Week of Monday, December 11 – December 17
Truth Training – Man as Instructor

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, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:1-4 ESV
Bible Commentator Klyne Snodgrass tells a story that illustrates what the apostle John was up against in the churches:

Once the Devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the cohort. “A piece of the truth,” the Devil replied. “Doesn't it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort. “No,” said the Devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it.”1

 The tactics of the enemy haven’t changed much since the garden of Eden. Remember the line: “Did God really say?” It is still bantered about by demonic influences today. John was warning believers about the spirit of the antichrist, which appears religious but denies the very truth of who Jesus is!

 A.W. Tozer had some wise counsel on how to test the spirits. He posed certain tests to apply to any teaching:

  1. How does the teaching affect my relationship with God? Is He magnified and glorified, or is He diminished?
  2. How does the teaching affect my attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ? Does it magnify Him and give Him first place? Or does it subtly shift my focus onto myself or some experience?
  3. How does the teaching affect my attitude toward Scripture? Did the teaching come from and agree with the Word? Does it increase my love for the Word?
  4. How does the teaching affect my self-life? Does it feed self or crucify it? Does it feed pride or humility?
  5. How does the teaching affect my relationships to other Christians? Does it cause me to withdraw, find fault, and exalt myself in superiority? Or does it lead me to genuine love for all that truly know Christ?
  6. How does the teaching affect my relationship to the world system? Does it lead me to pursue the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life? Does it lead me to pursue worldly riches, reputation, and pleasures? Or does it crucify the world to me?2

John gives his readers incredible truth as he addresses this great problem. Although the powers of evil do their worst, even killing Jesus on the cross, in the end, Jesus defeated death and emerged victorious! This is our victory as well! John gives us this promise: “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” However things around us may appear, the powers of evil are fighting a losing battle. All that we need to do is stay with the truth and train those we love to do the same.

- How are you building the Word of God into your life and the life of your family so that they will not be led astray from the truth of who Jesus is?
- Make plans now to begin the New Year reading through the Word of God with the Stand on the Word Bible reading plan. I encourage you to visit FRC.org/Bible and finish 2023 with us. Consider ordering the Stand on the Word journal for 2024 to grab a daily screenshot of what God is saying to you in His Word. It will be something to pass down to your family.
- Ask God to give you discernment to test the spirits and for the Spirit of truth to guide you into all truth and help you do the same for your family.

[1] Klyne Snodgrass, Between Two Truths - Living with Biblical Tensions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990), 35.
[2] A. W. Tozer, “How to Try the Spirits” (adapted from, Moody Monthly [12/79], 51-55.