Today's Reading: Jeremiah 23:16-29
But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil ways And from the evil of their doings. (Jeremiah 23:22)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We heard yesterday about false preachers. False preachers have been around ever since the fall into sin. Jeremiah knew of false prophets. He preached that the people should repent, otherwise the Lord would punish them. But the false prophets came along and preached that there was nothing to worry about. The Lord brought His wrath on those false prophets.
When Jesus sent His disciples, He told them that they would preach “repentance and forgiveness of sins” in His name. One of the marks of bad and false preaching is that sin isn't called sin. Repentance isn't preached. Your pastor is faithful when he points out to you the ways in which you despise God and His Word and hate your neighbor and why such sin deserves eternal punishment.
But false preachers don't just leave out repentance. They leave out the true Jesus. They will tell you that you can overcome your minor faults by just being like Jesus, living like Him, doing good works and so on. Not only do false preachers not know or understand God's Law, they don't know the Gospel, either. The Law teaches that we have absolutely zero hope in ourselves, but the Gospel tells us that God, in His mercy, pardons us from our sins on account of everything that Jesus has done for us by taking our sins and dying for them. True preaching points us to how this is given in Baptism, Absolution, Preaching and the Supper.
The Lord says through Jeremiah that if the prophets actually knew what God says and preached it, His people would be saved. That's true preaching: to deliver to God's people what only the Lord Himself has given: Your sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake. True preaching calls you away from your sins, absolves you and teaches you to love your neighbor not because doing so gets you to heaven, but because you're saved in Christ to do exactly that. In short, true preaching never leaves out God's damning Law and it always soothes and comforts with the Holy Gospel of the forgiveness of sins. Learn the difference between such true preaching and the false kind. It is the true preaching the Lord gives to save you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
I know my faith is founded On Jesus Christ , my God and Lord; And this my faith confessing, Unmoved I stand on His sure Word. Our reason cannot fathom The truth of God profound; Who trusts in human wisdom Relies on shifting ground. God's Word is all sufficient, It makes divinely sure; And trusting in its wisdom, My faith shall rest secure. (LSB 587:1)