Description / Transcription
And Jesus said unto them, if you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. O Lord, we come now as Your disciples, praying that You would give us grace to abide in Your Word, to know the truth, and to live in the freedom of that truth. Keep us from error, keep us from the evil one, keep us from the spirit of the antichrist. Lead us to Jesus, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Our text this morning is in 1 John, chapter 4, continuing with this series. 1 John, chapter 4, looking at the first 6 verses, toward the end of the Bible before you get to Jude and Revelation, you have these three letters of John. 4th chapter of his first letter.
We read beginning at verse 1: “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. 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.”
Sometimes the bad guys are easy to spot. We’ve all read books, seen shows, movies. Often it’s those aimed at kids, but even adventure stories for adults. Sometimes you can very easily, from the very beginning, you know who the bad guys are. If they have very angular eyebrows, pointing down, that’s often an indication. If you meet them with a dark, hooded robe and a hood over their head and they have sort of a hook nose, bad, creepy music in the background, and one of the sure dead giveaways, British accents. Very posh or very evil.
Watched the movies, read the books. You know, and we love The Chronicles of Narnia but you just want to scream out at the page or the screen, “Don’t take the Turkish Delight from the White Witch. Can’t you tell she’s bad?” Senator Palpatine has evil emperor written all over his face and I’m not an expert, but I’m guessing that the house of Slytherin has some bad people in it.
Separating the good guys from the bad guys is not always that easy in real life. Truth and error are not always obvious.
Verse 1 here says we are to test the spirits. Now it’s not, it is supernatural, but it’s not in a sort of haunted house, spirits floating around. It is to test the spirit of the age, to test the things that you’re hearing and seeing and believing. How can we be discerning Christians? How do we develop Romans 12 the renewal of our mind? How do we have the right attitude of the heart? Very simply, how can we tell what is true and what is not?
We live in a day, lots of people use that language of misinformation, disinformation, or fake news. How do you know what’s real and what’s fake?
Well, the Bible is ultimately to answer that question for us, and these verses in particular are meant to help us. I want you to see five realities we must have in place if we are to be wise, discerning Christians as you go out and do, I hope, what verse 1 tells you to do, to test the spirits. Here’s a test every Christian must take. You can’t have somebody else take it for you. You can have lots of people help you, but you have to test the spirits. How do you do that? Here are five realities if we are to be faithful, biblical, discerning Christians.
Here’s number one. It’s maybe not the most important, but it is the one that without which none of the others will make sense. You have to have this first reality in place. Number one – we must have the category of false teaching. All of these five points are going to have a “C” word, so that first one “category.”
You see in verse 1 – do not believe every spirit, test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone into the world. Do not believe everything you hear. There are many false prophets.
This is not just something we read in 1 John. It is a constant refrain. We’ve already heard it from the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 18. Listen now in the New Testament. Jesus, Matthew 7, “beware of false prophets who some to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
Mark 13 – false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders.
So Jesus said there’s going to be people, they even do miracles to lead astray, if possible, the elect.
Acts 20, Paul’s sermon there to the elders from Ephesus on the island of Miletus. He says: Be careful, pay attention to yourself and to all the flock, to care for the Church of God. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, and from among your own selves.
See, it’d be one thing if he just said “be careful, some people are going to try to sneak in.” Well, they have already snuck in, he says, there will be some people among yourselves. Now maybe he means in your very own church or he may just mean within the Christian community, there will be people who say a lot of the right things, they go by the right name, they even can do amazing things, and they are wolves speaking twisted things to draw away the disciples after them.
Or 2 Peter chapter 2, false prophets arose among the people just as there will be false teachers among you who will secretly bring in destructive heresies.
Now just pause for a moment. Think about the language of Scripture. Now I know these are English translations of the Greek, but this is a part of a long tradition going back to at least the King James and some of this biblical language. It’s important. One of the reasons to read your Bible every day is without realizing it you start to imbibe biblical terms, biblical categories, because if you’re not in the Bible, these things, these verses I just read, they sound weird and offensive.
