In this present world we have numerous opinions and beliefs. We have over 1,000 organizations, all calling themselves Christians, yet all disagreeing. How do you know who to trust? How do you know who to believe or what to believe anymore? We need to clarify the confusion in our lives. The Bible gives us valuable insight. 1 John 4: 1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
Now we are told in the Bible that we are the temple of God, or at least we are supposed to be. We are designed to be. But if we have not yet received the Holy Spirit, then what spirit do we have? We either have the Spirit of God, or the spirit of the world.
Based on this Biblical truth we now have to look at what John tells us, "try every spirit". Find out the spirit in the person who is talking to you. It does not matter if they call themselves Christians, it does not matter if they go to church, it does not matter if they are preachers even. Nowhere does John say that those things are a criteria by which we can judge a person's spirit. In fact Paul warns us:
Acts 20: 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
These wolves are in the Churches. They are with us, among us. They attend our Church services and even preach at them. We need discernment indeed. This is why John warns us not to accept anyone at face value but to "try EVERY spirit". Nobody should be exempt. Your family, your friends, your coworkers, you pastor. Try them to see if they are of the faith, to see what spirit is in them.
And the only way to try the spirit is by the Word of God. The devil is a good faker. But there is one thing he cannot stand, and that is the revealed word of God. Jesus Christ, the word of God made flesh, defeated him on Calvary, and defeats him today. The Word if God alone will discern the spirit of a man.
Hebrews 4: 12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word of God will tell you what spirit is in a man. Give them the word test. Do they follow the Word of God, or traditions, creeds and dogma? Do they believe every Word in the Bible. A true born again Christian will believe every Word of the Bible, even the ones they do not understand. They believe it because the Holy Spirit of God in them believes it. If we do not have the Holy Spirit, then we cannot believe the Word of God. We will argue it, dismiss, it explain it away. We will be like this scripture:
2 Timothy 3: 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Do you see it Saints. He is not talking about the secular world. They are easy to discern. You see a half naked woman, a drunken man, a cigarette hanging out of someone's mouth, cursing and swearing etc. You don't need to be spiritual to know what spirit that is. But when someone has a "form of godliness" it becomes difficult. The only way to know is by the Word of God, for they will deny the power thereof. How can you see if they are denying the power?
Matthew 7: 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Galatians 5: 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Some of these fruits seem obvious, but the ones like sedition and heresies, they are the tougher ones. These are the ones where they might say the "days of miracles are past" etc. This is where people, with a form of godliness, will depart from the Scriptures and go to creeds and dogmas and traditions.
Stick with the Word of God. Now don't become paranoid here. That is going off too far on the other side. Try every spirit and see if it be of God. Know exactly who is speaking to you. See if it will line up with the Word of God or not. See what fruit it bears. See if it will deny the power of God or confirm it. Try every spirit and surround yourself with Holy Ghost filled born again Children of God.
God bless you Saints.
About the Author: My name is Paul Brake and I am a Gospel Preacher. My ministry, as part of the five fold ministry outlined in Ephesians Chapter 4, is that of a teacher. My work relies heavily and solely in the Scriptures, expounding the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. You can find me on the web at http://www.gods-opinion.com/wp/