In this age of relativism, it can be difficult to discern truth from error. Many different faith systems venerate Jesus, yet have a wide array of opinions on who he is. Muslims and Mormons claim Jesus was a real person, even a prophet, but still see him as just a regular man. Others even question Jesus’ actual existence, seeing him as just a good idea, an image made up to show us the way. The spirit of our age claims that what we think about Jesus doesn’t really matter: “To each his own, man.” How do you know what to believe?
- Who do you think Jesus is, and do you think this is important to all people? Why?
READ THE WORD: 1 JOHN 4:1-6 (ESV)
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. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 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. 4 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. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 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.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- According to this passage, what is the fundamental way to discern between true and false teachers?
- How many times is the word “world” used in this passage? What is the “world” according to this passage? Who influences or rules the world?
- What encouragement is found in verse four for those who are in Christ?
- What is your confession about Jesus? Is it of the world or of the Spirit?
RESPOND TO GOD
John’s Gospel declares that, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14).” According to John, to confess that Jesus “has come in the flesh” is to understand that he was before all things and created all things. It was a confession not only that Jesus really existed, but also that he is the supreme creator of all things. Jesus is the truth, and to confess who he is lands our lives squarely in the truth. Who do you say Jesus is…at work, in your neighborhood and in your family? Are you giving a true or false confession?
- Thank God that “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (vs. 4). Are you confident that you are in Christ and that Christ is in you? If not, talk to someone today that can help you gain clarity and assurance.
- Spend some time thanking God and praising God for giving his son.