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1 John 4

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 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.1 [The false prophets are those who did not have the patience to stay in the cross; and being tempted to preach before being perfected by the Spirit, they fell away from the true believers to go out into the world, teaching a different gospel and a different Jesus. John is warning the true Christian believers to beware of those who come dressed in sheep's clothing, claiming to be Christians, just as Jesus warned us about false prophets that would come, and so did Jude, and Paul, and Peter also warn us. They appear to be Christians, but deny the cross, deny the possibility of perfection, deny the possibility of union with Christ and the Father, promise liberty to those just beginning repentance, and promote lawlessness covered by what they call "grace."]

 2 By this know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses (acknowledges, owns, admits) Jesus as the Christ (anointing) who has come in the flesh is from God; [To confess Jesus Christ who has come in the flesh, is to confess like Paul: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 2:20; Jesus ruled Paul's thoughts, words, and deeds — even supplying the thoughts with the mind of Christ. Christendom presumes Jesus to be their Lord, but their continuing in sin denies him as their Lord and Master. From the Word of the Lord within: "You are the child of whom you obey. Remember, every person who sins denies Him as Lord and Master."]

 3 And every spirit that does not confess Jesus Christ is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, which you have heard would come, and even now it is already in the world.2 [John told us in 1 John 2:18-19 that many antichrists had already come, who had gone out from among them; who tried to seduce the true Christians with their false gospel and false Jesus. So they could not confess Jesus to rule their thoughts, words, and deeds because they preached that being totally unnecessary according to their false gospel. From the Word of the Lord within: "they did not have patience." They did not have the patience to follow the hard, narrow way of the cross that the Apostles preached; being tempted and ambitious to teach before being perfected and authorized, they fell away to instead preach Christian liberty from the law without the necessity of first crucifying their sinful nature on the inward cross of self-denial. Their doctrines quickly became pervasive and dominated Christendom, and so Christendom became the whore of Babylon by adulterating with the kings of the earth, (the Roman Emperors), who declared their doctrines to be the only ones allowed; and then Christendom, aided by the crushing boot of the Roman Empire, persecuted and killed the true saints. John later saw and prophesied how the whole world would worship Satan, following the false prophets' beastly religion with horns like a lamb. And so all of Christendom became the whore of Babylon, rejecting the cross as foolishness and ignoring the Bible's many specific exclusions, the requirements, and the qualifying conditions of salvation. See Penington's writing on Babylon to understand more how the spirit of antichrist rules Christendom.]

 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he who is in you, than he who is in the world.

 5 They are from the world, therefore they speak as from the world, and the world hears them. [Two billion people have embraced the false gospel of instant salvation, while only the few elect are traveling the narrow way of the cross. The world hears the false prophets because they promise heaven with freedom to live their life as they please; the itching ears of those drunk with their lusts, pleasures, and pride, eagerly accept the false promises. For the world would have a Christ to excuse them living any way they choose, but those of the truth, would have a Christ to change them to live pleasing to God, whatever the price. ]

 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we recognize the spirit of truth from the spirit of error. [Not everyone can believe the true hope: freedom from sin, purity, restoration to the image of God before the fall, and then beyond that to union with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven, all in this life while alive on the earth. Those whom God has given the hunger for more of Him, can hear with great joy. Those who love their life in the world, cannot believe the true hope and cannot hear.]

 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

 9 This is how the love of God was shown to us: by God sending his only begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through him.

 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins.

 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

 12 No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. [Jesus Christ, who was a part of God from the beginning, reveals God through himself. To see Jesus revealed in your heart, is to see God. Jesus is the image and substance of the invisible God. Col 1:15.]

 13 By this we know that we dwell in him and he in us: because he has given us his Spirit. [Christendom tells you that if you believe in Jesus, you are in Christ. John explains who is in Christ: whoever keeps his word [obeys the Lord's commands spoken to him], truly the love of God is perfected in him; by this we know that we are in him. 1 John 2:5. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12. Notice, this is to be "in Christ" — to have the love of God perfected in you. Paul also explains who is in Christ: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom 8:1. If you are walking after the impulses of the flesh, walking according to your own carnal mind, you are not in Christ Jesus. You cannot please God living according to the impulses of the flesh. Rom 8:8. To be in Christ is further explained by Paul. Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17. This is not to imagine yourself a new creature; this is to experience the death of the old and the birth of the new; death of the sinful nature is the old which must go. And death of the old is only through the cross of Christ, sharing in the suffering of Christ, sharing in the death of Christ, sharing in the burial of Christ, sharing in the resurrection of Christ — that is NEW — all else is presumption and imagination, or make-believe Christianity. From the Word of the Lord within: "The new life is as radically different as a man who has lived underground his whole life, suddenly coming above ground to see the sun, the sky, the plants, the animals, the wind, the stars."]

