Test the Spirits

Believers are “spirit-bearers” of the living Christ.

by Derrel Emmerson

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” I John 4:1-3

In a society charged with Spiritism and which accepted esoteric prophets this passage has one blatant meaning which moderns often do not understand. It was not uncommon in the early church for spirits to manifest themselves openly in public places. People were familiar with manifestations of what we would now relegate to the psychiatric ward. Now spirit manifestation is exotic and the subject of questionable TV specials.

When we deal with such a world of spirits, ghosts and other such exhibitions there is one test of their authenticity. John says, it is whether or not they confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. That means more than meets the eye. It is stated in the passive progressive tense. Christ came and is come in the flesh. That means that the believer, who has the Spirit of Christ, is a “spirit-bearer” of the living Christ.

There is nothing the enemy of our souls hates more than to come up against a believer who worships a Christ who is living and present. Cross wielding and historical rituals do not scare the dark powers. What scares them is persistent and pure faith that Christ is a living Lord who comes through as the Holy Spirit. Satan is not bothered by historic doctrines. They are his playground. He is not disturbed by outward show. They destroy through the vanity of men. What alarms him is the simple faith of the child who can say, “Jesus, the Christ, has come in the flesh.”

There are simply many who explain away the paradox of God living in and among imperfect human beings. There are many who look at the church with all of its blemishes and declare that God cannot be there. There are many even who are admirers of Jesus without attributing to Him messianic veracity. The test of these who reason is simply, “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” If they cannot affirm this they are not from God, even if they espouse some of God’s truth.

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