“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
The book of 1 John was written to address several problems with believers. One of those problems was the preaching and teaching of false prophets, especially those teaching against the incarnation of God in Christ Jesus. This is confirmed in verses 2 and 3:
“This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now (1 John 4:2-3).”
There are many religious leaders out there who claim to be Christians, yet deny the incarnation of God in Christ. According to God in verse 2 and 3, those who deny His incarnation are false prophets, and are an anti-christ because the Spirit of God (Spirit of Truth) is not in them, but the spirit of deceit.
In verse one, God, through the Apostle John, tells us that we are not to believe everything we hear from our religious leaders because they are fallible human beings. God Himself warns us about human nature. Here’s what He says about us,
“The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it? I, Yahweh, examine the mind, I test the heart to give to each according to his way, according to what his actions deserve (Jeremiah 17:9-10).”
This is why we must test everything any religious leader, or teacher, by comparing it with what God’s Word actually says. Here in is the problem, though. Most Christians do not want to take the time to read and study God’s Word. They just want to go to church, sit down, and open their mouths, like little birds, to be fed and don’t even know what kind of poison they’re being fed.
So, how do we recognize these false prophets? Jesus also warns us about false prophets and tells how we can spot them:
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20).”
A false prophet is rarely known just by their false teachings, but also by their lives. If they’re living contrary to the Word of God, they are false prophets. We must always be aware so that we do not fall prey to them.
So, take a moment to ask yourself if you’re under the teachings of a false prophet. If you are, run, and find another Bible believing church that will teach you how to study the Bible correctly, so the you can know the truth, and obey it.
In Christ’s love,