Deception or Discernment - 1 John 4:1-6

This is a sermon by Scott McKay from the morning service on 12th June 2022.

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1 John 4:1-6 – Deception or Discernment


            An encouragement to be an unbeliever!


            The art of discernment


There are counterfeit spirits that produce counterfeit teaching in the world (4:1)


            “…test the spirits…”



Following the favourite – personality over truth




Following your feelings – pleasure over truth




Following a fad – popularity over truth



There is a test that you can perform to find out whether you are dealing with the Spirit of God or the spirit of the antichrist (4:2-3)

“every spirit that confesses/acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (v2)

            Here are some questions we might use to test the spirits:

Does this teaching magnify or diminish Jesus in my heart and mind? Am I drawn to worship Him as my God? Am I drawn to trust Him as my representative?

How does this teaching affect my attitude towards Jesus as Lord and Saviour? Am I completely emptied of myself to trust Him fully and completely?

Has this teaching increased my love of Jesus and elevated His word in my life? Am I encouraged to acknowledge Jesus before people and to hold fast to His words?

Has this teaching placed my focus upon Christ, His perfect life and His perfect sacrifice? Am I moved to take my eyes off myself to fix them on Jesus?

Did the teaching reduce pride in self and love of the world instead producing praise of Jesus? Am I aware that without Christ I’m nothing but in Jesus I have everything?


There is the Spirit of God who indwells the Children of God which enables them to recognise the truth of God (4:4-6)


            “…from God and have overcome them…”


Questions: How do we become more discerning listeners? What is ultimately behind false teaching? How will understanding this transform our approach to false teaching? How do we train and equip ourselves to make sure that substance over style in preaching is of greater importance to us? Why is it so dangerous to let feelings be the judge when it comes to evaluating preaching and teaching? How has Jesus’ deity and humanity already been explored in John’s letter? Explore the questions on ‘testing the spirits’ – what are the benefits of such questions? What assurance do we have that we won’t be duped by falsehood?

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