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John Warns Against False Teachers

4 1My dear friends, many false prophets* are in the world now. So don't believe every spirit. But test the spirits to see if they are from God. 2This is how you can know God's Spirit.* One spirit says, "I believe that Jesus is the Christ who came to earth and became a man." That Spirit is from God. 3Another spirit refuses to say this about Jesus. That spirit is not from God. This is the spirit of the Enemy of Christ. You have heard that the Enemy of Christ is coming. And now the Enemy of Christ is already in the world. 4My dear children, you belong to God. So you have defeated them (the false teachers). Why? Because the One (God) who is in you is greater than the one (the devil) who is in [the people of] the world. 5And those people (the false teachers) belong to the world. So the things they say are from the world, too. And the world listens to what they say. 6But we are from God. So the people who know God listen to us. But the people who are not from God don't listen to us. That is how we know the Spirit* that is true and the spirit that is false.

Love Comes from God 

7Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. The person who loves has become God's child. And so the person who loves knows God. 8The person that does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love to us: God sent his only Son into the world to give us life through him. 10True love is God's love for us, not our love for God. God sent his Son to be the way that God takes away our sins. 11That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. 12No person has ever seen God. But if we love each other, then God lives in us. If we love each other, then God's love has reached its goal--it is made perfect in us. 13We know that we live in God and God lives in us. We know this because God gave us his Spirit.* 14We have seen that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. That is what we tell people now. 15If a person says, "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God," then God lives in that person. And that person lives in God. 16And so we know the love that God has for us. And we trust that love. God is love. The person who lives in love lives in God. And God lives in that person. 17If God's love is made perfect in us, then we can be without fear on the day when God judges us. We will be without fear, because in this world we are like him (Christ or God). 18Where [God's] love is, there is no fear. Why? Because God's perfect love takes away fear. It is [God's] punishment that makes a person fear. So [God's] love is not made perfect in the person who has fear. 19We love because God first loved us. 20If a person says, "I love God," but that person hates his brother [or sister in Christ], then that person is a liar. That person can see his brother, but he hates him. So that person cannot love God, because he has never seen God! 21And he (God) gave us this command: The person who loves God must also love his brothers [and sisters in Christ].

false prophets People who say they speak for God but do not really speak God's truth. Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world.

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