Facts, Faith and Feelings

Having the Right Order Makes for a Strong Christian

1st John 4:1


May 4, 2014 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland



I.       Introduction (1John 4:1)


A.    A Christian is a spiritual person just as much as they are a physical and emotional person.

B.     We have been born again of the Holy Spirit, made brand new on the inside

C.     We are supposed to walk in the Spirit, pray in the spirit, worship in spirit and truth

D.    The Bible says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

E.     There are SEVEN things in this one verse for everyone in this room to take serious note of…


1.       “Beloved”


a.       Written to those who are born again – that’s how we refer to each other – really loved!

b.      Written from the heart of the Apostle John with concern and earnestness for Christians!


2.       “Believe NOT”


a.       There are some things NOT to believe or trust or even listen to

b.      It is just as important what you DON’T accept as true, as what you DO accept as true

c.       This is a serious warning, given over and over throughout the Bible, about being deceived, because!

d.      Folks, it is so EASY to be deceived! If you do not have a way of testing the spirits BEHIND all the voices in the world today!


1)      Mat 24:4,5  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

2)      Mat 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

3)      1Co 3:18  Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

4)      1Co 6:9  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

5)      1Co 15:33  Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

6)      Gal 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

7)      Eph 5:6  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

8)      2Th 2:3  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

9)      1Jn 3:7  Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

10)  2Jn 1:7  For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.


e.       It is RIGHT and vital that you be sceptical as a Christian


1)      Not a scoffer, but CAREFUL (Prov 14:15)

2)      Not just believing everything and everyone that claims to speak for God!

3)      I hope you are careful about what you believe from the internet???

4)      I hope you don’t just believe everything RTE and Sky news are saying on the TV!

5)      Sceptical means NOT just going by appearances, and especially by your feelings!


3.       “Believe not EVERY spirit”


a.       Now we are getting to the point!

b.      Not everything spiritual, is good or true


1)      Something you FEEL, may seem to be spiritual

2)      Something you “see” – visions, dreams – may seem to be spiritual

3)      Something that takes over you may seem so powerful and good

4)      But most of the times, it is NOT of God!


c.       There is the HOLY SPIRIT – convicting, and calling us to worship JESUS ONLY!

d.      And there are seducing spirits – beautiful and attractive, and interesting spirits (1Tim 4:1) that bring people into bondage!

e.       And it all begins with a choice to follow them! Most often without testing them


1)      Like seeing a car, or a house, and instantly wanting to buy it – without getting it checked out

2)      People “fall in love” at first sight, and won’t seek any counsel, or help to know if they are ready for marriage, or if they are right for each other… no! They “feel” it has to be right, and so they just go ahead anyway!


4.       “But TRY the spirits” (that’s what we are going to learn how to do this month)


a.       Put spirits, spiritual teachings, religious teachers, people claiming to speak for God on trial

b.      Test them, examine them, ponder their fruit before you believe what they may be saying


1)      People are listening to “angels”, astrologers, palm readers, visions, dreams, nightmares, Oprah Winfry, their own feelings, their own thoughts and imaginations…

2)      People are enamoured by religious leaders

3)      And they believe almost anything they are hearing and feeling!


c.       But we are told to prove all things (1Thes 5:21)

d.      How can you know who is right and who is wrong?

e.       There is only ONE way to put spiritual things on trial … cross-examine them…

f.       By comparing them and what they are saying with the very words of the Bible! (Jer 23:28)


5.       “Whether they are of God”


a.       Spirits are invisible – not physical – you can’t take a look at them and see if they are right or wrong, or if they are good or evil


1)      God is a spirit

2)      So is the devil – a whole other realm – dimension – just as real as this one

3)      Angels are spirits

4)      So are demons

5)      Even when they do appear, they are deceptive (2Cor 11:13-15)


b.      Some spirits are of God (came from God), and some are of the devil

c.       Yet all spirits CAN be tested


1)      Moses showed how to test spirits and teachers (Dt 13, 18)

2)      Jesus shows us how to test spirits

3)      Paul tells us how in Gal 1

4)      John over and over tells us how in 1st, 2nd and 3rd John!


6.       “Because MANY false prophets”  (we will study many of these over the next few weeks)


a.       What are false prophets?


