Prepositions are very important in giving an accurate understanding of thought. Particularly is this true when it comes to Scripture. We are going to study a few verses of Scripture in this message using the Greek word ek, which means “out” or “out of”. This is probably one of the more familiar Greek words to Christians. For example, the Greek word translated “church” in the New Testament is ekklesia. It is a compound word, ek-klesia. Klesia = called, and ek = out. Thus the Church is “the called out”. The members of the Body of Christ are called “out of” the world and into the Kingdom of God.
Ek is not always translated “out of” in our Bibles. Often it is simply translated “of”, which is very close but not the same as “out of”. Sometimes it is translated “from”, which is even more off center. Here is an example. In John 8:42 Jesus said, “I came from God.” The Greek, though, doesn’t say that He came from God. It says that He “came out of God.” That gives a different thought entirely. To say that He came from God leans toward the idea of separation, that He is here on earth and God is still in heaven. On the other hand, to say that He “came out of God” means that they are one, that He did not just leave God and come to earth. That is why He also has the name Emmanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
Next we are going to look at some verses in the first Epistle of John where the Greek word ek is found. I think we will find it quite enlightening.
I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of (ek) God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Notice that John doesn’t say to test the prophets but to test the spirits. False prophets are able to present themselves as ministers of righteousness, outwardly they look very much like men of God. The only sure way of recognizing a false prophet is to test his spirit, which means you will need to be spiritual enough to discern what is not obvious. The average Christian would not be able to do that. What a person is in his spirit is expressed in what he does and says. A false prophet, though, has a religious spirit that is able to feign righteousness. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. II Corinthians 11:13-15. This cannot be emphasized too much. Christians that do not become spiritually mature do not realize how easily they can be deceived.
Believe not every spirit. Every spirit speaks – not words, but emanations or vibrations of what they are, and they are very good at covering up their true nature. If you are not very sensitive in your spirit, you will think it is the Spirit of the Lord. It takes a very sharp discernment to differentiate between a religious spirit and the Holy Spirit. Test the spirit! Hidden within his masquerade is his true nature. The Spirit of the Lord is (ek) “out of” God. The false spirit is a religious spirit, which is not “out of” God. John then says, “Many false prophets have gone forth into the world.” And I would say, “There are many more false prophets today than there was then!” Don’t just read this and forget it. Do something about it. Set your heart to become spiritually mature. Spiritual immaturity among Christians is an age-old problem. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the Word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14.
Try the spirits whether they are “out of” (ek) God. You remember our reference to John 8:42 where Jesus said, “I came out of God.” So the test is to determine if the spirit is “out of” God. The important thing is for you to learn how to discern the Spirit of God. Surprisingly, many Christians can’t. The key to discerning that which is not of God is to be able to discern God’s presence. If you are just trying to discern false spirits, you won’t make much progress. Learn how to discern the Spirit of the Lord and then you will recognize the false spirit because of the contrast. That is why John said to test the spirits whether they are out of God. He did not say to test them to see if they are out of Satan.
I John 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is ek (out of) God.
John is not talking about some demonic spirit floating around in the air. He is talking about the spirit in a man. Is it a spirit out of God or not? Is the man a man of God or not? We need to know because many false prophets are gone forth into the world. The test is not to ask “Did Jesus Christ come in the flesh?” If you have to ask that question, you are not spiritual enough to know the truth when an answer is given. What is being confessed by the spirit of the man? The confession is the emanations or vibrations coming forth from the spirit in question. Unless you are spiritual enough to discern the spirit you won’t know. Demonic spirits know that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and will say so (Matthew 8:29). You can ask the question and they will lie to you, but regardless of what they say they cannot stop the emanations of what they are. So the question really comes down to this: Are you spiritual enough to discern the emanations and vibrations of the spirit? Only then will you know for sure.
I John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not ek (out of) God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Many Christians will not be able to discern the spirit of a man to know if he is “out of” God or of an antichrist spirit. The simple truth is that many Christians, and I also speak of the clergy, are more under the influence of an antichrist spirit than they are of the Spirit of God. In this case, what are they speaking? The reference John makes of Jesus Christ coming in the flesh is not referring to the past or to the future. He is not asking if Jesus Christ came in the flesh of the Nazarene, but is He coming in the flesh, present tense? The antichrist spirit will not teach the present coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. It will teach about Jesus the Nazarene of the Gospels and they will teach about the Jesus who will return sometime in the future, but they will not teach Christ coming forth in the flesh of man in the present. And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
I John 4:4 Ye are ek (out of) God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Those to whom John is writing he calls “little children.” They are not little children naturally but little children in that they are born “out of” God and are growing spiritually. They are not yet spiritual adults but they are becoming. They are not babes in Christ because they have matured enough to have overcome the antichrist spirit. That means they have not been polluted by the spirit of the world.
Christ is in them, and their submission to His Lordship makes Him greater in them than he that is in the world. One should not assume that just because he is a Christian that the Christ in him is greater than the antichrist spirit of the world. That is determined by your submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and your rejection of your self-life. The Christ in some Christians is quite weak. If you are lacking in your submission to His Lordship, then His authority and strength in you is weak. Jesus speaks of this in the parable of the sheep and goats.
In this particular parable Jesus separates Christians into two groups called sheep and goats. The Christian’s ministry determined which group he was in. To the sheep-Christian Jesus said, “When I was hungry, you fed Me; when I was thirsty, you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and in prison and you visited Me” (Matthew 25:35-36). The goat-Christians didn’t minister to Christ in that way and that is why they were called goats. To understand this parable properly we must realize Christ was describing Himself as He is in some Christians. The Christ in some is hungry and needs to be fed the Word of life. The sheep-Christian fed the hungry Christ in his brothers and sisters. Some Christians were without the robes of righteousness – the Christ in them was naked. In some He was imprisoned and sick. The Christ in them was not greater than he that is in the world.
He that is in the world is already in you before you become a Christian, and becoming a Christian doesn’t automatically mean that He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world. You are the world and when Christ begins coming forth in you then the work begins of Him becoming greater than your world. This is what John the Baptist meant when he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Your submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ determines whether He is greater in you than he that is in the world, not whether you are a Christian or not. The fact is, far too many Christians are influenced more by the antichrist spirit of the world than they are by the Lord Himself. These children John is writing to have overcome the spirit of the world.
Verse 5 They are ek (out of) the world: therefore speak they ek (out of) the world, and the world heareth them.
The false ministers are of the world. Therefore, what they speak is of the world, and the world hears them. They sound good to worldly people. They also sound good to worldly Christians.
Verse 6 We are ek (out of) God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not ek (out of) God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit or error.
Connect this verse with verse 2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. Also Romans 8:16. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God.
Those who are of (ek) the world cannot hear the Christ in another and do not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. To them the coming of Jesus Christ is only future.
Copyright © 2005 by Henry DuBose