Test the spirits

Yesterday we looked at “testing ourselves” to see if we are in the faith. Today we move from 2 Corinthins 13 over to 1 John 4:1-3. These verses state:


Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because 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, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

John has been talking about the Holy Spirit (1 John 3:24) and now informs his readers that other spirits exist – specifically demonic spirits. He then goes on to say that these spirits produce false prophets and false teachers so that their false doctrines can be spread to believers in the Church.

It seems that the believers in John’s time were too open-minded to anyone who had a new teaching or revelation. They were not like the Bereans that are commended in Acts 17:11-12 who tested everything that Paul taught them to the known scriptures.

John says to “test” the teachings and revelations. The Greek word “test” is a metallurgist’s term used for assaying metals to determine their purity and value. He is stating that Christians must test any teaching with a view to approving or disapproving it – rigorously comparing any teaching to the scriptures to see if they contain any substance and anything of any value.

One commentary states: “By juxtaposing “spirits” with “false prophets” John reminds his readers that behind human teachers who propagate false doctrine and error are demons inspired by Satan. Human false prophets and teachers are the physical expressions of demonic, spiritual sources.” (Dr. John MacArthur)

Strong words but very wise ones. We must judge a ministry and a minister by his or her teachings and not by their ability to work or release supernatural happenings such as healings and signs.

Jesus warns us that in these Last days false prophets and false Christs will perform miracles, signs and wonders – great and astonishing ones.

Matthew 24:24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

And that is exactly what is happening today. Believers are too quick to flock to supposed ‘revivals’ and declare things to be “of God” when the teachings going forth are contrary to the doctrines of the Church as set forth in the scriptures.

Believers flock to prophetic conferences to hear the latest revelation some well-known author/minister has received – apparently never testing these revelations to scripture not judging them wrong when they don’t come to pass.

If the teachings and revelations are not in line with the Bible then the believer has the right to question the source of the miracles, signs and wonders.


As believers we must get to know our Bibles. Not a verse here and a verse there but the whole Bible from cover-to-cover. We must come to know the story of God’s interaction with humankind and His plans and purposes for the day we live in.

As believers we must “study to show ourselves approved”. More than reading a few verses in the morning – we are to take quality time – substantial lengths of time – to study God’s Word and come to understand it for ourselves.

As believers we need to learn how to interpret and apply the scriptures that we read and study.

As Believers we must test everything we hear in a teaching to the scriptures to see if it really is true.

As believers we must not think that all “attesting miracles” (marginal note re. “great signs and wonders”) are proof that the teaching and the teacher are from God.

As believers we must come to know the faith that we claim to believe and learn how to boldly defend it from those who teach another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4).

It is time to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (jude 1:3)

For a more indepth look at this topic – see my blog “The Apostle/A Cloud of Witnesses” as well as my blog “Evangelism and soul-winning/The Revival in Flordia” as well as “/The Third Heaven”

Pass the Test

The Scripture:

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you – unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. (2 Corinthians 13:5-6)

Paul has written this letter to the Christians in the Church at the city of Corinth. In the letter he has been defending his apostleship. It seems that some of the believers were questioning the genuineness of Paul’s apostleship. He was their spiritual father (1 Corinthians 4:15) having led them to the Lord and salvation through grace and faith (Ephesians 2:8-9); yet they were questioning whether his apostleship was valid – thinking that maybe, just maybe, he might be a false apostle.

His answer was that they needed to test their faith and stop testing his apostleship. He placed the emphasis back on them taking it off of himself. In the Greek – the grammer puts a great emphasis on the pronouns “yourselves” and “you”.

If their faith was genuine and real then that would be proof that his apostleship was valid and real. If their faith was not true to the Word of God then they would have to declare their faith in Jesus Christ false and thus his apostleship as false as well. In other words, they are the living proof of the genuineness or lack of genuineness of his apostleship.

So, his suggestion was that they stop questioning the validity of his call to be an apostle and simply question or test themselves and see if their faith was real and life-changing. If it was – then he is truly a real apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

His logic was like this: he is pointing out the incongruity of the Corinthians’ believing (as they did) that their faith was genuine and his apostleship false. Paul was their spiritual father; if his apostelship was counterfeit, so was their faith. The genuineness of their salvation was proof of the genuineness of his apostleship.

So how do you “test yourself” to see if you are really in the faith – a real Christian or not?

First you should examine your salvation experience.

If you came to faith in Christ because someone told you that God would give you a better life – that God had a wonderful plan for your life; then I would suggest that your faith is not biblical or real. You came to Christ for the wrong reason.

Did you come to faith in Christ by saying a sinner’s prayer? Someone led you in a sinner’s prayer saying “repeat after me”. Peter, in the first sermon of the Christian faith in Acts, chapter 2, did not say “repeat after me”. In answer to the question “what must we do to be saved?” he responded “repent”. So, if all you did was say a sinner’s prayer I would suggest that you too are not walking in genuine faith and thus are not a genuine convert.

We have:
Salvation by sincerity
It doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere
Salvation by service
As long as my good works outweigh the bad things I do
Salvation by subtraction
I don’t drink, smoke, cuss or chew or run around with those who do
Salvation by ritual
I am a believer because I have been baptized and take Holy Communion
Salvation by heritage
I was born into a Christian home and I have always been a Christian
Salvation by comparison
I am not near as bad as they are
Salvation by association
I know a minister and he visits me occasionally
Salvation by location
I live in the United States (Canada) and so am a Christian

One becomes a believer by coming to realize that they have broken God’s moral law – the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and that, as a result of this they are sinners in God’s eyes. Sin is defined as the breaking of the Moral Law. (1 John 3:4)

Then a person must recognize that this sin separates them from a loving and caring God – separates them now and forever (Isaiah 59:1-2)

Understanding that – they then need to repent (change the way they are thinking about all of this) and acknowledge that they have sinned against a holy God (Psalm 51).

