Testing the spirits: the Spirit of the Truth vs the spirit of deception

(T.R.O.L - Truth, Obedience, Repentance & Love #7)

Fred R. Coulter—December 10, 2016

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{transcriber's note: news and updates left out of transcript for this series, about 15 minutes in}

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Today I'm going to do TROL #7: Truth, repentance, obedience and love. I'm going to show you how the Bible is put together. We will see the exact same pattern.

God does this, this is the way God always operates. How did God start out with Israel when they came to Mount Sinai. He said, 'Moses, you tell the children of Israel if they obey My voice, they will be a special people to Me and will be a nation of priests.' That sounds like a good idea. Everybody said yes. There was more to come.

He said to have them all ready the third day because 'I'm going to talk to them personally from the top of Mount Sinai.' So, He added more.

Whenever you say yes to God, we get more responsibility. He gave the Ten Commandments, and that scared them so much they said, 'Moses, don't have God speak to us any more, lest we die. You speak to God and we'll listen.' Uh-huh. But they didn't do it. Now they could blame a man.

God gave the Ten Commandments, because they said, 'Yes, we will do it.' Then God said, 'Moses, come on up here; I have some other things to give you. I have lesser laws.' Read the commandment:

  • You shall not commit adultery. Are there other details to that? 'Yes, I'm going to give them to you.'
  • Remember the Sabbath to keep it Holy. 'Yes, I'm going to give you some Holy Days, too.'
  • You shall not bear false witness. 'I'm going to tell you that you have to have honest weights and scale, honest witnesses.'

Everything that God does starts out simply. Just like when Jesus came. He said, 'Repent and believe the Gospel.' That's simple. What is the Gospel? The whole Bible!

Romans 1:18: "Indeed, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness…" Just because it doesn't come instantly doesn't mean it's not coming.

"…and unrighteousness of men who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness" (v 18). We have Truth in TROL.

Romans 2:4: "Or do you despise the riches of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the graciousness of God leads you to repentance?"

Verse 13: "Because the hearers of the law are not just before God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified"—obedience!

Rom. 2-4 are more detailed. Are the details important? Yes, that's why they're there!

Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith…" Let's just say one word about justification, very important to understand. Only through repentance and the blood of Jesus Christ can you be reconciled and justified to God. Nothing else justifies you—period! The doers shall be justified!

Notice this, how God does even in the world. Romans 2:14: "For when the Gentiles, which do not have the Law..." God didn't give it to them. He gave it to Israel. Israel was to bring it to the world and God said He would bless them in doing it. And they didn't do it, but partially

"…practice by nature the things contained in the Law, these who do not have the Law are a law unto themselves; who show the work of the Law written in their own hearts, their consciences bearing witness, and their reasonings also as they accuse or defend one another; in a day when God shall judge the secrets of men…" (vs 14-16).

What's the old saying? 'You can fool all of the people part of time; and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time.' But you can never fool God at any time!

Romans 5:1: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we ourselves boast in the hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also boast in tribulations, realizing that tribulation brings forth endurance" (vs 1-3).

So, when you have trials and difficulties, remember that. When you're going through a dark tunnel, you wonder why so many things aren't working right. That's when you turn to God and you will come out the other side.

There will be a time when through the worst trials you've been through, and after you've grown and overcome in grace and knowledge for a while, then it will dawn on you, just like turning a light bulb—that's why. Because 'all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.' That helps us build endurance.

Verse 4: "And endurance brings forth character, and character brings forth hope. And the hope of God never makes us ashamed because the love of God… [Truth, Repentance, Obedience and Love] …has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us. For even when we were without strength, at the appointed time Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, although perhaps someone might have the courage even to die for a good man. But God commends His own love…" (vs 6-8).

We love God; He loves us back. God even loves the world. He gave His only Begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him may have an opportunity for eternal life, may not die.

