Truth for Confidence. Truth for Discernment

Truth for Confidence. Truth for Discernment

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for 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 from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 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 4:1-6

Check out last week’s sermon here.

Parishioner: “But Pastor, you speak too strongly. Don’t the good things I do give me confidence before God that I have the Spirit?”

Pastor: “If your confidence is not rooted ultimately in the work of Jesus and the teaching of God’s Word, all other tests that you seek confidence in will be untrustworthy. Confess with your life the death, burial, and resurrection with all that means in surrender to Christ. Believe in Jesus, trusting God’s Word and His messengers, and you will have confidence.”

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God…Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. – 1 John 4:2, 6

Parishioner: “Pastor, you are too harsh. I know many people who don’t believe the same things I do about Jesus, and they are very kind and loving. They say Jesus was a good guide and the greatest teacher while denying His resurrection, but I’ve felt love from them; real and genuine love.”

Pastor: “As Jesus said to the likely well-intending Peter, “Get behind me Satan!” (Mark 8:33), we too must understand that anything not of God is ultimately a work of the Evil One attempting to undermine the work of God. Yes, Jesus called Peter’s actions satanic in Mark 8:33. And what was the satanic work of Peter? He was setting his mind on his own desires and not on Christ’s word.”

…do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world….every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. – 1 John 4:1, 3

Parishioner: “Pastor, but this teacher I love is so compelling. They look into the camera and preach boldly with relatable words and words that give me confidence.”

Pastor: “Do not let compelling words and cultural relevance or popularity be your standard for good teaching. What do they say about Christ? Do they draw you into Christ? Do they call you to lay all your life on Christ? Do you leave focusing on Christ or on that teacher? Does the message leave you seeking greater confidence in yourself? Do you leave wanting what the world offers more than Christ? Security in your life? Money? Undefined emotional well-being? Do they offer any sort of guaranteed method for peace that is not founded only in Jesus? For example, do they teach that you can think your way to peace or find true peace within yourself?”

“Nowhere in 1 John or in the Bible is one’s personality or popularity or speaking ability or writing ability or the like offered as a reliable test of genuineness of a work of the Spirit.” -Pastor Mike

Parishioner: “Pastor, give me something tangible! I want the Spirit of God to move in my life. Help me know that He has blessed me, that He is with me.”

Pastor: “If you want to see the Spirit of God at work in you – if you want to see a miracle of God’s Spirit – then believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”* That statement, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” quoted from Acts 16:31, offers the greatest guarantee of the Spirit’s work in your life. Be wary of looking and seeking a god who will offer you parlor tricks to share with others. Salvation bringing peace before God, access to Him, and confidence in Christ are the greatest testimonies to the work of the Holy Spirit (See Romans 5:1-2 and Hebrews 4:16). You are not guaranteed any temporary thing in life that so many people seek in vain when they seek Jesus. Money, success, ease, comfort, a long life, none of these are offered as guaranteed treasure on earth coming from salvation. Be wary that your seeking these things may in your heart reveal that the salvation Jesus offers is small.”

I Confess He Is
No longer a sole means to my own end,
Not simply a nice friend, a benefit to my emotional health,
Not just fire insurance from the flames,
Nor to gain from others popularity and fame,

Yes His end for me is good,
Yes I have no better friend,
Yes eternally secure from judgment,
Yes, and others may admire

But those to me count less and nothing,
For only One I see,
Hung upon that tree,
Buried, raised, reigning gloriously,
He is everything.

*Quote from Pastor Mike’s sermon preached on April 18, 2021

What I Learned Last Sunday