False prophets, false teachers, wolves, heresies. People do not like that language. You can just imagine somebody on the split screen on one of the new shows and there’s the Christian representative and he describes something as a false prophet, the spirit of the antichrist, wolves. You can just see almost the scrawl at the bottom would be “crazy person spouts crazy nonsense.” Worse than nonsense. People will hate it.
Now it’s true. Let me add some guardrails, it’s true Christians can throw around the language too quickly. Not everyone who gets something wrong, praise God, is a false teacher. Not every mistake is heresy. Not everyone who disagrees with something in the Westminster Standard is in this category, of course. We need to be careful and cautious with this language, but the language is in the Bible. It’s supposed to get your attention. It’s supposed to feel like a slap across the face.
When we don’t use the Bible’s strong language, we’re not giving to each other the sort of strong warnings. Why is that if there’s some poison that’s under your kitchen sink that you use to clean or disinfect, it will have in all capital letters “warning, keep away from children, do not drink.” Maybe it even has a skull, something that looks very scary that shouts at you, “This is dangerous.” You can change the wrapping and you can put pretty butterflies on it and it doesn’t change what’s inside. What have you done when you change the label? You’ve only made the poison more dangerous.
There’s a reason this language is in Scripture. Now people don’t like these categories, and if you use them, false prophet, false teacher, destructive heresies, wolves, this passage we’ll come to, the spirit of the antichrist. Come on, this is extreme. People will call you a heresy hunter, give you the “F” word, fundamentalist. They’ll say your language is abusive.
Again, we use the language cautiously, sparingly. People can use it inappropriately, but sometimes it is the right language. It’s possible you go through your whole Christian life never considering there are actually false teachers who bring in destructive heresies. That would be monumentally foolish and unwise. Like if you were working for the United States government during the Cold War or probably at any time but during the Cold War and you had no concept that someone else might be a spy and you’re working for the CIA and you don’t realize there might be double spies and that person who’s close to you might actually be a secret agent. If you don’t live with some of that reality, you’re going to get yourself and others in trouble.
Do you believe everything you hear? You say, “I read it on the internet.” Well, nothing ever been wrong on the internet.
Well, maybe more alluringly you might think to yourself, “But the person who said it, she’s really nice. He’s a great guy. Or you know what? He really says he loves Jesus.” Sometimes we’re drawn to people’s gifts when they don’t have the fruit, or to their talent when they don’t have matching holiness.
Perhaps this is the most common category of false teaching in our day: I feel therefore I am. This I believe will bring me greater fulfillment, greater happiness. If the argument in the Reformation was about Sola Scriptura, scripture alone, the argument today is against Sola Experencia, experience alone. If I experience it, if I feel it, if I think it makes me feel better, I ought to go and live out my own truth. Live your own truth. Be true to yourself.
Did you know that according to TikTok there is something going on over these months called Rat Girl Summer? You say, “Pastor, are you on TikTok?” No, I read this in The Washington Post. TikTok has spread this and I guess this happens over summers. There’s this kind of summer. This is Rat Girl Summer. Why would you want to do Rat Girl Summer? The idea is you live like a rat, meaning you don’t have to care about how you look, you don’t have to do diets. Okay, maybe there’s something that is good in that kind of freedom. But then the idea is women, you explore your passions, you do whatever you feel like, you let whimsy run amok. You’re like a rat. Don’t overthink it, just go out there, whatever you look like, whatever you want to do. You want to steal a piece of pizza from the gutter? Just go and do it. Whatever whimsy tells you to do, follow that urge. As one website put it, be free and do what you want. No thoughts, just do.
What better synopsis, not just of a summer for Rat Girls, but of the very spirit of our age? And lest anyone who’s old, which is all of you older than me, think that that’s just young people on TikTok, no, all of us are drawn to this kind of spirit of the age – go with your intuition. No thoughts, just do. Be free and do what you want. Live out your truth.
See, many of us don’t even have a category. Verse 1 doesn’t even make sense. We read in the Bible, okay, I’ve heard that, but we really don’t live as if there is truth, like truth that is true at all times and all places, always has been, always will be, and there are things that are errors no matter where you are, who you are, and how it makes you feel. Truth and error. Test the spirits. Are you going through your life testing the spirits of the age?