1)      Make false prophecies – not quite 100% true

2)      Say things contrary to what God has already written – extra biblical statements

3)      Some have power to do miracles

4)      Most only fake miracles

5)      They trick people into following false gods and believing false truths that damn

6)      These false prophets are being led by false, demonic spirits, and most don’t even know it


b.      The Old Testament is FILLED with chapters describing times when false prophets ruled over God’s people – because the people WANTED them to! They loved the false prophets and what they were saying! (Jer 5:31)  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

c.       Some false prophets start new religions


1)      Like the false prophet Mohammed in a cave in Arabia in 610 AD


a)      Muhammad claimed that the Antichrist (called the Dajjal) was to appear shortly after the Muslim conquest of Constantinople, which happened in in 1453. He hasn’t appeared yet!


2)      Like Mary Baker Eddy – Christian Science Cult


a)      Prophesied in 1904 that, “At the end of this century, Christian Science will be the only universally acknowledged religion in the world”

b)      Prophesied in 1904 that the world will end in 2100 – well, we shall see!

c)      Prophesied that she would never really die – that death was an illusion. She died.


3)      Ellen G White of the Seventh Day Adventist Church


a)      William Miller predicted the Second Advent of Jesus Christ would occur before March 21, 1844.[1] When this date passed a new date was predicted, April 18, 1844.[2]

b)      Again the date passed and another Millerite, Samuel S. Snow, derived the date of October 22, 1844.[3] The un-fulfillment of these predictions has been named the Millerite Great Disappointment.


4)      Joseph Smith founded the Mormons


a)      Prophesied that Jesus would return in 1891 – he didn’t

b)      That a temple would be built in Missouri in his lifetime – it wasn’t

c)      That there were inhabitants living on the Sun, and on the Moon – there aren’t


5)      Charles Russell, and Joseph Rutherford started the Jehovah’s Witnesses


a)      Charles Taze Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, calculated 1874 as the year of Christ's Second Coming, and taught that Christ was invisibly present and ruling from the heavens since that year.[25][26][27][28] Russell proclaimed Christ's invisible return in 1874,[29] the resurrection of the saints in 1875,[30] and predicted the end of the "harvest" and the Rapture of the saints to heaven for 1878,[31] and the final end of "the day of wrath" in 1914.[32] 1874 was considered the end of 6,000 years of human history and the beginning of judgment by Christ.[33] A 1917 Watch Tower Society publication predicted that in 1918, God would begin to destroy churches and millions of their members.[34]

b)      J.F. Rutherford, who succeeded Russell as president of the Watch Tower Society, predicted that the Millennium would begin in 1925, and that biblical figures such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David would be resurrected as "princes". The Watch Tower Society bought property and built a house, Beth Sarim, in California for their return.[35]

c)      From 1966, statements in Jehovah's Witness publications raised strong expectations that Armageddon could arrive in 1975. In 1974 Witnesses were commended for selling their homes and property to "finish out the rest of their days in this old system" in full-time preaching.[36] In 1976 The Watchtower advised those who had been "disappointed" by unfulfilled expectations for 1975 to adjust their viewpoint because that understanding was "based on wrong premises".[37] Four years later, the Watch Tower Society admitted its responsibility in building up hope regarding 1975.[38]


d.      Some are in Christian churches (2Cor 11:4)


1)      Preaching false gospels

2)      Promoting false spirits

3)      Praising and worshipping false jesus’


e.       Some speak on the God Channel


1)      Like Benny Hinn


a)      Benny Hinn predicted God will destroy New Orleans with fire, which did not happen and instead Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans with a flood. 

b)      He also predicted the death of Fidel Castro before the year 2000, and Fidel Castro lived right through it.


2)      And Joel Olstein

3)      Robert Tinton

4)      Jack Van Impe Ministries sponsored the largest Evangelical Christian program in 2001 devoted to end-time prophecy. He predicts that the year 2001 will "usher in international chaos such as we've never seen in our history." He predicts that in 2001, and the years following, the world will experience "drought, war, malaria, and hunger afflicting entire populations throughout the [African] continent...By the year 2001, there will be global chaos." Islam will become much larger than Christianity. (That would take a sudden growth spurt; Islam is currently followed by 19% of the world's population vs 33% for Christianity). A one-world church will emerge; it will be "controlled by demonic hosts." Temple rituals (presumably including animal sacrifice) will resume in Israel.


f.       Many are writing on the internet


1)      They can’t start a church, but they get a following on the internet

2)      They won’t go soul-winning, but they will tear into and tear up churches


g.      There are so many false prophets because there is so much money and so much control available to false leaders; true religions always are in the minority (narrow way)


7.       “Are gone out into the world” – very evangelistic, and very effective


a.       Actually more ‘effective’ than Bible believing Christians

b.      More passionate, zealous


1)      Mormons give up 2 years of their live to go somewhere and preach Mormonism

2)      Islamists have as many children as possible to populate a target country with Muslims

3)      Jehovah’s Witnesses

4)      Atheists like Richard Dawkins – evangelizing your sons and daughters every week!


c.       Spend more money advertising and reaching their audiences

d.      This world is being “evangelized” by zillions of false gospels, spirits and saviours!


