THE WEEK OF TRINITY VIII – SUNDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 7:15-23

“Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12

After explaining the commandments of God as reported in Matthew, chapters five and six and in the earlier part of chapter seven, the Lord concludes His discussion with the words, “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” This is a Christian doctrine and a neat summary of the whole of Christianity.

Following on this, we have the present Gospel (Matthew 7:15-23), in which the Lord performs the office of a godly shepherd and teacher and warns us to beware of false teachers. It is as though He meant to say, “There you have your doctrine; from now on, beware of other doctrines. For it is certain that wicked teachers and false prophets will arise wherever this Word is preached.”

This we must consider very carefully that there are two brands of doctrine: correct and good doctrine and false, misleading doctrine. There are two brands of doctrine, one always to be found alongside the other. This is how matters have stood from the beginning, and this is how it will be until the end of the world. We achieve nothing at all by withdrawing in silence and seeking security without trouble and annoyances. The wicked doctrine of men, the devil’s doctrine, and all our foes will oppose us unceasingly. We must never imagine that all our battles are over. We are not yet “out of the woods.” Hence, the Lord gives us a very serious warning and says, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”

SL 11:1394 (1-2)

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have given us very clear, precise teaching and instruction on what we are to believe as Your disciples. Implant Your Word in our hearts in such a way that we understand and keep it, for Your truth’s sake. Amen.

Editor’s note: No American Edition (AE) equivalent for today’s sermon excerpt exists at the time of this publication. For an alternate English translation of this sermon, see Lenker, Church Postil—Gospels, 4:234-245.