Sermon – Are You Listening to the Antichrist? (1 John 4:1 – 4:6) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Sermon 12 of 17

Are You Listening to the Antichrist?

Pete Woodcock, 1 John 4:1 - 4:6, 16 February 2020

Pete continues in our series looking at discerning and following the truth of the gospel, in 1 John 4:1-6.

1 John 4:1 - 4:6

4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

As I mentioned, Pete's continuing the series in 1 John and we've reached chapter 4. If you have a church bible, you'll find that on page 1 2 2 7, Let me pray as we prepare to read this. We thank you for your words that it gives light so that we may walk, that we may live. Thank you that we can know your will. We can know about you.

Law, would you would you help us to understand, to have spiritual eyes, to see, and to hear, and to understand and to love you as our heavenly father. Again, we pray for Pete that he would speak boldly, that he would speak directly from your word, that you would use him for your glory, amen. So reading the first 6 verses, starting at 1 John 4. Dear friends do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. Because many false prophets have gone into the world.

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. 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. You dear children are from god and have overcome them because the 1 who is in you is greater than the 1 who is in the world.

They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world and the world listens to them. 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. Thank you, Ben. My name is Pete Woodcock.

I'm the pastor of the church. If you're new here, lovely to see you make sure you say hello to us afterwards. I'll certainly be at the door Some of you have probably read this. Others should know about it, but George Allwell's dystopian novel 19 84. It's quite a remarkable novel for lots of reasons.

But basically you've got this all invasive dictatorship. And they rule with violence. That's 1 way they rule but another way they rule is is is by reinventing language. They reinterpret and re invent language. They call it newspeak, newspeak.

And that's the official language of the country Oceana in the in this novel. They also have something called Old Think. New speech, Old think. Old think is defined like this. Old think, it's it's holding on to old ideas and patterns of thought not consistent with current government policy, maintaining a belief that is no longer acceptable but was normal just a few years prior.

That's old think. New speech, old think. As Ben said, we we had a thing called media fast bible feast as a church. And after the 6 days of media fast and bible feast, the first news item I saw on the TV was about a morning TV celebrity. It was quite a cringing news item.

It was like cringing pantomime about his personal life. Why it was newsworthy? That's another question. But what was interesting is the redefining of language. And I think I saw it clearer because I'd had a week without newspeak.

The word brave which my old think goes like this. It's doing something courageous for another. It's to put yourself in the way of danger to rescue someone else. Despite your inner desire for self protection. It goes against self love.

Old think That's what I thought brave meant. But in newspeak in this item, brave means being true to yourself, doing what you really want despite the harm that you do to others. Do you see this? Or the word love, My old think says that love is laying your life down. Actually, you get a good definition of love if you just look back at 1 John chapter 3 verse 16.

This is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid his life down for us, and we ought to lay our lives down for our brothers and sisters. So that's old think love. But love in newspeak means breaking all your commitments to other people and center your life on yourself. Now, what was most amazing, I think, was the amount of applause that was going on for celebrity, and the amount of applause of this redefining of those words.

They seem to redefine as far as I could see, love and bravery into selfishness. But what what what do I know? I'm only an old think person. Because I had spent the week without newspeak, So I'm a bit confused. I'd spent the week listening to the old wisdom of the ancient of days.

And so turning on the news to see this is the first item actually was quite shocking. You saw the black and white in where people are thinking. Now, why am I telling you all this? Well, 1 of the reasons that John, the apostle John, is writing this little letter that we were looking at before Christmas in an hour taking up the series again. 1 of the reasons for John writing this letter is that there were teachers and preachers and people who were influencing the early Christians and the early church.

And they were claiming to be prophets, but what they were doing was redefining Christianity they were changing the meaning of words. So really there's not much new. John was an apostle. John got his teaching from the very source itself from the Lord Jesus Christ, but these new teachers with their new speak wanted to move away from the apostles old think. They'd redefined morality and they redefine sin as being true to yourself.

In fact, it is a sin not to be true to yourself. They were saying. They had redefined love to just an experience of the God of love as long as you were having an experience of the God of love, but it didn't actually translate into loving brothers and sisters, fellow Christians. They redefined Jesus and took away his exclusive claims. They didn't really believe that he was physical and that he died physically for our sins.

