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View daily reading plan: 1 John 4.1-6

John had just referred to the Holy Spirit (3.24) who enlightened New Testament prophets and empowered them to communicate their messages to the people (Eph 3.5; 1 Cor 14.29-33). But there were other spirits at work - “seducing spirits” purveying “doctrines of devils” (1 Tim 4.1). John appeals to the believers to be cautious.

How could they differentiate between the true and the false? Messages that acknowledged that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh”, with all the ramifications of that in the atonement, were prompted by the Spirit of God. A sermon that denied it gave evidence that its source was “not of God”; it was rather “that spirit of antichrist”. They would be able to “overcome“ false teachers because they had the indwelling Spirit of God; “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (v.4).

Worldly hearts are a fertile field for worldly religious notions. “They are of the world...the world heareth them”. By contrast, John and his fellow-apostles were “of God” (v.6), and those who had come to know God savingly would hear them. Their wholesome teaching was attractive to the spiritual mind, but those who were “not of God” would find such a faithful presentation of truth unappealing.

Saturday, 11 May, 2024

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