 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

 15 Whoever confesses Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God.3 [This verse proves that to confess is to own, acknowledge or admit that Jesus is your controlling Lord in speech and deeds; because only saying Jesus is Lord does not prove the God dwells in you or you in him, that you dwell in love as the next verse points out. Even the demons called Jesus, "Jesus, Son of the Most High God," and trembled. To confess Jesus is to own, admit, acknowledge that Jesus is your Lord, totally controlling your thoughts, words, and deeds; and this only occurs after you have been purified and freed from all sins.]

 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.

 17 In this [abiding or dwelling in God] love is brought to perfection, so that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this present world. [As God is perfect, holy, pure, and merciful, so are his children in whom love is perfected. Notice! John is saying that crucified true Christians have been changed and perfected so that they are the same as God in this present world — not after they pass away, but while on earth!]

 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,4 because fear is the dread of punishment. He who fears has not been made perfect in love. [Christendom has no fear of God because their consciences have been seared by the lies of the teachers of lawlessness, but they have no where near experienced perfect love. John is speaking of those perfected believers who have had the love of God perfected within them.]

 19 We love him, because he first loved us.

 20 If a man says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

 21 And this command have we from him: That he who loves God must love his brother also.


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1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone out into the world. John is not suggesting that you try the heavenly beings, (demons and angels of God), to see if they are of God, (as verse 2 exlains below). He is speaking of those many men who call themselves Christians that have gone out into the world as false prophets as antichrists, (even 2000 years ago).

You are to try the spirits of people who are attempting to teach or preach to you. What do you suppose a false prophet would be preaching, which differed from what the apostles preached?

  1. They tell you the cross is unnecessary.
  2. They tell you that you can live free as a Christian, and still be sinning; including looking at a woman with lust, and hating anyone.
  3. They tell you that you need to give them money or a salary.
  4. They say you need to observe some outward ceremony, or obey some outward law, (such as don't drink alcohol, don't play cards, don't eat meat), that is not related to the inward morals of love; which are love your neighbor, love God, don't lie, don't steal, don't covet, don't murder, don't commit adultery, forgive others, etc.
  5. They do not stress that to be a Christian, you must be pure, moral, and free from any desire for the things of this world.
  6. They deny the anointing and the possibility of union with God, in the Kingdom, while still on earth and then forever.

Verse 5 in this chapter states: "They are from the world, therefore they speak as from the world, and the world hears them."
For the world would have a Christ to excuse them living any way they choose, but those of the truth, would have a Christ to change them to live pleasing to God, whatever the price.

Verse 6 in this chapter states: "We are of God; he who knows God, hears us; he who is not of God, does not hear us. By this we recognize the spirit of truth from the spirit of error." Not everyone can believe the true hope: freedom from sin, purity, restoration to the image of God before the fall, and then beyond that to union with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those whom God has given the hunger for more of Him, can hear with joy. Those who love their life in the world, cannot believe the true hope and cannot hear.

Here is what God said he would do with those ministers whom he never sent, nor directly authorized to preach or teach, nor spoke to them with words to preach: I will bring, upon them an everlasting reproach and perpetual shame that will never be forgotten, Jer 23:40.

Preaching for a salary is the error of Balaam, which is spiritual adultery, loving wages and profit — both Peter and Jude had some very grave things to say about those who solicit donations or preach for a salary. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children — for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness.

Here is what God said would happen to those teachers and preachers who tell people still sinning they are righteous: He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous;" him will the people curse, nations will abhor him; Pro 24:24

George Fox was frequently approached by people who had very high-minded claims and high notions of their spiritual maturity. Since Fox was in the kingdom, he could see their heart, and he would respond with a simple question: "What is the first step to peace?" (The answer you can find in How to Benefit from the Changing Power of God by Waiting on the Lord.)

For more, see George Fox's excellent writing on the False Teachers in Christianity.

2 Every spirit that confesses (acknowledges, owns, admits) Jesus as the Christ (anointing) who has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess (acknowledge, own, admit) Jesus (the anointing) is not of God. This is net of the early Greek translations; see the NetBible footnotes. Some early Greek texts read Jesus, some read Jesus Christ, some early ones read the Christ. The King James said: every spirit that does not confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.

