The Epistle of I JOHN

Chapter Four

 

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.

Remember, there are many different usages for the word 'spirit' used in God's Word. The first word 'spirit' is referring to spiritual abilities given by Godwhich became available with the new birth after all had become available when all had been fulfilled. This is in reference to having 'Christ in you', eternal life, being able to be born of His seed which is incorruptible.

I Peter 1: 23 -- Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The second usage of 'spirit' in this verse is referring to devil or evil spirit beings. Let me put it this way: If you are not studying the genuine Word of God, YOU WILL NEVER RECOGNIZE THE COUNTERFEIT. Did you know that the closest counterfeit that the devil has to the love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation is a spirit of alcoholism?! This spirit has also been referred to in the Bible as Leviathan. This type of person which can be referred to as a functioning alcoholic can appear so nice and friendly, that if you do not know, study and apply God's Word, you might easily mistake this nauseating counterfeit as being the genuine love of God. It seems frightening, doesn't it? That is why you need to study and apply God's Word and God will let you know which spirits are of the true God and Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and which are of the counterfeit god, the devil.

2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

One of the nine manifestations of Holy Spirit is 'Discerning of Spirits'. God wants you to be able to know the difference between true revelation and counterfeit revelation. One of the two indicators of this is:

1) Is there any long term profit in the revelation?

2) Does the revelation contradict or flow at cross-purposes with the written Word of God?

Try to remember these two indicators regarding genuine and counterfeit revelation.

Now let's review the different usages of the word 'Spirit' and 'spirit' in the verse. The first usage of the word 'Spirit' is in reference to God himself. The second usage of the word 'spirit' means soul life. This means the person himself, that which makes man a living being; the natural life common to all mankind. It is also breath life -- all men have soul life which is called "the spirit of man", but not all men have eternal life. If you need to review the difference between body, soul, and spirit, you should review the teaching Body, Soul, Spirit which is made available to you.

3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spiritof antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

We are not to believe every supernatural manifestation but we are to test the spirits to see if they are from the true God. To do this we need to operate the manifestation of discerning of spirits. The spirit of a false prophet will not be able to confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. The same is antichrist but not theantichrist. Again, as mentioned in the explanation after verse one, YOU MUST KNOW THE GENUINE before you can recognize the counterfeit. There are many people that believe that Jesus Christ has not yet returned. These people are referred to as antichrists but they are not theantichrist that will appear in the book of Revelation. If you do not know God's Word very well, you may not be able to recognize these antichrists. They may appear as intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, evolutionists, politicians, you name it -- they are out there. The Word of God enables you to separate truth from error. In my 35+ years of studying God's Word, this has been one of the most outstanding and profitable benefits I have recognized and appreciated from dedicating my life to the study and teaching of God's Word. No matter what the adversary throws at me, I am eventually able to clearly see what is a lie and what is the truth. You can do the same.

4. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he [God in Christ] that is in you, than he [the devil and his devil spirits] that is in the world.

God in Christ in us, the holy spirit, is greater than the spirits of the devil in the world. When we believers begin to practice our legal sonship rights with the use of the name of Jesus Christ, we will truly live with power and will overcome the forces of Satan in our lives. Did you understand what was said? You can use the name of Jesus Christ to rebuke any spiritual attacks that may come upon you. Do not be afraid to do this. If you know a person that is coming from hell that is constantly aggravating and agitating you, you have every right to rebuke that person in the name of Jesus Christ. You can do this quietly to yourself or if you absolutely feel it is necessary, you may rebuke a person right to their face. I have done this more often quietly to myself. Don't let the adversary scare you -- you have this legal right according to God's Word. And believe me, you will see results.

Philippians 2: 10 -- That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of thingsin heaven, and thingsin earth, and things under the earth;

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO USE THIS POWER WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

Most believers never use this power of attorney either because they have never been taught or because of fear.

5. They [antichrists] are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

These people who say that Christ never came gather an audience that prefers to listen to them. It's sad to say but so many people live in such darkness and actual possession, that they care not to be delivered. They would rather stay in some type of rut that they have dug for themselves than to make the effort to get delivered. This is a trick of Satan because anyone can get delivered from any type of spiritual oppression, except the unforgivable sin. Even a person who is seriously involved in the occult can get delivered. Instead of trying to explain this further, there is a book that I recommend that you read concerning this subject. This book has made a serious and permanent positive impression on my life and on my believing. If anything, the adversary almost proves the presence of the true God by his counterfeit Spiritualism. THE NAME OF THE BOOK IS "The Challenging Counterfeit" by Raphael Gasson. The subject matter is the real power behind Spiritualism as seen from the inside by a former medium. I can almost guarantee that you will find it difficult to put this book down. It is a startling true account of a medium who turned to Christianity and the battle he had with Satan in his attempt to break Satanís influence over his life. This is a paperback book that sold almost 1/2 million copies. The book was printed by Logos International, Plainfield, New Jersey. This book will also clearly answer any questions you may have regarding "Are the dead alive now?"NO! They are dead. This is one of Satan's major counterfeit teachings that has been around since almost the beginning of time. Why would Christ come back to raise the dead if they're already alive?! The dead are dead until Jesus Christ returns.

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 [God], and the spirit of error [a devil spirit].

When you share the Word of God with people, the people who are called out from the very foundation of the world will hear your voice and will receive the Word. Those who are not called out will not hear your voice. It's that simple. The verse then goes on to say what we learned in previous verses. We will know the truth and we will also be able to recognize error -- a lie -- a devil spirit. This is because the Word of God makes it possible for us to separate truth from error -- a benefit that I am sure you too will learn to enjoy if you study and apply yourself to the Word of God and always keep God first. It's up to you -- you have free will.