John calls this newspeak The teaching of the world, and he says it's fundamentally opposed to the Christian message. In fact, he goes further and and doesn't just call it the teaching of the world. He calls it the teaching of the spirit of the Antichrist. And he says it's the spirit of falsehood. So we're very much in the world that John was in.

There's not much difference. And so he writes, verse 1, chapter 4, dear friends. Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirit to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. And that's the first thing I want you to see. Test what you hear.

Test the spirits. Don't be gullible. Don't believe everyone. Test. 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 commands, did you see them? 2 commands he starts this chapter off with Do not believe every spirit, test the spirits. That is the right and proper and Christian thing to do. Don't be gullible. Don't believe anyone that comes along.

Don't even believe them if they claim to have the spirit of God. Test the spirit. Test the teaching. Test the influences that they're having upon you. So John is telling us this, that in 1 sense, there are 2 types of spirit in the world.

There's the Holy Spirit of God, who will speak truth, and there are these other spirits. Now it's interesting he uses the word spirit but basically he's trying to show us that false prophets are the mouthpiece of something behind them, something more sinister, something crouching behind the false teacher, which is these evil spirits. See, a spirit doesn't have a body and so a spirit needs a mouthpiece. And just as the holy spirit has the mouthpiece of the apostles which now we have their words in scripturated in the bible just as the Holy Spirit has his mouthpiece These evil spirits have a mouthpiece in the false teachers, in the world's teaching. That's what he's saying.

So you must test This is really, really serious. So it's not that these false teachers are gonna come out with some kind of theological nuance that we could argue about and debate about and say, well, you could believe that if you like. It's it's not take it or leave it stuff. With John, is it? He is always black and white.

These false prophets are the mouthpiece of a false spirit, he says. They're the mouthpiece of the spirit of error. They're the mouthpiece of the Antichrist. Wow. And a true teacher of the of the Word of God is a true prophet.

He's the mouthpiece of the spirit of God. So Christians, you have a very clear duty. Test. Don't believe everything you hear. Don't just follow along with what everybody is saying.

Don't join the pantomime. Don't join the bandwagon, test You have an responsibility, says John, to examine carefully what people say and what people do, we should be all ears and all eyes, analyzing, assessing, sifting other people's words, bringing them back to the apostolic word of the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures. Do not believe every spirit He says. It's very very serious issue. Why is it serious?

Because he says, there are many false prophets and false teachers. Look at verse 1 again. Test them because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Jesus said that himself in the last days which we're in, he says that there will be many false teachers and people that will claim to even be the Christ. Peter, 1 of the apostles like like John writes this in 2 Peter chapter 2.

I mean, these are really strong words. He says, there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies even denying the sovereign lord who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Listen, many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories.

They're wonderful storytellers. They'll have all a media at their disposal. They'll have people waiting in the wings to back up what they're saying. Brave, brave. And hugging them and kissing them and fabricating the story that all is well with those he loves.

Even though he's left them. Fabricated store. Be careful. Notice he says, dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirit. He actually doesn't say, I'm writing to the elders of the church here, you elders, you leaders in the church, you're the ones that must test the spirit.

Well, that's true. But he's actually writing to dear friends and we've seen this before in our series. Dear friends just the ordinary Christian. So it's everyone in this room that claims to be a Christian. All of us are to test the spirits.

We have a responsibility whether you're young or old, whether you're a young Christian or an old Christian, whether you've just become a Christian or you're mature in the faith Your job is to test what you hear. The word test me is examine carefully. Listen. Who's behind the mouthpiece? Don't be gullible.

We're to test. And you know when you hear people say things like, well, you can't test the Holy Spirit. This is we're having an experience. How can you test that? You know an experience of the spirit?

Well, John is really telling us that the spirit of God is not some journey into some great unknown or unknowable experience, but you can test. You can know whether someone or something is of the Holy Spirit or not. If that person says, no, you can't put it to a test, it's very likely they're not of the Holy Spirit. So that brings me to my second point. The first 1 was test.

