Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for 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, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)In this day and age, (as it has always been) there are competing claims to spiritual authority. There are new philosophies of ministries that come and go with each passing year. There are ongoing claims of charismatic phenomena as the proof of anointing, Pastor Green explained.
It would be a travesty if our God of truth would have in His creation people who lyingly speak in His name when they are actually giving voice to demons- and give us no way to discern them. But, get this- just because there is confusion and deception, does not mean we cannot find truth. We can. We are each commanded to test spirits and discern the truth, and in the verses Pastor Green preaches on, it becomes evident that the Lord provides a way to do so.
Of interest to me, because it happened to me, lol, is the part where Pastor Green states directly, that when you hear someone tell you, "Touch not the Lord's anointed," run. He said,
One of the first things that mark a false teacher: they claim to be the Lord's anointed. Then they are going to tell you, "Don't touch the Lord's anointed." As soon as someone says that to you, get away from them. Because they are trying to exempt themselves from the tests of discernment. No one has a right to tell you 'don't examine my teaching', 'don't examine my life', because Christ himself tells us to do exactly that. As soon as you hear that, warning bells should start in your mind. Something is not right here ... When a man says "don't touch the Lord's anointed", figuratively speaking, that is exactly when you should most smack him with the test of biblical discernment.False teachers are not simply people who are making a mistake. False teachers give voice to demonic teachings. They are a mouthpiece for satan. The verse says "this is the spirit is antichrist." Green said, "This is the same spirit that will rise up at the end of the end of days in the Tribulation and oppose Christ."
I say to us all, we become so inured to some of the passages in the bible, familiarity breeding over-familiarity, that we lose the import of the warning. This is the spirit of antichrist. Therefore think of this: every time you encounter a false teacher you are entering a mini-tribulation.
Green said, truth is absolute. There is no such thing as relative truth. It's an utter fallacy to believe we can have "your truth" and "my truth" all the while each are saying completely contradictory things. Truth belongs to God- he has revealed it in scripture. He has called His people to discern truth from error. He has called us to test the spirits, test the prophets, and not try to accommodate those who lie and reject that which is false. So, how do we do this, the biblical way?
Don Green explains it in his sermon "Developing Biblical Discernment" (1 John 4:1-6), giving three tests for discernment in his hour-long sermon. The three tests for us to perform of all those who claim to speak for God are--
--examine their manner of life,
--examine their confession of Jesus through their teaching,
--examine their view of scripture.
We arrive at the end of the sermon with confidence, not worried about false teachers, because as the verse says, "we have overcome them." We still have to practice discernment, but we do so from a position of strength, not weakness. The Lord Jesus gives us so many magnificent gifts! Discernment is one. Please give a listen.