If you’re going to buy a house, you go and have an inspection. You’re going to walk through it. You’re going to look at as many pictures as you can. If you buy a car, you want to test drive that car. If you’re smart, you have somebody who knows something about cars, not me, inspect the car. Take it to a mechanic. If you’re picking out where to go to college, you want to go and you want to visit that school. You want to ask some questions. You are testing.
Yet so often when it comes to the things that the world gives us, we just, oh, that’s good, makes sense, that’s what I should look like, that’s what I should feel, that’s what I should do, that’s what I should watch.
Test the spirits. If the rest of these verses are going to make sense, you have to get verse 1. We must have a category of truth and error. False teaching and true teaching.
Here’s the second point. Not only a category, but we must have clarity about the person of Jesus Christ. This is what we see in verses 2 and 3.
Now let me hasten to add this is given to a specific group of believers in a specific context. This isn’t saying that this is the only criteria of truth or that as long as somebody just says “Jesus, hey, you like Jesus?” “Yep, like Jesus.” “Okay, whatever you say is good.” No, this is speaking to a particular issue. We might say a proto-Gnostic heresy, whether they were full-blown gnosticism at this point in the first century or not.
What do I mean by that? Well, notice the wording here: “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” Now we’re used to the objection being that Jesus would be God, but here the objection seems to be that Jesus Christ was actually a man, because this kind of proto-Gnosticism saw the world in stark dualism, spirit good/physical stuff bad. So they could fully believe that God had come to earth, but what was difficult was God come to earth in the flesh. So when it says “Jesus Christ in the flesh,” the objection here is likely not so much that Jesus Christ could be God, okay, I can get that, but that this Jesus Christ who is God came to earth in human flesh. That seems wrong, that seems dirty.
The point is this is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian. Now there’s more we need to say, but we must never say less than this. Who is Jesus? What has He done?
Roughly speaking, I’ll give you a 2-minute church history course, roughly speaking there were four kinds of heresies around the person of Christ that developed in the first four centuries.
One is Arianism, it’s probably the one that some of you have heard of, in the fourth century and Arius said Christ is not fully divine. Think of Arianism, Christ is not fully divine. Not divine in the same way as the Father.
Another heresy, really a group of heresies, called Docetism, from the Greek word “dokein” which means “to seem.” Docetism has some relation to what we see here. The Docetists said Christ only seemed to be human. So if Arianism said Christ is not fully God, Docetism, which is sort of a blanket term, would say Christ was not fully man.
Then in the fourth and fifth centuries there’s something called Nestorianism after a man named Nestorius, who denied the union of the two natures. He said yes, there’s God and man in Christ, but it’s sort of God coming along side man. There’s not a union.
Then following Nestorianism, once the Church deals with that, there’s something called Eutychianism, and this is the confusion of the two natures. So like yellow and blue mix together and you have green. It’s a tertium quid, that’s Latin for a third thing. That’s kind of how they thought of Christ. It wasn’t two natures unconfused, it was yellow and it was blue mixed together and then you got this third thing called Christ. It’s not quite human, not quite divine.
In a nutshell, those are the four ways and still are the four major ways you can get the person of Christ wrong. Is He fully divine? Arianism says no. Is He fully human? Docetism says no. Is there a real union of the two natures? Nestorianism says no. Is the union of the two natures without mixture and confusion? Eutychianism said no.
You say, “Well, that’s a lot of isms.” Think of a bridge. God, man. You need a bridge that goes across God and man. Arianism is like a bridge that goes all the way to man but it stops this short of connecting to God. He’s not fully divine like the Father. That’s Arianism.
Docetism is on the other side. The bridge connects all the way to God, doesn’t quite, He’s not really fully man.
Then if you want to say that Nestorianism is sort of like God and man but there’s a gap, the bridge doesn’t quite connect. There’s not a union of the two natures.
And Eutychianism where there’s a confusion is like a bridge that is floating in the middle, doesn’t quite reach God, doesn’t quite reach man, because it’s something else.
