Sheldonville Baptist Church
April 18, 2021 - Hearing God's Voice
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        Men's Bible Study

        April 21, 2021 - 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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        Sunday school

        April 25, 2021 - 10:15 AM - 10:45 AM
  • This Is The Day
  • He Has Made Me Glad
  • Something Beautiful
      • Romans 1:16–17NKJV

  • Living By Faith
  • The Lily Of The Valley
  • It Is Well With My Soul
  • Faith Is The Victory
  • So Far To Go
      • 1 John 4:1NKJV

      • 1 John 4:2–3NKJV

      • 1 John 4:4–5NKJV

  • Take The Name Of Jesus With You
  • Introduction
    How important is it that we be absolutely sure of our faith?
    More to the point, how important is it to you that you are sure of your faith?
    We talked last week about the tension that exists between faith and fear and we said it was a tension that we could manage but never fully resolve. That became clearly illustrated early in the week when I read that Paul Maxwell had announced he was no longer a Christian.
    You may not know Paul Maxwell, I didn’t before I read the article and did some digging.
    He has a Ph.D. from an Evangelical college
    He was a professor at another evangelical college
    He was a writer for a popular Evangelical Blog site
    He wrote a Christian book
    He has a website and training courses where he teaches people about being sure of their faith.
    To date, I have not found anything that describes what led him to this new position. But what seems clear is that while you can still have him teach you to be sure in YOUR faith, he is not sure in HIS faith. (His website is still up and will still take your money.)
    Paul Maxwell is just the latest in a string of high-profile Christian “Influencers” who have left their faith. A trend that prompted one Christian musician (John Cooper of Skillet) to respond:
    “I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?”
    All of which brings us back to how we manage the tension that exists between our own faith and our own fear.
    Transition
    The Apostle John was writing toward the end of the first century and was compelled to address this tension between faith and fear. We see his thoughts clearly as he used the phrase “by this we know” [Or, hereby know ye in the OKJV].
    Illumination
    As chapter 4 begins, John urges us to not just accept what we are told, but rather to test, or try, the spirits.
    1 John 4:1 NKJV
    1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
    1 John 4:1kjv KJV 1900
    1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
    Now that may seem like an odd instruction to most of us, so let’s dig in here for just a moment.
    The word translated “spirit” here is the Greek word pneuma and is the word for breath (we get pneumonia from this word). The breath of a thing is what gives it life or what drives it. It also hints at the spiritual forces that may be behind something.
    While it would be prudent to evaluate anything we might run across, John, here, is most concerned with being able to tell the difference between truth and error where it concerns our faith.
    To that end, he gave us two questions that will help us cut through the noise of error and discern the voices of truth.

    Do they believe the Jesus of the Bible?

    1 John 4:2–3 NKJV
    2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
    1 John 4:2–3 KJV 1900
    2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
    In his day, John was dealing with some people who taught a couple variations of either Jesus did not have a physical body or that Jesus, the man, and Christ, the divinty, were seperate beings and the Christ came upon Jesus after his baptism and left before his death. John knew first hand that these were both false statements.
    But it highlights a significant source of error. If a person or group is going to head toward error, they almost always begin to misunderstand or misrepresent who Jesus is.
    Jesus is (not was) 100% human and 100% divine at the same time. He may have voluntarily limited the free exercise of His divine powers, but He in no way laid down His divinity. He is God in the flesh. He is sinless. He died on the cross, in our place, and for our sins. His blood cleansed our sins. His sacrifice satisfied the justice of God who can now turn and justly offer forgiveness to us if we will accept it.
    When we hear someone represent Jesus in a way that does not agree with the way the Bible represents Him, than we know that is the voice of error. We would do well to dismiss that voice as error and ignore it.

    Do they receive the authority of the Bible?

    1 John 4:4–5 NKJV
    4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.
    1 John 4:4–5 KJV 1900
    4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
    John draws a sharp contrast here between those who are “of God” and those who are “of the world”.
    The “world” is not a reference to the spinning ball of blue, but rather to the world’s system and values which are aligned in opposition to God.

    We have overcome the world

    We tend to feel like a defeated minority when we consider the world around us. But we need to take a step back and see the bigger picture. The bigger picture has a pretty dramatic ending and this world does not emerge victorious: they get wrecked and we are on the winning side.

    The world hears “them”

    People who speak out against God and godliness will have no shortage of audience. This world is aligned against God and people love to hear people with whom they agree.

    The world does not hear “us”

    The “us” that John was referring to here was, very specifically, the Apostles. The men who had walked with Jesus. The men who had testified of Jesus. The men who wrote down their testimony and handed it to us in the form of our Bible.
    Those who know God and are in relationship with Him hear what He has to say in the Bible.
    Those who refuse to hear what God has to say in the Bible are simply confirming that they do not know Him and are not in relationship with Him.
    When we hear someone reject the authority of the Bible and attempt to replace it with some other thought, perspective, or philosophy, then we know we are hearing the voice of error. If we are still not sure, we can look to see who is receiving what they are saying. If unbelievers are flocking to a conclusion, we would be wise to wary of it: they gravitate toward their own.
    Conclusion
    John give us two simple, but powerful, questions to ask when we are confronted, really, by anything:
    Do they believe the Jesus of the Bible?
    Do they receive the authority of the Bible?
    If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then there is a chance they are truthful. But if they answer to either question is no, then there is no chance they are truthful.
    By this, John says, we know the difference between truth and error.
    Application
    This week when you are confronted with a thought that gives you pause, take a few minutes to dig deeper. Does that source originate from a person or place that rejects the Jesus of the Bible or the authority of the Bible, then you know what to do with it. If it receive the Jesus of the Bible and the authority of the Bible, it stands a better chance of being true. Are there still instances where it is not? Sure. But you will have already cleared out a lot of error.

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