All Scripture quotations are from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise indicated.
June 29, 2009
Try the Spirits
HANDS FOR JESUS
P.O. BOX 18655
MILWAUKEE, WI 53218-0655
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2009 by Merle E. Koepke
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This mini-book, "Try the Spirits, Part 2" is a continuation of Part 1. If you have not read Part 1, it would be good if you would get a copy and read it first.
In 1 John 4:1 it says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
Jesus said in Matthew 7:15,16, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves...Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?"
Why try the spirits? We need to know what spirits are operating in our lives and the lives of others. All natural operations are the results of spiritual operations. Therefore, that which manifests in the natural had its beginning in the spiritual realm.
God, who is Spirit, created all things. In the beginning all things exist in the spiritual realm. The natural realm came as a result of what God did in the beginning.
Before there was a heaven and an earth, there was GOD. God is spirit, and therefore Genesis 1:1 tells us, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." In the creation of all things John 1:1,2 tells us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...The same was in the beginning with God." By this we see that the Word of God, which is also called "the Son of God" was with God right from the beginning. We also know that God is triune. That is, God is three persons in one. In 1 John 5:7 it says, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."
Once we understand these important facts concerning God, then we can go on and understand the written Word of God in both natural things and spiritual things. If we do not understand both, the natural things and the spiritual things, we will never understand anything of importance in our lives.
For those who believe in God, Who is the creator of all things, it is important that they also understand natural things and spiritual things. For, everything we see in the natural realm is controlled by the spiritual realm.
All over this creation, there are spirits, which are not God, but created by God. Angels are spirits, which are created by God and they do exist throughout creation. Angels are in heaven, on earth, as well as between heaven and earth. Angels are everywhere, but normally we cannot see angels with our natural eyes. The reason we normally cannot see angels with our natural eyes is that our natural eyes are natural, not spiritual.
Our natural eyes are made of physical elements, which come from the earth. Therefore, that which came from the earth is earthly in nature. Earthly things are natural things, whereas heavenly things are spiritual (meaning not earthly, of this earth).
Being that everything had its beginning with God who is Spirit, spiritual things have power over natural things. The Spiritual things came first, and God who is Spirit, created natural things.
Before God created the earth, and earthly things, God created angels and heavenly things. When God created angels and heavenly things, He created multitudes of angels, which are unnumberable. Revelation 5:11 says, "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." All the angels along with beasts and the elders are uncountable.
There are things that we do not know concerning the creation of spirits and earthly creatures. But, what God has revealed to us we do know. We know that there were three individual angels that were created in the beginning. There was Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer. Each of these three angels were over multitudes of other angels and heavenly spiritual beings.
There are also in the heavens demons, which God did not specifically tell us where they came from. But they do exist, and they are under the control of Satan, the Devil, who at one time was Lucifer (Isa. 14:12, Rev. 20:2).
Understanding this, we must now obey the LORD and do what it tells us in the Scriptures. Satan, and the demons are "spirits." They do have spiritual powers greater than man. Yet, the LORD has given Christians power over the Devil and his demons (Luke 10:19). The power we have over the Devil and his demons, is not our power, but the power of God, which is under the control of the Holy Spirit here on earth.
To operate in that power over the Devil and his demons (which we have been given by the LORD), we must be in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit inspired men over the ages to write the Scriptures and from the Scriptures we have what we call the Bible. The Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit, but men did the writing. To understand the Bible (Scriptures), we must get our information from the Holy Spirit, not from men. Jesus said, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God..." (John 6:45). Jesus also said in John 16:13, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. In 1 John 2:27 it says, "But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." The anointing is the Holy Spirit Himself that abides in every Christian that has received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 1:4,5,8; 2:4).
Therefore, it is very important that Christians be taught by the Holy Spirit and not by men. Men are used by the Holy Spirit to bring our attention to things written in the Scriptures. But, God determines what we will learn according to what the Scriptures reveal.
