“God does not want to cast his people away”
The message: God does not want to cast his people away. Rather, He wants them to believe in Him so that they may be saved. In this respect, Jesus said: « For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life » Jn 3:16. Surely God does not cast his people away nor let them perish; nevertheless, men’s salvation depends on their choice (Mar 16:16). For He is, « a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness » Eks 34:6; He is willing to welcome those who come back to Him and to save those who call on His Name. Jesus said, « Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away » Jn 6:37b. Thus, the purpose of the extra days He gives to men is to allow them to receive his forgiveness and to be reconciled with Him, that He may renew their lives and their minds to be in agreement with God. Indeed, it is written: « If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! » 2 Cor 5:17, « but to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God » Jn 1:12―that is, the confidence and the right to call on His Name, as it is written, « The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father’ » Rom 8:15. And He constantly reminds them of his unfailing love by taking care of them, saying: « Even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save » Isa 46:4. To his people who rebelled against Him, he says, « Return, faithless Israel, says the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, says the Lord; I will not be angry forever » Jer 3:12. Therefore, make “the most of the time, because the days are evil » Eph 5:16, which means “leading to perdition.” And receive his salvation and blessing, as He says: « Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion » Heb 3:15.
Monday 26th: God does not want to cast his people away.
« I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! » Rom 11:1a.
Reading 1: Lk 19:1-10. Reading 2: Rom 11:1-6. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 11:1-4.
Introduction: The debate about the perdition of the Jews still continues today because they have rejected the Messiah of God, the incarnate Word of God. Indeed, « He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him » Jn 1:11, which means, « They rejected Him » and crucified Him out of unbelief (Ac.2:36). But God does not over-indulge in anger; He does not regret his grace and his calling to men (Rom 11:29). Therefore, Jesus said, « Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest » Mt 11:28. Rest is the forgiveness of sins for the reconciliation with God.
Tuesday 27th: God is patient and calls the sinners.
« I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that did not call on my name » Isa 65:1b.
Reading 1: Mt 21:41-46. Reading 2: Isa 65:1-2. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 65:1.
Introduction: Since man cannot return to God nor receive his salvation because of his unbelief and self-confidence and because of the conceit in his heart, God came to seek him. So Jesus said: « I have come to call not the righteous but sinners » Mt 9:13b. Therefore, « Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near » Isa 55:6.
Wednesday 28th: God is patient and loves to forgive sins.
« He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency » Mic 7:18b.
Reading 1: Sal 78:29-39. Reading 2: Mic 7:18-20. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mic 7:18.
Introduction: The Lord said: « For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings » Hos 6:6. He wants us to konw his way of salvation: He broke down the wall of hostility that separated us from Him (Isa 59:2). Therefore, « Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon » Isa 55:7.
Thursday 29th: God is long-suffering towards sinners.
« Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it » Lk 13:8.
Reading 1: Heb 3:7-14. Reading 2: Lk 13:1-9. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 13:7-9.
Introduction: Jesus said, « I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes[a] to make it bear more fruit » Jn 15:1-2. The Lord does not love evil and wants to renew the lives of those who are imprisoned by sin, so that they return to Him. In this respect, Jesus said, « I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice » Jn 10:16a – thay they may live, that may be saved.
Friday 30th: God distinguishes those who are His.
« The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous » Mt 13:49b.
Reading 1: Mal 3:15-20. Reading 2: Mt 13:44-50. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 13: 47-50.
Introduction: There is a time when God shows mercy. For the Lord is patient with the sinners so that they may repent. But there will also be time when He will judge men and their deeds, and He will separate them one from another, as, « The Lord knows those who are his » 2 Tim 2:19a. Therefore, He said, « 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.
Saturday 31st: God is patient and calls men to repentance.
« Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? » Rom 2:4b.
Reading 1: Rev 22:6-14. Reading 2: Rom 2:1-11. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 2:4-5.
Introduction: When the Lord saw the spiritual death and suffering of his people, He swore: « As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live » Ezek 33:11a. Happy is he who hears and receives the call of God, for it is written: « While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed » Acts 17:30-31a.
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