Tag: 1 John

The Spirit of Truth & spirit of Error (1John 4:1-3, 6)

1.0 The Statement

We are living in the Last Day before Christ Return for the Church. Arising in our midst is “the spirit of Error”1John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: Because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  The “spirit of error” is the Antichrist’s spirit. As the Apostle John warns of false spirits and false prophets, more so does our Lord Jesus the same, yes, even false Christs “shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very Elect” (Matthew 24:24). Apostle Peter adds with “false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2Peter 2:1). Apostle Paul also forewarns with the list of false Apostles (2Corinthians 11:13), false brethren (2Corinthians 11:26) and false Witnesses (1Corinthians 15:15).

Furthermore, Jesus likens these Agents of falsehood in the Parable of the Good Shepherd to Thieves, Robbers and Strangers, Hirelings and Wolves (John 10:1, 5, 8, 10a, 12-13). Christ’s sheep with keen discernment between the Master’s (Christ’s) Voice and the Voice of the Stranger will keep out of harm’s way. Apostle John concludes: “We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1John 4:6).

Here is the critical point, – Church Leadership needs to teach God’s People God’s Word (the Bible) without adulteration – there must be clear biblical-teaching (feeding God’s people with His Truth – His Written Word – John 21:15-17). Jesus said that He is The Truth (John 14:6; 15:26). If any person attacks Christ’s Person, His Virgin Birth, His Deity and denying His Humanity, that person is under the “spirit of Antichrist” which is “the spirit of Error,” – 1John 4:1-3, 6 “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. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world…..We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” The Docetists in John’s day denied Christ’s Humanity (1John 4:3), were Agents of the “spirit of Error,” the “Antichrist’s spirit.”

Throughout the long centuries, the “spirit of Error” has made the Salvation of the Individual not by God’s Grace of Ephesians 2:8-9, but of works (The Law). Of more recent history, there have arisen the Modernists and Liberals who rejects God’s Infallible, Inerrant Written Word (the Bible), with the latest so-called Neo-Evangelical that speaks of “a limited-Inerrancy.” It is the “spirit of Error” that counters the Inerrancy of the Bible, yes, even the Living Word who is Christ Himself (Revelation 19:13; John 1:1). The Christians believed God’s Written Word (the Bible) to be Infallible and Inerrant to the jot and tittle (Matthew 5:18), and the Christians reaffirmed their faith on God’s Written Word (the Bible).      

1.1 The Spirit of Truth

While Jesus is The Truth (God’s Word – Revelation 19:13; John 1:1; John 14:6); the Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit (John 14:17), whom Jesus, before His departure, promised to send to His Church (John 14:16). The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) proceeds from God the Father (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit manifested Himself in Power at Pentecost, at the birth of the Church, by giving utterance in multi-languages to the Apostles, and the 120 Disciples (Acts 2).

The Holy Spirit is sent to indwell born-again Believers and to teach and guide the Individual/Church (John 14:16, 17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; 1John 2:20, 27). The mark of the Spirit of Truth is that He (Holy Spirit) will not speak of Himself, but rather testifies of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) shall glorify the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for He (Spirit of Truth) shall receive of the Son (Christ) and show it to us (John 16:13, 14).

The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) being Holy “will reprove the world of sin, and righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8). The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) makes “intercession for the Saints according to the Will of God” (Romans 8:27). As He (the Spirit of Truth) is sent from the Father by the Son, Christ (John 15:26), He is also called the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). He (Spirit of Truth) is “Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby” (John 14:16-17, Amp. Bible).

