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Proper 4

June 1, 2008

Proper 4                                       Trinity Lutheran Church
1 June 2008                                Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Matthew 7:15-29

Jesus is at it again.  Did you hear Him?  Quite shocking.  Scandalous.  Amazing.  He teaches as “one having authority.”  Indeed.  He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  So we’d better hear the Jesus who has all authority.  He says:  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”  “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy, cast out demons and do miracles in your name?’  Sure you did.  But I don’t know you folks.  Get out of my sight!” 

And so He warns us of false prophets.  Prophets are to speak God’s Word faithfully.  Prophets are to shepherd the sheep with the free and full forgiveness of Jesus who died for them.  And not just any Jesus we think up for ourselves.  It’s the one and only Jesus who suffered, died, rose and ascended as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Or as St. Paul put it in the Epistle:  sinners are graciously justified in God’s sight by Jesus who shed His Blood as the sacrifice for all sin.  Sinners are justified by faith alone in that Jesus.   

False prophets are the opposite.  They preach, teach, and write best selling books that speak of Jesus but bury Him and His Good Friday forgiveness.  Jesus gets replaced with  glamorous deeds you’re supposed to do.  False prophets wear suits and ties.  Polos and jeans.  Sandals and tank tops.    They wear vestments and hold high-church offices.  False prophets preach a do it yourself salvation with the help of God’s grace.  A Jesus who does salvation’s all is a Jesus that leaves you out of the salvation equation.  Can’t have that!  So the pseudo prophets come dressed in sheep’s clothing.  They look so pious, godly, churchly and zealous.  But they peddle various miraculous utopian agendas, success in life, endless rules for living, and Las Vegas type night club acts in which all kinds of prophesying, healings, and exorcisms are performed in the name of Jesus. 

You will know them by their fruit.  In other words, you’ll know them as false prophets by their preaching and teaching of Jesus.  When Jesus and His Good Friday work are diminished in any way, you know you’re dealing with a ravenous wolf.  When Jesus and His forgiveness that give life and salvation play second fiddle to prophecy, miraculous healings, and exorcisms, done even in the name of Jesus, you’re dealing with a bad tree bearing rotten fruit. 

Follow false prophets who diminish or bury Jesus and His Word of forgiveness for sinners and you’re like a foolish man who builds his house on the beach.  A house that gets demolished by the rain, wind, and floods. 

Do you follow false prophets?  Maybe you’re not sure.  Give him the Jesus test.  Here’s the test.  Jesus Himself says:  “But he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”  The will of the Father is that you believe in Jesus only.  That you trust His death that answers for all your sins.  That His Blood covers them all and makes you clean.  And that the kingdom of heaven is yours only because of the crucified and dead as a doornail Jesus who becomes the sinner in your place.  After all, the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.  

Here’s another Jesus test.  Jesus says:  “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them.”   What are His words?  They are:  “I forgive you.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved.  This is My Body.  This cup is the new testament in My Blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sin.  I am with you always until the end of time.” 

Wisdom in the Bible is faith.  Trust in Jesus’ word of forgiveness and you’re a wise man that builds his house on the rock.  Jesus is the Rock.  Unmovable.  Unshakeable.  He withstands all attacks of the torrential rains, winds, and flood.  Rock Jesus remains unshakeably FOR YOU with His words of forgiveness FOR YOU.  Faith builds on Jesus’ promises.  Jesus doesn’t lie.  He is the Good Shepherd who died as the Passover Lamb for your salvation. 

Again, hear the authoritative and amazing words of Jesus.  “You are forgiven.  The kingdom of heaven is yours.  All because I died for you.  All because I rose for you.  I’ve left none of your sin out of my dying.  So go ahead.  Eat and drink.  My Body and Blood are yours.  For your benefit.  Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.  Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock.  I AM the Rock!”

In the Name of Jesus.     

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