God has retained the right to reveal things to whomsoever He will, not to whomsoever thinks he heard from God. Therefore it tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:11-14, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God...Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God...Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual...But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
When we understand what is written here in 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 plus many other Scripture verses, we can then understand how that God is still in control of all spiritual and natural things, in heaven and on earth.
If we do not understand God and spiritual things, we will easily be deceived by spirits operating all around us. Our battle in this life is not against flesh and blood (not against people), but against the Devil and his demons. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
The spiritual powers of darkness and wickedness operate through people. They control the minds of people who permit them to have control in their minds. This is why, we are told, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God.." (1 John 4:1).
Without the written Word of God and the Holy Spirit within us we cannot effectively "try the Spirits." We must first know the written Word of God and the Holy Spirit before we can "try the spirits if they are of God."
Many false prophets have gone into the world, controlled by other spirits, and have deceived many. Many false prophets and others who claim to be hearing from God have deceived many Christians. We must know the truth before we can try the false effectively.
What should be the most important thing in our lives, is that we establish and maintain relationship and fellowship with God. That we "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2).
The greatest deception in the Body of Christ is seeking the things of this world (1 John 2:15-17). The spirits of this world are out to stop us from having relationship and fellowship with God. When you know the truth, it will be easier to try the spirits if they are of God, or of the Devil.
In 1 John 5:8 it says, "And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water (Word), and the blood: and these three agree in one." We must be certain that everything we believe and do agrees with these three witnesses.
Try the Spirits
It is very interesting when we see what has been happening throughout the Church ages. It took years before the Bibles we have today were established in sixty-six separate books from Genesis through Revelation. Yet, for years now, the church has had the same books in their Bibles, with the same information contained in each book.
We could say that countless millions of Christians have studied and taught from the Bible we have today. What the Holy Spirit inspired to be written for the most part is still recorded in the Hebrew and Greek text. Some have different versions of Hebrew and Greek text, yet the inspired Word is still available to anyone who desires to "Search the Scriptures" and know the truth.
The trying of the spirits seems to be one subject that very few Christians understand. There is one thing for sure about Christianity, that is, we will all face the LORD on the last day, and we will be judged according to what is written in the Books. Revelation 20:12 says, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
Speaking of this same day, Jesus said, "And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world...He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:47,48). I believe it is not just the words Jesus spoke out of His mouth during the years He was here on earth, but all that is written in the Bible. For, almost everything Jesus said is spoken of more than once throughout the Bible.
There is a lot that Jesus said, and is recorded in the Bible that should convince us to study the Scriptures to be sure we are doing what the LORD told us to do. For an example, in Revelation 3:4,5, Jesus said, "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy...He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
I, for one, am more interested in keeping my name written in the Book of Life, than I am in anything this world has to offer. Why not be a doer of the Word, rather than a hearer only? Why not do what the Word of God tells us to do, and then we will rejoice in heaven on that last day.
It seems deception is very high in many churches when we start trying the Spirits according to the Word of God. As an example, James 3:14-16 says, "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth...This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish...For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." When we see this going on in the churches, we ought to know there are evil spirits operating in these churches.
If God cannot have fellowship with evil spirits, why do Christians continue to have fellowship with these evil spirits? Unless we try the spirits according to what we are told in the Scriptures, we will easily be deceived and could possibly be headed in the wrong direction in our lives.
We have a great advantage over all those who have come before us. We have the complete Bible, and a lot of information on the saints who have gone before us. There is a lot of information available to us, concerning those who have had great anointings on their lives, and have gone astray, following deceiving spirits. If we do not try the spirits, we could also be deceived by spiritual operations which are not of God.
In Matthew 24:11, Jesus told us, "many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it says, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." In 1 Timothy 4:1, it says, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." In 2 Peter 2:1, it says, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." We could go on and on in the New Testament looking at all the warnings concerning Christians who have gone the wrong way.