As Michael Heiss explained at the Feast of Tabernacles—sermon series: The Appointed Times—when God states something, it will be. Many times He doesn't tell us when. Many times He doesn't tell us how.

I'll use Michael's example: He says in Isaiah, 'I have saved Jacob,' past tense. Really? 'I want all men to be saved.' Really? That's why the world can't understand the Bible, because they don't know a single thing about the second resurrection!

To God, since we have the 'law of sin and death' in us, what does Paul say? 'We who were dead in sins and trespasses…' We're the walking dead. If you have the Spirit of God you have life! You're walking in the light and you have light.

Verse 8: "But God commends His own love to us because, when we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Truth, Repentance, Obedience and Love!

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1-John 4 is how far we've come with TROL. Also we have a book, The Seven General Epistles. We went through all seven epistles, verse-by-verse, word-by-word. It's in a book and there are 70 studies.

Like I said, God starts out with a little sentence, but you don't know all that comes afterwards.

1-John 4:1: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits…"

We're going to see something interesting here. Also. today beware of Messianic Jews and even Jonathan Cahn. He's got the name of a priest. He claims he's a Christian; he's not! He has the Jews meet in their meeting hall on Friday night and the Christians come in on Sunday.

If he were a true prophet of God—now he may be a half prophet of God in some things—but if he were a whole true prophet of God, he would tell the Gentiles to stop their Sunday-keeping. But he would lose too much money. You test them all.

"…whether they are from God…" (v 1)—or not. If they are not from God, who are they from? Satan the devil! Satan doesn't come as a fiery dragon when he first shows up. He doesn't come and breathe fire out. How did Paul say he comes? As an angel of light! 'I have something very good for you.' So, you test the spirits!

"…because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (v 1). What does this tell you? That those who preach contrary to the Word of God and are false prophets, get their inspiration, not from God, not from the Word of God! Remember that Satan can quote Scripture pretty accurately, partially. That means there is a demonic spirit.

There are many kinds of spirits. There are murdering spirits, sexual spirits, religious spirits that are so nice, so good, so kind and do such good works. There are many of them. It has to be as it says, 'To the Law and the Testimony. If they don't speak according to this word, it's because there is no light in them' (Isa. 8).

One other thing on Messianic Jews: they keep a 15th Passover. Jonathan Cahn keeps a 15th Passover.

The long and short is that you must have the Holy Spirit of God, and you must keep the Passover on the 14th day of the first month. If you don't have The Christian Passover book, you need to write for it. It's a big thick book—500 pages.

There was an evangelist from WCG that said, 'Why does such a simple subject need 500 pages?' Because there are so many false prophets out there with so many different ideas concerning it that it's crazy, to say nothing of these calendars. How many have heard of the lunar/Sabbath calendar? That is the most hideous evil thing in the world. They say that you look for the new moon. When you see it—and they never see it on the new moon day, they always see it on the second day—that's day one.

You count seven days and that's Sabbath. What if you see the new moon on a Wednesday? 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, Tuesday is Sabbath! 'We're from God.' You know there are people who believe it.

I'll have to tell one on myself. I get a lot of books. I read a lot of books. Like Patton said, 'You have to read your enemies' book so you know what he's doing.' I got the most astonishing book the other day and it is, The Greatest Lie on Earth. What do you suppose he thinks it is? The earth does not rotate! Freedom of speech.

People get hung up on things that are contrary to the Word of God and believe that they are part of the Word of God.

Verse 2: "By this test you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God." The Catholics believe in a form of Docetism.

Verse 3: "And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not from God. And this is the spirit of antichrist, which you heard was to come, and even now it is already in the world."

Those in the first century, until there was a lot of persecution, things were really going nice. Everything was going fine, similar to what we went through 35-40 years ago. Everything was going nice. We got a big college over here. We've got all these booklets. We have all these ministers. We have all these buildings. And 'everything is wonderful and fine.' But they didn't recognize the false prophets that came in. It got so corrupt that they forgot the Word of God. Whenever you get so corrupt, a little correction comes along; big time correction.

