Thursday, November 10, 2011

1 John 4:5-6

They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error

In every age the false has counterfeited the truth. The world is drawn to false prophets with “feel good” messages that do not confront their sin nature or require life transformation. Most Christians today choose not to battle false doctrine. We have a “live and let live” mentality. It is popular to believe that all paths lead to God, that all religions are equal, and that there is no absolute truth. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenge of false teachers or outmatched by their rhetoric. But as the preceding verse taught, the battle is already won, so we should not be intimidated in our stand for truth. No matter how we are attacked for our true beliefs we know we are from God and ultimately cannot be defeated. False teaches can adapt their message to what people want to hear, whatever is fashionable and popular. He who is from God will teach truth from God’s word, even if it is countercultural.

The difficulty in communicating the gospel can arise from the fact that we are coming from a different starting point from those in the world. Our worldview, the “glasses” through which we see the world, is based on the truth of Scripture if we are true believers. Others pick and choose whatever suits their fancy. We make decisions based on eternity. Others make decisions based on the belief that this life is all that matters or exists. So to some extent we are speaking a different language through the veil of a cultural barrier. But we must persist in trying to explain light to those who have only experienced darkness.

A. W. Tozer proposed seven tests to employ in “How to Try the Spirits.” If some teaching seems like a “gray area” this may be helpful. The whole text is here, but here are the bullet points.

  1. How does the teaching affect my relationship with God and our attitude towards Him? Does it magnify him or veil his glory?
  2. How does the teaching affect my attitude toward Jesus Christ? Does it make him indispensible or focus on some exciting experience?
  3. How does the teaching affect my attitude toward Scripture? Is it in accord with the Word of God?
  4. How does the teaching affect my self-life? Does it slay my flesh or puff me up with self-pride?
  5. How does the teaching affect my relationships to other Christians? Does it draw me to them or cause me to feel superior?
  6. How does the teaching affect my relationship to the world? Does it lead me to pursue carnal enjoyments?
  7. How does the teaching affect my attitude toward sin? Does it turn my heart away from sin and towards holiness?

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