Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 21 October 20:
1 John 4:1-3 — 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.
Today, John warns against ‘teachers’ who promote the spirit of “antichrist,” a popular term used only by John in the Bible, only five times, and only in two Epistles. Previously, John said, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18)
Those who teach in the spirit of antichrist are acting as antichrists – “an-tee-kris-toess – in opposition to the Messiah.” Today, John further explains that “every spirit that does not confess Jesus is NOT from God.” Antichrist teachings are not usually blatant attacks against the Gospel, but rather are subtle, appealing and deceptive appeals offering a way, a truth, a future, a hope, or a life ambition that is not Christ. John warns that even the Christian must be very careful to avoid false teachers and teachings that can creep in. We should reject instruction from those who aren’t grounded in Christ and obedience to the word no matter how popular they are or how appealing their message; we should observe whether teachers’ lives reveal the fruit of the Spirit as evidence of their faith; and we should always confirm what we are taught from our own study of the Bible – “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
So, what popular teachers, scholars or best-selling authors who don’t confess Jesus influence your thinking, decisions and behavior? How have ungodly teachings (which offer truth, salvation, future and hope apart from Jesus) permeated the fabric of our society? Do you recognize today’s antichrists? “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.”
- Matthew 24:11 — And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
- Matthew 12:30 — Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.
- Colossians 2:8 — See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4 — For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
- Galatians 1:6-9 — I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
- 1 Timothy 6:3-5 — If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
- Jude 1:4 — For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
- 1 Timothy 6:20-21 — O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 October 20: Today, consider who is influencing your thinking. Are your favorite speakers, writers, entertainers, leaders, and friends committed Christians with the aim of helping you draw closer to Jesus? “Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?” (Amos 3:3) How can someone help you in life if they don’t agree on the goal – “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”? (John 17:3)