This month's Series looks at I John verse by verse. (Here is the link to the beginning of the Series: I John Introduction.)
Friday's post summarized I John 3. Here is the summary:
John has PROVEN that doing His commandments, which BOTH involve LOVE, is HOW we KNOW THAT we abide in Him and He abides in us through the Holy Spirit. This completes this Feedback Loop.
This PROOF COMPLETELY depends on John's definition for LOVE.
John began his explanation for LOVE towards the end of this Feedback Loop. It is now time for John to SPECIFICALLY gives his explanation for LOVE. John will PROVE his definition for LOVE by using (what else?) a Feedback Loop.
Today, we will begin looking at John's next Feedback Loop...
I JOHN 4:1
"1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
Since the last chapter ended with our PROOF (WHY) and METHOD (HOW) of being children of God are by the Holy Spirit, John begins this chapter making sure we KNOW which Spirit to follow...
Notice, this verse focuses on SPIRITS, NOT people!
John writes NOT to believe EVERY spirit, but to PROVE the spirits whether they are of God. What does "prove" mean?
"prove" is Strong's #1381 dokimazo - "from 1384; to test (lit. or fig.); by impl. to approve: - allow, discern, examine"
Strong's #1384 dokimos - "from 1380; prop. acceptable (current after assayal), i.e. approved:-approved, tried."
Strong's #1380 dokeo - "a prol. form of a prim verb doko of the same mean.; to think: by impl. to seem (truthfully or uncertainly)"
John is saying that it will take DISCERNMENT and THINKING to determine whether the spirit is TRUTHFUL (and therefore from God) or is NOT truthful (and therefore NOT from God).
The REASON (WHY) John warns us is that there are many FALSE PROPHETS that have gone out into the world.
During the Spiritual Warfare Series, we covered DISCERNMENT and HOW to know if someone is a PROPHET or not. Here are the links:
The summary of those links are that:
Deception is a Right WHAT with a Wrong (OR NOT) HOW/WHY.
Truth is a Right WHAT with a Right HOW/WHY.
People who speak the Right WHAT with a Wrong (OR NO) HOW/WHY are attempting to deceive you...regardless how nice they appear or if they are in leadership.
Discernment is NOT being able to determine the difference between a Right WHAT and a Wrong WHAT. This is actually called "judgment"...the ability to determine the value of a WHAT.
Discernment is a gift from God that tells you WHY/HOW something is Right or Wrong.
Gifts from God are profitable to ALL...actually to OTHERS.
Profit comes from truth...from understanding...from thinking...from identifying the Right HOW/WHY.
Discernment is the ability to determine the HOW/WHY so that things can be judged accurately.
Discernment is the ability that helps us avoid being deceived.
Therefore, discernment is profitable to all.
Prophets speak for the benefit of a group of people.
Prophets do NOT speak for their own benefit.
Prophets are determined by the Right HOW/WHY...the WHAT is NOT the key to determining if someone is a prophet or not.
John begins the latest Feedback Loop by stating that we shouldn't believe every spirit, but prove the spirits whether they are from God or not.
The way to prove whether a spirit is from God or not is whether the spirit supplies the Right HOW/WHY.