1 John 4:1-21
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Focus Verses: 1 John 4:1-3; 14-15
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. - - - 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
Just as we saw warnings from Peter and Jude regarding faith and sound doctrine, we now see the Apostle John telling Christians to be careful to not believe just anyone. He urges them to "test the spirits" and to remember that there are many false teachers in the world.
John gave them some important truths about Jesus they should look for as they exercised discernment. First, sound doctrine acknowledges that Jesus is from God. Secondly, sound doctrine acknowledges that Jesus is God incarnate—actually human, actually flesh and blood. Third, sound doctrine acknowledges that Jesus is actually the Son of God—actually divine.
Response and Action:
I need to be careful to not believe just anyone who claims to be teaching from the Bible or claims to be a “Christian” teacher. I need to study the Bible carefully for myself in order to have first-hand knowledge of the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. I will reject teaching that fails to recognize the importance of the incarnation and the humanity of Jesus. I will reject teaching that fails to acknowledge the deity of Jesus.
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven and by the power of the Holy Spirit became incarnate from the virgin Mary.
Show me your ways, O Lord. Guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long. I pray through Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God today and for all eternity. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Proverbs 30:4
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!
Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels
by Darrell L. Bock