Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 John 4:1
“Beloved, 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.” – 1 John 4:1
One of the things that John warned the Christians of his day was that there are many false prophets in the world. And this is just as true today as it was in the first century. The enemy will do whatever it takes to convince us that the truth is actually a lie, and their lies are actually truth. Jesus called them wolves. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15. In other words, they will appear as true Christians trying to help us understand the truth, when actually they are there to lead us away from the truth of Jesus Christ.
So, how will we know these false prophets? “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” Matthew 7:16. It is important that we look at what they are saying and see if it lines up with the Word of God. We must be like the Bereans of Thessalonica as written in Acts 17:11. For they checked out everything that was taught to them to ensure it was absolutely true. Too many people simply accept what is taught to them in church, especially from famous and prominent preachers. They think because they are famous, they must be speaking the truth. Or, they have great credentials so they must know what they are talking about. Not always. The fruit of teachers are the words they teach. Truth comes from good and Godly teachers, sheep. Heresy comes from liars and deceivers, wolves. Sheep never dress as wolves, but wolves will dress as sheep. Sheep never want to deceive the people, but wolves do.
So, back to our focus verse. How can we ensure that we are hearing truth? We must spend time studying God’s word and hold these truths deep in our hearts. Then, when we hear something that is false, we will know it and reject it. In the event we are not sure, we must check the scriptures or ask someone to show you so as to verify the validity of the teaching. If we find it true, we can accept it. If we find it is not, then we reject it, and if necessary, the teacher as well.
There are many false teachers out there whose purpose is to tickle our ears as Paul says to Timothy and lead us astray to further their own ambitions and desires. Be careful what you accept as truth. Many times, their words are in the bible, but taken out of context. Be careful and seek the Lord, asking Him to show you what is truth and what is not. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:13. The Spirit of Truth is with us. And He will, as stated above guide you into all truth. Follow His guiding.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.