A Solid Foundation (Part 6)

Please read 1 John 4

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because 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 of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.” (1 John 4:1-3)

You know that there are good teachers, bad teachers, and false teachers, but how are you to discern between a good teaching and a false teaching? Between the true gospel that points you towards eternal life and a false hope that leads you to hell? You must utilize the Word as the yardstick to measure all teaching and preaching you receive in this life. You must test the spirits! Follow the example of the Bereans who upon having the Gospel preached to them “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

Until the Lord returns in glory there is no place on this earth that is guaranteed to be free from the effects of the fall, even the church. Even a good church in a good denomination can have her officers go astray. Thus the mission of the Christian is to be active in discerning the teaching they receive. The Westminster Larger Catechism puts it like this: “It is required of those that hear the word preached, that they attend upon it with diligence, preparation, and prayer; examine what they hear by the Scriptures; receive the truth with faith, love, meekness, and readiness of mind, as the Word of God; meditate, and confer of it; hide it in their hearts, and bring forth the fruit of it in their lives.” You must listen attentively and diligently search the scriptures to see if the things you hear are true. If they give glory and honor to God alone, if they encourage you to a life of greater zeal and love for God, if they point to Christ alone as the only means of salvation, and if they are in harmony with the entirety of the Word of God taken in context. Then cling to them with all your strength! Seek them out and earnestly dedicate yourself to understanding and applying that teaching to your own heart and life.