I believe, we must try the spirits, that we are not taken in by their deception. Heaven is worth more than anything this earth has to offer. Therefore, let us do what we are told to do in 1 John 4:1, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
It is very important that we "try the spirits," for God wants to have control in our lives, and not some other spirit. But God does not control by force or any other means. God is love, and God works by love in drawing people to Himself, that He can set them free of all demonic forces that want to control mankind.
When Christians permit other spirits to come between them and God, they hinder the Holy Spirit from working in their lives. By the amount of control a person gives another spirit, God is limited from pouring out His love upon them.
From the beginning of the creation of man upon this earth, God's desire was to have fellowship and relationship with man. Therefore, the LORD God created man in His own likeness and image (Gen. 1:26,27).
God is not a controlling spirit. God does not force anyone to do anything. God always works in love, for God is love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, the LORD God planted a garden in Eden. In the garden there was the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:8,8). The tree of life would have given man eternal life with God forever. But the tree of knowledge of good and evil would cause two deaths to come upon mankind (physical death of the physical body and spiritual death of the living soul).
Adam and Eve had a choice between the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The serpent tempted Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and she did eat. Then she gave to Adam to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and he did eat also. By the choice that Adam and Eve made, sin and two deaths came upon mankind that day. Satan gained access in the lives of mankind by inflecting thoughts in the minds of people and also inflecting deformities, sickness, and disease in the physical bodies of people.
God is love, and God loves mankind whom He created in His own likeness and image, therefore, the LORD proclaimed that He would come into the world, born of a woman and set those who would obey Him free of the works of the Devil. In Genesis 3:15 it says, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." This is the beginning of the Gospel that is preached throughout the Bible, especially the New Testament.
Satan had gained access to mankind through man's soul and body. But God is still GOD and His love for mankind is still the same. God never changes.
God wants to be God in our lives, and does not desire that Satan have any control over what man does. Therefore, Jesus gave us the answer on how to be free of Satan's control over us by saying in John 8:31,32, "...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed...And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
God and His Word are one (John 1.2). The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one (1 John 5:7). God does not desire that there would be any other god between man and God. God wants to be in control of everything we do, but not by force, but by love.
If we look at the history of mankind, we will see how that Satan has tried to control what man does. First Satan got Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:1-17). Then Satan got Cain, the firstborn son of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4:1-12). Eventually everyone other than Noah was under the control of Satan, and the flood came as the LORD had spoken (Gen. 6:1-22; 7:1-12). At that time, only eight souls were saved and everyone else died in the flood.
We can follow these examples throughout the Bible, whereby God did all He could to save and deliver those who received Him according to His Word. Those who followed other spirits were destroyed by the Devil, and his demons. God is not the destroyer of people. Satan has the power of sin and death. In 1 John 3:8, it tells us, "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." In Hebrews 2:14 it says, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."
We must try the spirits to know if they are of God? For Satan has caused many within the churches to follow his ways, whereby there is every work of evil manifesting in many Churches today. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ...I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able...For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"
James 3:14-16, says, "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth...This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish...For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."
In trying the spirits, we must see if God is in control, or people, whom Satan uses to cause envy, strife, divisions, and works of evil. The Body of Christ is one body. When Christians are divided by doctrines of men, the Holy Spirit is limited as to how much He can do within the body of Christ.
We need to have fellowship one with another within the body of Christ. But true fellowship begins with fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God must be first in our lives in everything we do. Before the Apostle John mentioned "try the spirits" he made it clear, we must have fellowship with God (1 John 1:1-1:3:24).
First we must establish our fellowship with God before we can try the spirits. Satan is out to destroy all that God has planned for our lives. If we submit to the works of the Devil, God cannot set us free. We must first submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit, before God can help us.
The Father and the Son have sent the Holy Spirit to be our Teacher, and to help, guide, comfort, and lead us in every area of our lives. Before the Apostle John mentioned "try the spirits," he wrote in 1 John 2:27, "...the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."
God's greatest desire for man is that we have relationship with God through the new birth (eating of the tree of life). This new birth established us in relationship to God, whereby God is our true Father and we are His true children born again of the Word and the Spirit (John 3:6, 1 Peter 1:23).