What happened? Some of you who are newer, you haven't experienced that, you'll experience later on. Hopefully not here, because we want to stay as faithful as we can.

Remember that with God the Father and Jesus Christ in you, you have direct access to Them all the time. The begettal of the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Like anything else, you have to grow in grace and knowledge. That's a full-time job.

The Sabbath is so special that He has set it aside so that everyone who comes before Him to worship, to study, to pray, to exalt Him, to read His Word, He's present! He's dwelling in those who have the Spirit of God! Can there be anything greater, better than that?

How much ministerial authority is needed if everyone is taught to be in good standing with God? Just enough to keep order and to keep the wolves out. That's about it.

When they were leasing the cars and they got all these Plymouths and they had Plymouth Fury III, one evangelist was saying, 'This is of God, because the cars we have are Plymouth Fury III. He thought he was the one to bring God's fury to the Church. That has nothing to do with God. God wants you to grow:

  • in grace
  • in knowledge
  • in understanding
  • in His Spirit
  • in His Truth
  • in His righteousness
  • to love one another

Remember one of the first things that Jesus said. 'If you love those who love you, you haven't done anything greater than the tax collectors.' We're all different, all different backgrounds, races and personalities, all created in the image of God. God loves every one of us. Christ and the Father—for those who are baptized—are in us, and those who are not, God's Spirit is with you, so you can understand. This is a tremendous thing.

Verse 4: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because greater is He Who is in you than the one who is in the world."

We need to have the greatest confidence, the greatest strength, the greatest understanding. We don't need to be afraid of anything. We need to be wise, so we don't do stupid things. I've done enough of those and you've done enough of those. But we don't have to be afraid.

Always remember that at the name of Jesus Christ all demons must go! Don't have to be afraid. God has given us the greatest promises, the greatest blessings, the greatest of everything that lies ahead of us. So, keep that in mind.

Verse 5: "They are of the world; because of this, they speak of the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God; the one who knows God listens to us; the one who is not of God does not listen to us. By this means we know the Spirit of the Truth and the spirit of the deception" (vs 5-6).

What did Jesus say of His words that He spoke to the apostles? 'The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you they are Spirit and they life.' That's why when you read and study the Bible, you pray to God, and you have the Spirit of God in you, you read and you get great understanding from reading the Word of God. Think of what the Bible is and what it does. It's the greatest book in the world:

  • it tells you who God is
  • it tells you what we are
  • it tells us where we're going
  • it helps us in time of trouble
  • it helps us in time of joy
  • it gives us the right direction
  • it helps us to be able to stay out of sin
  • it helps us to keep away from Satan the devil
  • it gives us understanding of God's plan

How many people know what God is doing in the world? If Jesse Watters, of Watters' World on Bill O'Reilly, went out… How many watch Watters World? The universe is God's. He put a microphone up and said, 'Why are you here and why were you born?' That would be interesting.

We are to know the spirit of deception, as well as the Spirit of Truth. I'm also sending out with this message, another one I did ten years ago, How to Heal a Broken Heart. Because when you were disillusioned because you put your trust in men instead of God, it ruined your life.

Why did Jesus come? He said He came to heal the brokenhearted. I listened to the sermon as I was thinking of doing it again, and I said, no, this has more in it than I could do right now.

In spite of all the circumstances, in spite of all the difficulties that you go through, in spite of whoever is against you—and sometimes you get so down that you think there is no way out. I've been there; you've been there. But God is always there!

Remember that God loves you—directly, personally—and has placed His Spirit of begettal within the spirit of your mind and has given you the Spirit of Christ to develop the mind of Christ so that you can have eternal life and be in the first resurrection and be the firstfruits of God forever and ever and ever! Never forget that! Doesn't matter what the difficulty may be. God isn't going to forget us.

