Verse: 1 John 4:4-6
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. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 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.

These three verses come from John, the disciple who wrote the book of John and who was called “the one who Jesus loved.” He was in his later years and was a seasoned father of the faith. He wrote this letter to all the churches to warn believers about false prophets, especially those preaching Gnosticism (Google it if you want to know more about it).

John gives us a very practical approach to this issue of false prophets which is also true for us today. We are from God (born again in the Spirit) and because we believe in Jesus, his death for our sins and the defeat of the evil one, we have overcome them (meaning the false prophets and the spirits from which they speak). We don’t need to be afraid because God is in us and He is greater than any worldly power. That is good news and is a place from where we can draw comfort and power.

John goes on to say that They (the false prophets) are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. Doesn’t that statement really ring true to you today? How often do you hear someone talk and you think, that doesn’t sound right? And yet, lots of people are listening to them and believing they are right. So how do we decide whether someone is speaking from a worldly viewpoint or from God’s viewpoint?

John says that whoever knows God listens to us. Most commentaries say he is referring to the apostles like himself, who knows Jesus and thus God, and the authoritative revelation of the Bible. So you can discern what others are saying by testing it against scripture. If you still have questions, go to someone that you feel is knowledgeable in the faith and ask them to help you. That’s also part of the “us”, the community of believers. And of course, pray for God to reveal the truth to you.

Dear Lord, help us to not fear false teachings but to stay close to you as we test their validity. Reveal the truth to us through your Bible and through other Christians. Thank you for your truth that sets us free.

Author: Brad Dunn