Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
Email Preach Him with Dr. Jim

A TIME FOR TESTING
1 John 4:1-6

(1) 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.    {2} By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;     {3} and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the <spirit> of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.     {4} You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.      {5} They are from the world; therefore they speak <as> from the world, and the world listens to them.   {6} We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
 

INTRODUCTION:
If you were the Devil would you have yourself some ministers? I'll imagine everyone will say yes. What kind of ministers would you like to have? Would you want them to look and act as much like God's ministers as possible?

How about signs and wonders would you create a few of those for your prophets? These are interesting questions. To examine false prophets we must check their views related Christ Jesus our Lord, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Word of God. We will check them concerning OUR LORD, OUR LIGHT. AND OUR LAW.

The text deals with this subject of testing false prophets. Please follow in your Bible as we investigate what the Bible says concerning this subject.

I. TEST THE PROPHETS.

II. TEST THE PROFESSIONS

III. TEST THE POWER.

IV. TEST THE PARTICIPATION.
 
 

I.    TEST THE PROPHETS. v 1 


(1) 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.

EXPLANATION:

A.    THE COMMAND TO TEST. v 1 a    ". . . Beloved, do not believe every spirit, . . . "

B.    THE COUNSEL TO TEST. v 1 b      ". . .but test the spirits to see whether they are from God;. . ."

        1. False prophets are from Satan. 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Jas.3:15
 

C.    THE CONFIRMATION TO TEST. v 1 c      ". . .because many false prophets have gone out into
                                                                                the world.

        1. The Home Mission Board has a two phase test for a cult.
                a. do they have a different Bible? b. Do they have a different Jesus

        2. Note the words of Jesus; ". . .narrow road vs false prophets." Mt. 7:14-15

ILLUSTRATION:
A group of students at Harvard once tried to fool the famous professor of zoology Agassiz. They took parts from a number of different bugs and with great skill attached them together to make a
creation they were sure would baffle their teacher. On the chosen day they brought it to him and asked that he identify it. As he inspected it with great care, the students grew more and more sure they had tricked this genius.

Finally, Professor Agassiz straightened up and said, "I have identified it." Scarcely able to control their amusement, they asked its name. Agassiz replied, "It is a humbug." A person with genuine life from God will detect the counterfeit and think, "Humbug".

Robert Tilton recently lost a multi-million dollar T.V. Ministry. In my opinion he is a hum bug. He was exposed on national television as they showed prayer request being thrown in the trash. Of course the money had been taken out of the envelopes.

I make a judgment that he is a false prophet. The world exposed him. Our text says :

" 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.
 

APPLICATION:

Jude 1:4 (NASB) For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

False Prophets are creeps. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we test the prophets.
 
 

II.    TEST THE PROFESSIONS. v 2-3


{2} By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;    {3} and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the <spirit> of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
 

EXPLANATION:

A.    PROFESSIONS OF CHRIST. v 2 (RELATE MK.1:23, 3:1, 5:7)
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
 

B.    PROFESSIONS OF ANTICHRIST. v 3
{3} and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the <spirit> of the Antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
 

ILLUSTRATION:
Have you ever told a story where you gave an inanimate object life? This is call personification. Pretend with me that I have a one hundred dollar bill in my hand.

I am asking you to believe this bill can talk. It will tell us where it has been and some good it has done. It has brought groceries at Richards Brothers for a family; from there it was passed on to another person. They took it to Mountain View lumber yard where they bought pluming supplies to fix the hot water supply in there home.

Then someone got the bill and took it to Bolerjacks and it purchased medicine for a very sick person. From there it was given to a person who purchased a new refrigerator at Cantrell's Home Furnishings. The bill then went into the cash register of Classic Impressions as a man bought his wife a complete Mother's day outfit. Then it went back to the grocery store.

All of that activity was helpful and some of it very necessary. No one would claim this bill had not done many good deeds. But then Ron Hall took it to the bank. The bank held the bill up and said this bill is counterfeit; we will have to take it away from you. It can not be credited to your account.
 

APPLICATION:

That story is similar to people who think because they have done good deeds they will get into heaven. The Bible says our Lord will say ". . . depart from me I never knew you." You see there are counterfeit profession. We are to test the professions.

TESTING THE PROFESSIONS EXAMINES: WHAT THEY BELIEVE CONCERNING THE UNIQUE DIVINITY OF OUR LORD
 
 

III.    TEST THE POWER. v 4 


{4} You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

EXPLANATION:

A.    POWER TO OVERCOME THE DECEIVERS.
            ". . . You are from God, little children, and have overcome them;. . . "
 

B.    POWER TO OVERCOME THE DEVIL.
            ". . . because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. "
 

ILLUSTRATION:
Have you ever seen an electric plant that uses water power to turn the gigantic generators? On one occasion a man ask the plant foreman how much of the power available from the river do you use. The answer "oh about one hundredth of the possible power available."

We who believe in the power of prayer are guilty of not nearly tapping the power available from God for our lives and our world.
 

APPLICATION:

We overcome in the power of the Lord. Overpowering speaks of an encounter. If you have not had any conflict or confrontation with the devil you must be walking the same way he walks.

A scrimmage or a practice drill is not overcoming the enemy. We must have opposition to overcome.

TESTING THE POWER EXAMINES: WHAT THEY BELIEVE CONCERNING THE UNIQUE DIVINITY OF OUR LIGHT. v 4
 
 

IV.    TEST THE PARTICIPATION. v 5-6 


{5} They are from the world; therefore they speak <as> from the world, and the world listens to them.
{6} We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

EXPLANATION:

A.    PARTICIPATION WITH THE WORLD. v 5
They are from the world; therefore they speak <as> from the world, and the world listens to them.
 

B.    PARTICIPATION WITH THE WORD. v 6
{6} We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not
listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
 

ILLUSTRATION:
Several years ago a traveling preacher by the name of A.A.Allen drew large crowds. He claimed to be able to pray for miracles to happen. He reportedly took in large sums of money. Then one day the truth became know. The man was a drunk. He deceived many people. Why? Because the devil has his preachers and many "having itching ears" are attracted to them.

Garner Ted Armstrong had a radio following of several thousand. It was discovered that he was living in an adulterous affair. His own father Herbert Armstrong fired him. Today Garner Ted still has a radio broadcast and many pay attention to him. Why? They are being duped by the devil.
 

APPLICATION:

". . . by this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

1. ". . . he who knows God listens to us; . . . "

2. ". . . he who is not from God does not listen to us. . . . "

TESTING THE PARTICIPATION EXAMINES: WHAT THEY BELIEVE CONCERNING THE UNIQUE DIVINITY OF OUR LAW. v 6
 
 

CONCLUSION: A TIME FOR TESTING
 
 

I. TEST THE PROPHETS.

II. TEST THE PROFESSIONS

III. TEST THE POWER.

IV. TEST THE PARTICIPATION.