The second thing is then what is the test? How do we test? How do we recognize the true from the false? Well, he says it's very clear. Look at verses 2 to 3.

This is how you can recognize the spirit of God. So you can recognize whether some things of the spirit of God or not. 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. 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. So what's the test? It all depends. Everything depends on what they do with Jesus. The test is Jesus.

The test of the Holy Spirit is Jesus. Yeah? Very simple. If they acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, then you can say, yep, what they're saying is from God. If they don't acknowledge that and they think that Jesus is some divine spark or just a prophet or just a very good example, then they're not from God.

Take the test. Test. Now let's examine that test. So test by what they and see the word, acknowledge. Test by what they acknowledge.

Let me read it again verse 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. That word acknowledge is a very important word. We won't get this if we don't work on that word.

1 Greek scholar says, the word acknowledge means this, not not merely a recognition of his identity, but a profession of faith in him openly and boldly. So it carries with it this sense of a bold proclamation of these truths. It's not just someone who consents to the truth, but confesses, confesses, preaches, speaks the truth. Ignology is open, not hidden. An open proclamation, it's not someone that just says, yes, I believe that, but they actually live all that, you know, they're working out their life.

With the power of the spirit based on those truths. So you can go in the Gospel, Matthew Mark, Luke and John, and you'll see that the demons often recognize the identity of Jesus. They even said out the identity of Jesus. They spoke it out. Actually, they said, we know who you are, you're the holy 1 of God.

So they knew the truth, they spoke the truth But they didn't willingly submit to the truth. I mean, they did submit to the truth, but not willingly. They were not acknowledging Jesus. Do you see that? The great mark of the Holy Spirit is that he makes us into witnesses of Jesus.

And the word witness is the word martyr. In other words, this is life and death stuff. I really believe this. I'm a witness to these truths. I don't just preach it.

I know the power of it. I don't just say the right things. I personally trust these things. I love them. I want to live in the light of them.

I'm disgusted with myself when I fail in that area. Just go back to the last verse of chapter 3. Do you see it? Verse 24 of chapter 3, and you'll see that really There shouldn't be chapter divisions, these things go on. But you can see someone with the Holy Spirit.

The 1 who keeps God's commands lives in Him. Yeah? And he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us we know it by the spirit he gave us, the 1 that keeps his commands. So there's a moral side to this, acknowledging.

Do you understand this? It's not just saying words. It's living in the light of it. Chapter 2 4 verse 2 then. 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. That's the test. The test of the Holy Spirit is Jesus. I told you I think right in the first sermon of this, I went to what was called a Holy Spirit Fire meeting once. And I sat through that meeting for 2 hours, and Jesus was only mentioned once and that was a by the way in a song.

That is not a Holy Spirit meeting. The Holy Spirit meeting will have Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus all over the place.

So look at it. Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. It's from God. It's full of meaning. Just take those words.

Jesus. His name means rescuer, Savior. There is no other name under heaven by which we should be saved. Than the name of Jesus. So someone acknowledges Jesus are acknowledging that he is the way the truth, the life no other name.

Christ, that means the Messiah, the appointed 1, the 1 that all the scriptures are pointing towards. Has come. Look at the word come. He's come to do all the things that the prophets said he would do including suffering and dying for sinners to make a personal atonement. He's come to atone for our sins.

And he's come in the flesh. That means he existed before the flesh. He's come into the flesh. He is truly God. He is truly man.

It says he's from God. He's from eternity. He has all the glory of God. He is the pre exist 1. He is equal with God and yet he entered into space and time into human flesh and human personality.

And why did God do that? Why did God become a man? Because he has to do something that only a man can do. He has to represent men and women, people, humans before God. So he obeyed God's law perfectly for us.

He deserved heaven for us. We who fail, he didn't fail. He suffered and died on the cross. He knew as a man, the anguish, and the and the the feelings of suffering. He's a man, but he has to be the god man because he has to do it perfectly.

And only God, the god man can bear the punishment for the sins of the world and take the wrath God upon himself. That's what we believe. That's what we acknowledge. That's what we proclaim. And if that's who Jesus is, then he must be true to his word.

