I recently finished preaching through 1 John 4:1-6. In this portion of Scripture, John commands believers to test the spirits. Why is this important?
In our present day, we see that believers are gullible. We are easily deceived. Like the kid who, when told that the word gullible is not in the dictionary, replies “It’s not?” believers today are prone to deception, just like the believers of John’s day. This is evidenced by the confusion recently discussed in the joint efforts of Ligonier and LifeWay Research, published in the report, "The State of Theology: What Do People Really Believe in 2018?"
The depressing results demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge regarding the crucial doctrines of the faith. It also demonstrated the gullibleness of the Church. In response to the third statement, "God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Isalm," 51% were in agreement. There is no doubt that this confusion and susceptibility to gullibility has only increased.
In John’s day, people were questioning the physical body of Jesus (1:1-3). People were causing believers to doubt how to interact with one another (2:7-11). The first-century believers are not much different than we are today. What was the remedy? John gives several points that we must consider today:
Do not believe every spirit (4:1a)
Test the spirits (4:1b)
Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God (4:2a)
Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God (4:2b)
This is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that is coming, and now it is already in the world (4:2c)
These will form the topics for this series. In this introductory post, I think it is important to provide some helpful resources to educate and edify the believer. These resources are not perfect, nor are they infallible. God's Word holds that honor. However, these should be placed into your toolbox for growth.
Founders Ministry provides excellent articles and books to help provide discernment to the believer.
Desiring God is another helpful resource. Predominately the ministry of John Piper, this website gives sermons, articles, books, and videos to educate and edify the believers.
The Gospel Coalition offers a wealth of resources. One that separates TGC from the rest is their courses. Many courses are available, for free, that help believers understand theology, ethics, and many other issues.
Grace to You, the ministry of John MacArthur provides a verse-by-verse exposition of all of the New Testament. In addition to this, there are blog posts, devotionals, and books available.