When Friends and Family Reject Us

1 John 4:1-3 ESV

“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.”

Since we know from reading other Scriptures that many false prophets (teachers, preachers, apostles) are wolves in sheep’s clothing who masquerade themselves as servants of righteousness, we know, too, that this is not speaking here of a verbal confession of who Jesus Christ is.

Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light, and even the demons believe, and they shudder. So, a mere profession or confession of Jesus Christ is not evidence alone that a person confessing is actually from God or that he/she believes at all in what he/she is confessing with his/her lips.

What did Isaiah say that God said?

“These people draw near to Me with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is but rules taught by men” (Is 29:13; cf. Matt 15:8-9).

So, what is a spirit? It can be a demon or an angel or the Holy Spirit. Or it can be the essence of a person, his inner self, or his character. So, if we are to test the spirits, and obviously this is speaking of the spirits within these individuals who are professing to be prophets of God, then part of that test is to examine not only their teaching but their behaviors and practices, too.

For, like Isaiah said that God said, there are people who with their lips confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior but who by their lifestyles deny him. Their words and their actions don’t match. They are in conflict one with the other. For, if we believe in Jesus, our lives should bear fruit to that.

So, one of the tests is to see if they are living what they are teaching, not that any of us will be absolutely perfect, but it is to see if what they practice matches what they profess. And then we must examine their words against the Scriptures, but in context, for many false teachings come from Scriptures being taught out of context and thus misinterpreted.

1 John 4:4-6 ESV

“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.”

If we are from God, because we are in Christ, by genuine faith in Jesus Christ, because we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, and we are walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, then we have the power of God to overcome these who are false.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9]

We have the witness of the Holy Spirit living within us speaking to our hearts and letting us know that something is wrong with what these people are teaching. And as we test the spirits to see if they are of God or not, the Holy Spirit will lead us in how to do this. And we must test what they teach against the Scriptures (in context).

The power to overcome them involves us first discerning their error and then us not believing what is false, but us believing what is truth. It is not letting them have sway over our lives, but the courage to tell them “No!” when they try to convince us to come to their way of thinking.

It is also the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to confront and to expose these false teachers and their teaching and to proclaim the truth, even in the face of much opposition coming from many different sources. It is the courage to do what is right even if everyone else is doing what is wrong.

Also, in our day, with so many people, who are believing the lies, following these wolves in sheep’s clothing, we are going to be hated, rejected, persecuted, abandoned, falsely accused, and dismissed as conspiracy theorists, or as hyper-religious, self-righteous, legalistic, and crazy.

The words of Jesus will come true. Even family members, friends, neighbors, and others who claim Jesus as their Savior will find us odd, because they are believing the lies that to follow Jesus wholeheartedly is not normal, but that we should be more like the people of the world.

And honestly, when strangers reject us, it is a lot easier to endure than when our friends and family reject us because of the seriousness of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ, and because of our commitment to making him our all in all. The saints of old who they study about and appear to admire for their courage and faith they would reject today if they were with them live and in person. They would reject Jesus, too.

But we can’t let their rejection or ill treatment of us get us down or discouraged. We must persevere in being who God created us to be, and to keep doing what he has called us to do, even if everyone hates and rejects us, like they did Jesus.

Blessed Are You

An Original Work / August 29, 2012
Based off Luke 6:20-49 NIV 1984

“Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are poor for God’s kingdom is yours.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who are hungry, you’ll be satisfied.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
Who weep now, for you will laugh with joy.
Blessed are you; blessed are you
when men hate and reject you because of Christ.”

“Rejoice in that; rejoice in that day
And leap for joy; great your reward.
But I tell you; but I tell you
To love those who hate you; do them good.
Pray for those who; pray for those who
Treat you wrong and say kind things of them.
Do to others; do to others as you would
Have them do; have them do to you.”

“If you love those; if you love those
Who love you, what praise is there for you?
Because Christ is; because Christ is kind,
Be merciful, just like He is.
Forgive others; forgive others
Their offense against you; be ye kind.
Hear My words and; hear My words and
Put them into practice, then you’ll be fulfilled.”

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