1.11 Love not Divorced from Doctrine

The current thinking of the Church is to eliminate doctrinal distinctives and to emphasise love among the brethren to bring forth Unity in the Church. Although Love among the brethren, is important, nevertheless, it should not replace doctrinal distinctives; as this position, however outwardly attractive and impressive to an Observer, is not biblical, viewed in the light of Scripture; as the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ contains the Command to bring the new Believers immediately into the teaching programme, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I (Christ) has commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). In other word, the entire Scripture is the basis of this instruction, and this must be the supreme position of the Church in terms of priorities. It is a lifelong responsibility of the Leaders of the Church, under God’s Spirit, to bring their Members into the whole Counsel of God’s revealed Truth, as advocated by Apostle Paul – Acts 20:27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” 

One of the basic ideas of some of today’s Churches is that love is more important than doctrine; they stated that doctrine divides, whereas love unifies. Is this position Scriptural? What does the Bible say about this? Is it really true that in the New Testament love is more important than doctrine, or Truth? In the “Love-Chapter” of 1Corinthians 13, we are reminded, “Now abides Faith, Hope and Love, these three, but the greatest of these is Love (Agape)” (1Corinthians 13:13). Some said, “that settles it; love is supreme!” However, when we examine 1Corinthians chapter 13, carefully, we discovered that Truth is also mentioned in that chapter. In 1Corinthians 13:6 we are told that, “Love rejoices in the TRUTH.” In other words, “Faith, Hope and Love” are virtues but TRUTH has an altogether different status. TRUTH is the “the frame of reference, the foundation, the atmosphere,” without which virtues of “Faith, Hope & Love” have no anchor!

1.12 “Love rejoices in the TRUTH”

(1Corinthians 13:6). Why? Because without TRUTH to define Love, to interpret Love, to protect Love, to guide Love, to channel Love – Love can become a disaster. Virtues of: “Faith, Hope & Love” are not the same level as TRUTH. Virtues (Faith, Hope & Love) will shrivel up, misuse and abuse, if they were not for TRUTH.

1.13 God’s Definition of Love

God’s definition of Love is always in association with discipline, so that we can grow in Him and be Partakers of His Holiness (Hebrews 12:5-13) – “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives…..He for our profit, that we may be Partakers of His Holiness.” Love voids of discipline is sentimentalism and can be destructive; – observe what happens within a home when Parents exhibited love toward their children by refusing to discipline them, in the name of Love. The Book of Proverbs defines Love as doing for the Person that which is best for him in the light of eternity, no matter what the cost may be. That is how Love is defined in the Scripture.

1.14 Love Obeys Truth

The Scripture reveals to us that Love obeys Truth – John 8:31 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, if you continue in My Words (Truth), then you are My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The Lord Jesus Christ said that ultimate freedom will only be achieved by submission, and unconditional surrender to Truth; in so doing, our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is implied.

Many Christians speak glowingly of their love for our Lord Jesus, failing to take heed of His (Christ’s) Words as in John 14:15, 21, 23, & 24, as He (Christ) stresses that obedience to Truth is our demonstration of our Love for Him (Christ) – “If you love Me, keep My commandments……He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me….If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings.” This is the “acid-test” of our Love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we obey the Lord Jesus’ Commandments? It really makes no difference how much we talk about our love for our Lord Jesus, and for one-another, if we are not obeying Jesus’ Word (Truth).

1.15 Love Teaches the Truth

John chapter 21 gives us an example of Peter who confessed his love for His Lord (Jesus); he (Peter) even insisted that he would never waiver in loyalty, saying, “Even though all the Disciples betray Him (Jesus), I (Peter) will not. You can count on me.” But when the pressure came, his (Peter’s) resolution collapsed, he denied the Lord Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62); and as Jesus looked at him (Peter) in that courtyard, he went out and wept (Luke 22:60b, 61, 62).

John 21:15-17 – After His (Christ’s) Resurrection, Jesus faced Peter, by the Sea of Galilee, and very lovingly, but in truth, said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He (Peter)saith unto Him (Jesus), Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee, Feed My lambs….Feed My sheep….Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17). The three confessions of Peter of his love for the Lord Jesus Christ, cancelled his (Peter’s) three denials, earlier. How do Jesus expected Peter to express his (Peter’s) love for Him (Christ)?

