"...do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out in the world." 1 John 4:1
John warns us that there are many false prophets and deceivers who will try to lead us astray. Jude warns too, that "certain men have secretly slipped in" among us, to steal the faith. They make so much noise, bombarding our senses trying to draw us toward their new idea. They demand our attention with a new melody, a clever lyric, an attractive model or a clever sales pitch. How can we discern the good messages from the bad?
We must be diligent, John warns, for the deceivers went out from the believers and they know the word of God. We must have a thorough biblical knowledge so we do not believe a lie or half truth. John reminds us that what we have heard from the beginning (from Christ himself) is the truth and only that word is true. Those who came after him who did not remain true to what Jesus taught. For personal gain they have spread false doctrine. These deceivers are the root of denominational splits within the body of Christ. Their confusion has driven many from the Church and contributed to the rise of atheism.
It is incumbent upon believer to understand the word of God and not substitute denominational doctrine for the truth found in Jesus Christ. We must walk daily with our Father and be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we are not fooled by the next new thing. There is coming a day when the deception will be more than a confessional booth or fast talking televangelist looking for a quick buck. If we can be deceived by religion or a feel-good preacher, we can certainly be fooled by Satan himself and his appointed messengers. Understanding the truth is a matter of eternal life or death, we must take it seriously!
My prayer. Father open our eyes that we be not deceived by things we want to hear. Open our hearts to your word and only your word as our source of strength and truth. Help us to be doers of your word and guard us against the deceivers that are trying to lead us astray. We ask this in the mighty name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen!