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. 2 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, 3 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. 1 John 4:1-3
John writes these words to protect the truth and God’s people from false teachers and false prophets. John speaks of testing the spirits and what John is referring to is testing and discerning which spirit is leading a person. The false teachers were deceived by Satan and were influenced by demonic lying spirits. But the true teachers of God’s word and His true shepherds were led and guided by the Holy Spirit.
It is the responsibility of every believer to use discernment and be diligent students of God’s word. John says the litmus test is Jesus Christ. If a teacher of God’s word claims that Christ has come in the flesh and is from God then they are a true teacher of God’s word. But if the teacher has distorted the truth about Jesus in anyway then you know it is a false teacher.
If you view the many deceptions of the enemy that claim to be Christianity but are not the one common thread is that you will find the truth of Christ distorted. It is impossible to claim that Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. False teachers were not only a problem during the apostles day, it is still a problem today. The problem today is even more magnified because of social media and how fast information reaches people and travels.
We today who follow Jesus Christ must guard our hearts and diligently study God’s word. The study of God’s word will guard and protect our hearts and lives. Those who fail to study God’s word can be easily deceived by the enemy. The spirit of the anti-Christ is a deceptive spirit that takes the hearts and minds of people captive. When the actual anti-Christ comes on the scene he will be a man filled with darkness and deception. The false teachers of John’s day and the false teachers of are day are also filled with darkness and deception. They are deceived themselves and will spend an eternity separated from Almighty God.