The person of Christ is that doctrine, and there are others, but that doctrine upon which Christianity must be founded. So there’s a reason that verse 2 and 3, even though these heresies are centuries in the future, the seeds of all these things have always been present.
Notice the language. Every spirit, verse 3, that does not confess Jesus.
So “confess” here we’re talking about not just a private belief but something that is open and public, a declaration of Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us, fully human, fully divine. A public confession.
Why is that important? Because there is, and there always have been, some Christian voices out there, and maybe you even see this out in the interwebs, they may say “I haven’t changed any of my formal theology” and somewhere up in the attic of their mind they have an orthodox statement of faith, but they don’t seem to be talking about Jesus anymore. It’s not what animates them, it’s not what their passion is, to talk about the person and the work of Jesus Christ. Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course I believe all that, but it’s something else.
Or there are people who will talk about the teachings of Jesus and kind of the good vibes of Jesus, but they don’t want to get too particular about the person and the work of Jesus, a public confession.
We have to be mindful in these days when so many fundamental truths, truths of western civilization, truths that if you’re old enough, you scratch your head and you think, “I cannot believe that we’re arguing about this. I can’t believe that this is the world that we live in.” Yes, when so many fundamental things are being challenged, we will find helpful voices for lots of different quarters, but you need to be mindful that even some people who may get some very important things right. If they are not confessing Jesus Christ, God with us, let that person not be your guru.
Should I name some names just to make it uncomfortable? Jordan Peterson says a lot of helpful things. I bet some of you listen to him, read his books. Ben Shapiro. These guys get some things right. They’re courageous on some things. Neither of them, you could pray, neither of them to my knowledge confess Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior for sinners. Am I saying don’t listen to them? Don’t read them? Of course not. We learn from all sorts of different people. But it does mean you just have to be aware, is the main diet? This is what I’m drawn to with all of my time, all of my heart, all of my energy.
It might be a mommy blogger, who’s a Mormon. It might be some influencer out there. You learn a lot of stuff about parenting and your home. It might be business books that you read that give you some really helpful tools for thinking about sales. You can learn from all of that. We’re not hiding our head in the sand, as if Christians are the only people who have anything helpful to say in the world.
But we have to be mindful of what is giving us our worldview, our head, and even more importantly, our heart. We must be careful if the most important voices filling your heads and your hearts, day after day, do not confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. See, everything here revolves around the Son. We saw in chapter 2 our confession or denial of the Son indicates whether we have the Father. Here we see our confession or denial of the Son indicates whether we have the Spirit. Those who deny the Son, s-o-n, have neither the Father nor the Spirit.
Notice this language. It’s striking language, in verse 3: “This is the spirit of the antichrist.” You say, “Pastor, is there someone coming who is the Antichrist?” Stick around. Starting in the fall I’m going to preach through Revelation, so we’ll, I almost said “answer all your questions,” but surely we won’t do that, some of your questions.
But here notice the antichrist is not given as some particular person, but as a spirit. That is, as a manifestation of what is false and in error. The antichrist, in other words, listen carefully, is not about serial numbers on your forehead, it’s not about microchips in your skin, it’s not even about the latest news from the nation of Israel. This spirit of the antichrist is whatever confuses you about Christ, what diminishes your affection for Christ, what leads you away from worshiping Christ.
That makes sense. The anti-Christ. Whatever spirit manifests in a man, a woman, a system, a government, an expectation. That system or person which leads your head and heart away from Christ is the spirit of the antichrist.
So one, we must have a category for false teaching. Two, we must have clarity about the person of Jesus Christ.
It is worth considering not only to think, “Have I in recent years become more incensed with things falling apart in our culture?” Many things, and they should cause us grief because they’re grievous. Or have I had a new passion and affection for things of the political sphere? Well, we need Christians in all of those, but you ought to ask yourself this question: Have I in recent years grown in my understanding and my love and my affection and my worship for the Lord Jesus Christ? Any other direction is the spirit of the antichrist.
Third, and we’ll move through these more quickly, we must be conquered by the Spirit. Category, then second clarity about the person of Christ, and now conquered by the Spirit.
