WHO YA GONNA CALL? Chapter four opens with instructions on how to "test the spirits," as if regular interaction with supernatural spirits was a regular thing for people, but John's not referring here to goblins or ghosts who are disguising themselves as messengers of God. Rather, he's referring to ideas, thoughts and teachings that come from people who claim to be Christian, but who actually are ripping people away from salvation in Christ alone. We're surrounded by these kinds of demonic influences each and every day, so whether you realize it or not, you're in the middle of spiritual warfare. Test / evaluate every teaching, idea and opinion you hear, and if it doesn't point you to the finished work accomplished by Jesus Christ, it's "the spirit of the antichrist (v3)," and you need to put it out of your life.
MASSIVE TROVE OF MEMORY VERSES:
Pick at least one to memorize and meditate on throughout the day.
The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (v4b).
Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (v7-8).
This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (v10).
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us (v12).
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God (v15).
We love because He first loved us (v19).
GIVE IT SOME EXPRESSION: Take one of these verses from chapter four and give it some expression. For some of you it might be a song that uses these words, others have the ability to express these truths artistically in a drawing or sculpture, or maybe reword the verse using a bit of poetic license. Share it with us using the comment box below.
I'm a certified nerd - an engineer who became a theologian - so artistic expression doesn't come easily to me, but putting passages into an outline format really helps me visualize and understand the concepts it teaches. Here's how I'd outline v4b, although this blog does not allow me to do as much formatting as I'd like...):
who is in you: is greater
than the one
who is in the world
Here's what v10 looks like: