TEST THE SPIRITS! (Test the Spirits 1)

TEST THE SPIRITS!  (Test the Spirits 1)

Life is full of tests.  We take tests our whole lives.  Teachers give tests, so do doctors.  We have tests for drivers’ licenses, pregnancy and the safety of our automobiles.  Tests are important because they give information we need; they evaluate something and reveal areas of weakness.  The Christian life is full of tests as well.  Adam and Eve were tested, so was Abraham, Job, Daniel, David – even Jesus.  Some passed their tests, others failed.  It all depended on if they listened to Satan and the flesh, or to God and His Spirit. We must test the things we hear to make sure they line up with God’s Word.  1 John 4:1 commands us to “test the spirits,” but just what does that mean and how do we do it?

1 John 3 ends with John saying we know Jesus lives in us by the Spirit within us.  “Those who obey his commands live in him, and He in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit He gave us” (1 John 3:24).  Then chapter 4 starts with this command:  “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).  In other words, don’t believe everything you hear!

“Test the spirits” implies there is more than God’s Spirit speaking to us.  Satan tries to promote his ‘truth’ indirectly through worldly people and teaching or directly through demons influencing our thoughts and actions.

Satan is a counterfeiter and liar (John 8:42-44; 2 Corinthians 11:14).  He tries to counterfeit all God does for His people.  Judas heard Satan’s voice and betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).  Peter heard Satan’s voice and did not believe the voice of Jesus (Mark 8:31-33).  A leper was healed by Jesus and told not to tell anyone who did it but he heard Satan’s voice and disobeyed (Mark 1:40-45).  David’s thought to take a census of the people was demon-inspired (1 Chronicles 21:1ff; 2 Samuel 24:1ff).  Saul’s jealousy and anger at David was as well (1 Samuel 16:14-23).  Ananias and Sapphira’s greed was demon stimulated as well (Acts 5:3).  When God didn’t speak to Saul, he went to a medium to connect with a supernatural power (1 Samuel 28:4-7).  For this reason, John warns us to always make sure it is God’s voice and not Satan’s vice we hear (1 John 4:1).  And it’s getting worse as Jesus’ return draws near (Matthew 24:4, 11, 24).

Just what does it mean to “test” the spirits?  Test means to examine, prove, scrutinize so as to discover the source behind what is being heard (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).  This is necessary because “many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1John 1:1b).  The truth is that many spiritual teachers today are false teachers, even among those claiming to be ‘Christian’ teachers (John 8:42-44).  They pretend to be God’s spokesmen sharing Bible truths, but they are fakes (2 Corinthians 11:14).  They subtly undermine the sovereignty and lordship of Jesus (2 Peter 2:2).  (The next blog will continue on this subject of testing the spirits by looking at what some of these deceptions look like today.)  (February 19, 2024  Doylestown, PA)

2 Peter 2:2 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.

Where do you see Satan’s lies and deceptions at work in the world today?

Which ones are you most vulnerable to?

What can you do to protect yourself from being misled?

How can you focus only on the truth of God’s Spirit?


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(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)

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