This is verse 4. This should be encouraging: “Little children, you are from God.”
You might have read through verses 1 through 3 and think this is really scary. This is daunting. I’m not a very smart person. I haven’t had all the, I don’t have all the learning. How am I going to do this? I’m going to fall for things hook, line, and sinker, and John says, “No, little children,” verse 1, “I want you to remember who you are. Your children of your heavenly Father. You’re not strangers, you’re not orphans, you are from God, and you have overcome them and He who is in you,” which may be the Holy Spirit, may be Christ, in some way it’s immaterial because the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
You have not the spirit of the antichrist, I think that’s the contrast, verse 4, but you have the Spirit of Christ. That’s what it means to be spiritual. Someone who’s vaguely interested in angels or the spiritual realm or UFOs is not by the Bible’s definition spiritual. I know how we use that word, sort of I’m interested in the mysterious and the unexplainable, I’m open to miracles, but biblically that’s not spirituality. False teachers are not spiritual. Heretics are not spiritual. Preachers peddling something other than the Gospel are not spiritual. True spirituality only exists where there is the Spirit and the Holy Spirit is always a spirit of truth. A spirit of truth.
If you’ve been around the Church for a while and you’ve been to Bible studies and some of you have had Christian education, you probably have some pretty good instincts. Yeah, I get things wrong, you get things wrong, but you likely know more than you think. Test the spirits. Don’t give up on important doctrinal matters just because smart people disagree. You want to know what important doctrine smart people don’t disagree on? None of them. Open your Bibles, pray for illumination. Yes, we need good teachers, God gifts to us teachers, Ephesians 4. We need the wisdom of the Church through the ages, that’s why we believe in the value of creeds and confessions and Catechisms, but most importantly you have this Spirit of God in you and the book which the Spirit of God has inspired. Read that book. Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
We must be conquered by the Spirit.
Fourth. We must not be caught off guard when error is popular.
Look at verse 5: “They are from the world, therefore they speak from the world and the world listens to them.”
Here are three things to remember about false prophets in this verse. Number one, they’re from the world. No matter they’re outward allegiance, they may have sheep’s clothing, but they come from the world. That’s where they belong.
Number two, John says, they speak from the world. That’s their mindset. They don’t view things from God’s perspective. They don’t have a holy triune God. They don’t put the Word of God first. They don’t take sin seriously. They have no concept of heaven or hell. Their frame of reference is something other than the Bible. So they are from the world, they speak from the world.
So the third point should not be surprising – the world listens to them.
Why wouldn’t the world listen to them? It sounds familiar. It sounds good. You think, hey, that’s a religion I can get into. Why? Because I’m a worldly person, that’s a worldly prophet, coming from the world, saying worldly things. It tickles their ears. It reflects their perspective. We must not be surprised, we must not be caught off guard.
I understand it’s discouraging. It’s discouraging to think that 1500 years of a kind of Christian consensus in the West seems to be disappearing. Most parts of Europe it has disappeared. Here in the South it takes a little longer, but it is probably disappearing.
Do not be caught off guard. Do not think, well, then I guess church has got to change everything that it believes. Well, yeah, that’s one way to do it, and he who marries the spirit of the age becomes a widow in the next. You can look at just lots of bursting liberal churches, can’t you? Just overflowing, tons of young people, exploding at the seams, who decided we’re going to give a message that worldly people want to hear. And it doesn’t work, but it seems tempting. It may get you something in the short-term. So, brothers and sisters, we must not be caught off guard. You must not be caught off guard at school, at work, even I hate to say it, with some of your family and friends. Of course, they do not like what the Bible has to say. They do not like what Jesus has to say.
I have a sister who lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She has even more kids than I do. It’s crazy. Her husband is a pastor at an OPC church and because my sister is, was, a DeYoung, she inherited what has often been something of a curse and that is to root for the Chicago Bears. This year it’s all turning around, I tell you. They live in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They put their pictures on Facebook of all their kids at school with all their Bear stuff, and the Bears have not been good against the Packers for a long time. It takes a lot of guts, they wear those.