F.      No wonder people are worn out and tired of “religions”! Would rather just watch a good blockbuster movie of the world being destroyed!!!

G.    But don’t end up worshipping your own scepticism! There is no safety in believing nothing!

H.    Our task as Christians is to test every spirit, every thought, every dream, every vision, every word, every message, every bible, every preacher, every prophet, every believer, every church, that claims to speak for God to see if they are actually of God or not. And it is not that hard to do! If they are NOT, they are to be rejected! (Titus 3:10)  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject

I.       And to do that, we have to put some things in order – put your faith in order


II.    Background


A.    For most people, WHAT are the guiding power in their life? Feelings.


1.      If they feel something, they think it is real.

2.      If they do not feel anything, they think it is not real, or at least not important.

3.      But this won’t carry you very far through life.


B.     Others try to put “faith” first.


1.       They think that if they have enough "faith," they can make anything come true. “When you wish upon a star…”

2.      Carry good luck charms and crucifix’s.

3.      But this does not work either. God designed us to have faith, but our faith must rest on some absolute facts - His proven Words; otherwise our faith is of no value.


C.     God's order is as follows: (1) Know the Facts, (2) Have solid Faith, and then (3) Enjoy safe Feelings.


1.      Facts form the foundation of what a Christian believes;

2.      Faith rests on those facts, and builds a life on them

3.      And feelings come last. Did you get that? LAST!


D.    Most people try to put Feeling FIRST, which is like trying to build the top story of a house before laying its foundation.

E.     We are going to consider each of these three aspects of the Christian life so we can better understand how they affect our lives.


III. Message


A.    You MUST Start with Facts


1.      What is a Fact? And where can we get them?

2.      A fact is something that is true.


a.       For example, two plus two equals four.

b.      This is a mathematical fact. It has always been true. It will always be true. It is true in this country, and it is true anywhere in the world.

c.       Your believing it does not make it true. It is true even if no one in the world believes it.

d.      We need to get this firmly fixed in our minds—facts are always true. You may not believe a fact, but it is still true. You may not feel that a fact is true, but it is still true.

e.       For example, we know that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again to be our living Saviour. We know this is true because God's Word says so. A person may or may not believe this, but it is still true. God's facts are always true.


3.      The most proven Book in the world is the Bible (Acts 1:3)


a.       Every other book I own gets updated, or thrown away and replaced because of errors


1)      People claim to be an evolutionist because they believe facts – so few proven facts about evolution – more questions than answers in the muck-to-man theory

2)      People claim there is no God – yet the FACTS of how life works beyond natural laws are completely ignored by “scientists” whose only goal in life is to try to find out a way for everything to exist without a Creator – constantly coming up with weirder and weirder ideas: Panspermia (life from outer space, etc)


b.      But not this Book!

c.       Proven to be supernatural by its prophecies


1)      Not just a few vague predictions of the end of the world

2)      But exact predictions of world empires rising and falling (like Greece and Rome)

3)      Exact predictions where a Messiah would be born (Bethlehem)

4)      Exact prediction how the Messiah would die (by being PIERCED in His hands and feet on a TREE between two criminals)!

5)      Exact prediction that the whole world would be controlled by numbers assigned to every man, woman and child, so that no one will be able to buy or sell without a NUMBER and a MARK


d.      By its history


1)      Ur of the Chaldees was written about in Genesis 11, but not discovered to be true until 1850 by a railroad company digging through the sand in Iran

2)      Bible critics used to deny the historicity of the Hittites, the Horites, the Edomites, and various other peoples, nations, and cities mentioned in the Bible. Those critics have long been silenced by the archaeologist’s spade!


e.       By its science


1)      Not the science of some church or religion, but of the Bible itself

2)      The Roman Catholic church silenced Galileo

3)      But the Bible said…


a)      (Isa 40:22; Job 26:7) That the earth is a round sphere, hanging on nothing in space

b)      (Ps 104:2) The universe is expanding outward in all directions

c)      (Jer 31, 33) The stars cannot be numbered


f.       And so much more!


