Week 9 – 1 John Bible Study (1 John 4:1-6)

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Matthew Henry – “…believe not, regard not, trust not, follow not, every pretender to the Spirit of God, or every professor of vision, or inspiration, or revelation from God. These deceivers set themselves up in the church; it was so in the apostle’s times. Fatal is the spirit of delusion.

Here is the video lesson for Week 9 and the handout for you to follow along.

1 John Week Nine Discernment Is Not Optional

**The answers to the blanks in the listening guide are: 1) fear, 2) ask, 3) receive; wisdom/discernment, 4) shine; shine, 5) walk; scope; think, 6) Christlikeness, 7) faith in Christ

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist,which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. – John 4:1-3

John wrote what he did with these inspirational and instructive words of Jesus ringing in his ears – “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

“Beware – this one word instructs us to judge / discern. Danger ahead. The word Beware in Greek means ‘hold your mind back.’ Don’t expose your mind to the influence….

of the false prophets, who [the who lets you know these are real people operating from real attitudes and demonstrating observable actions. That’s their fruit. Their attitude and actions. Their attitude is ….

inwardly are ravenous wolves. –  they are self-promoters. Self-seeking. Self-exalting. Out to fulfill their own self ambitions and self-appetites for power, position, prestige. They either know they are living a life of deception or they have been duped by the devil and living self-deceived. They are dangerous. What they say, regardless of how kind, gentle, Scripture quoting, and affirming they may portray themselves, they are evil.

Yet, they come to you in sheep’s clothing.

  • Prophets were known by what they wore – Elijah wore very rough, hairy, rugged, burlap uncomfortable garment as a statement – foregoing comforts for the cause of God calling His people to obedience. – John the Baptist wore very rough uncomfortable camel’s goat hair for the cause of being set aside from the world system. The rough garments designated the prophets. Zechariah 13:4 says of the false prophets: “They wear a rough garment in order to deceive.”
  • Shepherds wore cloaks made of the wool of the sheep. “Sheep’s clothing” is another term for ‘wool.’ John warns that these false prophets and teachers wear the cloak of a shepherd – a person assigned to the care of the sheep /a pastor who is positioned to shepherd the church of Jesus Christ.

Easy to spot – not disguised as false prophets

  • Heretics – “I don’t believe the Bible when it says…”
  • Apostates – denies the faith, departs from Christianity, falls away from sound doctrine

Not easy to spot – disguised as false prophets – deceivers – they blend in 

  • This is not the cultist or the Mormon or the Jehovah Witness or the Scientologists. These are the New Apostolic Reformers, the Universalists, the postmodern emerging church charismatics who are teaching or influencing ever so subtly the ideas/ideologies of pragmatism, panentheism, paganism, hedoism, Roman Catholicism, and they are among the Southern Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Assemblies of God, Pentecostals, Church of Christ, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Calvinists, Armenians, Wesleyans, who talk about Jesus, the cross, God, the Bible, church, prayer, the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, giving, missions, being loving and forgiving, and they hang around people who are true Christians and mingles in the framework of evangelism. He isn’t warning us against heretics or apostates, but against those who sound like and look like Christians who use the speech of the Bible. They are all over the place! They do not talk about hell or Lordship, but instead how to be happy, healed, enjoying the blessings of God, how to experience spiritual formation, and how to be this and that. They are pleasant, nice, seem thoroughly Christian – they say many of the right things and their lives appear to be clean. They blend in.

ChristemporosGreek meaning ‘Christ merchants’ or ‘Christ swindlers’ – they use Christ, they trade Christ, they ‘sell’ Christ for personal gain, they pad their pockets and build their empires. They are happy holy spirit healers, positive thinkers, charismatic, and love to blend in with the world, be popular, and attach themselves with celebrities.

16 By their fruit you will recognize them [that is, by their man-made doctrines and self-focus]. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the unhealthy tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, by their fruit you will recognize them [as ravenous wolves disguised in the cloak of a Shepherd]. Matthew 7:15-20

In verse 16 and in verse 20 John repeats … “by their fruit {attitude and actions} you WILL recognize them” for what they really are – ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing – deceiving, dangerous, deceptive false preachers and false teachers.

This is a critical lesson … and we are seeing a massive increase of these false prophets among the church today, while at the same time we are also seeing a growth among many evangelicals who are seeking truth – sound doctrinal theological truth! 

May we know and experience how much better it is to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. (Proverbs 16:16)

In His Grace and Peace,





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lisa rippy

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