True or False?

September 3, 2020

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1

Written by Melodie Tunney from the Brentwood Campus

Before addressing the actual Scripture for today, I want to share something that hit me as I read 1 John 4:1, especially in light of our subject for today—disciples making disciples. Let’s ask ourselves a few questions:

  • Question: Who wrote the book of 1 John? Answer: John, one of Jesus’ disciples
  • Question: Who led the “Life Group” John was a part of for three years? Answer: Jesus Himself!
  • Question: These words in 1 John 4:1 that address false teachers…had John heard those words somewhere before? Answer: Yes, he had!

Jesus spoke about false teachers in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:15-20) and several other times in His ministry. In Mark 13 we are told of a private teaching time with just four of the disciples – John among them – when Jesus said, “False messiahs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the elect” (Mark 13:22).

If you study Matthew 23, you find that Jesus not only warned against those who would falsely speak in His name, but He also made His disciples aware that those who taught incorrect doctrine were often very religious people!

Now fast forward to our verse for today. Here it is in the Contemporary English Translation: Dear friends, don’t believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world.

How do we know if someone has the Spirit of God? Hmm, that might need to be an entirely different devotional sometime. But in light of our theme, this is where discipleship comes in. Walking side by side with other believers who are allowing the Holy Spirit to lead will do two things:

  • It will bring wisdom, knowledge and discernment (see 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, especially verse 8).
  • It will produce the fruits of the Spirit—Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

When we walk in community with fellow believers and allow the Holy Spirit to be our ultimate guide, our eyes will be opened to what is false and what is true. Opportunities to be deceived, to stumble, and to believe false teaching are decreased significantly when we are involved with others who are seeking to know the truth as we are.

John may not have known he would be setting an example for us in the years to come as he was discipled by Jesus Christ, but may we follow his lead and link arms with those who will help us to more clearly recognize and understand the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Who are you in community with who is able to help you discern true and false doctrine?
  2. When you think about “false prophets” in the world today, who comes to mind? Pray for these men or women to come to know Jesus, the one and only TRUTH.

Family Activity
We learned how important it is to know the truth, listen to the truth, and follow the truth. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. Let’s play a game of true or false Bible trivia and see how much we know about the true Word of God. Below you will find a list of true or false questions/answers. Choose someone to ask the questions and have everyone else answer true or false. See who can get the most correct answers!

  • Nearly forty different people wrote the Bible. (True)
  • There are 33 books in the New Testament. (False – 27) 
  • There are 66 books in total in the Bible. (True)
  • Sarah used to be named Sarai. (True)
  • Lot’s daughter turned into a pillar of salt. (False – his wife)
  • Deborah was a judge. (True)
  • Job is the longest book in the Bible. (False – Psalms)
  • Noah’s three sons were named Ham, Shem, and Japheth. (True)
  • Moses built the ark before it rained for 40 days and nights. (False – Noah)
  • Jesus fed the 5,000 with 5 fish and 2 loaves. (False – 5 loaves and 2 fish)
  • The book of Zephaniah is in the Old Testament. (True)
  • Paul was always named Paul. (False – He used to be Saul.)
  • Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. (True)

Missions Prayer
Pray for the Avenue South campus’ food relief efforts for Carter-Lawrence families. Pray that recipient families will sense the love of God through this partnership and for conversations that bring hope.