If He knows how many hairs are on our head, or how few there are, if He knows a sparrow falls and we're worth more than a few sparrows—I hope I'm worth at least three sparrows, whatever—He loves you! Think what Jesus did.

Michael Heiss gave a good series at the Feast of Tabernacles: The Appointed Times. It's important to understand God loves you so much and the Father loves you so much that They had a covenant and agreement. I don't know when it was written in the Scroll of Truth in heaven.

What does it say in Heb. 10? 'In the scroll of a book it is written of Me.' God the Father and Jesus Christ had a covenant agreement, probably before the foundation of the world so that Christ created all human beings. Only His sacrifice in the flesh can possibly pay for the sins of all the world, because He's Creator of every human being and They love us!

That's not to brag or get lifted up in vanity or anything like that. But that's to understand the magnitude of what God has called us to and why we need to love each other in spite of all of our difficulties and faults.

You think you have faults, I have faults, everybody has faults. That's why Christ provided for us that when we pray every day, we ask God to forgive us for our sins. That's why, even after being baptized, your mind is not perfect. Well, it never was. Part of the process of overcoming is erasing and replacing. Erasing the evil that is lodged in there. If you don't think it is in there, I'll just try you right here:

'Coke is the real thing.' That's there. How many other things are there? A lot of them. How much advertising do you watch? You have to have your mind cleansed every day. Some of this is pretty rotten stuff.

Just to understand that the process of eliminating evil in your mind is bringing it to your remembrance again even though you are converted so you can repent of it! Sometimes there are things that are in there so deep that it takes a long time of repentance and study and overcoming, but that's all part of the process of growing and overcoming. This is why we're to love one another. We need each other. We need the support of each other.

Verse 7: "Beloved, we should love one another because love is from God; and everyone who loves has been begotten by God, and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God because God is love" (vs 7-8). Tremendous things here!

Verse 9: "In this way the love of God was manifested toward us… [and toward the whole world] …that God sent His only begotten Son into the world…" That was quite a thing. I did a sermon recently called, How Did God Do That? To give up His glory, to divest Himself of His power, to become a pinpoint of life in the womb of the virgin Mary, and receive in Him through Mary his mother the 'law of sin and death.'

Some people might say Christ had to be perfect. He was. He never sinned. But why did He have to have the 'law of sin and death' in Him? Rom. 8.

Since God created us, the one Who became Jesus Christ, and the 'law of sin and death' entered into Adam and Eve as the judgment from God because they decided that they would make their own choices without God. They ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I've got a letter coming out in the next mailing that shows what celebrates that event: Christmas! The Christmas tree is a celebration of the eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and that Satan is the god of this world.

Romans 8:1: "Consequently, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus… [though you're fighting and overcoming sin as discussed here in Rom. 7] …who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."

  • you're loving God
  • you're praying
  • you're studying
  • you do things that you should do

Verse 2: "Because the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has delivered me from the law of sin and death."

It doesn't mean He's removed the 'law of sin and death,' He's given you the power of the Holy Spirit so you can overcome the 'law of sin,' and overcome the 'law of death' at the resurrection. It's a process!

That's why Paul wrote in Rom. 7 one of the most complicated chapters in the Bible, because he uses the word law in about a dozen different ways in that one single chapter. The Protestants with the blinders over their eyes when they read this, they think God's done away with the Law.

Verse 3: "For what was impossible for the Law to do…" The Law can only state what should be done. It can't make you do anything.

Try this the next time you run a stop sign and you get a ticket. The officer comes, you roll down the window, and he said, 'Didn't you see the stop sign?' Officer, you know that stop sign should have made me stop! No law can make you do anything! You must choose to do what you do.

"…in that it was weak through the flesh, God, having sent His own Son in the likeness… [the exact sameness, 'homoiomati'] …of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (v 3).

