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Scripture: 1st John 4

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world. 1st John 4:1-3 NKJV

1st John deals in depth with the Gnostic apostasy that divided the church the latter parts of the 1st century and second century. One of the main teachings was the heresy that anything physical by its very nature is evil. So according to the Gnostics “if Jesus Christ actually came in the flesh, then he must have been tainted by sinful evil flesh”. Their conclusion was that Jesus Christ literally never came in the Flesh but only seemed to come in the flesh.

John encourages Christians to test the teachings and beliefs of everyone who would purport to speak on behalf of God. The word Spirit here is referring to the teachings, beliefs, and actions of the people. The test would not be limited to words hey speak, but their character too and by extension their reputation.

Two Tests – The Spirit of God

  1. Causes one to Love
  2. Causes one to Believe

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