Lies, falsehoods, errors, deceit, dishonesty, fraud, deception – no matter what it is called, it is still the antithesis of truth. It is also more prevalent than truth. More taught than truth. And more loved than truth. And let’s not forget how exceedingly dangerous a lie is. One would think that the further way from the truth a lie is the more of a beast it becomes. But this is not necessarily so. Others have said that the most dangerous lie is the one closest to the truth. With this I would have to agree. Judge for yourself, which poison is more deadly, the one clearly marked or the one masquerading as healing medicine?
There are a lot of lies masquerading as truth. That is why believers are told in I John 4:1, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Not every spirit is of God. The Bible speaks of evil, unclean, dumb, foul, and deaf spirits. It tells of the spirit of infirmity, spirit of divination, spirit of bondage, spirit of the world, spirit that “worketh in the children of disobedience,” spirit of antichrist, and the spirit of error. The children of Israel were warned of false prophets who do not follow after the Spirit of God but follow their own spirit. Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” Ezekiel 13:2-3.
A false spirit produces false teachers that fabricate false doctrine. “…many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Over and over in the New Testament we are warned of these men and their teaching. See Matthew 7:15, Matthew 24:4-5, Matthew 24:23-24, Luke 21:8, Acts 20:29-30, Romans 16:18, 2 Corinthians 11:13, Galatians 1:9, Ephesians 4:14, Philippians 3:18-19, I Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 2:17-18, Titus 1:10-11, 2 Peter 2:1, 2 John 1:7, 10, Jude 1:4, and Revelations 2:2 just for starters.
We are not to believe them all but to try them. To try the spirits means to test or prove them. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” 1 Thessalonians 5:21. There are two ways to test a spirit. The first is by the Word of God. The believers in Berea were nobler than the ones in Thessalonica because they “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so,” Act 17:11. If a doctrine does not line up with Scripture it is wrong. The Spirit of God will never contradict the Word of God. This is very important. Let me say that again, the Spirit of God will NEVER contradict the Word of God. I heard a female preacher/pastor on the radio one day defending her “call” into the ministry. Another pastor, disputing with her, kept bringing up the Scriptures. Quoting Paul he would say that a woman was not to teach or usurp the authority of a man within the church. This lady responded with the notion that we are led by the spirit and are not under the law. At that point, the host of the program even erroneously contended that the ‘words in red’ are more important than Paul’s writings.”
Read Jesus’ words (in red). “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you,” John 16:13-14.
To recognize truth we must understand that the Spirit will never supersede the written word. Just as Christ came to do the will of the Father and glorify Him, the Spirit will point people to Christ and glorify Him. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God. Revelations 19:13 tells us that “The Word of God” is His very name. We also know that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God,” 2 Timothy 3:16. To say that the Spirit would lead us or teach us something contrary to Jesus Christ (The Word) is untrue. The Spirit did not call this woman to be a pastor because that contradicts the Word. (Read I Timothy 2:11-12.)
So the first way to test if something is true is by the Word of God. But Jesus said there was another way in which we can test the spirit of false prophets? “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” Matthew 7:20. You cannot separate a man’s personal life from his ministry. Does his life line up with what he is teaching? The same can be asked of women. Friends, be careful when getting advice from others. You need to make sure that what they say is first biblical and second that their life demonstrates good works. “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom,” James 3:13.
If the Spirit of God dwells in you, by knowing the Word of God and examining fruits, you can test the spirits to see if they are truly of God. God has given the believer the spirit of discernment. “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:10. Do not fall for lies that hinder your spiritual growth, there are many out there. And remember, the most dangerous ones are the ones closest to the truth.
(Taken from Living Out the Word: Love, A verse by verse study for women through the Epistles of John by Kimberly Williams. Coming soon – Spring 2012!)