Reflections: The Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Matthew 7:15-23
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 9:1-27; Acts 21:37-22:16

A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:18)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. So I know we’re the grumpy church. It’s what others say about us. It’s what our own members say about us. We’re too picky. Unloving. We can’t get along with anyone. We can’t even compromise. Why does it matter? Because it would be easier if we would just relax. Major in the majors, get along.

Believe it or not, I don’t have fun being the grumpy pastor. I’m not entertained by having folks mad at me. I’m not encouraged by my own members’ grumbling. I hate it. The thing is, if someone says 2+2 is 4 and someone else says 2+2 is 5, they can’t both be right. If someone speaks visions of their own minds and not of the Lord, they are wrong. Here’s the thing: They’re not harmless. Wolves are in sheep’s clothing, not other sheep. Wolves devour the sheep. “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.”

It’s not about how much you can accomplish. Prophesying, casting out demons, even doing great wonders is not enough. The will of our Father in heaven is that we believe. That’s it. Hear the true Word and cling to it. It really saves.

If it’s going to be good, virtuous, if it’s going to have any chance of helping us in this mess of a world with the mess of our problems, it has to be true. We can’t expect to be saved based on a lie, not even a soothing one. And there are false prophets out there, dressed in sheep’s clothing, telling soothing lies, who inwardly are ravenous wolves. Their lies do not save. Good trees make good fruit, and bad trees make bad fruit. even if it’s done in the Name of Jesus.

You don’t expect grapes from thorn bushes. You don’t expect good fruit from a bad tree. You don’t expect salvation from a false preacher. The bad trees are cut down and burned. The only tree that matters is the Cross. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'” (Galatians 3:13).

The good fruit of the Cross is forgiveness. All other trees will be cut down and thrown into the fire. There is no other Name by which men will be saved. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Holy Spirit, our delight And source of consolation, Protect us from the devil’s might Through Jesus, our salvation, Who by His death upon a tree Has rescued us from misery: To this we hold forever. (“All Glory Be to God on High” LSB 947, st.4)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch