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Testing the Spirits

By Michael Boot/ July 31, 2016

Series  1 John: Walking in the Light

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Person Of Christ

Scripture  1 John 4:1-6

The doctrinal test starts with the Holy Spirit confessing within us that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.

Scripture:  1 John 4:1-6

Sermon Notes:

  1. Testing the spirits involves Holy Spirit-inspired confession, allegiance, victory, and response.
  2. John was close to Christ; he rested on Jesus’ shoulder as Judas went out into darkness under a spirit of betrayal (Jn. 13:25-30).
  3. Doctrine is not just about the tongue, it is a matter of the whole life; and right doctrine is the foundation of the gospel.
  4. The first test of right doctrine is the Spirit-inspired confession that Jesus came in the flesh.
  5. We know God abides in us by the Spirit that indwells us. His dwelling in us can be distinguished from any false spirit which may tempt us astray.
  6. The starting point of the doctrinal test is the Spirit confessing within us that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.
  7. Peter spontaneously confesses by the Spirit that Jesus is the Son of God (Matt. 16:15-17; cf. Rom. 10:9-10).
  8. Wrong confession about Jesus is idolatry; the Son of God has given us an understanding, that we may know the true God.
  9. The truth is founded upon the incarnation of Jesus (1 Tim. 3:16).
  10. People come to know God’s only Son, and are exhorted to partake of Jesus’ flesh, by faith.
  11. It was the humanity of Jesus that brought Him into the realm of the Holy Spirit.
  12. John was opposing the Docetists, Gnostics, and other early sects which denied the humiliation, incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.
  13. The incarnation of Christ under the law has essential and far-reaching implications for Christ’s work of salvation under God’s moral government.
  14. Jesus is the name exalted above every other name, the only name in which there is salvation.
  15. Only through the Son are light, life and truth given (1 Jn. 1:7; 2:1-2, 4:9-10; 5:12). These are lost if we fail to align ourselves to Jesus.
  16. Jesus said that false prophets are expected (Matt. 7:21-23) but victory is promised to those filled by the Spirit. (1 Jn. 4:4). By receiving the accomplished work of Jesus in the flesh we share in His victory.
  17. Today we face false teaching about the person of Jesus from Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims and others.
  18. By holding to the truth, we overcome false prophets and the work of Satan (Jn. 16:11).
  19. Those who depart from the church’s creedal statements easily become false teachers.
  20. The commands of Jesus are not burdensome (1Jn. 5:3-5), but liberating.
  21. Our Spirit-inspired response is to listen to true doctrine and to obey it.
  22. If we love Jesus the world will hate us (Jn. 15:18-25).
  23. We need to test every teaching to see whether it confirms the essential teaching that distinguishes the Christian community in all eras (Jn. 8:32).

Application Questions:

  1. What is the importance of doctrine to the Christian life?
  2. How can we discern whether a particular teaching is from God?
  3. Why was the incarnation of Christ necessary?
  4. How can we benefit from the church’s creeds?