Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

“Do not despise prophecies, but test everything.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21

Teachers have a difficult job. They are given the responsibility to instruct, encourage, motivate and inspire a classroom of students, each of whom is unique and different in their background, their experience, and in the way they learn best. On top of that, they are asked to test each student to determine their level of knowledge in a particular subject.

One of the tools a teacher uses to score the exam is an answer key. When a student turns in a test, the teacher compares the student’s answer to the answer key. That will inform the teacher right away if the student’s answer is correct or incorrect. What a helpful tool! If only we had an “answer key” for the really difficult questions in life!

We do! The Bible is our “answer key” (absolute truth and authority) for life! It is the standard by which we can measure the truth of any doctrine or teaching. We do not need to wonder whether a particular teaching is true or not, simply compare it to the answer key of God’s inerrant Word, and we will be able to test everything as 1 Thessalonians instructs us to do.

The noble Bereans did this in the book of Acts. When they heard the preaching of Paul the Bereans, “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

The attitude of the Bereans is ours as well: using God’s Word as our standard for truth. In God’s Law we see God’s holy commands, which convict us of our sins. In the Gospel, we see the promised Savior who came to earth to save us from the consequences of sin. As the angel told Joseph, “You will call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Prayer: For lo, the days have come to pass, by prophets seen of old, when down into the circling years, came Christ as was foretold. His word of peace shall to the earth, God’s ancient promise bring, and all who take this gift will hear, the song the angels sing.  (It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, LSB 366:4).

This devotion was written by Reverend Kurt Larson, pastor of Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA.

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