Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Saturday after the Last Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted on December 1, 2018 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: 1 John 4:1-8 (NKJV)
4:1 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. 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.
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. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
Chapter four opens with a powerful confession of the Incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. It emphasizes that it is not possible to be a Christian and deny the humanity of Jesus, for God has indeed come down from Heaven and become man. John does not mince words or try to be politically correct, but simply calls the devil “the devil,” and heresy “heresy.”
In the Church and among Christians there is no room for anything that resembles anti-Christ in the slightest. The world will flock to and promote false prophets and false gospels, which are no Gospel because they do not know Christ. Truth and error cannot coexist for they are diametrically opposed. You cannot be children of the Light and dwell in utter darkness; you cannot be of God and of the world.
John reminds us that while we must always test the spirits for their source, we must do this in the spirit of Christ’s love for sinners. We must be unyielding in confessing the Truth, but must not be abusive or unloving. God is love, purposeful love that will do what must be done to redeem the sinner, that will do what must be done to defeat sin, death, and hell.
We pray: Lord Jesus, through Your Means of Grace keep us always focused on You as our Teacher and Redeemer. Enlighten and embolden us through Your Word and Sacraments to boldly confess You and Your Gospel before the dying world; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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