Posted by Peter Thompson

I John 4:1-6

How to Overcome the False Teachings

INTRODUCTION:  John begins here by warning the believers that he is writing to about false teachers.  He says that they should try the spirits.  You see it is not each individual that we try but each thing that is said must be measured.  Every teacher can be influenced by a spirit that is not of God.  So everything that you hear, even from me must be tried or tested.  These people in the time period when John was writing had a really hard time knowing the truth tellers from the pretenders.  They did not have the full New Testament yet to organize what they believe for them.  So they were even in greater need of testing everything they heard.  It is still very important for you today that you test everything that you hear to see if it is of God or of Satan, to see whether it is true or false.  John mentions in v. 4 overcoming those that are teaching falsehood.  So how do you overcome these false spirits that lead men to teach things that are not of God.

  1. YOU KNOW THE TRUTH (VS. 2-3)
  2. Remember these people did not have the New Testament
  3. The only bible that they had to read at this time was the Old Testament
  4. They had small parts of it like I John which they would have received like a letter and shared with the other churches in the area
  5. So John does not say to them try the spirits by what the Bible says about Jesus
  6. He gives them this broad statement about Christ that is true and encapsulates everything about Jesus to test what they hear by
  7. He says, any teaching that claims that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is from God
  8. The coming of Jesus Christ suggest that he was in heaven with God before he came
  9. So this phrase means that Jesus is the Son of God sent from heaven-which means He is perfect and sinless
  10. This phrase says that Jesus was something else before he was flesh and blood
  11. Of course that something else is God the Son in heaven
  12. So the Son of God really came to earth in flesh like a human
  13. He was not a spirit, this was not a symbolic coming
  14. Jesus, God the Son really came to earth in the flesh, really was sinless, and really died for sinners and really rose again
  15. These people knew these things to be true
  16. That is what they based their salvation on
  17. That is what they believed when they were saved
  18. The next thing he says is that if a teaching says different than that it is false
  19. Pretty simple, if it contradicts the truth it is a lie
  20. The truths that the apostles were teaching about Jesus
  21. The truths that these people knew and believed
  22. If it contradicted those truths then it was false
  23. We have the entire New Testament today
  24. You can study the truth
  25. You can know all about Jesus Christ
  26. You can know all about the Father
  27. You can know all about the Holy Spirit
  28. You can know the truth about what God is concerned about
  29. And you know what, just like in John’s day, if a teaching contradicts what you know to be true, then it is a lie
  30. There is no new doctrine or teaching
  31. If it is not a truth that is taught in the Bible you don’t want it, it’s not from God
  32. Of course the most important truths are the truths about Jesus Christ
  33. If you are taught that Jesus Christ was just a symbol for good
  34. That Jesus Christ was just a good teacher that was born to earthly parents like anyone else
  35. If you are taught that Jesus did not really rise from the grave
  36. If you are taught that Jesus Christ is not the only way to heaven
  37. Don’t believe it, it’s a lie
  38. Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus lived a sinless life in the flesh, Jesus died on the cross for the sins of mankind, belief in Him and confessing Him as Lord is the only way to heaven
  39. Learn the truth and then you will see a lie immediately
  40. YOU FOLLOW THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN YOU (V. 4)
  41. John says, the Christian is of God
  42. When a person is saved
  43. The Holy Spirit of God comes to live inside of them
  44. II Peter 1:4 says that a saved person is partaker of the divine nature
  45. The saved person belongs to God and has God living inside of Him
  46. John says that Christian people have overcome these false teachings
  47. The word overcome is to be victorious in a fight
  48. The one that is in the world, Satan, is fighting against saved people with these false teachings
  49. But the saved are victorious over these teachings because God lives in them
  50. John says here, “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world”
  51. So God beats Satan, so the Christian can beat Satan’s false teaching
  52. If you are a saved person God’s Spirit lives in you
  53. And He is very powerful to steer you to the truth
  54. God cannot be fooled by the teachings of the devil
  55. And so neither can you if you listen to the God that is in you
  56. As a Christian person, if you hear a teaching that makes you a little uncomfortable
  57. That might be the Holy Spirit that is in you throwing up a red flag
  58. You might study the scriptures to see if what you heard is true or not
  59. We underestimate that power of the Spirit to lead us
  60. Yes, if you listen, He will let you know what you need to know
  61. No, He does not speak audibly, but you will know when He is talking
  62. Follow His lead and you will know what is a teaching from God and what is not.
  63. PAY ATTENTION TO THE NATURE OF THE MESSAGE (VS. 5-6)
  1. So John says these false teachings of are the world
  2. When he says world here, he is referring to the system of belief that is against God
  3. These are the people that are not saved and do not know God through Jesus Christ
  4. And you know what, the things that the world teaches are opposed to the things that God teaches
  5. The very nature of the message should tip a Christian off to the fact that it does not come from God
  6. He says on the other hand our message is from God, talking about himself and the others that are teaching the truth
  7. Those that are of God will listen to these truths that reflect God
  8. Let’s take a look for a minute at who God is and who the world is
  9. God is love
  10. God is holiness
  11. God is compassion
  12. God is all about suffering for others and serving others
  13. God is about giving everything up for the good of others
  14. God is about one way to heaven
  15. The world on the other hand is about looking out for self
  16. The world is about giving if you can get back
  17. The world is about do whatever you have to do for self and pleasure
  18. The world is about what feels good to them and whatever religion they are comfortable in or no religion at all
  19. So look at the teaching
  20. Does the teaching line up with who God is
  21. Or does the teaching line up with the world
  22. The nature of the message will let a true Christian know what is true and what is false

CONCLUSION:  Just because it says Holy Bible on the front does not mean that it is the true word of God.  Just because it says Bible commentary on the front do not believe it.  When you hear preachers and teachers test what they are saying.  You can overcome the overwhelming amount of false teaching that is out there.  You do it by knowing the truth, by following the leadership of the Spirit of God that is in you, and by paying attention to the nature of their message (is it of God, or is it of the world).