Standing on the Rock-Solid Truth of God’s Word
These are the readings for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
(This Worship Help aligns with the lectionary readings from Christian Worship 1993 and Christian Worship: Supplement.)
God’s Word for This Week
The Holy Ministry stands on the rock-solid truth of God’s Word. Not all who call themselves ministers do that, so watch out for false teachers! Many will come with wise sounding words and pious promises, but they are not what they seem. The Church’s only defense is to stand firmly on the rock-solid truth of God’s Word. The season of Pentecost explicates the teachings of Christ and the application of faith in the life of the Christian. How fitting that this initial Sunday lays the foundation for that teaching and life: the inspired Word of God.
Traditional First Lesson – Deuteronomy 11:18-21,26-28
How familiar with his Word does the Lord want us to be?
He wants us to fix his Word in our hearts, minds, and heads; for it to become second nature to us.
Why is familiarity with the Word so important?
Only through the Word and sacraments does the Holy Spirit work faith and Christian life (cf. Romans 10:17).
What’s the consequence of disregarding God’s Word?
The Lord promises a curse upon those who disregard his Word of promise.
Supplemental First Lesson – 1 Kings 22:10-28
What lesson do you learn from the story of King Ahab about true and false prophets?
Never before was there a man like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. As he and Jehoshaphat listened, prophet after prophet promised victory in the coming battle. Those prophets looked the part with their props and talked the talk by speaking in the name of the Lord. But as Jesus said, not everyone who prophesies in the name of the Lord is a true prophet. Judge them by their fruit—the message they speak. This lesson starkly reveals false prophets as the liars they are.
Traditional Second Lesson – Romans 3:21-25a,27,28
What does the word “justified” mean in verse 24?
To justify someone means to declare them “not guilty” by a judicial act, as when a jury declares a defendant “not guilty.” The defendant is acquitted or justified.
Who has been justified?
God has declared all people “not guilty.” All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified.
How have we been justified?
St. Paul uses two similar phrases, “freely” and “by grace.” God didn’t owe us anything. He doesn’t forgive our sins because he has to. He does it without obligation, free of charge, according to his merciful nature because of the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Supplemental Second Lesson – 2 Peter 1:20–2:3
What important doctrine do you see explained in this reading?
False teachers like Zedekiah give their own interpretation suited for themselves or their audience. Verse 21 speaks of the inspiration of Scripture. Using false teachers as a foil, verse 21 draws a direct contradiction between false prophesy and Scripture. The Greek of verse 21b is emphatic that the Holy Spirit is the important actor here. “By the Holy Spirit carried, men spoke from God.” Even the Greek word for “spoke” implies that man did not contribute to the message but the mouth. Peter encourages us to be ready for false teachers: we know they’re coming, and we know their ending. The Holy Ministry watches out for false teachers and stands instead on the rock-solid truth of the inspired Word of God.
Gospel – Matthew 7:15-29
How will we be able to recognize false prophets?
Jesus says that we can recognize them by their fruits.
True or false: Everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” on the day of judgment will enter into heaven?
False. Jesus is interested in more than mere words. He is looking for the natural fruits of faith that the Holy Spirit works in our lives through the gospel.
Why were the people amazed at Jesus’ teaching?
Because he taught with authority. In other words, he didn’t base his teachings on what someone else had said (like the teachers of the law). Instead, Jesus would say things like: “Truly, truly I say to you …” Jesus can do this because he is God.