1 John 4:1-3 / Test the Spirits (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on May 23, 2014


This is the fifteenth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of 1 John. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the evening of May 18, 2014. This message deals with the need to test every message/messenger against the Word of God, and discerning between the Spirit of God and the spirit of the antichrist. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


1jon 4_1-3


1 John 4:1-3

There is a great emphasis in the New Testament about false prophets. Many of the New Testament writers spend a lot of time warning against them, and correcting false doctrine.

John gives this warning to “test the spirits” because many false prophets are now here.

Prior to Christ’s coming, the false prophet would readily be exposed when his prophecy did not come about. Such a false prophet was to be executed!

Deuteronomy 13:1-5

But the prophets of the “last time” (1 John 2:18) will perform great wonders and can “seduce . . . even the elect”.

Matthew 24:24

Mark 13:22

Here’s the problem: They come from among Christians! Peter warns us in 2 Peter 2:1-3 in five ways:

  1. They come from a “Christian” background.
  2. They deny the biblical Lord Jesus in some way.
  3. They will become very popular, especially with emotionally motivated people.
  4. They will degrade doctrines of the Bible.
  5. They will stimulate greed to attract followers.

They have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.

2 Timothy 3:5

They are in pulpits all over this country, and are leading people on a “feel good, joy ride” to Hell.

They can get away with it because many Christians don’t live up to their responsibilities to “test the spirits”.

Instead, people want to feel good about themselves, and these false prophets find a willing audience of itching ears.

2 Timothy 4:3

They are the “me” crowd, the self-centered church. . . it’s all about me, when it should be about Christ!

They only want what is convenient for them, don’t step on their toes.

Because of this they have allowed the spirit of the anti-christ into their pulpits.

This has caused a compromised church, one compromise after another.

We compromise the word to:

  • Get people into church
  • Keep people in church
  • Make church more “relevant”
  • Make church more entertaining, etc…

The next thing you know, they begin to bow down to groups like the ACLU, and allow men rather than The Holy Spirit to dictate what is preached, and where they can evangelize.

They try to accommodate everyone except our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We are warned to test every one of them, and when they do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, we are to reject their teaching and not have any fellowship with them.

2 John 9-11

The only way to know if the word is being compromised, is to know the word.

To truly know the word, you must first know the Son.

Proverbs 9:10

We need to stand up in the power and boldness of the Holy Spirit, and become rooted in the firm foundation of the rock that is Jesus Christ!

Our churches have lost credibility and authority, we need to be on the front lines, taking it back in the name of Jesus Christ.

We need to stand up to the false teachers, the ACLU, and whoever else may be hindering the church.

To fight a war you need ammunition, and here it is:

Here, we get practical instruction on how to discern between true spirits and false spirits.

To recognize God incarnate, in the person of Jesus Christ is the mark of the Spirit of God.

This is a vital doctrine, because if Christ had not come in the flesh, He could not have died as payment for our sins.

If He had not come in the flesh, and therefore died, He couldn’t have been resurrected, providing us with victory over death, and eternal life.

If we don’t believe in the resurrection, then we don’t have true faith.

1 Corinthians 15:12-14

Likewise, any spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is false. It is the Spirit of the antichrist.

Those who have this spirit are liars (1 John 2:22), mainly because they refuse to accept the truth that Jesus is the Christ.

Such persons are like the thief and the robber who harm the sheep.

John 10:1

They embrace another gospel.

Galatians 1:6-9

They teach other doctrines.

1 Timothy 1:3-7

Sometimes the rejection of Christ is obvious, sometimes its much more subtle.

To deny the Trinity, the incarnation, or the bodily resurrection of Christ is a pretty obvious denial.

However, to believe that one must earn their salvation and/or can lose their salvation, is a less obvious denial. In fact, its one that’s often tolerated, and we should not do that.

To believe such, is to believe that Christ Himself is insufficient to save and/or keep you, and is a denial of Him.

God in the flesh has the authority to forgive and save because He is God. He was a suitable sacrifice, because He is (human) flesh.

It was man that brought sin into the world, and it is man who must pay the penalty. God in the flesh fulfills the requirements.

To deny His ability to save and/or keep you, is to deny His true nature.

These are just a few examples, and we must ever be on guard against satan, who is a very subtle and cunning liar. Remember, his agents will be convincing enough to deceive the elect. They are very dangerous.

Matthew 7:15

Get to know Christ, make a commitment.

Make it a daily habit of praying and studying His word.

Draw close to God, and the enemy will flee.

Posted in: Sermons