1 John 4:1-6


REAL CHRISTIANITY #14 (Series in 1 John)


As we continue our study of Real Christianity in 1 John we return to a theme that John has elaborated on before.  It is a warning against false teachers, and it teaches us to be On Guard concerning them and their teachings.


BE CAREFUL - Vss. 1,5


Usually, when we say, “Be careful”, we are concerned about someone’s well being.

When we use the words “Be careful” in conjunction with

1 John 4:1-6, we are concerned that somebody not be led astray by false teachers.


Just because a preacher sounds good, it doesn't mean the person is right. We must be careful to test the spirits to make sure we follow those teachers that are from God.


Vs. 1 - Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.


We are to try or test the spirits to see if they are of God.

The best way of testing the Spirits to see if they are of God is to compare what they say with what the Word of God says. 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21,


Because of the large number of false teachers in the world we have to be careful.


1 John 4:5 - They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.


False teachers are "of the world". They follow the “world system” of thinking and acting.

Worldly teachers accentuate the things of the world. 1 John 2:15-17  


Can we assume that because a person has a large following he is right?  Of course not! Many false teachers have large followings because they appeal to worldly people.


Hitler drew large crowds and was wrong.


10 spies brought back the majority report after going into the Promised Land and they were wrong!


False teachers are of the "world". Because they are worldly, those who love the world want to hear them.


BE COGNIZANT - Vss. 2-3, 6


1 John 4:2 - Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:


We must be cognizant or aware of what comes from the Spirit of God.  We should be able to tell when someone is speaking for God.


A person who believes that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh must believe in His eternal deity.

Colossians 1:15-17


The word Jesus means "Jehovah saves".  If a person truly believes that Jesus came in the flesh, he must believe in Him as Savior.


The word Christ means "anointed one".  It is reference to Jesus as Messiah.  If we believe that He's Messiah, He is our Lord!   


We must believe that He came in the flesh.  Jesus Christ is not just a spirit, but He became God in the flesh! Philippians 2:5-7


When a person "confesses" that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, he is making testimony of his own salvation. He is “of God”. Romans 10:9-10 


1 John 4:3 - And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.


Be aware that if a person does not confess Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, he is not of God.   

Listen to what people are saying. If they are not confessing Christ as Savior and salvation through faith in Christ alone, they are false teachers.

If they are not saying that Jesus is God who has come to earth literally in a human body, they are false teachers.


A false teacher is anti-Christ.  He is against Christ.

1 John 2:18 - Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.


Although the anti-Christ has not yet made his appearance, there are many today that have his Spirit.  

Be aware of the spirit of anti-Christ that is in the world.


1 John 4:6 - We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.


Vs. 6 - John and the Apostles were of God.  The writings of Scripture are from God.


Those who know God through Christ, especially preachers and teachers, will hear and adhere to the Word of God, which contains the teaching of John and other Apostles.

A true teacher will present God's Word accurately.


Be aware that those who are not of God will not adhere to or teach the true doctrine of the Word of God.

Because of this awareness it is not as hard as it would seem to tell if someone has the spirit of truth or the spirit of error.

If a person teaches accurate Bible doctrine he has the spirit of truth.

If a person teaches heresy he has the spirit of error.




1 John 4:4 - Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.


While God wants us to be careful about the teachers we follow and cognizant of the difference between a true teacher and a false teacher, he doesn't want us to worry.

He wants us to be confident that we will be able to tell the difference.


John tells us, who are Christians, that we are of God.  That's very assuring! John likes to call us little children, and that's appropriate. John 1:12, 1 John 3:1-2


Because we are "of God", children of God, we have overcome the false teachers.  We don't have to be fooled by their false teachings.

Who is it that in us who is greater than he that is in the world?

It is the Spirit of God who is greater than Satan.

Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19, John 16:8-13


For detecting the false teachers, greater is he that is in you than he that is the world   


In what other ways is the Spirit of God helpful in our lives?

·        For power to witness – Acts 1:8

For victory over sin – Romans 6:14

For Fruitfulness – Galatians 5:22-23

·        For strength in prayer – Romans 8:26-27

·        For Assurance of Salvation – Romans 8:16


Indeed, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.

So we can be confident.   


So let's be on guard:

BE CAREFUL - Vss. 1,5

BE COGNIZANT - Vss. 2-3, 6



Elaboration of a previously shared outline