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December 3, 2020 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit continues a discipleship series entitled, “Truth and Love” from 1 John 4:1-6
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina.
The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today.
That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series entitled truth and love which is a study of the book of first John, there's a study booklet available that Dr. Pettit has written for this series. If you would like to follow along. You can order a printed copy from the website. The Daily Platform.com. Let's listen to today's message from first John 41 through six.
The title of the message is how to spot a false teacher. Please take your Bibles this morning and turn with me to first John chapter 4. I'd like us to continue our study and our theme this semester of truth and love.
I actually kind of hesitated this morning to give the message because we just finished a long week. Probably some of you right now are sorted borderline brain-dead and you know you have a long weekend. Yesterday I was in Hartford Connecticut in the morning in Boston, Massachusetts and got home last night really really late and so were probably all in the same boat.
However, on the other hand, we have a limited amount of time and I really want to get us back on track with our study of truth in love, and so I like to plow forward and that this morning if you're taking notes. I'd encourage you to do that as we look at our second message that we really have started with in the idea of dealing with truth in it and especially in the idea of discerning false teachers. I'd like us to read this morning, beginning in verse one were going to read down to verse six it says build out beloved, believe not every spirit would try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God in every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.
And this is that spirit of antichrist where you have heard that it should come, and even even now already is it in the world ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. They are of the world.
Therefore speak they of the world and the world here at them. We are of God he did know if God here with us, he that is not of God. Here is not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth in the spirit of error. Spy's intrigue, deceit, undercover double agents espionage. These are all words that make for a really exciting movie.
They also are words that speak of a shocking reality. For example, it is estimated today that there are more spies living in Washington DC than ever before in human history. And we know that their impact can be devastating.
In first John the author is addressing the reality of false teachers who come into the church secretly and deceitfully to corrupt, and to devastate God's people.
Therefore, out of a concern. John seeks to expose the false teachers of his day.
Look at verse one beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world and then notice the beginning of verse two, he says, hereby or literally. Here's how you know one of my message this morning is entitled how do you spot a false teacher and John actually tells us here in verses two through six.
John uses a specific writing technique when he writes these verses and you can find it. Another verses of first John and will simply call the technique bookends because the bookends are like the beginning and the ending of the of the idea and they say the same thing.
For example look at verse two. In the very beginning. He says hereby know ye the Spirit of God. That's one book in the other book and is at the end of verse six. When it says hereby know we the spirit of error in the spirit of truth that the other bookends. So to say it.
Here's how you know this.
He started out this way he ends it this way and everything in between is the explanation of how you know the spirit of truth from the spirit of error. And John presents to us to all-inclusive comprehensive tasks as how we can discern those who are true and those who were false.
So what are those two test here. They are number one. The first test is what is the teacher or the preacher saying about Jesus Christ every spirit. The Bible says that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flash is of God. So what's he saying a true teacher verbally outwardly expresses his inward faith by an open and forthright declaration of the truth, he confesses that Jesus is come in the flesh, but the notice if he does not confess that Jesus is come in the flash then we can say conclusively. He is not from God in every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God, so we could say this way. It's a very black-and-white matter.
So the question is, what then is the meaning of the phrase Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Well, it means a few things. First of all, it means that Jesus Christ came into the world as was eternally planned by God.
It is like planning a big event with a special invited guests to me. Let's look at last week Bible, we didn't whip all that out the week before we been planning on that for a year and so everything that went with it in all the promotion and all the material it was a very planned event a data set. Invitations are sent out. So here's what we know in the Scripture, Jesus is coming, was the fulfillment of an eternally planned event and we know this because the entire Old Testament was written to explain this a planned event. We have a series in the Old Testament of promises and prophecies, pictures, people who picture this coming event foretelling of a special one, a chosen one.
A Messiah who's going to come his plan and then we come to the New Testament, John the Baptist was called the announcer of Jesus is coming, he said, prepare ye the way of the Lord. That is, get ready for the one he was coming, according to God's plan. Paul said something similar. Galatians 44 but when the fullness of time was, God sent forth his son, made of a woman.
So Jesus is coming in the flesh means that he came into the world as was planned, but it also means this that when Jesus Christ came Jesus Christ coming in the world means that he became something that I could say this way different from what he was before Jesus is coming in the world was a union with what Jesus was before he was born. That is his pre-existing state with what he became in his birth as a human being.
In other words, the whole idea Jesus coming in the flesh means that Jesus preexisted before existed as a human being and where do we find this John one verse one in the beginning was the word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And then we go to John 114, it says, and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among that is the pre-existing word who was God became a man by the means of any incarnation or becoming a human being. This is precisely what Isaiah prophesied when he said in Isaiah 714 therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. So we speak about Jesus Christ coming in the flesh were speaking about the union of the divine 100% God with a human who is 100% man. But then there something else in the idea that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, and that is it means that Jesus coming in the flash means that he is still a human being.
