"They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error." - 1 John 4:5-6
How can you tell when a teacher, preacher, counselor or pundit is from God and gives godly advice? The test in this verse makes it simple: if they hear, receive and allow themselves to be corrected by the Word of God, they are responding to the Spirit of Truth. If they won’t listen to, receive and be corrected by God’s Word, but argue with it or try to explain why it doesn’t mean what it says, they are led by the spirit of error.
Those led by a spirit of error speak the opinions of the World, and so of course the World listens to them. They may become immensely popular because they tell people what their sinful flesh wants to hear. They give people excuses for sin. They will be quoted in the press and other communications media. People with no heart for God will find them wise and profound.
But those who are led by the Spirit of God stay close to His Word in their preaching, teaching, counseling and opinions. They listen to the Bible, fill their hearts and minds with it, meditate on it and seek to be corrected by it at every opportunity.
This month in particular we will hear pious-sounding proclamations of tolerance and support for all kinds of sinful behavior, often expressed by individuals who wear their shirt collar backwards. May God have mercy on His people and deliver His church from the Spirit of error.
Lord, have mercy on Your children. Give discernment to all those who seek You and call our nation back to Yourself in true repentance and faith. Give us who know You a heart full of compassion for those who have been deceived. By Your Holy Word, enlighten and correct us whenever we need it. Reveal Yourself to this world through us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles