Daily Devotional Friday 24th July 2020

by William Moody

1 John 4:1–6

Test the Spirits

4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.


In this world we will hear many voices, often saying very different and contradictory things. The challenge is to know which voice to listen to.

John urges his hearers not be taken In by false teaching (v1). John was the apostle so full of love, but here he calls for a bit of steel from believers. He is clear there are many false prophets who have gone out into the world. Often they went out from the church (2 v19).

All prophets are led by a spirit, true prophets by the Holy Spirit and false prophets by evil spirits, fallen angels. We must remember that there is a real spiritual war going on around us. This is a battle for minds.

Sometimes people see this as negative and quote, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matt. 7v1)  Those who quote that verse rarely quote what Jesus says just a few verses later, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7 v15-16)

We’re not to be going around with a critical condemnatory spirit, but we have to be discerning as there are false prophets.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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