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 (1 John 4:4).
As a baby Christian, I loved to sing this song: Greater is He that is in me, Greater is He that is in me, Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. I really didn’t know what it meant until one day, my toaster wouldn’t work. The kids were eating breakfast, and toast is a big part of an American breakfast, so when I put the bread in the toasting slots, pushed the handle down, and the bread descended (oh so slowly) and the grill did not light up, I was dismayed. I tried to toast the bread numerous times, all with the same result. To my credit I did not immediately try to solve this problem myself by thinking of what else I could serve them. I just focused on that toaster.
Then I thought, “I’ll try some words.” I said, “Toaster, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, you work now! Toast this bread and feed these children.” I pushed the handle down again, it went promptly to its spot, and the grill lit up immediately. That toaster worked perfectly for years until I sold it in a garage sale before moving to France.
Jesus is in me. When I invoke His name, all creation must move accordingly and do whatever I have said to do. Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.
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 4:3).
Think about this! If Satan can get us to believe that the Bible is not really the Word of God, that Jesus did not come in the flesh, that all our sin and all evil in the world was not deposited in hell, that Jesus did not so royally defeat the devil that he has nothing left with which to fight, that the Blood of Jesus did not pay for all our redemption, that Jesus was not raised from the dead, what is left of our Christianity? If we believe the devil, we are participating with the Antichrist.
That spirit of Antichrist is already ravaging the world! Aren’t the Muslims declaring that the Holocaust never took place? Aren’t they saying Jesus was only a prophet, not the Son of God? Don’t they broadcast that God has never had a Son? Don’t the Hindus believe that man has a succession of births, when the Bible says it is given unto man once to die? Don’t the Hindus believe in a hierarchy of men, with the vast majority being “unclean”? Yet Christianity believes in the sanctity of man as God’s precious creation! Every one of them!
Speak up! Jesus Christ, Son of God, came in the flesh and redeemed us all! Now is the time to choose Him as Lord!
By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, (1 John 4:2).
In the day when this book was written, the biggest threat against the church was false doctrine, and the worst of the false doctrines was Agnosticism, which was the belief that Jesus did not come in the flesh, but was a spirit who only looked human. Why is this belief so bad? If Jesus did not come in the flesh, then He could not have paid for our sins with His blood. He could not have been a model for how a human being should act with the Holy Spirit of God. Everything He taught would have been a misrepresentation of who He was.
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 4:1).
One of the hardest things I had to learn was that I lived in two worlds at the same time: the spiritual world and the physical world. I knew intellectually that the spiritual world is so much more powerful than the physical world, in fact, the spiritual world creates the physical world. But, when I learned that lesson emotionally, and I began using my words to create what I wanted in the physical world, attacks against me diminished greatly.
Spirits, no matter which world they come from, have no permanent home on the earth. They must be able to occupy a physical body in order to say earth is their home. If they are good spirits, angels, they operate directly and completely at God’s command and are not envious of our earthly home. If they are bad spirits, demons, they are desperate to get away from the control of satan, and taking over a human body is the best escape they can find. Animals aren’t that much fun for them because animals don’t reason, or think abstract thoughts. That’s one of the reasons demons work so hard to get inside of us. One Scripture says they seek wet places. Inside a human body is about as wet as anyone can find.
We test the spirits to know whether a spirit is an angel sent by God, or a terrorizing agent sent by Satan. Angels give us mobilizing hope. Demons cause us to “give up.” God sends us hope for our future, while Satan wants our faith to falter. When we give up the good fight of faith, Satan wins and we lose. So we test the spirits to see where they came from. I don’t want demons speaking to me. All they do is lie, cheat, deceive, mock, ridicule and wound in whatever way possible. Angels speak the truth. Whatever they have heard from the throne, they come and give us the word God has for us. The only way I have learned to test the spirits is to grab each one that I want to entertain and demand, “Where do you come from? If I can see a path of light, or feel one, or know it instinctively, coming from my spirit to my head, I know the spirit is good. If that trajectory comes from outside of myself, somewhere around my head and entering through my ears, I know it is of the devil and I cast it down!
Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 John 3:24).
What a lovely picture this presents! God, who is made out of love, lives in us and we live in Him. We are housed, cushioned, cuddled in this enormous, unending love. And if we are keeping His commandments then we, too, are made of love and God is housed, cushioned and cuddled in enormous, unending love. But only if we keep His commandments.
I used to enjoy reading a little book called “Practicing His Presence,” but now I think someone needs to write a little book called “Practicing His Love.” That’s what He wants. How can we love Him? Let us count the ways. And if we get lost in the counting, we have the Holy Spirit on the inside to guide us. He’s a pushover for the love walk. Normally the Holy Spirit is quite the gentleman and doesn’t speak unless He’s spoken to. But when we decide to walk the love walk, He’s suddenly in the mix, pointing out things to do, talking almost constantly. You see, when we decide we will openly demonstrate love to someone, we are loving them for God. That loving our neighbor bit? That’s God loving our neighbor through us!