Testing the Spirits (4)
A Sermon on John 1:26-33
26John answered them, saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27It is He who comes after me, of whom I am not worthy even to untie the strap of His sandal.” 28These things took place in Bethany beyond the …
26John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where …
With “Testing the Spirits (4),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues his sermon series in John 1:26–33 on testing the spirits where he expounds on its importance for Christians and how they can be wise and discerning with what they see and hear. Having spent many sermons working through general principles to guide this process, Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts forth what he sees as the ultimate test in discerning the spirits. In 1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul declares that any spirit is not of God if it says anything contrary to the truth that Jesus Christ is Lord. This is because it directly contradicts the rest of Scripture— in many ways, it would function to cause the claims of Scripture to fold in on itself, and this is not to be. This testing of the spirits is often thought to be applied when analyzing ideas from outside Christian circles, but this is not always the case. Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides examples of people who accepted things as being from the Lord when they were not. Not everything that claims to be a message from God is, and believers must be wise to understand the differences and live accordingly. Many stories exist of people who wrongly thought they had messages from God, causing much difficulty that could have been easily avoided by comparing it with the teachings of Scripture. This sermon provides a helpful look at how Christians can avoid this mistake.
- The sermon focuses on 1 Corinthians 12:3 and 1 John 4:1-3 which discuss testing the spirits.
- The supreme test is whether someone confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in his incarnation. However, this is not enough. More tests are needed.
- False prophets and false Christs will show signs and wonders. We must be discerning.
- Even evil spirits confessed Jesus as the Son of God, so confession alone is not enough.
- Examples of those who confessed Christ but were misled: Robert Baxter and the Irvingites.
- We must test the spirits and not rely on confession alone.
- The purpose of 1 Corinthians 12-14 is to bring order and balance, not just discuss spiritual gifts.
- The church at Corinth had become disorderly and indecent, so Paul wrote to correct them.
- The gifts must be viewed properly in relation to Christ and the purpose of the church.
The Book of John
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.