Ephesians 1: 4 -- According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame. ['before him' is not in the text]. [The verse stops here.]

In God's foreknowledge, God knew that we would believe even before the world was created. The following Scripture should be very familiar to you by now.

Matthew 6: 33 -- But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

7. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

The Scripture is somewhat self-explanatory. Those who are born of the spirit of God should be renewing their mind and therefore manifesting the love of God toward one another. These are the people that know and love God and can manifest that love, for love is of God.

8. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

This verse interprets itself right where it is written. Those who do not know God cannot manifest God's love. Why? Because God is love and you must know God and imitate Him to be able to manifest the love of God. We need to walk each day with a greater vision of what God has given us. We need to manifest that power from on high with greater and ever-increasing confidence and boldness.

9. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

When we live the principles of God's Word, and walk by God's gift of spirit in each of us, we are proving in the senses world, that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We are completely, completely, complete in him.

10. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent His Son to bethe propitiation [payment] for our sins.

Remember, God first loved us and sent His only begotten Son to be the complete payment for all of our sins before we were born again. Even after we were born again, God made it possible to confess our sin [broken fellowship] and get back into alignment and harmony with God. A thrilling opportunity is yours and mine when we begin to appreciate the significance of the man Jesus Christ: our example, our Passover, our risen Lord, and our complete Saviour.

11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another [with the renewed mind].

If I ever have trouble loving or especially forgiving another person, I simply remember what God forgave me for and it makes it a lot easier to forgive and to love others.

12. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

No man has ever seen God for God is Spirit. God's love is perfected in our walk as our minds are renewed. The more we study and apply His Word, the more Christ-like we become and therefore the more perfected the love of God becomes manifested in our daily spiritual walk. It takes time and patience to strive toward the perfection of a renewed mind walk perfecting the love of God.

The word used for "see" in this verse is theaomaiwhich could be translated "beheld" which does not necessarily indicate a seeing with the physical eyes but rather a perception of understanding. Here in I John 4: 12, it says that no one can physically see God, but we may now perceive God when the spirit from Him is born within us. Man could observe Jesus Christ who was physically present upon earth, but man can only perceive God when the spirit of God is born within him.

13. Hereby know we that we dwell in him [God], and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit [his gift, holy spirit].

Understanding that we have the nine manifestations of Holy Spirit, what one manifestation offers us undisputed proof that we are born again of God's Spirit? We know that we dwell in God and God in us because many of us speak in tongues. We have completed a special teaching that will instruct you, step by step, how to speak in tongues. It is begun and stopped by your own free will, using the same mechanics as speech, but it bypasses your mental faculties. It is truly a miracle in many ways. [Because you do not speak in tongues does not mean you are not born again].

14. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to bethe Saviour of the world.

God has actually committed unto us the sonship right of the Ministry of Reconciliation. If we do not testify that the Father sent the Son, Jesus Christ, no one will ever have a chance to be born again.

II Corinthians 5: 19 -- To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

15. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

When God dwells in a man, he has received a new creation, eternal life. When a man dwells in God, the man is walking in fellowship in the renewed mind. This verse is similar to verse 13.

16. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love [agape]; and he that dwelleth in love [agape] dwelleth in God, and God in him.

As we can clearly see, there is no escaping the love of God. We must manifest this love or we accomplish nothing in this life. There is simply no profit in anything we do. God is surely stressing this point since He has repeated it about three (3) times so far in this chapter alone. God's love is perfected in our minds to the extent that we dwell in God, and thereby manifest His gift to the world. By now, you know that to dwell in God means to renew the mind to the Word of God.

17. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he [God] is, so are we in this world.

As God is, so are we who are born again and who demonstrate love. We then have boldness and power in a time of crisis for we have put on the armor of God. First we must have Sonship and then our love is made perfect by fellowship. This should allow us to act with boldness (without fear) in this day of man's judgement. We should not be hesitant or fearful or reluctant, but have the boldness to take the greatness of God's Word to a sick and dying people because as He is, perfect love, so are we in this world.

Let me help you with this term "the day of judgement". This is the day in which you and I are now living which is man's day of judgement. The Lord's day of judgement is still future. In this day and age, which is man's day, man does the judging.

18. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Here is another verse that interprets itself right where it is written and it is quite straightforward. When you are walking in the perfect love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation, you have no fear. The love of God in the renewed mind in manifestation casts out fear. A believer that still has fear has not renewed his mind in some area to God's Word and this results in fear in some area of that believer's life. The verse is simple and gets right to the point.

19. We love him, because he first loved us.

God first loved us and gave us eternal life which made it possible for us to love (agape). Now we ought to renew our minds according to the Spirit, God, and walk before Him in love and love others.

20. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

You should always love a brother or sister in Christ even though they may be doing something contrary to the Word. That doesn't mean that you have to fellowship with them, but you should make an attempt to help them with the Word in some way. Then, if they won't listen, try with the help of another believer, then with the help of your fellowship. After that, if that believer still does not want to do what the Word exhorts him or her to do, the last resort is to avoid them so that they may be ashamed.

But you can never say that you love God and then say you hate a brother. If you do that, then God says you are a liar. Then God uses a rather interesting example saying: How can you love me whom you can't see when you are not even capable of loving your brother or sister whom you can see?

21. And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

The proof to ourselves and others that we love God is to manifest the love of God to the saints.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~