Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

1 John: True, Fulfilling Fellowship With God
Part XII: Identifying God's True Holy Spirit Behind True Spiritual Fellowship
(1 John 3:24-4:6)
  1. Introduction
    1. Though 1 John 3:24b claims we know God "abides" in us, or fellowships with us, by the Spirit which He has given unto us, many Christians wonder how to identify this Holy Spirit so as to be sure they are saved.
    2. 1 John 4:1-6 gives specific evidences of the Holy Spirit's presence in a believer, and we view them to be able to discern the Holy Spirit's presence and thus to gain assurance of our salvation (as follows):
  2. Identifying God's True Holy Spirit Behind True Spiritual Fellowship, 1 John 3:24-4:6.
    1. We believers can know God "abides" in us, that He meno or "remains" or fellowships with us, the same word used in John 15:4-5, 7 of fellowship with Christ, Bib. Know. Com., N. T ., p. 898, 325; 1 John 3:24b.
    2. One way we can identify such fellowship is by means of the Holy Spirit God gave us when He justified us upon our trusting in the Gospel of Christ for salvation, 1 John 3:24c with Romans 8:9b.
    3. However, it is important to test the spirit behind a person, for many false prophets enabled by errant spirits have gone out into the world, 1 John 4:1. An illustration of such a problem is given in 1 Kings 22:19-23 where a lying demonic spirit equipped all of king Ahab's prophets to prophecy a falsehood.
    4. We can discern the Holy Spirit's presence by the specific test of our confession of faith, 1 John 4:2-3:
      1. First, every person who "confesses," the Greek word being homologeo, "publicly acknowledge" as one's own belief (Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Eng. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 571), that Jesus Christ has come in the body, is one whose spirit behind his confession is the Spirit of God, 1 John 4:1-2.
      2. However, every person who does not confess as his own belief that Jesus Christ has come in the body is not a person who has the Holy Spirit of God, 1 John 4:1, 3a.
      3. In line with this confession is another confession wrought by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is God, 1 Cor. 12:3. [The reason John at 1 John 4:2-3 focuses only on the confession of Christ's incarnation and not His deity is likely due to John's interest in 1 John of countering the Gnostic error that denied Christ's deity could unite with anything material like a body since the material world was evil, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, p. 1770, "Introduction to the First Letter of John: Gnosticism."]
      4. Indeed, John reveals that the spirit that does not confess that Jesus is God come in the body is the spirit of the antichrist who is yet to come, and whose evil spirit is now already in the world, 1 J ohn 4:3b.
    5. Parenthetically, John revealed that the believer need not fear being overcome by the spirit of the antichrist that is now already in the world, for the Holy Spirit, Who is God (cf. Acts 5:3-4), and Who indwells the true believer, is greater than Satan who is in the world and who controls it, 1 John 4:4 with 5:19 NIV.
    6. We can also discern the Holy Spirit by a specific test of allegiance to certain teaching, 1 John 4:5-6:
      1. People in the world who do not truly know Christ as personal Savior and who do not have the Holy Spirit of God indwelling them are of the world as to their spiritual source, so they speak of the world's viewpoint, and the world hears such a viewpoint so as to accept it as being upright, 1 John 4:5.
      2. However, the apostles, the "we" of 1 John 4:6 who are speaking to the readers of the epistle (as identified by 1 John 1:1-4) are of God as to spiritual source, so he who knows God in truth will heed to the apostles' words and doctrines, 1 John 4:6a, Ibid., Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 898.
      3. However, those who are not of God as to spiritual source do not heed the apostles' words, 1 John 4:6b.
      4. In this test regarding the responsiveness or the lack of it to apostolic teaching, we can discern the spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, and the spirit of error originating with Satan, 1 John 4:6c with 4:4b; 5:19 NIV.
Lesson: We identify the presence of the Holy Spirit in a true believer when (1) he acknowledges as his belief that Jesus is God come in the flesh, and when (2) he accepts the apostles' teachings. (3) All who do not acknowledge or accept these things do not have the Holy Spirit, and are not true Christians.

Application: (1) If we question whether we have the Holy Spirit and are thus truly saved, may we apply these tests to ourselves, and, if we fail them, may we put our faith in Christ. (2) May we use these tests on all religious teachers, for many with errant, evil spirits behind them have gone out into the world.