Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | July 5, 2015

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Kings 13:11-34.  Here is a link to this Scripture –

“11 Now an old prophet was living in Bethel; and his sons came and told him all the deeds which the man of God had done that day in Bethel;  the words which he had spoken to the king, these also they related to their father.  12 Their father said to them, “Which way did he go?”  Now his sons had seen the way which the man of God who came from Judah had gone.  13 Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.”  So they saddled the donkey for him and he rode away on it.  14 So he went after the man of God and found him sitting under an oak; and he said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”  And he said, “I am.”  15 Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”  16 He said, “I cannot return with you, nor go with you, nor will I eat bread or drink water with you in this place.  17 For a command came to me by the word of the Lord, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water there; do not return by going the way which you came.’”  18 He said to him, “I also am a prophet like you, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord, saying, ‘Bring him back with you to your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’”  But he lied to him.  19 So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house and drank water.

20 Now it came about, as they were sitting down at the table, that the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back; 21 and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because you have disobeyed the command of the Lord, and have not observed the commandment which the Lord your God commanded you, 22 but have returned and eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which He said to you, “Eat no bread and drink no water”; your body shall not come to the grave of your fathers.’”  23 It came about after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for him, for the prophet whom he had brought back.  24 Now when he had gone, a lion met him on the way and killed him, and his body was thrown on the road, with the donkey standing beside it; the lion also was standing beside the body.  25 And behold, men passed by and saw the body thrown on the road, and the lion standing beside the body;  so they came and told it in the city where the old prophet lived.

26 Now when the prophet who brought him back from the way heard it, he said, “It is the man of God, who disobeyed the command of the Lord;  therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and killed him, according to the word of the Lord which He spoke to him.”

33 After this event Jeroboam did not return from his evil way, but again he made priests of the high places from among all the people;  any who would, he ordained, to be priests of the high places.  34 This event became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even to blot it out and destroy it from off the face of the earth.”  1 Kings Chapter 13:  Verses 11-26 and 33-34.


The danger is shown in today’s Scripture that just because one is a prophet (preacher or teacher), maybe even an old and well-respected one, it does not necessarily mean that he is speaking the truth.

And even if one claims that an angel spoke to him, it does not necessarily mean that he is speaking the truth.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”  1 John 4:1.

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”  Galatians 1:8-9.

And, we need to go further.  There are preachers and teachers who do not intentionally lie.  They go on mission trips.  They are really good at taking care of the elderly, children, and poor in the congregation.  They are liked by everyone.  But, they just do not sufficiently know the truth to properly preach or teach.

The “About Me” tag at the top of my Home Page of my Reformed Doctrine Daily Devotion web site tells my story.  You can click on it above or use this link to it –

I quote part of it.

“In 1977, I moved to Florida to go to law school, and I stayed here in Florida.  I attended and was a member, even a lay leader, in a large range of churches from Assembly of God to Baptist to Calvary Chapel to United Methodist to nondenominational churches and small fellowships.  At first, I thought Reformed Doctrine would be preached in all Christian Protestant churches.  When I heard some strange preaching or teaching, I first thought that the problem was just with that particular minister or teacher.  Eventually, a childhood friend, who now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, asked me if I remembered “TULIP” which is also known as the Five Points of Calvinism and the Reformed Doctrine of salvation.  I studied the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism.  That study made me aware that often what bothered me was not just bad preaching or teaching, but rather the problem was caused by bad doctrine (Arminianism) that broadly and deeply affected that church and its denomination which at some time of its history strayed away from Reformed Doctrine rediscovered in the Reformation.  In contrast to this bad doctrine which I encountered, I began to appreciate more the truth, logic, beauty, and simplicity of “TULIP” which is my heritage.  Though the years, when I would go back to Michigan, it was like a breath of fresh air when I would hear it in a Christian Reformed Church. 

I am now passionate about promoting “TULIP” a/k/a The Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, because most Protestant Churches do not teach it.  Even in a Christian Reformed Church in Florida, I remember an Elder coming to me after a Sunday School class that I taught on “TULIP”, and he said with wonder and appreciation that he had not heard it taught before.”

In conclusion, the Apostle Paul did not exclude himself but directed us to examine and test himself and his team and not necessarily accept everything that they said.  “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!”  Galatians 1:8.

How much more should we examine and test everyone else!  

Here is what I concluded in the “About Me” section.  “Although I do my best to present true teachings, these are my teachings (by a layman).  And, although I have been taught by and otherwise influenced by certain Reformed denominations through the years from a very early age to date, my teachings are not necessarily the teachings of the Christian Reformed Churches, the Presbyterian Churches of America, the Protestant Reformed Churches, or any other denomination.  The reader is advised to follow the example set forth in Acts 17:11:  “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”


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