How do you know who is of God, walking in His Spirit, and those who are not of God? Those who are walking either in their own spirit or of the evil one. Are they really of God, or do they hold a Christian title?
Most of those who reside within the four walls of a church building and call themselves “Christian” are not of the Lord. They are no more a follower of Jesus Christ than a stone picked out of a stream is a mountain. The problem is they do not have the Spirit of God; there is no evidence of the fruits of salvation.
It is possible to fake it for a while but don’t get distracted by the beautiful foliage and forget to check the quality of the fruit or lack thereof. Test the people’s actions and words. Are they declaring things for their gain, or are they speaking the truth in love and gentleness? Do they show that they are interested in saving the lost? It is important to remember what Jesus said; good fruit comes from a good tree, just as good behavior comes from a good man.
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. 1 John 4:1-6
If they walk in the Spirit of the Lord, they will display the fruits of the Spirit. They will obey the commands of the Lord and will acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord as well. Test them not only by what they say but by their actions and deeds. Those who walk by the Spirit produce good fruit. If they walk in the ways of man and the deceptions of the devil, the words from their mouths and the deeds from their heart will reflect his wicked ways. Therefore their fruits will be bad.
Though they may claim to be walking with God and praise Him with their lips, their actions and attitudes will reveal the truth. Making it clear, without any doubt, who they serve. A person who produces bad fruit will have a rotten core; they may carry the title “Christian.” But they are false and have been sent out into the world, not for good but to deceive others.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves so that you may not lose what we have worked for but may win a full reward. Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 1:7-9
Ask the Lord for discernment to recognize them, avoid them, and do not join yourself with such a person. Be careful who you listen to or follow. Those who follow the ways of evil and wickedness are not just those who riot, loot and vandalize. They are not just those who attack, kill, and maim. They walk in secret deception, manipulative behavior, and masquerading as servants of the Lord.
They walk deceitfully, plotting their way into homes, churches, and the lives of the weak. They wear the clothing of the upright and talk with smooth and flattering lips. But they preach from their understanding which does not reflect the Lord’s. Therefore, if you are not walking in the Spirit of the Lord, you might be fooled by their deception.
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 1:17-21
Be alert to their treachery, and be sober-minded to their ways of deception. They seek to puff others up with pride, arrogance, and gossip, just in the same way they operate. Speaking with truth mixed with lies makes everything they say a lie.
You should study the Word of God, not to build up knowledge, but to be taught by the Holy Spirit with true wisdom and insight. Therefore, you must feed on the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, and walk the way He did. If you know the truth, you will recognize falsehood, and the truth will set you free from the devil’s web of deception.
And by this, we know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments. Whoever says “I know Him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in Him truly the love of God is perfected. By this, we may know that we are in Him: whoever says He abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked. 1 John 2:3-6