How could He condemn sin in the flesh if He didn't have the 'law of sin and death' in Him? We know He had the 'law of death' in Him because He died. So if all of our sins are nailed to the cross, which they are, and if all sin comes because human beings have the 'law of sin and death,' which we do, and God put it in there as the judgment against Adam and Eve and it's passed to all children genetically, you can't escape it, it's part of you.

How could He be the perfect sacrifice for sin, as the Creator of all mankind, if He didn't take that upon Himself and never once sin? Never yielded to it, though He was tempted in every way like us. That's another one.

How could He be tempted like we are tempted if He didn't have the 'law of sin and death' in Him? How could He be tempted like we are tempted if He wasn't really all human? But having the Spirit of God from conception.

So, there's no condemnation for us. That's why we do sin more than we would like to admit. So, we have the deliverance, which is the Spirit of God and the Word of God, and repentance to remove the transgressions on a continuous basis. John writes that Jesus' sacrifice is the propitiation, the continual atoning for our sins. That's amazing.

Because of that, because God has loved us, we need to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and being and love each other.

1-John 4:8: "The one who does not love does not know God because God is love. In this way the love of God was manifested toward us: that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this act is the love… [that's the way it is in the Greek—the love] …not that we loved God… [so we say, 'Oh, God, look at how smart I am, I found You] …rather, that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also are duty-bound…" (v 8-11).

It's not if you want to, you must! Duty-bound: that's what the Greek means. Same word used for foot-washing. 'If I've done it to you, you are duty-bound…'

How much is there for us to learn? Lots. I think about it all the time. I am still learning. Read, study, go over it again. Then things start coming together.

It's just like a building. You put up the frame. You can't say, 'I've finished the house.' So you put up the insulation on the outside. You can't say, 'I've finished the house.' Where's the electricity? You have to have that in there, have to have the doors, windows, roof, chimney, stairways, carpets, paint, and all of that sort of thing.

Then after you have lived there awhile, then you see all the mistakes you did. Then you go back and redo it. I love that one commercial where they are looking to remodel. The guy comes in with this big sledgehammer, smashes in the wall. That's what God does to us, too, smash in the wall. You have to do it differently.

The reason I'm sending out this sermon, How to Heal a Broken Heart, is because we have all suffered heart-rending deep wounds because of the things that have transpired in the Church. So did the first century brethren. What do you think they went through when how many were still believing that John was going to be alive until Jesus came. Then when John died, the apostasy took off like a bunch of horses in a chariot race. We've got to have the strength so none of that happens. Love each other!

Verse 12: "No one has seen God at any time. Yet, if we love one another, God dwells in us…" Think about that for a minute. He talks in 1-John 3 about hating. God has brought us together with some people that we would be very disagreeable with. I am one of them. The only way you really learn love is that you learn to have forbearance and understanding of the individual. That's why we pray for each other.

Not say, 'O God, I can't stand that person over there. Why don't you change him for me?' God's answer is, 'Why don't you get up off your knees and find out about that person and maybe love that person a little bit and learn to love him even more. Maybe you'll have a different attitude.'

The spirit-killer is resentment, hatred and bitterness! You can read about that in the book of Proverbs.

"…if we love one another, God dwells in us, and His own love is perfected in us" (v 12). When did God love the sinners? When they were still sinners, not necessarily unto salvation unless He calls them.

The way God loves everybody in the world today is that He gives them air, food, water and the things necessary for life. They are able to procreate and bring children into the world after their own likeness, after their own kind, according to God's genetics that He has. There is no respecter of persons with God for that.

He provides everything for food. Think about this. If you want a logistical problem, think about how you would provide food for 7.25-billion people in the world every single day. God does it automatically. Takes care of the air, takes care of the water, takes care of all the birds, fish and everything else. All for mankind, even though sinning and warring, killing, fighting and all of that. God has called us out of that. So, this is important. That's why we need God dwelling in us.

"…and His own love is perfected in us" (v 12). Perfection is a process! If you're building something and you want it perfect, you keep working at it until it's perfect. Nine times out of ten after you get it and you think it's perfect, you see something that needs to be changed. All of us who have gray hair—dyed or not, makes no difference—we all know that we do not think today like we did when we were younger. Isn't that true?