In Matthew 23:8-10, Jesus says, for you have one teacher, the Christ. Notice Jesus did not say, "I am your teacher." He said, "the Christ;" Christ means the anointing or with God's spirit. So Jesus is telling them that the anointing, or the spirit of God, is their one teacher. Now look at what John says: But the anointing that you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:27. Notice he speaks of the anointing as "abide in him;" he speaks of the spirit as a person, whom Jesus has identified as "the Christ." John spoke this verse, (27), because there were those who were trying to seduce the brothers with false teachings.

So the meaning of every spirit that does not confess Jesus as the Christ (the anointing) is not of God, means every sprit that does not confess (acknowledge, own, admit) the anointing, (which is the Christ), is not of God. To confess Jesus Christ who has come in the flesh, is to confess like Paul: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 2:20; Jesus ruled Paul's thoughts, words, and deeds — even supplying the thoughts with the mind of Christ.

No half-intelligent false prophet would say that Jesus Christ never walked the earth as a fleshly man; no one would need to be cautioned about such an obvious fraud. That is not the meaning of this test. What this verse means is this: Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ (the anointing) comes (has come) in that person's flesh, to be their controlling Lord of words and deeds, is antiChrist. Anyone who does not have the anointing controlling them is controlled by a different spirit than Christ. They will even deny there is a controlling anointing to be had. Christ means with God's spirit, or anointing: the anointing that you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things, and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:27. And you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 1 John 2:20. John says: These things I have written to you concerning those who seduce you. 1 John 2:26. So, the anointing will protect them from the false prophets, who deny (will not confess, or acknowledge) the anointing.

The key word to understand is confess. John's word confess means to own up to, or to admit that Jesus Christ's anointing Spirit is [has] come in the [their] flesh. As proof of this assertion, look at the footnote to verse 4:15 in the next sentence.

3 "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God." Obviously saying that Jesus is the Son of God does not result in God dwelling in him, nor he to dwell in God; but, anyone who owns Jesus the Son of God, does have God dwelling in him, and he dwells in God. Even the demons say that Jesus is the Son of God, and they obviously don't dwell in God or God dwell in them. And Jesus himself contradicts that interpretation, saying: But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Luke 6:46 and: Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven... Depart from me you who practice iniquity [sin, lawlessness]. Mat 7:21-22.

John was saying: whoever acknowledges their possession (the anointing) of Jesus, the Son of God, God dwells in him, and he in God.

To confess Jesus Christ, is to confess like Paul: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 2:20.

To have God dwelling in a person, and the person to dwell in God, is the end result of the Christian journey. Look at what Jesus said about a person dwelling in him and God in them, John 14:19-24:

So, if you obey Jesus' commands and teachings, showing your love, you will be loved by Jesus and the Father. Then you will see him. He will show himself to you. And then they will come and make their home (dwell) with you; they dwell in a Kingdom, so they bring the Kingdom to your heart — the Kingdom within you, which starts as the smallest mustard seed, but which grows by your obedient love to be the largest of all. The Kingdom is the end of grace: be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13. You will see me; in that day you will know. John 1:19-20. I will show (the revelation) myself to him. John 14:21.

4 In this [abiding or dwelling in God] love is brought to perfection, casting out all fear. After the Lord has shown you the evil in your heart and life, and after you have departed from evil, and hate evil, and shun evil, you will eventually be filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit, including God's love. Then, and only then, love will have been perfected in us. Then you will know no fear, because perfect love expels all fear; and your conscience will be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, purging even the memory of your guilt, so you can serve the living God with joy and peace, without shame. You will have boldness in the day of judgment. But you will still reverence God with awe of his power and glory; as George Fox said in his Doctrinal Book regarding godly fear - "To fear God, is not to grieve nor offend Him, but to be subject to Him and reverence Him."

But, Oh Christendom! Woe to those who call themselves Christians who have no fear of God; who continue to sin throughout their lives, thinking Christ is their excuse to sin; who have no fear of God's wrath and punishment for continuing to sin; who fear those who kill the body, but do not fear him who can destroy the body and soul, casting them into Hell. It is not too late to wake up!

Woe to those who think and brag that they have a free pass to heaven just by believing while still sinning.
From the Lord's voice: "your covenant with death will be removed." It is not too late to wake up!

Woe to those who think God is so unfair, arbitrary, and capricious as to send believing sinners to heaven, while sending non-believing sinners to Hell. If so, you have been brainwashed with lies that God excuses your continuing to sin. Wake up and read the fine print of the contract, which lists the exclusions, the requirements, and the qualifying conditions. It is not too late to wake up!

You can be sure: No sexually immoral, or impure, or covetous person, who is an is idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with vain words. For because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Eph 5:5-6. It is not too late to wake up!

Awake to righteousness, and do not sin;
for some do not have the knowledge of God.
I speak this to your shame.
1 Cor 15:34

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