Everything he says, everything he he talks about. Even even if it's contrary, to the culture. Someone who acknowledges Jesus believes it. Even if the whole world is saying this is wrong, we don't like this. Someone who acknowledges Jesus will say I believe that.

Even if it's sort of contrary to my own inner feelings, I must never be true to myself. I must be true to him. You see the big difference? And I want to be true to him because he is the truth. I'm not.

He is. His promises and expectations and explanations explanations of life and people are true, so I'm gonna believe it whether everybody doesn't or not. That's what it is to acknowledge him. So if a teacher comes along, says John, the question I must ask What does he or she believe and teach about Christ? Do they acknowledge Christ?

Doesn't matter if they write a fantastic song, And they've got some truths. Right? Do they live like Christ? Does this teacher acknowledge this? Believe this, passionately live it out.

Do they acknowledge them? Notice John doesn't say every spirit that denies the truth, or every spirit that believes the truth, or or set or, you know, speaks the truth. It acknowledges the truth. You can have someone that might say some truths, and you could get muddled. Luther says this.

I love I love Luther on this. Listen carefully. Martin Luther was a reformer, a German reformer. Listen to what he says. I think this is absolutely where the rub is, personally.

He who affirms the truth, at every point, it accept where it is being denied is a heretic. He he spoke pretty strong language. Now get think about that. At the point where the world says it's culturally, I don't like it. It's wrong.

At that point, will you acknowledge Jesus? He goes on, he says this. If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ. You said? Everybody's a follower of Jesus, everybody, to some level, Everybody's an evangelical these days.

Everybody. Everybody thinks Jesus is terrific. But what about when he says I am the way the truth and the life and no 1 comes to the father, but my me. What about when the when he has his apostles teaching about what sex is between 1 man and 1 woman. Wait.

Then you're not acknowledging. He says this. Lorraine might get this 1. Where the battle rages there, the loyalty of the soldier is proved. Do you see that?

Where the devil and culture, a rewriting Christianity and rewriting words and and saying this is unacceptable part of old old think Christianity That is where the battle is, and that's where an acknowledging soldier will be, where the battle is, because that's what soldiers are for. We're not chocolate soldiers. We don't have a chocolate Jesus. I was listening to a song. That's why it came into my mind.

I'm sorry. Have you got a chocolate Jesus? It's by Tom White. It's 1 of my favorites. Chocolate jesus, he sings like this.

Chocolate, Jesus, chocolate churches, chocolate Christians. Melt away. No. No. No.

No. No. The test is do you acknowledge these truths? So test by what they acknowledge, but test by what they don't acknowledge. Listen to what they leave out, and that's what Luther is saying.

Be careful of the preachers that say all the right things, but they leave out certain things. Listen to what they leave out. Look at verse 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. Test.

Test the spirits. How do we test? It all depends on whether they're acknowledging Jesus or not. Here's my third point. Power to overcome the world lie the the world of lies and falsehood, there is power given us to overcome the worlds of lies and falsehood.

So John turns his attention now from testing the the teachers to sort of encouraging the hearers. Look at verse look at verses 4 to 6. You did children are from God and have overcome them, as the false teachers, because the 1 who is in you is greater than the 1 who is in the world. They are from the world, and therefore speak, from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever acknowledges 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. So these forced teachers had come into the church, were influencing these early Christians, but they hadn't listened to them. And because they hadn't listened to them, they'd conquered. So good, isn't it? Because the 1 who is in you is greater than the 1 who is in the world.

He's talking about the Holy Spirit. Because you have the holy spirit within you, you have a discerning mind. The holy spirit in you witnesses to the objective truths of the apostolic teaching outside of you. So the teachers come with great power and the media at their at their disposal, and they're really popular. But you can resist them.

Because you have 1 who's greater inside you. Isn't that amazing? I love that thought. I remember thinking this years ago when I first became a Christian, and I was driving through Wales. I don't know what I was doing, but I was driving through Wales in sure it was raining.