Most everyone growing up when they are 30 look back and see that their parents were a whole lot smarter than they thought they were when they were 16. Isn't that true?

Likewise with us, love is perfected. What if you have a hard time overcoming to love a certain person? Keep praying about it, keep working on it and don't give up. God doesn't give up on us because we sin, which we do.

As we read in the first part of the epistle of John. He says, 'If anyone sins, we have Jesus Christ the Righteous as the propitiation for our sins and if we confess our sins, He is righteous to forgive us.' (1-John 1). Maybe the person you don't care doesn't care for you. Now you have a real good combination here.

It's perfected! Because you don't have it, it must come from God and it is spiritual and you must stay close to God and increase in the Spirit.

Verse 13: "By this standard we know that we are dwelling in Him, and He is dwelling in us: because of His own Spirit, which He has given to us." That is quite a statement.

What happens if you're reading the Scripture and you don't understand it? You get on your knees, open your Bible, study on it, pray and ask God, 'Help me to understand.' The understanding may not come all at once, but He will help you understand. God's Spirit will lead us!

Rom. 8 is very important for us to understand. Ever heard of the book Extreme Ownership, by Navy seals Jocko Willink & Leif Babin? Whatever you do, you own. You don't do like the Democrats: he did it, she did it, they did it!

What did Adam and Eve do in the Garden of Eden? 'Lord, you let this serpent in here.' Then God asked Adam, 'Why did you eat?' Adam said, 'It's Your fault, God, you gave me this wife.'

Extreme ownership is you own everything you do. If you do something not right, you admit it. There may be circumstances, but you own it. They advise corporations this way: they go teach corporations and say, 'The only way a corporation is going to succeed is if everybody who is working has the overall goal in mind of what the corporation's goal is. You all work together for that.' So likewise, now here we are.

Romans 8:14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God… [not necessarily in the male gender] …Now, you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear… [that's what it was in the world] …but you have received the Spirit of sonship… [you belong to God] …whereby we call out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God. Now, if we are children, we are also heirs—truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ…" (vs 14-17). Think of that!

He's going to give us part ownership in the Kingdom of God, which then will include the whole universe. There's nowhere that you can go that you can get anything that even comes close to this kind of promise that is given.

"…if indeed we suffer together with Him, so that we may also be glorified together with Him" (v 17).

Wonder what it's going to be like when we're born again and the angel's taking us up in the air and putting us on the Sea of Glass. All of us are there. We're all going to have one language, because we'll communicate with everyone.

God will say, 'All right now, you're a spirit being. Here is your first lesson in showing your glory. Everyone do this.' Then on the Sea of Glass here's all this glory, the sons of God in the first resurrection, all the glory. Down on earth they're going to look up and say, 'What is that?'

Look at it this way: What we will become compared to what we are is like we are today still no bigger than a speck of dust! Think of the promise.

"…are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us" (v 18).

Scriptural References:

  • Romans 1:18
  • Romans 2:4, 13
  • Romans 5:1
  • Romans 2:14-16
  • Romans 5:1-8
  • 1-John 4:1-9
  • Romans 8:1-3
  • 1-John 4:8-13
  • Romans 8:14-18

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Isaiah 8
  • Hebrews 10
  • Romans 7
  • 1-John 3; 1

Also referenced:


  • How to Heal a Broken Heart
  • How Did God Do That?

Sermon Series: The Appointed Times (Michael Heiss)

  • The Seven General Epistles by Fred R. Coulter
  • The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter
  • The Greatest Lie on Earth by Edward Hendrie
  • Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Transcribed: 12-27-16
Formatted: bo—12/29/16

Copyright 2016—All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes, no part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner. This includes electronic and mechanical photocopying or recording, as well as the use of information storage and retrieval systems.