Included in God's greatest desire for man is that we have fellowship with God, whereby He will be our God and we will be His people (Jer. 31:33,34; 2 Cor. 6:17,18).
God always wanted a one-on-one relationship and fellowship with man whom He created in His own likeness and image. Many have turned away from God to follow others, and let others come between them and God. Only when we have true fellowship with God will we be able to try the spirits that manifest in the Churches today.
What is happening among many Christians today is the same as what was spoken of in the book of Jude. Things have not changed over the years, God is still God and Satan is still Satan. Every Christian must listen to their spirit and be led, guided, comforted, helped, and taught by the Holy Spirit if they are to fulfill the plan of God for their lives here on earth.
If we willingly submit ourselves to follow those who are led by another spirit, we will hinder the Holy Spirit from working in our lives according to the plan and purpose God has for each one of us individually. God's thoughts and God's ways are not the same as man's thoughts and man's ways. In Isaiah 55:8,9 it says, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD...For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
We need to be taught by God to know His thoughts and His ways, and then follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in everything we do.
Until we know God's thoughts, and God's ways, we will easily be deceived into following another spirit. There is only one Spirit we are to follow, and that is the Holy Spirit. If we are not following the Holy Spirit we will not be able to rightly "try the spirits if they are of God?"
Heaven is a beautiful wonderful place to spend eternity, but not everyone will go their. It should be our greatest desire to do the will of God here on earth and then inherit eternity in heaven with God. Hell is reserved for those who follow the Devil, and his demons. The choice is ours, heaven or hell, whichever we choose by whom we submit ourselves to while here on earth.
Love, grace, and mercy are available from God for everyone who will repent and obey the LORD. Disobeying the LORD could lead to submitting to the wrong spirits. Romans 6:16 says, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
We cannot forsake the leading of the Holy Spirit to follow another spirit. The Bible reveals the right way and the wrong way in which people go. There is an anointing of the Holy Spirit for those who are chosen by God to do the will of God here on earth. Everyone is chosen by God to operate in some type of anointing, empowered by the Holy Spirit. But not everyone continues in the direction God has planned for their lives.
Look at Balaam as one example. Balaam was a true prophet. All of his prophecies were true. But Balaam was deceived and followed another spirit in his later days. What the Scriptures have to say about Balaam's last days does not look good at all. In 2 Peter 2:15 it says, "Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness." There are wages of righteousness and there are wages of unrighteousness. Our reward is according to the works we do. Everyone will be judged according to their works which are written in the books which contain our names on that last day (Rev. 20:12,13).
The report given by Peter in 2 Peter 2:15-22, is that it would have been better for Balaam, and those who follow his example, if they had never known the way of righteousness, then to depart from it. In 2 Peter 2:20,21 it says, "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning...For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."
Jesus mentioned Balaam in Revelation 2:14, saying, "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."
Christians can have a great anointing from the LORD. But, if they do not try the spirits, they can easily be deceived like Balaam was and their end could be similar to that spoken of Balaam. The wages of unrighteousness are not worth more than our position in heaven.
In Colossians 3:1,2 we are told, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God...Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Evidently, Balaam looked at the wages of unrighteousness rather than the things God had planned for man from the foundation of the world.
We must keep our heart, mind, and soul focused upon God and His plan for our lives. We must see things from God's point of view, not man's point of view. God sees the end from the beginning and always tries to bring us to see His desire for us eternally. God knows what Satan has planned and how he goes about to accomplish his plan.
By trying the spirits, we can know what is of God and what is not of God. In Galatians 5:25 it says, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." To walk in the Spirit we must be led by the Holy Spirit, not the spirits of this world. If we do not try the spirits, we will easily be deceived by those whom the Devil uses to control our lives.
Place the Holy Spirit in control of everything you do. Do not submit to any other spirit or you may limit what the Holy Spirit can do in your life.
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