“Test the spirits” Is Not a Suggestion

I was listening to my local pastor preach through 1 John 4, and he made a subtle statement that jumped out at me concerning verse 1, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits. The statement is a command.

It was at this point that the command really jumped out at me. As believers, we have been given the responsibility to “test the spirits.” In other words, we have to be on our guard against false prophets, false claims, and false religions.

Far too many in the church want to go along to get along to their own peril. Instead of weighing what a pastor, evangelists, pope or Dali Lama says against scripture, they would rather feel that they are being generous and kind.

Yet, according to John, it is our responsibility to test every spirit that presents itself just as the Bereans did when Paul preached to them. John gives us the test he wants us to start with because many false prophets have gone out into the world. John was able to take a quick assessment of the baggage of Christianity in his day, it was producing many false prophets just as our LORD warned us it would do. So John gives us a test to begin with to see if someone is a false prophet or not. He writes: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.

Notice that John is pointing to the incarnation. He is stating the Jesus Christ came in the flesh with the understanding that Jesus Christ existed before the foundations of the world (see John 8). He expects his readers to understand that Jesus was both fully God and fully man (see John 1:1-14).

The test is still quite effective today. Just look at the hodgepodge of religions and you can see that it is quite reliable. Mormons deny Jesus is God. Islam denies that Jesus was God in the flesh. Christian Scientist deny that Jesus was the God-man. Buddhist deny Jesus came in the flesh. It goes on and on.

The result is that we can see all these other religions as antichrists. This is not my standard, but John’s (and therefore Christ’s standard). And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

I love the writers of the New Testament. They are so very black and white when it comes to belief. Here was have John’s clear announcement that if someone professes to be a prophet, proclaiming the truth of God, yet denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, they are of the spirit of the Antichrist. You cannot get much clearer than that.

As believers, it is our responsibility to test the spirits, even and especially in the church. We are to be Bereans knowing our Bibles, listening at what people are saying and seeing if it measure up to Scripture. If it does not, then we cast it aside. We must do so for our spiritual well-being.


28 thoughts on ““Test the spirits” Is Not a Suggestion

    • Not too many people spend a lot of time in the minor epistles, so I’m not surprised. 1 John is a very difficult book for a pastor to preach through. John’s gospel is also difficult, but well worth the effort.


      • We are all the spirit children of our heavenly father, and that includes Jesus and Lucifer. However, even as a spirit in the pre-mortal life Jesus was a full member of the Godhead. He was fully God, and his family relations don’t change this.


      • I know that your leaders believe that, but it’s unbiblical. Lucifer was a created being, Jesus was not. He has been a member of the godhead as long as there has been a godhead, which means He is infinite, as the Father is infinite. The two are One in essence, along with the Holy Spirit.

        As for all of us being spirit children, the Bible says we are children of wrath and dead spiritually. While we are children in the sense that we are part of His creation, our existence did not begin until our conception, and that conception was into sin (Psalm 51), so we were dead spiritually at birth. Only those who are born again of the Spirit (not the burning in the bosom) are made new creations.


      • Where is your proof that we don’t believe Jesus is God?

        No, we do not believe in the trinity, nor do we adhere to the understanding of God’s nature that most Christians espouse. But that means nothing to the point. We believe Christ is God, fully and completely, and you can give nothing to contradict this.


      • Shem,
        We get it. You don’t believe in the Christ of the Bible. You believe in “another” Jesus that was completely absent from the scenes until your false prophet Joseph Smith came alone and suddenly and had an unverifiable revelation from God. We get it that you think you will become a god in the afterlife even though Jesus says otherwise. We get it that you believe that you will be given in marriage in the afterlife and have lots of children serving you, even though Jesus says otherwise. We get it. Mormonism is a cult of Christianity. Quit trying to validate it. You worship another god all together, quite frankly, the god of this age (see 2 Corinthians 3:3-4). You don’t worship the God who is One, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Please, stop filling up my comments section. You don’t come here to learn, you come here to bring your damnable lies with you. That makes you a false teacher, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Go, live your life and lead your multitude in the broad way.


      • Tim

        I am only here because you chose to give false information concerning my religion, which is something that I will not leave alone. If you were accurate in how you portray our doctrine I would never have commented in the first place.

        No, I do not believe in the concept of God that you do, but nor do I find that concept in the Bible, which we do believe in and follow. I also find every doctrine of the LDS church supported completely in the Bible. I realize you don’t, and that you deny any such possibility, but that doesn’t really matter.
        Your original comment was that we do not believe Jesus to be God. That statement is false. You want to say we don’t believe Jesus is the same as you believe, fine. You want to say that our concept of God is different than yours, great. But what you said was wrong.

        As to learning, you should be a little more open minded as to what that term means. Of course I am learning, I just learn things other than what you think I should.
        On the other hand, what is so horrible about you learning from those who post to your blog. Or do you have such an overwhelming confidence in your own superior knowledge that you think other should just come and soak up the enlightenment you offer?


      • I have an overwhelming confidence in the Christ of Scripture, and know there is no need for any additional information, as your false prophet has brought forth. Raised in another cult of the same era, I know the dangers spiritually speaking of you and your false gods. What we believe about Christ and who He is does matter. If you want to follow false prophets, fine, but don’t post his blather on this site.


