The Bible warns us 1 John 4:1 "Dear friends, 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."
Too often we forget that we live in a spiritual war zone. Eph 6:12 "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The devil will try to mislead you and will show himself as being the truth. 2 Cor 11:14-15 "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness."
But remember that deception is his only weapon. He is the father of lies and he has no good intentions on your behalf. John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."
No wonder that the apostle John encourages us to test the spirits. The context of his warning was false prophets. Jesus warned us against those as well! Matt 7:15-16 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." NIV If you believe in a non-biblical prophet, please put that prophet on the test.
However the testing of spirits is not limited to prophets, but to anything that is spiritual.
How can you test them? Here are a few tests that will guarantee you if those spirits are from God or not.
The first test is given by the apostle John himself, in the context of testing the spirits.
Test 1. 1 John 4:2-3 2 "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world."
The first test is to make sure the spirit acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. These verses are best understood in the light of the Gnostic-like errors that existed since John's time. They were denying that Jesus actually came in the flesh. 2 John 7 "Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist." NIV and by their action actually denied that Jesus is the messiah.
Be careful though and know that the devil and his agents acknowledge the historical incarnation but do not confess Jesus as Lord. Look at how the evil spirits were recognizing Jesus during his ministry on earth:
Mark 1:23-24 "Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!""
Mark 5:7-8 "He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!"
As you can see, evil spirits acknowledge Jesus as being the Son of God and were acknowledging his ministry.
The Bible even says: James 2:19 "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder." NIV
The big difference is that the evil shutter when the name of Jesus is mentioned and none will acknowledge Him as the Lord and Messiah. Make sure that the spirit you are in contact with acknowledges Jesus as Lord and Messiah. No evil spirit will preach about Jesus being our Lord and being our Messiah. No evil spirit will invite people to accept Jesus in their lives. They loathe the name of Jesus!
Every spirit sent from God will glorify God and worship God. Angels of God do not receive worship for themselves!
Rev 19:10 "At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Jesus is giving us the second test.
Test 2: Matt 7:16-20 "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them."
Test the lives of those pretending to be send by God. Are there inconsistencies in their lives? Is their lives in agreement with God's Word? Are they receiving glory for what they do, or is God receiving glory? Are they relying on God only for direction or are they basing their teachings on writings from men? Are they or their follower