Beloved, do not believe every spirit……” 1 John 4:1
We must be concerned with the words which we speak.
We must in like manner be careful to that which we would listen…..especially in spiritual matters.
The Apostle John was warning his readers to be wary of those who would be teaching wrong information. They were known to the church as false prophets and false teachers. Their information was not Holy Spirit inspired, but rather was coming from the spiritual forces which were demonic in origin. Their purpose was to propagate false doctrine. Even Paul had warned the young pastor Timothy in his first epistle to that, “in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons , speaking lies in hypocrisy…..”
(1 Timothy 4:1,2)
Christians must have a spiritually healthy skepticism regarding any teaching. Sadly, many are being encouraged to be open minded to anyone or anything. A recent survey reported that two out of three members of evangelical churches believe that there are many ways to get to heaven. They lack the basic premise of the biblical truth that apart from Christ there is no salvation. (Acts 4:12) Somewhere, somehow and sometime they would have had to believe someone who was falsely teaching the Gospel. To whom were they listening? John implies in this quoted text that those who propose false teaching/doctrine are being led by demons who are inspired by Satan.
In the days of the prophets, many refused to listen to their truth. Instead they willingly chose to listen to false teachers and prophets who would tell them things they wanted to hear. To men like the prophet Isaiah they’d say, “Don’t tell us the things that God wants us to hear; rather speak the things we want to hear.” (Isaiah 30:10) They were declaring that they’d rather follow along their own paths than follow the direction of the Lord.
In these specific real and relevant times, our ears must be attentive to the right message, being spoken by the right voice, coming from the right heart of the one who speaks the truth of the Gospel.