“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
We are deep within an episode of history when the lines of good and evil are blurred. In order to truly discern what is from God, you must know the scriptures. That is the only way to truly know if you are being deceived or lied too. So, what are some specific signs that what is being preached, taught or said is from God?
Belief in the Biblical Jesus
First, the information must come from a born-again believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:” 1 John 4:2 Without knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior no one can discern what is from God or not from God.
Exhibit Apostolic Fellowship
Second, the person must exhibit Apostolic fellowship. In other words, they must have active fellowship and scriptural accord with fellow believers. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7 They must be part of a body of believers (church) and they must agree upon biblical doctrine and exegesis (interpretation or explanation of Biblical text). “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3
Live a Sanctified (Holy) Life
Third, they must exhibit a sanctified life that results in an active love for God and individuals, and results in their willing obedience to God. A holy life. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” 1 John 2:3-4
Anyone that fails these three tests is not from God or speaking for God. Now, none of us are perfect and we occasionally sin. When we sin, we are supposed to repent and try to never commit that sin again. The difference is repented sin verses living in unrepented sin. If a person continues in a sin (regardless of which sin) and they know it’s wrong (according to scripture) then they are failing to keep the Lord’s commands and therefore, they don’t know God.
If a preacher, teacher or person purposely utters anything that cannot be backed up by properly interpreted scripture, then they are a liar and do not know God. Everything said or done must reconcile with scripture. If it doesn’t reconcile with Biblical scripture then it is not from God. Discernment of spirits is just that simple – if you know and understand Biblical scripture. If it’s not from God, it’s from Satan. Always test the spirits, so you can determine if it is from the spirit of truth or the spirit of lies?