by Harley Howard

This content is part of a series.

1st John Chapter 4
Part 4 of 5
Dr. Harley Howard

Put everything to the test - 1st John 4:1-6

1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the
spirits whether they are of God: because many false
prophets are gone out into the world.

We can see that John is addressing his children as he
uses the word, beloved, which means, esteemed, dear,
favorite, worthy of love. This will be very important
in our study. Now this verse has become a great
source of confusion for some when they try to
interpret what John is saying when he says, believe
not every spirit. What does he mean by that? The
issue in the context has to do with the false teachers
who claimed to have had a spiritual utterance from
God. It would be the equivalent of those today who
tell you that they hear from God, or that the Spirit
of God or God Himself has spoken to them. Personally
speaking, I am VERY careful to attribute whatever I do
to the work of the Holy Spirit, publicly. What I mean
is this: I find no real need in telling folks that God
led me to do something. That should be evident, and
it will be, if it glorifies God. Sometimes when we
say the Lord led us to do something, we find out later
that He had nothing to do with it and thereby defame
the character of God. There are many people who are
claiming that God speaks to them, and they don't mind
telling you, only to find out later that they are
false teachers. Oftentimes people, in both the Old
and New Testaments, were taken in by apparent
miracles, that were associated with the false
teacher's message, so as to lend credibility and to
verify their supposed message. John's going to give
us clear instruction on what identifies a true
spokesman for God, but before we get into that, I want
to take a moment and speak on this issue about people,
in both the Old and New Testaments, who were taken in
by apparent miracles, that were associated with the
false teac ...

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