Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Trying the Spirits I
While every Christian has the Holy Spirit, not everyone who claims to be a Christian really is, and many of those who are Christians are not following the Spirit. As a result we see conflicts and contradictions in the teachings and actions of different groups. We need a way of discerning which are being led by the Holy Spirit and which are from some other source. I John 4:1-8 gives some important guidelines for discerning which is of God and which is not.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)
Just because an idea popped into yoru head or you feel a compulsion to do a certain thing, or a pastor or prophet tells you to do a certain thing does not mean it is the Holy Spirit directing you. We are to test the spirit to see whether it from God or not because other spirits have caused many to become false teachers and prophets. II Corinthians 11:13-15 warns: ”For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Satan passes himself off as an angel from god so it should not surprise us that satanic spirits and false teachers pose as being from God. Fortunately there are several ways to tell whether they are from God or not.
The first thing to look for is what do they teach about Jesus Christ. I John 4:2-3 states, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
There are two crucial elements in this statement. First they must recognize that Jesus is in fact God, the creator of the world. Hebrews 1:8-12 states, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”
Although he is God, he came to earth as a true human, experiencing human life just as other humans experienced it, from birth to death. Hebrews 2:14-16 tells us, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” This was crucial if he was to be the Messiah, the Savior of the world. Hebrews 4:14-15 states, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
Jesus could not be Messiah if he were not God come in the flesh. Refusing to accept Jesus as go in the flesh rejects him as the Messiah. I John 2:22-23 tells us, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” Any teacher or group that refuses to acknowledge Jesus as God is not of God, no matter how much they may use God’s name. He is not just a great teacher, or a good moral man, or a brother to Satan. He is God.
Anyone who preaches anything else is preaching another jesus and is lead by a different spirit. In I Corinthians 11:3-4 Paul voiced a serious concern. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” They might well be led away from the truth by the an ungodly spirit. To avoid that, Galatians 1:8-9 commands, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
If they preach that there is another way of salvation than through Jesus Christ as the messiah we are to consider them as being from Satan, even if they claim to be an angel from heaven or one of the apostles.
Please understand this is only the first test. There are others.