Testing the Spirits

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Testing the Spirits (John MacArthur) (Selected Scriptures)

Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.

Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater that he who is in the world. They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God.

Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. The last part of 3: It says, "And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. The Spirit testifies that we are God's children, as Paul says in Romans 8: But how does the Spirit do this? How does the Spirit's testimony express itself in your life?

Last week Tom talked about one of the ways, namely, the expression of love. Love is the fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5: When we love each other from the heart, in deed and truth and not just in word, it is the Spirit himself bearing witness that we are the children of God. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God in love are the children of God Romans 8: Pause and think for a moment what we mean when we speak of the testimony of the Spirit. What is a testimony? A testimony is the presentation of evidence that should help a jury decide the truth of a claim.

A testimony is valuable to the degree that it can be counted as good evidence in deciding if a claim is true. The evidence that the Holy Spirit presents to our own spirits and to the community is first of all the evidence of love. The Spirit puts within us a humble heart of love and so gives evidence of his presence and power. His testimony is the love he produces. He bears witness to his presence by producing what he alone can produce—the overflow of joy in God that flows out to meet the needs of others.

Test the Spirits to See Whether They Are of God | Desiring God

That's what Tom and Steve have been talking about in the last couple weeks—the evidence of love in the life of a believer. It's the main burden of this letter. But there is a second burden of this letter and a second way that the testimony of the Spirit expresses itself in the lives of believers. Last week Tom said that 3: Believe in Jesus and love each other. These two things are so united in John's mind that they are not two things but one thing, one commandment.

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So it is not surprising to learn that the second way the Holy Spirit testifies to his presence and power in our lives is not simply by causing us to love but also by causing us to believe. That is what this week's text is about. The one all embracing commandment of this letter is that we believe and that we love.

These are the foundation of our assurance because these are the evidence that God is at work within us. And since they are the evidence of God's work, they are the testimony of his Spirit. Last week we looked and the Spirit's testimony of love.

This week we look at the Spirit's testimony of belief. Verse 2 says, "By this you know the Spirit of God. Is the person really of God and indwelt by the Spirit, or is the person of the world and misled by the spirit of this age? How can you tell?

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What is the test? The answer of verse 2 is: So when you give a genuine confession of Jesus Christ we can know that you are of God, you have the Holy Spirit.

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Tom, Per my telephone conversation with you the other day, you said you had a friend who was hearing voices. You said it got so bad at one time that she had herself checked into a mental hospital. You also mentioned that she apparently believes in spirit guides. Spirit Guides is a New Age term and comes right out of the occult.

If this woman is a Christian, then she is headed towards very dangerous waters if she is still hearing these voices and have gone as far as to make direct contact with what she feels is a good spirit guide. If she has made contact with some kind of spirit being — then there are only 3 possible things it could be:.

Testing The Spirits

I will give you two Scripture verses to give to her so you can give her fair warning as to what she is really dealing with. This first verse tells us that either Satan or one of his demonic spirits can literally appear to us masquerading as an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

This verse tells us that not only can Satan himself actually do this — but so can his other ministers, which I believe are either demonic spirits or other people who are operating under his direction and influence. This is why you have to test out any spirit that would suddenly appear to you.

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Even those who are not great orators wield significant influence over their listening audience. I would then tell her to ask the spirit to confess to her that Jesus Christ has come to our earth in the flesh. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. So what should we make of such agreement? Scripture References 2 Timothy 4: In verse 4 it shows itself in clear view for all to see.

This now leads us into the next verse which will tell us exactly how to do this. This next verse specifically tells us not to believe every spirit, but to test it out as to whether or not they are really from God. Here is the verse:. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus 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. Tom, per all of the above, I would tell your friend the next time she hears any voices coming at her, or if one of these spirits should suddenly appear in front of her, I would tell her to do two things:.

I believe the reason a demonic spirit cannot confess that Jesus Christ came to our earth in the flesh is due to the fact that Jesus totally defeated Satan and all of the fallen angels when He came to our earth in the flesh and died on the cross. This is called the Incarnation when Jesus came down to us in the flesh, which means He was fully Man and fully God when He was walking down here on our earth.

If this spirit cannot make the above two confessions to her — then your friend has just made contact with a real live demonic spirit. At this point she should immediately command the demon to leave her in the name of Jesus Christ! Tell her to do the same thing every time she hears those voices trying to talk to her. Tell her to simply speak out loud to the voices, telling them to stop and for them to now leave her in the name of Jesus Christ. If the above does not work — tell her to plead the Blood of Jesus directly against the demons. That should take care of it unless she has engaged in some kind of door opener activity that has allowed the demons to come in on her in the first place.

If that is the case, then she will have to confess the door opening activity as a sin to God, and then renounce this activity before God — telling Him that she will never, ever go back to it again. Once she has fully confessed and fully renounced the sin before the Lord, then the demons will lose their legal right to be able to stay attached to her, and they will now have to leave her if she commands them to leave her in the name of Jesus Christ! Tom, I do not know how far you will be able to get with this woman, either now or somewhere down the road.

If you need any further help on all of this after you talk to her, let me know, and I will be glad to answer any specific questions she may have about all of this.

Scripture Verses

4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 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. But how is one to know whether a spiritual guide is a false teacher or a prophet of truth? Here is John’s first test for spiritual guides. John says that “we”—the inspired men who recorded the very thoughts of the Holy Spirit—“are of God.”.

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