The Test

How do you know if something is ‘legit’?

How do you know if you can trust a person–a teacher, a boss, a politician, a minister?

Is it possible to know, for example, whether or not a Church or ‘religious organization’ is the ‘real deal’ or not?

Is there a ‘litmus test’?

 

Actually, there is!

In my reading this morning, I came to 1 John 4: 1-3, which says: Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

Note: that does NOT mean that ‘everyone who admits that Jesus was real’ is legit.

You have to remember, they didn’t write First and Last names back then–in other words ‘Jesus Christ’ isn’t like saying ‘Dave Johnson’. In that day, they either introduced someone as to their family, “Jesus, son of Joseph”, or according to their origin, “Jesus of Nazareth”. “Jesus Christ” is His name and His title. ‘Christ’ is not a last name, but a title, meaning ‘Chosen One’ or ‘Anointed One’…Messiah.

John is saying that “Anyone who acknowledges that Jesus (of Nazareth) is from God, and is the Messiah’ is from God. In fact, it’s clear that John taught that Jesus is God, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Messiah, and Jesus is Risen. Therefore, anyone who does not acknowledge all of these things is representing ‘the spirit of the antichrist’. 

He goes on to say that You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us.This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.” (1 John 4:4-6

Anyone who does not acknowledge these truths about Jesus is ‘from the world’ and will only speak from this world’s viewpoint–not God’s.

Therefore, Christian, you MUST be crystal clear: Jesus the Christ is God! Jesus the Christ is Messiah! Jesus the Christ is Risen, Jesus the Christ is LORD, and Jesus the Christ is the One and Only Mediator between God and Man.

He is ‘The One’ that “every knee will bow, and every tongue confess is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!” (Philippians 2:10-11)

Let no one deceive you: No bumper sticker, no popular speaker, no tv show, nobody which says anything like ‘all roads lead to God’ or ‘as long as you’re sincere…’, or anything like that is ‘legit’.

It is absolutely true that God loves us, and He wants us to come to salvation, through Jesus the Christ…but He is THE authorized One, period.

He is the embodiment of God–His character, His holiness, His righteousness and His grace.

Matthew 7:13-14:  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” 

Are YOU trusting in Him, or in the voices from this world?

Come! NOW is the time to Worship Him!

 

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Did Jesus Really ‘Mean’ It?

When Jesus was starting his public ministry, early on He went to His hometown of Nazareth.

He went to the synagogue, and offered to read. The scroll of the Prophet Isaiah was handed to Him, and He found the spot where he read…

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
    that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,                                                                                                         and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.[f]”                                                                     He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”  (Luke 4:18-21)

Jesus was making a very bold claim…that He, Himself was the fulfillment of this prophecy–which had been looking forward to the Messiah!

He’s saying that HE is the Messiah!

Understandably, some of the people balked: “How can this be?” they asked. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22)

It is understandable that they wouldn’t believe Him, just because he made that claim…after all, they’d seen him grow up with their kids…he may’ve been ‘different’–more righteous, for example, but it’s understandable that they’d struggle with this at this point.

‘The proof’, as they say, ‘is in the pudding‘.

So…if they watched and listened to Him, what would they have seen?

The Gospels are filled with the ‘proof’.

Blind eyes are healed and made clear; Good News is preached to everyone–rich and poor; those possessed or oppressed by demons are rescued and given freedom, many are healed of long-term diseases, the dead are raised to life…miracles are done–wind and waves obey His command, food is multiplied at His word…

The proof is right there!

But one promise stands out, in my mind: “Captives (Prisoners) would be set free” (v. 18).

What did Jesus mean by that?open prison

We have no record, after all, of Jesus walking into jails around Capernaum and releasing the prisoners. No prisons in Jerusalem were destroyed…so what did He mean?

Perhaps it was a ‘captivity’ of the soul…perhaps a captivity of our emotions…perhaps a captivity of our addictions.

Surely, Jesus sets people who were ‘captive’ to fear, anxiety, and hopelessness free. Absolutely, He sets those who’ve been captured and enslaved by the false promise of a ‘high’ or ‘relief’ in the form of a drink, a drug, a sexual escape, or other ‘addictions’.

“The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy” (and make false promises, and enslave, and shame, and threaten), “but I have come that they might have life…to the full!” (John 10:10).

“If anyone is in Christ, they are a New Creation! The old life is gone, New LIFE has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, emphasis mine.)

Leaning on Jesus…walking with Him, step by step, day by day, is THE way to deliverance, freedom, victory and healing! Only Jesus can give you the ‘real thing’ that was falsely promised to you by the enemy of your soul.

No one can fulfill those longings…other than Jesus.

Did Jesus ‘mean it’ when He promised to be The One who would heal, fulfill, and free?

Absolutely!

“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36)

So, how about it…is there something that YOU need release or healing from?

Jesus is The Source of that freedom!