Reflections: October 15, 2020
Thursday of the 18th Week after Trinity
by Mark Buetow
…you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There are lots of self-styled "prophets" out there. They think they speak God's Word. Some even sound like they do. Some might even predict things will happen that actually do! Though most are easily proven to be frauds and liars. So what do you do? How do you tell whether what they are teaching is true? You compare it with the Word of God which the Holy Spirit has given to us in the Scriptures.
The Old Testament points us to Christ. The New Testament testifies of and preaches Christ. The whole Bible is about Christ. And not just any Christ, but the Christ who is true God and true man, who died on the Cross and rose again on the Third Day to take away our sins. Just about every false prophet and preacher will contradict those things in some way.
Some might deny who Christ really is, and say that He was just a man, or God "in disguise." Most will simply teach that you must grab hold of your salvation yourself in some way and that your changed life is evidence of your salvation. All of these things deny that Christ is our Savior in that He is true God in the flesh and because He died for our sins wholly and completely.
If preaching points to you, it is false. If preaching doesn't direct you to Christ and to your Baptism, Absolution and His Supper, it is false. We know this because the whole Bible points us to Jesus in some way (just as we saw in the Gospel lesson at the beginning of this week).
Even if some preaching sounds good and true, test it! Check it! Compare it with God's Word to see whether it's really giving you the Savior Jesus. If not, then have nothing to do with it. For the Lord gives us His Word, NOT to confuse us, but to comfort us beyond a shadow of a doubt that our sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Preserve Your Word and preaching, The truth that makes us whole, The mirror of Your glory, The pow'r that saves the soul. Oh, may this living water, This dew of heav'nly grace, Sustain us while here living Until we see Your face. ("Preserve Your Word, O Savior" LSB 658, st.4)
-Rev. Mark Buetow is the pastor of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in McHenry, Illinois.
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