Bible Reading: 1 John 4.1-3
Beloved, 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. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3
In John’s day there was a battle underway in the church - within the church one could find both truth and error. It is the same today and the Bible tells us that false teachers will be with us to the end times.
We tend to think of other religions and cults, but most of us are more susceptible to a much more crafty ploy. As Paul warned in 2 Timothy 4:3, there are “Bible” teachers who are marketing to consumers who prefer to listen to a feel-good self-esteem message adorned with a few Bible verses rather than be transformed by the gospel. The gospel changes us: if you are never uncomfortable under the teaching of the Word, you are not being taught the Word.
There are two key ways to discern the Spirit of God in a teacher:
- Their Doctrine: Luke commends the Bereans (Acts 17:11) because they didn’t simply accept Paul’s teaching, instead they chose to compare his teaching to the revealed word of God. Most important in this is what they say about Jesus. Listen to what a teacher says about Jesus and compare it to scripture.
- Their Fruit, Their Life and Their Followers: The Bible also makes clear that you can judge a teacher by the fruit of his ministry and the pattern of their life (Matthew 7:16). Are they proud? Do they live for money? In whom are their followers placing their hope? In Jesus or their teacher?
Today, commit to be discerning like the Bereans. Seek out teaching that is for God’s glory and our joy.
Weekly Memory Verse: This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 1 John 3.23