Today's Reading: Matthew 7:15-23
Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.(Matthew 7:17)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus warns us about false preachers with His words today. That's because our Lord knew what was coming. He saw that there would be a time (almost every age) during which people act as if all religions are really the same, that different religions are just different paths to the same God. Run away from such thinking! There is no salvation outside of or apart from Jesus. And not just any Jesus, the Jesus who is true God and true man, who takes away the sin of the world by His death and resurrection.
Jesus says that you will know a good preacher from a bad preacher by their fruits. Like a good tree that bears good fruit can't bear bad fruit. What is the fruit? The fruit is the fruit of the tree of the cross. On the cross, Jesus declared, “It is finished!” The fruit of the cross is the forgiveness of sins for Jesus' sake. So true preaching, faithful preaching, is all about delivering that fruit: forgiveness. True and faithful preaching gives you Jesus and His gifts. Forgiveness. Life. Salvation. True preachers will point you to your Baptism, absolve you of your sins “in the stead” of Christ and feed you with Jesus' body and blood.
False preachers, on the other hand, will try to dazzle you with loads of “miracles” and “signs” and “wonders.” They will try to get you to be their followers because they are impressive, or can do amazing things. Those false preachers will really look like they've got something godly going on, that they're really “Spirit filled.” But “Watch out!” says Jesus. They will be sent away on the Last Day.
There is a great temptation out there to despise the lowly and humble gifts of Jesus given in water, word, body and blood. But those are the gifts of life! What looks stunning to the world is condemned by Jesus. What looks foolish and worthless to the world is what saves you. Cling to Jesus and His gifts and give God thanks for your faithful pastor who faithfully delivers nothing but the good fruit of Jesus' good tree, His cross. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Grant to us, Lord, we implore You, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are right, that we, who cannot do anything that is good without You, may be through You be enabled to live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Trinity 8)