4.      Before you EVER start believing something, you had better have the FACTS!


a.       We put all our faith FIRST on the facts that can be proven and tested

b.      Before we start believing what we cannot see, we had better find something we can see, and test it and prove it

c.       That’s why God wrote the Bible (John 20:29-31) – so that we can test it, prove it true, and so that we can believe what it says about things we cannot see!


B.     Now You Can Have Faith!


1.      The word "faith" is used throughout our Bible! God says our faith is pretty important.

2.      What is faith?


a.       Faith first and foremost is taking God at His word, and acting on it.


1)      God said it!

2)      That settles it!

3)      That’s why I believe it! That’s why I live by faith, and walk by faith!


b.      Faith is not just a creed - In a creed we believe about a person or about circumstance in history; but in faith we place all our trust upon a person. In other words, to have faith, we must not believe things about Christ only, but trust in Him like you would the care of a doctor in the emergency room of a hospital!

c.       Faith rests on facts – on God's facts, like a wall rests on a foundation!


1)      As important as faith is, it cannot stand alone. It must rest on something (a foundation), and that "something" must be true. This is why our faith must always rest on God's Word. Jesus said to His heavenly Father in John 17:17, "Thy word is truth."


d.      Faith deals with things we don’t see


1)      The FACT that the Bible has been proven true in so many areas, makes it possible to now BELIEVE what it says about things we cannot see and cannot test:

2)      This means that faith is the way we "prove" the reality of things not seen. We cannot see the things of the spiritual world, but we know that they are real by faith in God's Word.


a)      We cannot see God, but by faith we know that God is real.

b)      We cannot see Heaven, but by faith we know that there is a real place called Heaven.

c)      The Bible says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

d)     Like Creation – only 6,000 years ago, from nothing! No one but God was there at Creation, but I know it happened, because of the FACTS of the Bible

e)      Like the existence of a place called hell that people need to be warned away from

f)       Like the existence of the soul in a human being, that is not in any other animal

g)      Like the existence of the devil

h)      Like the fact that there is none righteous – none good enough to get into heaven as we are

i)        Like the fact that ONLY Jesus can save a person and make them fit for heaven!


3)      I believe all those things, because this tested, and proven Book says it!

4)      I may not like some things that I read in here – I may wish hell did not exist – but that changes nothing! THE FACTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES


e.       Faith accepts spiritual truths in our experiences


1)      Like germs are today – we can’t see them, but we expect them, and clean things so they don’t get us sick

2)      We must understand this: Our faith does not make God's facts true. They are true whether we believe them or not.

3)      Then what does our faith do? Our faith in God's facts makes them real in our experience.

4)      The Bible contains many wonderful promises of God. But they do not become ours until we claim them and make them ours by believing God's Word.

5)      As we said before, it is a great fact that Jesus Christ died for our sins. God promises eternal life to all who believe on Him. But Christ does not become your Savior until you exercise faith in Him.

6)      When you believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and you take Him as your Saviour, you experience salvation. Faith in Christ makes God's salvation real in your experience. You can then say, "I am saved!"


f.       Faith believes God's Words – all of them


1)      Abraham continued to believe God

2)      Faith believes God in spite of unfavourable circumstances. Perhaps one of the best examples of this is Abraham.

3)      When Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were quite old, God promised them that they would have a son, and Abraham believed God.

4)      Fifteen years passed, and God's promise had not been fulfilled.

5)      Humanly speaking, it was impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have a son. Yet Abraham continued to believe God. In due time God gave Abraham the son He had promised to him. The Bible says of Abraham, "He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform." (Romans 4:20, 21)


g.      Faith obeys God – lives according to what God says


1)      Faith and obedience go together. True faith always results in obedience. Believers are obeyers! The Bible says, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, OBEYED; and he went out." (Hebrews 11:8)

2)      To say that you believe something and yet not act on it is not faith. True faith believes God and it obeys God. Faith that does not obey God is not living faith. The Bible says, "...faith without works is dead." (James 2:20)


C.    What About Feelings?


1.      Feelings FOLLOW facts and truth

2.      Feelings are emotions such as joy, sorrow, happiness, and sadness.


a.       We should understand that feelings are quite different from facts in that facts never change, while our feelings are almost always changing.

b.      The state of our health affects our feelings.

c.       Our relationships with other people affect our feelings.

d.      Even a change in the weather can affect our feelings.

e.       Our feelings are so changeable. Like a yoyo! One day you may be full of joy. The next day, for no apparent reasons, you may be sad and depressed.