When John says that he is calm. Look at verse, verse, verse three to the students as every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flash that were that phrase is, that verb is in the perfect tense. That was at me and refers to something that took place in the past that has continuing results today.
In other words, Jesus Christ came at a point in time in human history.
He was born in that time, but he continues to live today and what he's writing here is on the present state of Jesus Christ.
He came in the flash and he still in the flesh.
Do you realize that Jesus is still alive. Jesus was born as a man lived as a man died as a man rose from the dead as a man ascended into heaven as a man and is seated at the right hand of the father and he still like human there is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus and he is ever living to pray for us. The reason why you and I could be say is that we can call upon the name of the Lord, the Lord Jesus seated at the right hand of the father, who is 100% God is 100% man.
So when we talk about Jesus coming in the flesh. This is what were talking about.
Now here's the point.
The point is that every true teacher is going to teach and confess these things and what he is doing is he's describing both the content and the and content of a true preacher and teacher. In contrast to a false teacher. For example, when he says con when I say content on.
Speaking of the substance of his message was a preach about. Does he preach about the incarnation and the virgin birth of Jesus. Does he preach about his sinless, perfect life. Does he preach about his blooding sacrificial atoning death on the cross. Does he speak about his victorious resurrection from the grave does he talk about the fact that he is our perfect high priest in heaven who is saving those who come to him. This confession of what were saying is not a side issue.
It's a main issue, it's the heart it's the core it's the gods of biblical truth and discerning truth from error, you must listen to what the teacher is saying about Jesus, for example. Contrast this with the Jewish claim that the human Jesus was not the promised Messiah Islamic claim that Jesus is just a prophet but is not God. The Jehovah's Witness claim that Jesus is Michael the highest archangel in human form and not the son of God. The Mormon claim that Jesus and Satan were spirit brothers and both were sons of God.
The Catholic claim that Mary is a mediate tour and co-Redeemer with Jesus. When we confess that Jesus is come in the flash we are acknowledging the union of the divine and human in the person of Jesus Christ and this is the this is the content. This is the substance of our message, but let me also say that not only is this the content, but this is the intent that is it's not only the substance of what we preach is the focus of what we preach. You see when you discern truth from error, you have to not only listen to what what a preacher is actually saying about Jesus, but you have to listen to what he's emphasizing. The question is, is this the core message is being constantly proclaimed. And here's the point I want to make a false teacher may not deny the truth about Jesus Christ, but in a more subtle and dangerous way he deemphasizes or he neglects these truths or he marginalize them or he read. He relegates them to a second secondary level of importance. It's not the heart and core. It's not the message that he's constantly proclaiming it's almost as if these things rarely come up. Let me give you an illustration of of today. Right now one of the pastors in the United States who pastors. One of the biggest mega churches in the United States said just recently in a sermon that had to do with the birth of Christ. He said these words don't you listen carefully. He said one of the challenging things about the Christmas season. One of the challenging things about the Christmas story is in fact the Christmas story. The Christmas story as it relates to the birth of Jesus because there is so much miraculous.
There is so much amazing. There's so much that's really unbelievable about it and a whole lot of people just don't believe, and I understand that maybe the thought is that they had to come up with some myth about the birth of Jesus to give him streak read later own it is interesting because Matthew gives us a version of the birth of Jesus. Luke does, but Mark and John don't even mention it and a lot is been made of that you have heard me say in some version of this a million times, but if somebody can predict their own death and resurrection. I'm not all that concerned about how they got into the world because a whole rather resurrection thing is so amazing and in fact you should know this. Christianity does not hinge on the truth or even the stories about the birth of Jesus.
It really hinges on the resurrection of Jesus. Okay that's so bad if you're sitting here and you don't get it.
You need to listen real carefully that so bad ice.
Here's here's what happened. I decided to listen to the whole sermons I get it all in context, so I laid in my bed late at night, downloaded the sermon and listen, the whole thing and I said that's really bad. First of all, you know Jesus is not the only person is resurrected from the dead. Jesus raised three people from the dead himself. Lazarus, the widow main sign in gyrus's daughter Elijah resurrected some either from the dead.
Remember that Elisha resurrected from the semi from the dead by his own bones mean literally that there was a funeral going on in some Jewish guys got nervous because I saw some the enemy and they basically dumped the body in a tomb in the body, landed on Elisha's bones and he came back alive.
I often wonder one of the other guys doing the selling argument of the great obviously one of the core doctrines of the Christian faith is resurrection of the of Jesus from the dead, but folks if we didn't have a virgin born Savior that we didn't have a perfect sacrifice, who died on the cross for our sins. And so we could never have hope that our sins are forgiven because we have to have a perfect sacrifice. What kind of alarm. Should this trigger in our thinking can we be sloppy with doctrine really John bluntly warns about teachers that are being energized by a different spirit. Verse three every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come the flesh is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist where of you have heard that it should come in even now already is it in the world.