  • “Feed (Gk: “bosko”) My (Christ’s) lamb” (John 21:15) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “bosko”) speaks of nourishing Christ’s People (new Believers) with God’s Written Word.
  • “Feed (Gk: “bosko”) My (Christ’s) sheep (John 21:17) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “bosko”) speaks of nourishing Christ’s People (mature Believer) with God’s Written Word.
  • “Feed (Gk: “poimaino”) My (Christ’s) sheep (John 21:16) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “poimaino”) speaks of tending (shepherding/pastoring) His (Christ’s) People.  

Peter expresses his (Peter’s) love for the Lord Jesus, is by “Feeding” (Gk: “bosko”) – Nourishing His (Christ’s) People (New {lamb}Believers & Mature {sheep}Believers), as commanded by the Lord Jesus Himself (John 21:15, 17) and shepherding/pastoring (John 21:16) His People – Thus, Peter’s love for Christ is related with his (Peter’s) Nourishing Ministry (Truth – God’s Written Word); and by Peter’s Shepherding Ministry as “Feed” (Gk: “poimaino”) in John 21:16. 

Acts 20 provides another good example of how Apostle Paul ministered to the Christians at Ephesus. – Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD.” – Paul has preached for three months and when some has spoken against his teaching, he (Paul) separated the Disciples to meet in the hall of Tyrannus. There, for two years, Paul teaches that group of Disciples in the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD. Imagine the prolonged, in-depth, intensive teaching those Ephesians Elders (Acts 20:17) received. The result was “that all they which dwelt in Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the Word of the Lord Jesus.” Everyone in the Province heard the true message about Christ because Apostle Paul based his teaching on the clear, sound doctrinal instruction on that Pioneer Group (Elders – Acts 20:17).    

1.16 Love Leaves Nothing Out

Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I HAVE NOT SHUNNED TO DECLARE to you the whole counsel of God.” It was not easy for Apostle Paul to teach the doctrinal material to the people at Ephesus – he dealt with doctrines which were controversial, offensive, and divisive, which is why he said, I SHUNNED NOT to declare unto you…..” Also, in Galatians 1:6, Paul states: “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him (Christ) that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an Angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Why was Paul so hard on the Churches at Galatia, and perhaps jeopardise the loving relationship which he enjoyed with the Leadership of the Churches at Galatia? It was necessary to risk becoming their Enemy, as Paul tells us in Galatians chapter 4, in order to “tell them the Truth.”  – Galatians 4:16 “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”  

1.17 Ephesians 4:11,15

The Fivefold Ministers of Ephesians 4:11: “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Techers.” Every Person of the Fivefold Ministers of Ephesians 4:11 are “Doctrinal-Persons.” – All are involved in God’s Written Word (Truth). Ephesians 4:15 exhorts us “to speaking the Truth in love.” Love is the manner and method of speaking Truth. Love serves the Truth. It makes it easier to receive, absorb and digest Truth if spoken in love, and not in harshness. Love must never be allowed to eclipse or set aside Truth. God’s Written Word (Truth) never change; but God’s Written Word (Truth) could be misused and abused in the hands of the untrained/ill-disciplined Person. Truth cannot be perpetuated through compromise, and compromise cannot be avoided without separation. This basic Principle has been illustrated repeatedly in the History of the Church during the Ages. Thus, the whole question of success in the Christian Ministry needs to be constantly re-examined. How can the relative success of the Christian ministry be evaluated apart from God’s Infallible, Inerrant Word? Who is to determine what success means? Is the Cross of Christ’s  Preeminent in the life of the Church, the Leaders and the Message – Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Philippians 3:7-9; 1Corinthians 1:18). What we consider success in the ministry may turn out to be failure in God’s Sight.

