Testing the spirits

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. But every spirit who does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist; you have heard that he is coming, and he is already in the world now. You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:1-4 HCSB)

The Bible not only warns believers about false prophets; it describes them in graphic ways:

  • Ravaging wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15; see also Acts 20:29).
  • Deceitful workers (2 Cor. 11:13).
  • Springs without water, mists driven by a whirlwind (2 Peter 2:17).
  • Dreamers who defile their flesh, despise authority, and blaspheme glorious beings (Jude 1:8).
  • Liars (Rev. 2:2).
  • Antichrists (1 John 2:18).

How do we define a false prophet? Simply put, a false prophet is one who preaches, teaches, or foretells events contrary to the Word of God, yet often claiming God as his or her source. As believers, we can guard our hearts from the teachings of false prophets by obeying three commands of the apostle John.

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