And I saw a big billboard with a great big advert on and I happen to know how much that advert cost. It had cost 6000000 pounds to put these adverts up to get me to I can't I can't even remember what it was. I think it was It just just shows you how old this was. I think it was to get me to smoke. And I was driving along, and it was a long laborious drive I'm sure in the rain.

And I looked up and I thought they've spent 6000000 quid on that, and I can say, nope. Blie me, I'm powerful. I'm because the spirit of God in me the spirit of truth. The very fact that they weren't conned by these liars, shows that God is with them, and the spirit is with them. Look at verse 5 again.

They, these folks teachers, are from the world. Do you see where they're from? The world. And therefore, speak from the viewpoint of the world and the world listens to them. The funny thing is these teachers who are claiming to speak from God.

We're claiming to have superior knowledge. You don't know our experiences. You haven't had what we've had. And they're claiming to be superior, John says, they're not period, they're just picking up what the world says, and repackaging it, and putting it in a different language. They just follow whatever they whatever the whim says, whatever the world says.

It's all just popular. You see what you're saying? Don't go on how large the crowd is that the teacher is attracting. Don't be impressed by titles and degrees and letters after the name. Don't be enamored by beauty and robes and a nice white suit or whatever it is people wear.

Don't be enamored by the eloquence of the voice or the power of the band. Our standard, he says, is the word of God. The Lord Jesus Christ, the apostolic message. They're just following the world. They do stuff the world does.

They set up their meetings on a business basis, not on not on Christian basis. And they fall because of that. In the end? No. The Holy Spirit, he says, helps us listen to the voice of the apostles.

Look at verse 6. We, now the we and the us there are the apostles. The original hearers of Jesus. We are from God and whoever knows God will listen 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.

In other words, we listen to the apostolic voice. Jesus said himself, my sheep will know my voice. There's something within us, the Holy Spirit witnessing to the apostolic voice to inscripturated word as we have the apostles now written down for us. The spirit testifies with this word and says that is the voice of my savior and I'll listen. However, unpopular it is, I'll listen to that.

It's interesting, Paul, I won't go into big detail, but Paul in the book of Galatians, he says, So it just shows you this isn't some kind of cult following, because a cult person would say whatever I say listen to. Paul didn't put it like that. Paul said, even if I move from this apostolic gospel. Even if I move. Even if I or even if an angel moves or adds or takes away from the message that was originally brought you.

Let me be damned. Strong language, isn't it? And John's saying that, you move away from the apostolic message and you're not listening to God, you're listening to the world, you're just following popular opinion. It's just the easy route. And so John says, I what I love about you.

Is that you witness to the power of the spirit because you've said no to these lies. And yes, to the apostolic teaching. Okay. Big stuff, isn't it? Let's whack this home a bit.

Let's have a think of certain things. Let me ask you this question. Please think about it. And think about it perhaps from last week. Who speaks into your life?

Who speaks into your life? Who has the most say in your life? Look at verse 5 again. They are from the world, and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world and the world listens to them. Who speaks into your life?

I mean, I really mean speak. I really mean influence you. I mean influence you in your thinking that definitely will influence you in your behavior and priorities. Who? Who is doing that?

Remember, the world will redefine words, and the world will redefine the word truth. We don't really like the word truth today, because it's all about feeling. So who speaks it? A feeling speaking into your life? Is it feelings?

Is it that that feels good, so I'll do that? This will sort out my job. This will sort out my depression. If I do this or have this, this will make me happy. So is it is it feelings that are speaking into your life?

Is it a popular message that's speaking into your life? This is why media fast is actually essential, isn't it? Because there's news speak everywhere, isn't it? Am I just following? Is it self love speaking into your life?

Is it excusing sin? Speaking into your life. Is it denying the lordship of Christ? However, unpopular, and however it means you die to self and not live to self. Is it That's speaking into your life.

Is it denying the atonement? Are they the words that come in and say, well, no, God could never die for my sin. I'm too sinful. Is that speaking into your life? It's all kinds of ways, isn't it?

My sheep hear my voice. Verse 6, 1 John 4, we are from God and whoever knows God listens to us, but whoever is not from God doesn't listen. Do you? Who's speaking into your life? Test.

