Testing The Spirits; Listening To The Leaders Who Teach The Truth; Let Us Love One Another; We Can Know We Have Spiritual Life If The Evidences Of The Spirit Are Evident In Us
John wrote to believers, to followers of Messiah, to Christians and Messianic Jews, to encourage them have fellowship with the Father and the Son, which means share the life and the values of the Father and the Son. God raises up men to lead and teach the people in Messiah’s Community. To have fellowship with God we must have fellowship with the true spiritual leaders who teach the truth. We must not follow any of the antichrists, those who oppose the Messiah – the false teachers, false prophets and false messiahs who lead people astray.
We live in a fallen world that is satanically controlled and is in rebellion against God and under a curse. Satan, who is a liar and deceiver, is the god of this world. He controls this world and the people of this world. Therefore, the world is full of lies and deception. Believing the truth sets us free from the control of Satan and this world and results in eternal life. Believing lies keep us enslaved to the fallen angels and this fallen world and keeps us in a state of spiritual death.
Therefore it is essential for us to discern what is true and what is false; those who teach the truth and those who teach lies. Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
When John wrote: do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, the spirits he was referring to are not spirits like angels. They are people. John referred to people as spirits because, working in every person is a spirit – either God is working in a person or Satan is. We must be able to discern if God is working in a man, or if the devil is; whether he is from God or he is from the devil.
John let us know that there is a way to discern the true leaders from the false leaders. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Messiah Yeshua has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Yeshua is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
True leaders teach the truth: that Yeshua is the Messiah, that special descendant of David who is the ultimate prophet, priest, king and savior; that Yeshua is the divine and eternal Son of God; that He has come in the flesh; that He came into this world through the incarnation. When a man is teaching these truths, the Spirit of God is working in him. False teachers, false prophets, false messiahs deny these truths. The Spirit of God is not working in them – another spirit is, the same evil spirit who will work in the antichrist, the future world ruler who will oppose God the most.
Satan and the demons are smart, clever and devastate those under their influence. False teachers, false prophets and false messiahs can be smart and clever, and devastate those who follow them. John wanted us to know that we don’t need to worry that we will be deceived by them. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
God is powerful, and Satan is powerful, but they are not equally powerful. God is much greater than Satan and all of the fallen angels. Therefore, when He is in us, by means of His Spirit living in us, He gives us all the grace we need to overcome the false teachers, false prophets and false messiahs, who have the spirit of the god of this world working in them. We are protected from Satan’s emissaries because we will be able to discern who they are and their lies and reject them.
The people of the world, however, will believe the lies of the antichrists. Why? Because the people of the world share the same devilish nature as the false teachers; because things go with things; because like processes attract; because birds of a feather flock together. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.
But, we are no longer part of the world. We are part of God’s world. We no longer are dominated by a devilish nature. We have been born again and share God’s nature. We belong to God, and not to Satan, and not to the world, and because we share God’s nature and belong to God, we are able to recognize the true teachers who are from God, in whom the Spirit of God is working. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.
The children of God, who are no longer part of the world, but who are part of God’s world; who belong to God, and not to Satan; who are no longer dominated by their sin nature but have been born again and given a godly nature – know the truth and know what is false and are able to recognized those who are operating by the Spirit of God and those who are operating by the evil spirit who rules the world. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. Is that you? Do you know the truth? Are you able to recognize the spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood? Able to tell who is a true teacher and who is a false teacher?
John again returned to the importance of love. If we are the new natured children of God, we share our Father’s nature. And since God is love; since His nature is to love people, especially His sons and daughters, we will love people, especially our brothers and sisters. If we belong to the evil one, who hates people, and we share his devilish nature which hates people, we will not love people. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
God wants us to be like Him. God wants us to love like He loves. But people have very different ideas of what love is. What is love? Love is wanting what is good for others. Love is the desire to help others, to care for others, to meet their needs, especially their greatest needs – and their greatest needs are to be saved from the things they can’t save themselves from – Satan and the demons, sin and the sin nature, death and Hell.
So God, who is love, showed His love for us by sending His Son to meet our greatest needs. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. The Father sent His Son from the glories of Heaven to become a human being. Yeshua suffered all the indignities that are part of living in a fallen world. And the world hated Him and despised Him and rejected Him, and tortured and killed Him in a very cruel way – by nailing Him to a cross – all so that we, who are headed to death, could live. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
The incarnation, and the life and sufferings and death of Yeshua revealed God’s love for us. And, we are to love each other in the same way. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. We are to love everyone, especially those who are part of Messiah’s Community, with wise and sacrificial love.
And John wanted us to know that if we love God, it’s because He first loved us. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us.
God deserved our loved. We didn’t give it. We did not deserve His love. He gave it. And He gave His best – His beloved Son.
God loved us when we did not love Him. God loved us when we hated Him. We can only love God because He first loved us.
