Today's Reading: Jeremiah 23:16-29
Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:16)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. False prophets speak from their own hearts, not from the mouth of the Lord. But how do you know if it's from the Lord? Well, does what is preached and taught match up with what's in the Scriptures? Does the sermon or devotion or teaching say what you learned from the Catechism, which is the summary of the Scriptures?
The heart and center of the whole Bible is Jesus. God and man, in the flesh. For you. Crucified for your sins. Risen from the dead to conquer death for you. What the prophets and apostles taught was written down so that the preachers to come would have something to preach. When a preacher preaches, he should be delivering the same Word that's in the Scriptures. Jesus gives you a pastor to teach you what God's Word says. And He gives you His Word in the Scriptures so that you can see what your pastor is supposed to be preaching.
When the Word of God is preached faithfully, sinners are called to repentance and brought to faith in Jesus who takes away our sins. His Word is the one that washes us, absolves us and feeds us. That's the word from the Lord's own mouth! Jesus says, "I came to call sinners to repentance."
When false prophets preach from their own hearts, they put people at the center. Either their good works or their feelings or the false prophet or something else are made most important. There is no true repentance and faith, no Jesus, no salvation.
But the Lord is faithful. He gives us His Word in the Scriptures and faithful pastors to teach them so that we can distinguish between what is true and what is false. And knowing Jesus who is the Truth, you have forgiveness and eternal life! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Abide, with heav'nly brightness Among us, precious Light; Your truth direct and keep us From error's gloomy night. (LSB 919:3)
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