The Hidden Message
Lord, open my heart to hear Your Spirit speaking to me. Teach me to recognize Your voice.
Read 1 John 4:1–6
Dear friends, 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 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectPraise God for your life in Christ. Pray for light to distinguish truth from lies.
As the news about Jesus spread, so did different opinions about who Jesus was and what he had come to do (1). A major heresy in John’s time was Docetism, the belief that Christ was a divine being who temporarily took human form in Jesus. John is adamant: Jesus Christ came in flesh, meaning he was fully human (2,3).
We don’t face the same heresies as the first-century Christians, but we are bombarded with messages about the world, about who we are, about how we came to be. These philosophies may call into question who Jesus was and even the very existence of God. If we run each message past the test in verse 2, it will help us know which messages to listen to and which to ignore. These verses remind us that the world divides into two camps: those who reject Christ and those who accept him. One thing is sure: if we belong to Christ, we will be rejected just as he was (3,6; John 15:18–20). Jesus’ rejection resulted in resurrection power which we also share. That power is far greater than the power of the deceiver at work in the world (4).
Take a look at the influences in your life, the things or people you watch or listen to. Which of these influences belongs to Christ?
Pray for preachers and leaders of God’s people to remain true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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