This teaches us that love does not depend on the condition of the one it loves. It depends on the one who loves. If we have a nature of love, we can love the unlovable. We can love those who have sinned against us. We can love those who have hurt us. We can love our enemies. We won’t want them to suffer. We want what is best for them. We want to help them. Is that you?
God is greater than the universe. Therefore it’s impossible for us to see Him. It’s like an ant at the foot of Mount Everest trying to see that great mountain. It’s impossible. The ant is too small and the mountain is too big. And God is so holy that sinful man can’t see Him and live. Therefore, because God so great and so holy, He is invisible to us. If we can’t see Him, how can we be sure we really know Him? No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. Love is the evidence that we know the invisible God. Is that you? Is God living in you? Do you love people? Are you concerned about helping others, especially by meetings their greatest needs? In particular, are you concerned about helping your brothers and sisters?
Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say, “I love God.” If we really love God who we can’t see, we will love people we can see. If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. Our love for God is real, our love for God is made complete by our love for one another. I want my love for God to be mature and complete – so I had better love others. How about you?
Another evidence that we know God: it will be obvious that His Spirit is working in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. The activity of the Spirit of God in our lives is evidence that we share the life of God and God is living in us. What is the activity of the Spirit?
He gives us a new interest in God and the things of God, especially in the Lord Yeshua.
He gives us the desire to be like the Lord Yeshua.
He helps us know the truth – that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God and the only Savior.
He helps us love and understand the Word of God.
He helps us discern truth from error, the true teachers from the false teachers.
He causes us to desire to live according to the truth.
He helps us have the desire and the power to do what is right and resist doing what is wrong.
He helps us love God, and not the world, worldly values, money materialism, power.
He helps us love people, especially our brothers and sisters.
He produces the fruits of the Spirit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
He gives us a desire to proclaim the Gospel.
He gives us a love for Messiah’s Community and a desire to help it grow.
If these evidences of the Spirit’s activity are present in our lives, we know the Spirit of God is living in us. Are they evident in you?
John experienced the reality of Yeshua. He knew that the Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. And John knew that God was living in him by His Spirit, and that he was connected to the life of God; and John knew that the same was true of anyone who knew what he knew – that Yeshua is the Messiah and the Son of God and the only savior. If anyone acknowledges that Yeshua is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. Do you know that Yeshua is the Son of God? Absolutely certain?
How wonderful to know that God is real, and that His love for us is real because we know He sent Yeshua to live and suffer and die and rise for us. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. What are you relying on? Friends? Family? Your IRA? 401K? President Trump? The Democratic party? The Republican Party? How wonderful to be able to rely on God’s love for us, to know that God’s love for us is great, and will always be there for us. Do you know and do you rely on the love God has for us?
God does not have to work at being loving. Love is part of God’s nature. God is love. Love is who God is. It’s His nature to love. Love flows from His nature. Therefore, if we have received that new nature, which is like God’s nature, we will love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. If we love, we know that we have that new nature and God is living in us and we are living in God. We are spiritually alive; we are part of the life of God. Are you living in love?
John wanted us to know that on the day when God judges human beings, it’s possible for us to not be ashamed or fearful, but confident. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Yeshua. How can we have confidence on the day of judgment? If we live like Yeshua lived – a life of love made complete; a life full of love for God and love for people.
There are degrees of love: love of self; a mother’s love for her children; love of family; love of a group; love of a nation. But all those loves are incomplete loves. God wants us to love with complete love. We love with complete love when we love like Yeshua – loving God completely; and loving people, even those who are unlovable, even those who sin against us; even those who crucify us. Are you living like Yeshua, who loved with a complete love?
If we have lived like Yeshua lived; if we have loved with a complete love, we will have confidence on the day of judgment; and we will be fearless. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
A child who knows his parents are good and loves them, trusts them to discipline him when he needs it. Their discipline will be wise and right and necessary; their discipline will be what’s best for him. Therefore, he has no fear of them or their discipline.
The child of God who loves people and whose love for God is complete knows that God is good, and trusts Him to judge Him. He knows God’s judgment will be wise and right and necessary and best for him. He is not afraid of God or God’s judgment.
Do you want to be confident on the day of judgment? Do you want to not fear God’s punishment – then and now? Become complete in love. Love God and love people like Yeshua did.
Love for God is so necessary, so important, so beneficial. But love for God must be real. Talk is cheap. It’s easy to say, “I love God.” If we really love God, who we can’t see, we will love those made in His image, who we can see. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. Do you love your brothers and sisters, who are made in the image of God, who you can see? What are you doing to show your love for your brothers and sisters?
Loving our brothers and sisters is more than a suggestion, recommendation or good idea. It’s a command – and we don’t want to disobey God’s command. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. Are you keeping this command?
Lord, help us know You, be born again by You, so that we can know the true teachers from the false teacher, the truth from the lie; so we can be like Yeshua; live like Yeshua; love like Yeshua, with love made complete; love one another.
Help us know and rely on the love You have for us.
Lord, I pray that we will be born again so that Your Spirit is living in us, and that all the evidences of the Spirit living in us are evident.