1 John 4:2 New American Standard Bible
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;
One of the major ways to detect a false teacher is to find out what they believe about Jesus Christ. Here John is focusing on those who teach against the full humanity of Jesus Christ. When we examine the gospels, it is clear that Jesus came in the flesh.
When we examine the virgin birth, we find that the angel Gabriel came and told Mary that she was chosen by God to carry the Messiah. That the Spirit of God would come upon her. She would become pregnant before ever knowing a man, and the child she would carry would be the long-awaited Messiah of the line of David. These are the words the angel spoke to Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:30-33).
Because the Holy Spirit would come upon Mary the child would be known as the Son of God. He would be fully God and fully man. The Spirit of God used the physical egg of Mary to bring forth Jesus. Jesus developed inside the womb of Mary like any other child. She went through the full nine months of pregnancy.
Those who were false teachers in John’s day and false teachers in our day will always attack the truths found in Jesus Christ. Jesus said I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). Jesus is the foundation that everything is built upon. Once you begin to doubt the truth found in Christ it will begin to cripple and destroy one’s faith. Satan’s desire is always to separate us from fellowship with Almighty God. In the garden of Eden, he tempted Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit which God told them not to, as a result they were separated from God and removed from the garden. Today he still uses lie and deception to destroy the fellowship that a child of God has with their Father in Heaven.
Two clear ways to detect a false teacher is not only to examine what is being taught against scripture, but to also examine the fruit of their lives. Jesus told us to beware of false prophets who come as wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15-17). False teachers may seem harmless and may even claim they represent and speak for God. But they are no different than the enemy. For Satan comes as an angel of light to deceive (2 Cor 11:14).
This is why we should not take anything at face value. Everything must be questioned and examined. We must be like the Bereans who diligently searched the scriptures after they heard the apostle Paul to determine what was being preached truly aligned with the word of God (Acts 17:11).
It is important to understand that the schemes and purposes of Satan have not changed. They are simply presented under different names. The key to victory in the Christian life is knowing the word of God. Building our lives are the scriptures and being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. When we understand the value and beauty of God’s word, we will prioritize our lives around time spent in the scriptures and prayer. Fellowship with God will become the number one priority and it is when this happens that we truly become a threat to the enemy and become effective for God’s kingdom.