 John 4:1-6
1. The family of God is careful to watch over what it believes.
Spirit: three senses.
a. The Holy Spirit (John 16:7; Gen. 1:2)
b. The spirit of human beings, who are body and spirit (Gen. 2:7)
c. “Pure spirits” like angels and demons (Heb. 1:14).
2. We should be prepared to identify where patterns or movements of “false speakers of God” might be found.
A. God has revealed himself through the Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1; Heb. 1:1-2).
B. God has spoken and given a record of his revelation in the Bible, “God’s word written” (2 Pet 1:10-21; 1 Tim. 3:16-17).
C. God illuminates and guides individual believers through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (1 Cor. 12:7-11; Acts 4:8; 6:10).
D. God illuminates and guides individual churches collectively through the indwelling Spirit in those gathered believers (1 Cor. 3:16; 5:3-5; 2 Cor. 2:5-11).
E. God’s illumination and guiding never contradict Scripture but is instead based upon and harmonious with the Bible and the gospel (Titus 1:2; Num. 23:19; 2 Tim. 2:13).
3. You are identified by what you say of Jesus’ identity.
When we declare Jesus as the son of God, we stake our life on his name and his work for us.
4. Many will affirm with the mind but not commit with the life.
-With a long and consistent track record, does your work and witness spread the fame of Christ’s name?
-Test your spiritual experiences: “was Christ better known and more greatly glorified through the spiritual experience?”
5. The spirits are distinguished long-term by the ongoing faithfulness and formation of the people of God.
By the actual ongoing sorting of the people of Christ and the people of the world, we see the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.