Bible Readings and Devotion for September 29, 2020
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Devotion for September 29, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Most of us have heard of the United States Secret Service. We generally think of them as the security team which protects the President. The Secret Service has done this since 1901. Since its founding in 1865, the Secret Service has had the role of protecting the validity of our supply of currency. They keep our dollar bills from being devalued by fake currency. From what I have read about their work the Secret Service agents take a unique approach to verifying authentic United States bills. Instead of studying fake bills to learn what counterfeiters do, they study very carefully what the various United States bills should look like. That way, when bills come to them that are not genuine, they can tell because they know what real bills should look like.
In our reading today from 2 Corinthians 11 we have a warning from St. Paul. He is concerned that the Corinthian Christians are following any new diversion of faith which comes along. He notes, “For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.” He is warning them to watch out for strange, new teachers who have been leading many astray from the core truth of the Gospel. It appears that some are clearly teaching something quite contrary and deceptive.
The Corinthians were not the only early church to be deceived by false teachers. We read in the very beginning of Galatians the following: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!” (Galatians 1:6-9)
Just as in the first century, so now in the 20th and 21st centuries of our lifetimes there have been numerous false teachers. They teach a new idea which gets some attention. The various cults have taught new and false ideas about Jesus. Sometimes. Authors of books will pass along strange ideas which look or sound sort of real, but these are not. Some may offer a new and strange interpretation of a passage.
One of these I saw on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. This was maybe 35-40 years ago. The author was on to promote his book. To the surprise of Johnny, this author started stating some different things. One was that Jesus was not the Messiah until he was baptized at age 30. The other was that Jesus was from Venus. Even though I was a teen, I knew enough of scripture to know that these were odd ideas. I knew that Jesus was proclaimed as Messiah or Christ at his birth. Even before that, around the time of his conception, he was announced as the new King in the Line of David. That Jesus was from the planet Venus was an odd interpretation of Revelation 21:16, “It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.””
The most important think we can do to make sure we do not get deceived by the tidal waves in our culture of bad theology, false teachings, “new” ideas, etc. is to invest in reading God’s Holy Word. Pay special attention to the four Gospel Books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. as well as the books written by Paul The more we read it, the more we will know it. Also pray for understanding of the Word. The more you know it, the more you will be able to spot false ideas which are spread around so often today.
Gracious and holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you. Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on you; eyes to behold you; ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you; and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.