But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Cor 11:3-4)
In our materialistic world today, there are many products that are pirated and reproduced as being the original product. However, they are not the "Name" brand, but counterfeits of the real thing.
So it is in the "religious" realm. There are many religions, but not all of them preach the complete full truth of God's word and who Jesus Christ really is. These "religions" have certain "spirits" about them, so much so, that fundemental doctrines are changed to make people feel good or make it easy to be "saved."
These "spirits" work very hard on churches and the attacks come from an anti-christ spirit that is out in the world. Satan already has the sinner who is not serving God, but, what about the church?
There is another gospel of Jesus Christ being preached today. There are spirits that are teaching that doctrine doesn't matter anymore, holiness and godly conduct are not necessary. "You just got to believe!", they say.
DOCTRINE DOES DIVIDE
Jesus made the following statement...
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law." (Luke 12:51-53)
Jesus does bring peace to the believer. But, why did Jesus say this would take place? And what was he really saying here? Jesus was saying that, doctrine and the preaching of the gospel will cause people to be divided. There will be division among religious groups and family members, which is so common today. Why is that?
The answer is found in our scripture reading above. The answer is that there is a "SPIRIT" causing these divisions. It is a spirit of "another Jesus" (anti-christ) that causes these divisions. It sounds God-like, but they deny the doctrine that governs the true church and who Jesus is.
TRYING THE SPIRITS (TEACHERS-PREACHERS)
The scripture clearly teaches about false prophets and teachers. John warned us to "try the spirits." We read...
Beloved, believe not every spirit (teacher-preacher), but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 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." (1 John 4:1-3)
What does "try the spirits" mean? The word "try" means to test, to judge, to verify. This is done by using the Word of God. Everything you hear should be tested against the Word of God to see if it is true or not.
The word "spirits" here means, teacher. In other words, the person that is teaching. While you are reading this study right now, you are supposed to be trying what I say, up against scripture.
CONDITIONS OF TRYING THE SPIRITS
1) A false spirit does not believe that Jesus came in the flesh. In other words, they do not believe that Jesus is "God manifested in the flesh." There is a big difference between Jesus just being another prophet or man, then believing that He was God almighty robed in flesh. Not two, not three, but the One true God dwelling in the flesh of Jesus Christ. Jesus was the "Word made flesh" (John 1:1, 14)
2) Does the teacher preach the whole council of God. Does he believe in the true biblical plan of salvation of; repentance, water baptism in Jesus name and the baptism of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
3) Does the teacher believe in holiness on the inside and outside. The Bible clearly teaches abstaining from worldly looks, actions and conduct. Does he teach godliness, righteousness and sound doctrine.
The "another gospel" spirit that is preached among many religions is one based on men doing what is right in their own eyes. They teach doctrines that makes it easy "to be saved", but without being changed. They teach that you "just have to believe" and that doctrine and standards (which is clearly seen in scripture) are not necessary to be saved. They leave out the true essence of holiness and righteous obedience to God.
There are so many religions today because each group picks and chooses what they want to believe. Some run churches because they can get rich. Some run churches to hide their immoral conduct. Some hold to traditions that even breaks God's laws. I could spend lots of time listing all the differences.
In closing, I want to say, that we are in a dangerous, but promising times! People are hungry for God and may fall into some of these traps that we discussed above. But if they really are hungry for truth, they will push by the false teachings of the world and find the "real gospel" spirit of Jesus Christ.
Jude said in verse 3... Contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.
That means hold on to truth and don't compromise. Don't let down your standards and stance on doctrine. Paul had told Timothy, that doctrine would save him. In other words, it would "keep" him saved (1 Tim 4:16).
Many divisions arise because of doctrine. Many feel it is not important, but Jesus stated firmly... "If you love me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS!"
While many claim to love Jesus, a lot of them are not "keeping his commandments." For you see, Jesus taught the Apostles what to do and teach. So, why not obey what they taught? It is still God's word isn't it?
We need in these last days, to hold onto the faith that was once delivered unto the saints!