      • I never said that what we believe regarding God is not important, only that it is not important to the issue at hand.
        We believe Christ to be God. There is no way to deny that and be accurate regarding our beliefs. What our concept of God is does not change this basic doctrine.

        If you don’t want me to comment than either be accurate about what you say regarding my faith, or block me from the site.


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  2. Timothy

    So, what you really mean is that we have a different concept of what God is, not that we don’t believe Christ to be God.

    Oh, and the Bible never says that Lucifer was created, nor does it say that our existence began with our conception. Those ideas are interpretations (more like interpolations) from text based on previously held beliefs.


    • No, the Bible tells us that we were created in our mother’s womb, Psalm 139. The idea of being created means that we did not exist before that moment. When God creates, He makes something new. As for your argument about the Bible never saying that is using the argument from silence concept, and we can say a lot of things that the Bible has not said. The argument from silence is a logical fallacy.

      As for Lucifer being created, Colossians 1:16 shows that Jesus is the creator of all things. Not just some things, but all, inclusive of everything. Therefore He is not a created being as Satan is.


      • Psalms 139 speaks of the physical body, which was created in the womb. The Spirit however, existed before, as is testified to in Ecclesiastes 12:7, in which we read that at death the spirit returns to God; meaning that it was with God at some point in the past, or how else could it return.

        As to the argument of silence, it is only a logical fallacy if it is being used as proof for something. I never used it in this way. Rather, I pointed out that your claim that something was contained in the Bible was wrong, because it wasn’t. I never once said that this prove anything.

        As to Colossians 1: 16, by your reasoning Jesus created Heavenly Father and himself. After all, you are including all things. Of course this is illogical, and thus we see that logic dictates that there are some things that Jesus did not create. We simply extend that logic to include all things that existed before the event of creation that is recorded in Genesis, which includes the spirits of all men.


      • You are the one being illogical. We never said that God was created. He is not a created being. All things that were created, were created by God, specifically the second person of the Trinity. You are adding to our beliefs and words.

        As for Eccl. 12:7, you are the one implying that the spirit was not given at birth. Spirit can also mean souls. Of course we are given souls at our conception, but you have no means to prove any of these things existed before we were created. That is you reading your belief into the text.

        OK enough. Thanks for playing.


  3. Tim

    “We never said that God was created. He is not a created being.”

    I never said you believed anything else. Actually, my point in saying this was that you don’t believe God was created, and thus your statement that “Jesus is the creator of all things. Not just some things, but all, inclusive of everything” was not completely accurate. What you say now, that “All things that were created, were created by God” is exactly what I thought you believe, and that is what I believe.
    Going off this statement the use of Colossians to prove that Satan was created doesn’t work because it doesn’t actually say that Satan was created; actually, he is not mentioned in the passage at all. Jesus created all things that were created, but that did not include Satan because Satan was not created.

    As to Ecclesiastes, you miss the point entirely. I never said that the Spirit isn’t given at conception, but that it existed some place before conception, because chapter 12 verse seven says that it will return there. If it did not exist somewhere else in the past it could not return.

    I don’t know if you will read this, or post it, but I hope you will and that you will consider what I am saying.


    • Shem, I am not really considering what you are saying. I don’t blog in order to exchange ideas with cultists. I write to build up orthodox Christianity. You and your religion fall outside of these boundaries. So it doesn’t matter what you say, I don’t want to waste my time with you. Go, enjoy your religion. But don’t think it’s compatible with true Christianity. It is not, and never will be no matter how many attempts at clarification you make. You have another gospel, another Christ, another destination all together. Good luck with that (and please know that I don’t believe in luck).


  4. Oh, I have no problem admitting that we have a different Gospel and a different destination, and that our beliefs regarding God and Christ are different. After all, we the truth and you don’t.

    However, I rarely have the intention of trying to persuade anyone of anything. I want information about my religion to be accurate when it is given, and I correct it when I perceive an inaccuracy being presented, especially when they wrongly portray our beliefs regarding God.
    Now, I always enjoy a discussion, and it is even better when people are trying to prove me wrong.

    However, the basic point of my commenting at all was to correct the error you made in your claim that the LDS do not believe that Christ was fully God. We do believe this. We believe he is Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament and creator of this world, and countless others. To say otherwise is to spread false information, which is never a good way to try and build the truth.


  5. I had difficulty with my former pastor’s wife when she said that our spirits have always existed from before time (she is charismatic). As a former new ager that is the main understanding yet as a young Christian at that time it upset my spirit and did not believe it to be true, even then my spirit was prompting me to test all things. I can’t remember the exact verse but Paul says that first is the physical then is the spiritual.

    As satan before his rebellion was the most beautiful of the angels, how then can he be equal with Christ when all angels are created heavenly beings. It is no truth but deception.

    Timothy, I am a recent follower of your blog but grateful for your Biblical truths and stance on many issues. I have slowly become Reformed in my theology since leaving my church nearly 5 years ago, how gracious is our Lord setting me on the right path after going down the wrong one for over 5 years mistakenly believing it was the true path.


    • Hi Jacqueline,
      Our LORD is ever so gracious to all of us. He does allow us to go through these things like you describe so that the beauty of the gospel becomes even richer when tasted with clarity. Thanks for commenting and reading my posts. I do appreciate it.


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