Today's Reading: Acts 20:27-38
"Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. (Acts 20:30)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. St.Paul doesn't spare any punches when he warns the church before he leaves that false prophets are going to arise. In our day and age, we are constantly bombarded with the notion that all religions and faiths and teachings are equal. What matters is what you believe and that's up to every individual person. St. Paul knows better and so he warns them and us. He knows that false preaching can kill you for exactly the reason he says: They will draw people away after themselves and that means away from Jesus.
Any preaching or teaching that isn't about Jesus is either about you or the preacher and that preaching and teaching won't save you. If it's about a man's opinions or thoughts or “visions,” there is no hope there. True and faithful preaching and teaching is that which delivers Jesus, crucified for sinners, risen from the dead, and the giver of that forgiveness by water, word, body and blood.
The “perverse” things a false preacher teaches aren't just “perverted” in the way we think of with that word today. They are twistings of the truth into something that sounds biblical but really isn't. It sounds godly and religious but when you listen closely or examine it further, it’s all fluff and trash. If you don't hear Jesus being preached as the crucified and risen Savior, if the delivery of that forgiveness isn't pointed to at the font and altar, then plug your ears and run away!
St. Paul warns the church and you so that you will not be fooled. Trusting in that sort of preaching that these false preachers give means eternal death. Trusting in the preaching of the forgiveness of sins for Jesus' sake is eternal life. And the Lord won't leave you confused or doubtful. As He sent St. Paul to warn the churches, so He still warns you today and wants nothing else than you trust in and cling to Jesus for your forgiveness and life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
"What I on earth have done and taught Guide all your life and teaching; So shall the kingdom's work be wrought And honored in your preaching. But watch lest foes with base alloy The heav'nly treasure should destroy; This final word I leave you.” (LSB 556:10)
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