Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

John has been teaching his church how to know love and how to know if you yourself love. Now he turns to clarifying a question in their minds, “so if the mark of a Christian is love, then what about people who preach another Jesus. How are we supposed to love them?”  John makes it clear that we must test the spirits by comparing their message about Christ. Do they exalt Christ? Do they think correctly about Christ? Do they diminish Him in any way?

Here John shows the church how they can identify antichrists. This is a very stabilizing instruction. He is showing them how they can evaluate what they are hearing. Here is an outline of John’s appeal:

I. He tells them to do something – Test the spirits and don’t believe everything you hear, v1

II. He tells them to know something – Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, v2-3

III. He reminds them that they have something to help them discern the spirits – His Word, v4-6