3.      The important thing to remember about feelings is this: Feelings are very changeable. For this reason we should never try to rest our faith on our feelings.


a.       A Christian lady was using the Bible to explain the way of salvation to a young girl. The girl was confused. She said, "I believe in the Lord Jesus, but I thought I had to wait for a certain kind of feeling or some burst of light or something."

b.      The lady pointed to some verses in God's Word and said, "Here's all the light you need." The girl put her faith in God's Word and found the peace and joy she had been seeking.


4.      No matter how much our feelings may change, they do not affect facts. Facts are always true, and they are true regardless of our feelings.


a.       For example, suppose you get a letter from a solicitor advising you that a wealthy uncle has died and left you a large sum of money. Suddenly you are rich! You may say, "But I don't feel like that money is really mine." Perhaps not, but nevertheless it belongs to you. It has been left to you, and it is yours regardless of what your feelings may be.

b.      Many sincere people seek for salvation but they do not find it because they are looking for some kind of feeling. Feelings do have a place in the Christian life, but they do not come first. Instead, they follow facts and faith. The Bible says, "He that believes on the Son has the witness in himself." Note the order: First, we believe; and then we have the witness of the Spirit in our heart.


D.    How to Handle your Feelings


1.      There are times in the life of every Christian when he feels discouraged and depressed. Even the great Apostle Paul went through times like this. In 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul wrote, “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.”

2.      Yet a Christian can have joy and peace because of believing!

3.      What should you do when you become discouraged?


a.       The thing to do is to turn your attention to the FACTS of God's Word. Read and meditate on such wonderful passages as Psalm 23, Romans 8, and Philippians 4.

b.      As you give careful attention to what God says in His Word, you will find new faith and courage springing up in your heart. The Bible says, " Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." (Romans 15:13)


4.      In living the Christian life, we are not to be overly concerned with our feelings.


a.       We are not saved by our feelings and we do not live the Christian life by our feelings.

b.      We live it by faith in God's Word.

c.       If we have enjoyable feelings, we thank God;

d.      If not, we go right on believing and obeying God.

e.       Faith in God's facts is the way to a happy and blessed life, because JOY will come to those who believe only the solid foundation of God’s word, the Bible!


IV. Conclusion - The Principle of Facts, Faith, Feelings


A.    A Christian is a spiritual person just as much as they are a physical and emotional person.


1.      We that have been born again of the Holy Spirit, made brand new on the inside

2.      We are supposed to walk in the Spirit, pray in the spirit, worship in spirit and truth


B.     The Bible says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

C.     There are SEVEN things in this one verse for everyone in this room to take serious note of…

1.       “Beloved”

2.       “Believe NOT”

3.       “Believe not EVERY spirit”

4.       “But TRY the spirits” (that’s what we are going to learn how to do this month)

5.       “Whether they are of God”

6.       “Because MANY false prophets”  (we will study many of these over the next few weeks)

7.       “Are gone out into the world” – very evangelistic, and very effective

D.    No wonder people are worn out and tired of “religions”! Would rather just watch a good blockbuster movie of the world being destroyed!!!

E.     We all need some healthy scepticism!

F.      But don’t end up worshipping your own scepticism! There is no safety in believing nothing!

G.    Our task as Christians is to test every spirit, every thought, every dream, every vision, every word, every message, every bible, every preacher, every prophet, every believer, every church, that claims to speak for God to see if they are actually of God or not. And it is not that hard to do!


1.      And to do that, we have to put some things in order

2.      Facts first – the word of God, constantly tested

3.      Faith next – believe what God says

4.      Let Feelings come – they will come!


H.    The principle is this: Always put your faith in God's facts and let your feelings come along as they will. And believe me, they will! And they will last, because they won’t be founded on the disappointments of the words and religions of men – but on the unchanging, unerring words of God!


1.      God's promise: This is my fact.

2.      I believe it: This is my faith.

3.      God fulfils it and I enjoy it: This is my feeling.

4.      God's order is always: (1) Facts, (2) Faith, and (3) Feelings. Facts form the foundation; faith rests on facts; feelings come last.


I.       If your religion told you that you are fine, and just keep being good, you had better check out what JESUS said, and believe HIS words that said “ye must be born again!