John hears warning about a hostile opposer of the truth is the opposite of Jesus who is called antichrist.
The antichrist is a literal figure. Just like Jesus was, who is coming as is prophesied in the Scripture. This was a part of the regular teaching of the early church for the antichrist as a person is not yet come.
That's futuristic that's coming, but the spirit of the antichrist is influential in the world today through false teachers. It says that even now already is it in the world. Folks, this is a warning of huge proportion. You should have hearts and minds in years that are keen to the truth so that you can discern this if I sit in services week after week after week after week in the core doctrines of the of the church of Jesus Christ are not being preached and I got I asked myself what's up. So number one, we discern what are they saying but the number two in verse five the second test of a false teacher is who is listening to them. Notice verse five it says they, that is, the false prophets.
There are of the world. Therefore speak they of the world and the world here at them. John second tent test is this what crowd does the prophet the false teacher attract. In other words, who's listening to who that's very obvious that John is a true apostle on the we know that in John's message appeals to those who are born again, who have the new life of God within their own hearts. Therefore, they are spiritually drawn to and are satisfied with the pure word in Christ centered doctrine met with and we can all say we all understand that if you're a born-again person and you hear the truth of Christ, it rings in your heart like a bail God is given you his spirit so that you can understand that. So John's message attracts those who are redeemed. However, the world is attracted to a different kind of message.
So what is there a message John declares that a false teacher derives his message from the world. That is the teaching of a false prophet finds its origin in the philosophy and the language of the contemporary world doubt it is this to me is interesting. This wasn't written yesterday as written 2000 years ago. The message of the false teacher is formulated and manipulated to fit the world's way of thinking. You could say it's modernized probably 90 years ago when we had a rise of liberalism in the United States of America within mainline denominations. We called people liberals but we also called the modernist because a modernist would have a sense of of doctrinal truth, but he was so modernize and shape his message. It's not like listening to John three, it doesn't mean that spiritual truth is never included, but the message is crafted in such a way that it is not directed towards the glory of God. But it is more directed towards the selfish interest of fallen man to the careful listener, it becomes clear that the message is not intended to expose the depravity of human nature or the slave, the pride and self-righteousness of men. Jesus is not exalted is the Lamb of God who suffered a bloodied death penalty to atone for our sin absent from the sermons or things like you have to be born again or you have to repent.
If you don't you perish.
You just don't hear those kind of sermons. Instead, the message appeals to their own selfish appetites and allows people to live comfortably in their sin. Years ago the young evangelist.
I was preaching a small town and I went into little local store to buy some some goods and a guy asked me see eight E.Misa what you doing. He said I said, I'm preaching to the church over here and so we had a little conversation. He said why go to church over here we so they don't preach with that of the church is preaching over there that's insert you know what I learn. I said everybody's looking for religion where they can believe in God and live in their sin must be honest. Everybody wants to go to heaven. Nobody wants to go to hell. But everybody wants to live in their sin when we get honest about it, the Bible, Christianity came in the world to slay sin by the sacrifice of his of God's son when you leave when you become a born-again Christian. There's a transformation of your heart. And so what happens is the false teacher twists and distorts the gospel in such a way that people are not hearing the true message it at all. FF Bruce said there's no form of worldliness so hostile and harmful to Christianity as a kind of restatement of the gospel.
So why is the world attracted to this kind of ministry because it speaks their language. Verse five John says they are the world. Therefore speak they of the world and the world hears them.
Often times these kind of ministries will actually grow and explain expand because the teacher has a powerful influence over the minds of those that listen to. However, their success may be measured by a visible worldly standard but is not really measured by biblical standard. That doesn't mean that the gospel doesn't draw large crowds in times of revival. Many people are brought to personal faith in Christ to the preaching of the cross and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However, this kind of ministry is not likely to find that kind of popularity in the contemporary world as the false teachers receive.
So, in light of this, what is John do. He encourages true believers by saying that they've actually overcome the world ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them is that the false teachers wife because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world. When you put faith in the true gospel and you're born-again. That's the way you overcome false teaching. You are converted and therefore have the life of Christ within you and you feed that new nature, then you will know when you hear the message. This is not true. So I'd like to say to all of you here, especially the fact that you will graduate soon, and you're going to go out in the world and you're gonna look for a church than be discerning what is their doctrine.
What is there focal point or they proclaimers of truth or are they ticklers of years is Jesus Christ and him crucified, lifted and magnified and proclaimed and loved and adored and sung about or is a message to shallow worldly appealing to the appetites of anybody and not preaching the truth of Christ on encourage you to study first John that what you think about this out you go through this passage and you yourself give careful consideration for John said there are many false teachers have gone out into the world.
Father give us wisdom and discernment to be able to know your will and to know your truth in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon from the book of first John by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. If you would like to order the study booklet titled truth in love written for the series, visit our email@example.com. Thanks again for listening Joyce again tomorrow as we continue the study in first John on the daily plan for