1.20 What is Truth??

An increase in the understanding of Divine Truth helps to free the Church from the bondage of traditions of men that are “dead.” However, not all traditions of men are “dead” as some of those traditions are good and useful – 2Thessalonians 2:15 (NKJV) “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistles.” Truth is the continuing Revelation of God and is not “an end” but is like that pathway that gives direction that leads us into the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is “The Truth” (John 14:6a). Truth that becomes “an end” will eventually become a tradition.

Truth is not the accumulation of factual knowledge, as factual knowledge is true, but it is not itself the Truth. People can and do believe all kinds of true things without having Truth. Most in Christianity believe the Bible is the Word of God, which is true, but it does not necessarily give the Truth to the people who just believe the Bible, but not submitted to the Teachings.

Truth in its highest understanding, is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6a; Revelation 19:13; John 1:1) – Truth as “the Pathway” leads us to the Person and the Finished Work of Christ (“It is Finished” – John 19:30). Although we can believe true things, we will never have the Truth until we know the Person (Jesus) who is “The Truth” (John 14:6a; Revelation 19:13; John 1:1), thus, Truth is not an end but the continuing Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Eternal and Unfolding.

All things that reveal God are Truth, and all things that are meant to obscure or misrepresent Him (Christ) are not of Truth. Thus, it is not Truth but “THE TRUTH” (the Lord Jesus Christ) that brings liberty to our life – “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). From the Christian’s viewpoint, without Jesus, whatever Truth we possess, we possessed in darkness only – those traditions that are “dead” tends to “war” against increased Revelation of the Truth, can turn the Light of Jesus into darkness –“If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23b).

If the Truth the Church possesses is bounded by “dead” traditions, then the Truth could become distorted and ended up as Partial Truth. The purpose of Truth is the greater and greater manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Individual/Church; that is why it is difficult for many Christians to practice spiritual discernment, because circumstance can look so much like the real things but are really only in a natural form, which is true but not Truth.

Those traditions that are “dead” can block our growth in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Understandably, those bounded by “dead” traditions often used Scripture to support or justify what they believed and how they acted – “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Timothy 3:7).

The Jews in the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) held that Salvation required the Person to be circumcised has good Scriptural support from Genesis 17:13-14, “the Covenant of Circumcision,” which is an Everlasting Covenant. However, the Jews of the Circumcision did not realise or were blinded by traditions that caused them to fail to understand the Restoration of the “Davidic Worship” (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:15-18) that was quoted by Apostle James of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:15-18), of God’s Progressive Restoration, that the Gentiles did not require circumcision for Salvation.

Traditions of the circumcised Jews caused them to fail to see God’s Eternal Purpose. Traditions have blinded the “spiritual eyes” of the Jews – thus, if the Individual/Church is not careful; he/Church may recognise God is or has been in his life/Church and still not really know the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Present, Restorative Outworking (Acts 3:21).

Things that God once said to do can become a stumbling block to us (the bronze serpent served its purpose – Numbers 21:9); but later became a stumbling block that ensnared the Nation of Israel (2Kings 18:4), that we vow never to let go of, and therefore, cause us to miss “the Present Truth” (2Peter 1:12), thus, causing us to miss God’s Present Move!

Furthermore, Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6a), an Individual and the Church is not able to know “the Way” and “the Truth” until Jesus becomes his Life. “The Way” is not just believe a few fundamental Truths about the Lord Jesus Christ – “the Way” is the Lord Jesus Christ – “The Truth” is not found by just agreeing with certain Doctrines, even all Christian Doctrines – “the Truth” is the Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who must be the Person’s/Church’s whole life.

Also, Truth will always manifest itself in Love because God is Love (1John 4:7-8) – If what is being spoken/ministered is not done in love, it is not truth – “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Many Christians quoted Scripture (all Scripture is True), but if the Scripture spoken is not spoken in love; it is not spoken in the “Spirit of Truth,” who is the Holy Spirit (John 14:17).