Acknowledge The Truth
1 John 4:1-16
This week in Vacation Bible School we pledged our allegiance to the flag of the United States. We pledged our allegiance to the Christian flag and we pledged our allegiance to the Bible. I pray that pledging my allegiance to God and to my country will never be contradictory. If push comes to shove, I pledge that I will be true to Jesus Christ. God is first. I will be loyal to the kingdom of God first and to my country only if it does not conflict with my loyalty to my God.
In His letter to us, John encourages us to acknowledge the truth about Jesus Christ. He tells us that those who come from God, who are on God’s side will acknowledge the truth about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:1 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. 2 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, 3 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.
4 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. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 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 of truth and the spirit of falsehood. 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (NIV)
John started off this passage telling us to test the spirits to see if they are from God. How do we test the spirits? How do we know if a person or an idea is from God?
John says we need to look at the spirits we are listening to and test them to see if they “acknowledge” something. In verse 2 he says that spirits that are from God will acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. In verse 3, John says they will acknowledge that Jesus is from God. In verse 15 he says they will acknowledge that Jesus is God’s Son.
What does it mean to acknowledge these things? Merriam-Webster for kids says that Acknowledge means to recognize the rights or the authority of or to admit the truth or existence of something.
We can test to see if a spirit is from God by looking at what they say about Jesus.
Spirits from God acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, that He is from God and that He is God’s Son.
I would add to that list from verse 14 where John says that we have seen and testify that God the Father sent Jesus the Son to be the Savior of the world. Although John does not use the word acknowledge here, saying we have seen and testify to this truth is the same as saying we acknowledge this to be true.
What we believe to be true about Jesus Christ is important. We know we are on God’s side when we acknowledge these things to be true. God’s people will acknowledge that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. This is not a myth or a fable. Christianity is about believing Jesus has actually come to the earth in the flesh to carry out His Father’s plan. Jesus was actually here in the flesh. He came to save mankind.
We could say that Acknowledge is another term that helps us understand what it means to believe in Jesus. We accept these things as being true. We hold on to the truth. When we believe anything we receive it and it becomes part of us.
Jesus came in the flesh to be the Savior of the world. He is God’s only begotten Son. We testify and acknowledge these things to be true. Jesus is Our Lord and Savior. These things we believe. These things we hold to be true.
These truths are a test of our faithfulness to God, of our trust in Him and His plan for our lives, for our eternal salvation.
Those who oppose these truths are enemies of God. God loves all people and wants all people to accept these truths so they might be saved. He will not allow these truths to be ignored and rejected.
Those who oppose these truths are anti-Christ. Do not listen to those spirits who would lead you away from believing the truth about Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible.
When we walk with God, or walk in the Spirit, our belief in these truths are deepened. We testify to the truth as we share what we know to be true. We grow as disciples as we learn to deepen our commitment to the God who loves us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son to be our Lord and Savior.
When He tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, we believe it to be true and we begin doing our best to live by this commandment.
We obey Him because we believe these truths. These truths tell us that God loves us.
When Our Lord tells us that we are to love one another, we do not ask why should I love them when they do not love me. Because we believe Him to be our LORD and Savior, we do our best to obey this second greatest commandment.
When Jesus tells us to love our enemies we set out to do just that.
The Spirit of God leads us deeper and deeper into the experience of how to live in this relationship with God.
God sent His Son to die for us. We know that we are living in God when He leads us to love one another. His Spirit in us leads us to love.
Verse 16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (NIV)
We know and rely on the love God has for us. We depend on the love of God. His love for us gives us the courage to face each new day. His love for us leads us to follow Him and to obey His commands.
When John said “God is love” he was saying God’s very nature is to love. Does God love you? Yes, He loves you, and He wants you to love Him and love other people. He wants you to allow Him to be part of your life. He wants you to allow Him to be the heart and soul of your life. He wants to be what you live for.
As we walk with Him and obey Him we become like Him. We take on the characteristics of God. We begin to be known as people who love God and love other people.
Jesus told His disciples that others would know they were His disciples by the love.
Song: “They will know we are Christians by our Love.”
Maturing as a Christian is to be moving closer to God and to become more like Him.
Test the spirits. Are they leading you to love? Are they promoting the truth about God and Jesus, God’s Son? Are they encouraging you to become more like Christ? What influences are you following? Who are you listening to?
If we follow God we will acknowledge the truth. If we do not follow God we will be moving away from Him and we will become more like the world and the enemies of God who refuse to acknowledge the truth about God, His Son and His love for us.