Read 1 John 4
John continues to talk about love in this chapter, something that we could never really say enough about. God’s love, shown by Him and reflected in us is such a vital part of who we are in Christ and how we come to be just that. John’s words on this could go on forever.
He also briefly talks here about the ability to recognize the Spirit of God in those around us. This is also an important thing for us to think about especially in the current culture that would seek to offer us “pseudo-Christian” teachings that do not necessarily jive with Scripture. How can we know that these things are “of God”? John points out that any teaching that claims to be Christian in nature, any teaching or spirit that claims to be of the Bible, will first and foremost acknowledge the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
What does this mean? For starters, it means that it will be in line with Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, and teaching. In other words: It will match up with “The Word” as John refers to Him as. Jesus Himself is the Word of God made flesh, the fulfillment of all that Scripture says. Therefore, any and all teachings that are of God will acknowledge Jesus as Lord first and foremost.
There are a number of religious groups that claim the “Christian” title but don’t do this. Their messages sound good, their church buildings look spectacular, and their message is often well disguised to motivate and uplift their listeners. However, it is not of God.
Once again, John is warning his readers that they need to be clear on who and what they are loving. Messages that are meant to make us feel good but don’t acknowledge Jesus as Lord (or our sin for that matter) are ultimately self-serving and betrays us to the sin of idolatry of self.