This week is the 8th week after Trinity, when God teaches us how important it is to listen only to “true doctrine,” that is, the teaching of His Word in its truth and purity. This is how we are led by the Holy Spirit so that we will be joint-heirs of everlasting life with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
This week we hear God say:
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (The Holy Epistle for this week, Romans 8:12-17, NKJV)
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me; you who practice lawlessness!’ ” (The Holy Gospel for this week, Jesus’ words in St. Matthew 7:15-23, NKJV)
This week we pray:
Lord God, heavenly Father, we most heartily thank You that You have caused us to come to the knowledge of Your Word. We pray: Graciously keep us steadfast in this knowledge unto death, that we may obtain eternal life; send us, now and ever, pious pastors who faithfully preach Your Word, without offense or false doctrine, and grant them long life. Defend us from all false teachings, and frustrate the counsels of all who pervert Your Word, who come to us in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves, that Your true Church may evermore be established among us, and be defended and preserved from such false teachers; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever. Amen. (Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary, p. 160; written by Martin Luther’s friend, Veit Dietrich)
This week we sing:
Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide,
For round us falls the eventide;
Nor let Thy Word, that heav’nly light,
For us be ever veiled in night!
In these last days of sore distress
Grant us, dear Lord, true steadfastness
That pure we keep, till life is spent,
Thy holy Word and Sacrament.
(ELH #511 v. 1-2)