“Keep God’s commandments”
The message: The servant of God follows his rules and keeps his commandments, because he is not a stranger but a citizen of the kingdom of heaven and a child of God. As such, the child reveres God his Father and fears (obeys) God his Lord (Mal. 1: 6), because he stands with Him, is of the same kingdom as Him, namely a son, « heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ » Rom 8:17a. We are now living in a time of shrinking back when God separates His own from those who are not, for « The Lord knows those who are his » 2 Tim 2:19a. The signs of apostasy are taking place in accordance to Paul’s words to Timothy, « You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, brutes, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the outward form of godliness but denying its power » 2 Tim 3:1-5a. Indeed, it is written: « And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold » Mt 24:12, « For many are called, but few are chosen » Mt 22:14. So the Lord warns and marks those who are not with Him, and He warns and strengthens those who are His, saying: « Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy » Rev 22:11. Therefore then, « Hold fast to what you have » Rev 3:11b, for « the one who endures to the end will be saved » Mt 24:13. Obedience to God’s commandments is based on love for Him, as Jesus said to his disciples: « If you love me, you will keep my commandments » Jn 14:15. Therefore, “return to first love” (Rev.2:4), and “keep the laws and ordinances of God” (Lev.18:5).
Monday 07: He who loves God keeps his commandments.
« If you love me, you will keep my commandments » Jn 14:15.
Reading 1: Deut 10:10-14. Reading 2: Jn 14:12-17. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 14:15.
Introduction: « To love God » involves a deep meaning: the commitment to share life with Him, to make common cause with Him in accordance with Jesus’ words: « The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do » Jn 14:12a. So, He will be in complete union of heart and mind and soul with Him, like the Apostle Paul who wrote: « But we have the mind of Christ » 1 Cor 2:16b, as « For to me, living is Christ » Fil 1:21a, and « it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me » Gal 2:20b.
Tuesday 08.: God’s commandments give life to those who keep them.
« You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live » Lev 18:5a.
Reading 1: 1 Jn 3:21-24. Reading 2: Lev 18:1-5. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lev 18:4-5.
Introduction: The purpose of all God’s commandments is love, and giving life is its goal. Therefore, all his commandments can be described as “commandments of love;” they have been given out of His love for us, and we keep them in order to show our love for Him in return. This is why the first and the greatest commandment tells us: « You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might » Deut 6:5.
Wednesday 09.: The sinner cannot keep God’s commandments.
« Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? » Rom 7:24.
Reading 1: Isa 6:1-7. Reading 2: Rom 7:7-25. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 7:24-25.
Introduction: The Apostle Paul expressed this cry from the heart when he realized his profound wretchedness and insignificance, as he strove to keep the law as a Pharisee but failed to do so. So, the more he knew the law, the more his conscience condemned him because he was not able to really keep it. For it is not by fleshly efforts that one fulfills the law, but by God’s grace only (2 Cor. 12:9a), which is the work of the Holy Spirit who produces love in the heart of man, as « love is the fulfilling of the law » Rom 13:10b.
Thursday 10.: It is by keeping God’s commandments that his people become perfect.
« Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect » Mt 5:48.
Reading 1: 2 Tim 3:10-17. Reading 2: Mt 5:43-48. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 5:48.
Introduction: Jesus announced to his disciples: « Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill » Mt 5:17. This is in accordance with the will of the Father, as he said: « But whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven » Mt 5:19b. None of his commandments will be set aside or fall to the ground, as it is written: « All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient » 2 Tim 3:16-17a.
Friday 11.: The covenant is the foundation on which the keeping of God’s commandments is based.
« And I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty » 2 Cor 6:18.
Reading 1: Heb 8:8-13. Reading 2: 2 Cor 6:14-18. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Cor 6:18.
Introduction: The covenant is a common commitment and a deep communion with God in order to accomplish His will, as Jesus said in his prayer in Gethsemane: « Yet not what I want but what you want » Mt 26:39. It’s not superficial, it’s all about an authentic life, that the Lord justifies and fulfils in man as He says: « But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people » Jer 31:33.
Saturday: Obey God’s commandments because He is Lord.
« For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you » Jn 13:15.
Reading 1: Mal 1:6-9. Reading 2: Jn 13:12-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 13:14-15.
Introduction: Jesus said: « All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me » Mt 28:18b. « So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend » Phil 2:10. This means obeying Him as Lord, so as to keep his commandments.
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