Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Sunday XVII after Trinity, 26th September – 2 October 2021 « God sets free » *

The message: Why the statement « God sets free? » Because there are many yokes that may bind us humans. It may be the imperfect spiritual life (for example: a unrepentant heart, a heart constantly anxious because of unbelief); it may be a wicked heart (hating and envying one’s neighbour, eager to retaliate); it may be bad habits (as lying, stealing, worshipping greed – love of wealth, alcohol or drug addiction), or indulgence (spending of money for futile desire), etc. Furthermore, we may fall prey to
all kind of oppression, pressure, repression, and intimidation. The very root of all this is the work of sin, which results from unbelief in God and rejection of His will. As humans, we are easily overcome by sin, and « people are slaves to whatever has mastered them » said the Apostle Peter (2 Pet. 2: 19b). Sin enslaves people, and they can’t even resist. The apostle Paul puts it this way: « For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me » Rom 7:19-20. How can we break free from the yoke of sin that binds us? The Apostle Paul wrote: « Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? » Rom 7:24. Thanks be to God for the deliverance He provides for us is immediate and certain. He accomplished it through His Son, Jesus Christ, according to His words: « So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed » Jn 8:36. The foundation of the freedom He gives is the truth of God, as Jesus says: « You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free » Jn 8:32, which means that we shall no longer be slaves to sin and unrighteousness. He gives us a perfect
freedom when He says: « See, I am making all things new » Rev 21:5ª. And in this new life with Him, « the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them » Mt 11:5. Therefore, « if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation » 2 Cor 5:17a.

Monday 27th: God sets the poor free.
« He raises up the poor from the dust » 1 Sam 2:8a.
Reading 1: Lk 15:1-7. Reading 2: 1 Sam.2:1-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Sam 2:8.
Introduction: The poor and needy have a special place in God’s heart. He has compassion for them as He Himself is Love, delivering them therefore from their afflictions, according to Jesus’ saying: « Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted » Mt 5:4. Yes, the heart of God is deeply moved at the sight of our misfortune, which comes from our sins. That is why He agreed to become a human to save the sinners. In this regard, He chose Mary, a simple and humble woman, as the mother of His Son Jesus. Mary felt that God’s heart lifts up the poor, so she praised Him, saying: « For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed » Lk 1:48.

Tuesday 28: God loves to set free those who return to Him.
« For freedom Christ has set us free » Gal 5:1a
Reading 1: Isa 61:1-3. Reading 2: Gal 5:1-14. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Gal 5:1.
Introduction: It is a joy for God to set free those who are determined to turn from evil and repent, to return to Him. Thus He redeemed the people of Israel from captivity: « Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, “The Lord has redeemed his servant Jacob! » Isa 48:20. By His blood, Christ has redeemed us from the slavery of sin. Therefore, let us not bind ourselves, lest we be tamed again by sin and by the customs of the world, as the apostle Paul says to the Christians of Corinth: « Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you » 2 Cor 6:17.

Wednesday 29th: God wants our deliverance, so that we inherit his kingdom.
« Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven » Mt 18:3.
Reading 1: Eph.4:17-24. Reading 2: Mt.18:1-7. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt.18:3.
Introduction: Jesus wants to justify and sanctify those who believe in Him to be worthy to inherit His kingdom. He gives great promises to those who
forsake the works of the flesh and sin, and therefore accept the work of the Spirit who sanctifies them: « Then the king will say to those at his right hand,
‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world » Mt 25:34. . He also requires that we
keep our faith to the end, like the apostle Paul who testified: « I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day » 2 Tim 4:7-8a.

Thursday, 30th: In God lies the freedom of his people.
« Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children » Eph 5:1.
Reading 1: Mt 5:42-48. Reading 2: Eph 5:1-7. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Eph 5:1.
Introduction: God’s love alone can deliver man from himself and his own desires, which enables him to progress in piety and to be imitator of God who, out of love for all men, shows mercy and kindness. How can this be accomplished? Here is the answer: by loving Him, in response to His love for us, as Jesus teaches: « Abide in my love » Jn 15:9b. Convinced of Jesus’s love for him, the apostle Paul did no longer live for himself, according to his writing: « I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. » Gal 2:19b-20a.

Friday 01st: God provides total freedom.
« So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed » Jn 8:36
Reading 1: Rev 7:13-17. Reading 2: Jn 8:31-38. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 8:36.
Introduction: Sinful mankind, separated from God, are bound by weakness, by the fear of death, and by the seduction of the devil, who is the enemy of
God. But Jesus Christ indeed brought deliverance from that, according to the prayer of Zechariah: « Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us » Lk 1:68-71. And because as Son of God He possesses all authority, many are those whom He freed from what humans could not remedy, as He says: « The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them » Mt 11:5.

Saturday 02nd: Preserve the freedom given by God.
« Beware […] »Phil 3:2
Reading 1: Heb 10:26-31. Reading 2: Phil 3:1-9. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Phil 3:2.
Introduction: Priceless is the freedom given by God, because it is with the precious blood of Christ that He redeemed the sinners whom He acquired. Since it has enemies, it must be preserved. The apostle Peter sums it up in this warning: « Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour » 1 Pet 5:8. The way? A living communion with Jesus and a watchfulness through unceasing prayer. Thus, we will receive the mind and the guidance of the Lord, and we will be perpetually under his protection (Lk 18:1/1 Thess 5:17).

This pericope is published in Malagasy, French, English and German, and can be found on the Site www.hifi- madanet.org and Facebook “Hira sy Filazantsara”. Listen to hifiradio.org 24/7: lessons, songs, … © Madanet

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