Today's Reading: Matthew 7:15-23
"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:23)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Who are these preachers who call out "Lord, Lord!" but whom Jesus does not know? They are those who practice "lawlessness." There are two kinds of such false prophets.
One lawless type of preacher will tell you that what the Lord calls sins aren't truly sins. Homosexuality, living together, killing unborn children, and many other practices and sins are not identified as actions that bring God's wrath. When sin isn't called sin, people can't be called to repentance and see that their sins are forgiven in Jesus. The hearers of those false preachers are left in their sins with no one to rescue them! And the Lord will cast out those preachers.
The other type of preacher who teaches apart from the law of God is the one who preaches Jesus not as the fulfillment of the Law but as a new Moses, that is, just another teacher telling you what to do. Such preachers tell you it's possible to keep the Law and thereby please God and that if you don't do the commandments, you will perish. But again, such a preacher leaves out Jesus, the one in whom the law of God is fulfilled, leaving his hearers to take care of their own sins.
The fruits of true preaching are those who know from the law of God that they deserve everlasting death because of their sins. But they know and trust that in Christ, the law has been fulfilled on their behalf and their sins forgiven. That's because Jesus has lived our life, keeping all the commandments and not sinning. And He has died our death, taking the punishment for our lawlessness and redeeming us by His blood.
Faithful preachers will direct you to Jesus, crucified and risen, into whom you have been baptized, by whom you have been absolved, and whose body and blood is given you to eat and drink. Beware those false preachers who detach the Law from Jesus. But the true Savior, the real Jesus, has done all things for you so that in Him, you have kept the law and have eternal life. 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 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)
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