Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. —1 John 4:1 (NLT)
Not every spirit comes from God even though the person who has it is together with us at church. A preacher once said that not everyone who sits inside the church is a follower of Christ, based on 1 John 2: 19.
The scripture today tells us to test every spirit, because many false prophets have gone into the world. It is very important to notice that it says about prophets.
According to Dictionary.com, a prophet is a person who speaks for God or to lead people of God by a divine inspiration. They are also known as teachers—religious leaders. This warning is very important, as these leaders will lead people, including us, to the right way or to the opposite destructive way.
But how do we determine if a teaching we receive is true or false? We read today that every spirit (or teaching) who denies the humanity of Christ (verse 2) or the truth about Christ (verse 3) is not from God. The true spirit will acknowledge that He was fully human—who was able to die, replacing the wrath of God on us—and fully God, as the Son of God, who has the same nature as the Father.
Denying any part of this truth means we are following the antichrist spirit. A person with antichrist spirit refuses to worship our beloved Savior, hates Him and His unbelievable love and sacrifice to save the humankind. Indeed, because this deceitful spirit and demeanor come from the devil (John 8:42-44).
We thank God that He provides us with the guidance, like what we have in the book of 1 John and also a lot of other books in the Bible concerning the warning for false teachers and false teachings. It is real and we should not to ignore it.
Apostle Paul warned about this over and over and in Galatians 1:8-9. He said to anyone who preaches other gospel (the false one) let them be under God's curse! It is a very serious reproof. But we are from God, we have conquered this spirit because inside us is the Holy Spirit who is greater than any other spirits (verse 4). Praise God!
A Yiddish proverb says, "A half truth is a whole lie." Dear brothers and sisters, do we really love our Lord Jesus? Do we care enough when someone twists the true nature of our Savior?
And it is different from what people from other religions do. This antichrist spirit is from inside the church. Do we pay attention carefully when someone teaches us about the Truth? Sometimes it is very subtle, not an obvious attack on the person of Jesus Christ, but it surely instills doubts inside us.
Let's be very careful on receiving any teachings.