Now when you wear Bears shirts in Green Bay, Wisconsin, do you expect people to like you? Now they have friends, they’re doing fine, but do you expect that people would say, “Wow, Bears stuff? Great.” It’s like showing up with Crimson Tide stuff at an Auburn game. What do you expect? Do you think people say, “I love the colors you’re wearing.” Of course they don’t. We should not be caught off guard.
Even though we still have many residual influences and we can be thankful of a Christian culture, let’s not kid ourselves, Charlotte’s not Glasgow, Scotland or something. You should not be caught off guard when people wearing a different jersey don’t like it when you show up at work with your jersey on. Of course they don’t. Worldly people like worldly things from a worldly messenger from a worldly point of view.
Which leads to our fifth and final point. We must be committed, committed to the apostolic testimony handed down to us.
You see in verse 6, it may seem a little confusing, “We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us.” You might be tempted to maybe quote that as parents to your children, “Whoever knows God listens to us.” Well, who’s the us? You can’t just claim that anytime you want as the “us.”
Remember in chapter 1, John is saying we have seen with our eyes, we have looked upon, we have touched, we are writing these things, we have seen and heard. So the “we” here John is thinking about himself and this apostolic band, so the “us” here has to do with the apostolic testimony. We, meaning the apostles and our close associates, are from God. If you don’t listen to us, then you’re not from God, and if you’re not from God, then you don’t listen to us.
So the point is not for starkly authoritarian leadership, but very blatant apostolic leadership. We are protected against error by the objective standard of biblical doctrine and by the Spirit who gives us the ability to understand and lead us into all truth. Not all truth about everything you want to know in life, all truth about Jesus Christ and the Gospel.
Stick to the apostolic testimony. Stick to the Scriptures. If you want to be relevant for ages, stick to the Bible. If you want to be a trending topic for a moment, well, there’s a million different ways to do that, and people will look back in five years or maybe five minutes and say, “I can’t believe we were into that. Rat Girl Summer? What were we thinking there?”
If you want to have permanence, make your life about permanent things. If you say more than this book or less than this book, if you lead people to step away from this book, then this book says you are not from God. You can call it de-construction or whatever you want, but if you lead people away from the apostolic testimony, verse 6 says that’s not what God’s about. That’s not what God’s doing.
So let me leave you, as we move toward the table with these questions, based on these five realities. Here’s what you have to ask yourself as you test the spirits.
Number one. Is it true?
So not just do I like it, are they nice, does it feel good… Is it true?
Number two. Does this thing that I’m taking in, believing, living according to, does it exalt the God-man Jesus Christ?
Number three, as you test the spirits, ask yourself – Does this message come from the all-conquering Spirit? That is, will this help me overcome worldly desires and worldly habits, or will this nurture me in my worldly desires and my worldly habits?
Here’s a fourth question. Maybe this is the one that really gets to us. Does its plausibility, whatever you’re believing, does its plausibility rest on its popularity?
You might ask yourself about some of the things that you believe, and perhaps this is especially true for younger folks. Would this have seemed unthinkable a hundred years ago? Or ten years ago? You say, well, Christians, people used to believe flat earth or people used… Yeah, people get things wrong. There’s something to be said for the democracy of the dead, the one diversity we don’t pay attention to is the diversity of those who have gone before.
Will anyone be talking about this idea that you’re so enamored with a hundred years from now? Or how about putting the question this way: If all of your friends flipped tomorrow, they all took down one kind of flag and they all put up another kind of flag, would it still be important to you? Would you give your life for that thing? Would you still confess it if this time, summer 2024, it’s all turned on its head and nobody thinks that way anymore?
I think for a whole lot of people they’d set that aside and they’d be on to the next thing, because it’s plausibility is really only about one thing – its current popularity.
A final question. Does it conform to the apostolic Gospel?
Brothers and sisters, test the spirits. This is a test you must pass. The good news is that God has given you His Word and He’s given you His Spirit so that the elect will not fail.
Let’s pray. Father in heaven, we give thanks for Your Word, for all that You have done to speak to us truth and lead us into truth. Now guard us, guide us, protect us in this truth, for Jesus’ sake we pray. Amen.