This repentance should be accompanied with godly sorrow and not just worldly sorrow (sorry you got caught). (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Then accept the fact that the penalty for your sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that without the shedding of blood there will be no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22)

The Bible states that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin by dying for you so that you would not have to die. And, that He shed His blood on the Cross of Calvary so that the Father could forgive you of your sins.

Acknowledging this as truth and asking Jesus to come into your life as Saviour is the start of your salvation. This is a definite choice you have to make. This should be followed by a commitment to His Lordship in your life as you “come under new ownership”.

Then, as a true convert – you begin to grow by reading your Bible every day along with praying. And, you should immediately become part of a Bible-believing Church in your area. Christians are always connected to a born again Church as we need others to help us to walk out the Christian faith in daily life.

So test yourself to see if you are “in the true faith” as Paul suggests.

James sets out some other issues to help us to test our faith as well – James 2:14-26


It Is Time, Says The Lord

This past few weeks I have become even more excited about being a member of the Lord’s Church and part of His Kingdom. The feeling is that “I was born for such a time as this”. Well, of course I was – God plans everyone’s birth, the time and the season that they are born into, and the things that He has planned for them to do. But, now I feel it deep in my gut. I was born for THIS time and THIS season and I am getting more and more excited about THIS task that I have as an apostle in His Church. Read more


An Apostolic People

When a ministry team includes an apostle the local church will have the tendency to be apostolic in nature. The people will share the apostolic anointing that is upon the founder and apostolic team member. They will become “sent ones” working on the expansion of the local church, reaching out in the area of missions, and establishing Kingdom outposts or new churches for the Lord. Read more

The start of a new one

This is just an announcement that I am starting a “Daily Bible Insights” blog which will start each day with a scripture passage followed by my commentary on the passage and an application from that passage and commentary geared to your daily life and walk with the Holy Spirit.

It is my hope that these daily blogs will be an encouragement to you as you deepen your love relationship with the Lord and as you “study to show yourself approved” as Paul told Timothy to do.

Of course, your interaction with my thoughts and comments is encouraged and I do read and respond to each blog comment. Your comments will be posted within 24 hours and are usually followed immediately by a comment or two from me personally.

I am working with my web guy to see if we can have people receive these daily blog entries automatically via email each day…

If you build it – I won’t come

There seem to be three main models used to build churches today. They are: traditional, seeker, and emerging models. The tradional churches tend to be doctrinally and methodologically conservative; the seeker churches often are doctrinally conservative but methodologically flexible; the emerging churches apparently can be both doctrinally and methodologically flexible. I am troubled by all three.

I am troubled by all three because I believe God, in the New Testament, set out His way to design and build a church. And often the reason why our worship services are lifeless and not life-transforming is that we have designed and built our services around the needs, desires, and ‘approaches’ of man instead of upon the blueprint and design God has for His House and His People.

God plainly states that His Church will be “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief Cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20). So, we need the ministry of more than the pastor, the teacher and the occasional traveling evangelist to built the church God’s way. We need apostles and prophets. And, we need them even before we need the other ministry and leadership gifts. Paul states “first apostles, then prophets, then teachers….” (1 Corinthians 12:28). It is time to build according to the pattern.

Yes, there are some traditional things that are good to hang on to. Jesus was not against tradition – simply against any tradition that took away a person’s ability to know and live the Word and relate personally and corporately to God. Jesus was not against being flexible and culturally relevant as He was very flexible – designing His teachings and examples for His current audience and thus was also culturally relevant. He was not, however, flexible on content of the doctrines or teachings that He shared. They were the Word of the Lord and thus not negotiable nor alterable. The early Church understood this as they gathered daily to listen to teachings from and based on the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42).

Jesus was seeker friendly. If you were sincerely hungry for God and thirsting after righteousness – in other words, seeking after God – you would find a warm welcome from Jesus and you would be satisfied with what you heard and discovered. It was the hunger and thirst that made what Jesus taught and did acceptable and attractive – not the packaging that the activity came in. Seeker-sensitive churches could learn a great deal from the Lord on this one. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst….” (Matthew 5:6).

We need to let Jesus build His Church. He states:”I will build My Church…” (Matthew 16:18). We need to let Him build it according to His blueprint. His plans are set out in His Word. Listen carefully.

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16).

This is how the Church is to be built. He will draw those who are hungry and thirsting. The Church, if built properly, will have an adequate supply of spiritual food and drink to satisfy the hunger and thirst. People will be drawn to Jesus by the Father, convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit and born again and converted by the power of God. Then they wll be discipled by other more mature believers and trained to reach out to the lost (evangelism) thus continuing the process of winning the world one person at a time.

Overseeing this will be the five-fold ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. They will supply the spiritual leadership, give direction and bring the teachings while guarding the content of those teachings. They will equip the believers to do the work of the ministry and not simply be paid to do the ministry themselves. They will be equippers who train and release the church to minister the love of God supernatually to others. Then the Church will become mature, sound in doctrine, and protected from all the flakes out there who are teaching contrary to God’s Word.

It is time to not spend so much time on the packaging – it is time to focus on the foundation and the flow as set out 2,000+ years ago. If we continue to build the Church in our own wisdom and according to the current cultural standards and life-style then His life-changing power will not be found in the corporate assemblies. But, if we build it according to His standands and His way then He will come in power and manifest Himself every time we gather together in His name.