1 John 4:4 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.
Sometimes right and wrong seem black and white and we stand firmly for what we believe is right. Sometimes there are shades of gray that cloud the picture. What if we’re wrong about what we think is right? The Bible tells us to test to see if it is from God. That’s because until we know everything about everything, there is the possibility that we are wrong about something.
Two subjects are favorites for debating today. One is politics and the other is religion. Either one can invoke anger from our “opponent” or even from ourselves. That’s because we are passionate about our value system.
We’re studying now in 1st John and a big problem is that some of the Greek philosophers who have accepted Christ (or are at least in the church) have brought some of their old values with them into this new church. They strongly believe the way they were brought up through childhood and into the present. They don’t have a Bible to read, because the Bible was not yet assembled together. So, they’re teaching what they feel is right.
The apostle John, who writes this letter and others, has the challenge of bringing out the truth as Jesus put it. Jesus had said He is the truth and the only path to God. John had heard Jesus’ truth day by day as he walked and lived with Jesus. Now John is sharing what he learned with the congregation (and the false teachers) of this church.
Here’s something to contemplate… Not all false teachers know they are wrong. They truly believe the things they are teaching. Remember that when you debate a friend on some “touchy” subject. But also remember that there is only one truth. Make sure you are holding to that truth and not to something you were raised with, but doesn’t match what Jesus taught.
In this message, we will look at this problem in the early church and see how it applies to our lives.