Because if it isn't the Holy Spirit, then John is saying, it's the Antichrist. Or here's the second thing. Perhaps the issue that we face on a daily basis is the pressure to soften Jesus claims. It is, isn't it? We love Jesus, but there are a lot of other good ones around as well, aren't there?

Jesus claim on your life perhaps, to be lord. Well, I love him as savior, but I'm gonna water him down as lord. Don't have to follow everything he says, do we? I mean, there's haven't you got to read it in the context and edit out with news speak and this old think stuff is so bad, isn't it? Is it extraordinary what I hear about what people say about Cornerstone.

I mean, thankfully, I've got a massive sense of humor, and I'm laughing most of the time. But because we're trying, at least trying to follow the scriptures, we're trying to take the apostolic message correctly. We may make mistakes. We do make mistakes. But at least we're trying to take the word seriously, and there's a mocking.

Why do you believe this? Extraordinary. You don't believe in the Holy Spirit. Well, the definition of whether I believe in the Holy Spirit is whether I preach Jesus. I don't know how many times I've said Jesus today.

We've gotta be careful. We've gotta you know, is it the watering down of his claims? He says something about how to live our lives. He says something about godliness, are we gonna listen to it? Well, here's another 1.

Here we go. I'm gonna go for you now. Are you a false prophet? Are you? Are you a false prophet?

You wormed your way into this church and you're a flipping false prophet. Well, Peter said there'd be among us, so which 1 is it? Hands up. Are you a false prophet? How can you be a false prophet?

Well, misrepresent God. That's how. Perhaps out of kindness. You've said things like, oh, God wouldn't worry about that sin in your life. Perhaps you try to be kind.

Wouldn't he? Are you a false prophet? Have you given false reassurance to people? There there. God's got he won't worry about that.

If you give him false guidance, well, you know, the bible's helpful. But, you know, sometimes, you know, good film is the thing that you really need. You need to chill out, take some time off. Are you a false prophet? The message is a a paraphrase of the Bible.

It's an American bloke road. It was just really good. I love it. It's it's really worth looking at from time to time. Here's his paraphrase of 2 Timothy which is in the Bible chapter 4 verses 3 to 4.

He says this, listen to this. You're going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching. But we'll fill up on spiritual junk food, catchy opinions, that tickle their fancy. They'll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. It's Christianity just about tickling your fancy.

Are we advising people to go away and listen to the world about this, or we're saying, well, let's get into the scriptures, which leads me to my last thing. The results of false teaching. The results of false teaching is exactly what 1 John is going on about. We watered down love. You'll notice it.

If Christ isn't central, we won't love each other. We'll love self. It's a watered down of love. It emphasizes feelings and experience and self and me and how I feel. There's so much counseling, all about that stuff.

We're turning people into narcissus, who just gazes at his own reflection and drowned. We watered down sin, How we talk to each other, what we say to each other, we watered down Christ. They're the results of false teaching. He's the only 1 he's my lord, he's my savior. Who else can I turn to but him?

Christianity should never follow the world. I went to an evangelical conference not long ago, where I was told that the way to help the church here was to bang on the neighbor's door and ask them what they want church to be. What would they like to hear? What would I ask them for? They don't know nothing they need to hear Christ.

Now, I know we've got to read our culture and read our neighborhood. We do try to do that, but I don't ask a non Christian what they want to hear. I know what they want to hear. They want to hear the pantomime of someone leaving his wife and saying that he loves her so much. They want to have a bloke who's just all obsessed with himself saying, I'm so brave and everybody comes and hugs him.

No. No. We don't ask the world what they want to hear. We tell them, Jesus is the lord. And you need to come to know him because he so deeply loves you.

Because he died on a cross for your sin. Your problem is sin, and you need Christ. Come to him. Trust in him. Ask him to be a Savior and Lord.

Know what it is to have the spirit God living in you. Then you'll understand the lies and the pretenses and the things that we've so often fallen for. Has God guides you as a good shepherd through this world, and we hear his voice. And we bleat in praise. Father God, help us to take these truths deeply seriously, amen.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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