Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Sunday XXIII after Trinity – week from 11th to 16th November 2019 “God’s people, servants of righteousness” *

The topic’s meaning: God is righteous and loves righteousness; He hates evil (Ps11:7) and wants his people to be like Him (Ps.34:15-16). John the Apostle said, ”I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are ware walking in the truth” 3 Jn 4. It is the nature of the children of God to serve righteousness, which is the will of God (Rom 12:2). To love and serve righteousness is a godly attitude produced by the Spirit, as He is ”the Spirit of truth” in accordance to Jesus’ word, ”But when he, the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you in to all truth” Jn 16:13. The righteous man has indeed been born of God, according to Jesus’word, ”Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to Spirit” Jn 3:6. On the other hand, to those who hate righteousness Jesus says, ”You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire” Jn 8:44. Actually, talking about God’s people as servants of righteousness refers to the believers who received Jesus and to whom ”He gave the right to be children of God” Jn 1:12—those who have been set free from the bondage of sin and have become ”servants of the righteousness” (Ro 6:8). It is fulfilled in them according to what is written, ”Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor 5:17. The old things include all the work of darkness and wickedness resulting from the devil’s work and the dominion of sin; while the new things are the life and the work in which God’s righteousness reigns. Paul the Apostel urges the believers, ”Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness” Ro 6:19. And since keeping righteouness sets man free, Jesus says, ”If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” Jn 8:31-32.

Monday 11: God delights in righteousness.
“I See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice » Is 32:1.
Reading 1: Ps 106:1-5. Reading 2: Is 32:1-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Is 32:1.
Introduction: The king who reigns in righteousness makes his reign endure; this too is what exalts a nation (Pr 14:34). Keeping righteousness is indeed honoring God; it is the foundation of His kingdom according to what is written: ”Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you” Ps 89:14. Rehefa izany, dia hoy Izy: ”He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” Mi 6:8.

Tuesday 12: Jesus rebukes men’s wickedness.
“You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?” Mt.22:18.
Reading 1: Dt 6:10-18. Reading 2: Mt 22:15-22. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 22:17-18.
Introduction: Wickedness appears in various forms, such as theft, deceit, betrayal, fraud and many others, but there is one in particular that God can not put up with: hypocrisy, which is pretending to be righteous and using that as a cover for wickedness. Jesus rebuked the Jewish religious leaders saying, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!” Mat.23:13,15,16,23,25,27,29 seven times in a row. At the same time He warned His disciples, “Be careful,” “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” Mt 16:6, which is hypocrisy.

Wednesday 13: Follow the model of righteousness.
“Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters” Phil 3:17a.
Reading 1: Jn.15:9-14. Reading 2: Phil 3:17-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Phil 3:17.
Introduction: Paul made a firm distinction between as he said,” What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?” 2 Co 6:15a. Because of the increase of the leaders who falsifie the truth, Paul urged Timothy to Have nothing to do with those ”having a form of godliness but denying its power” 2 Tim.3:5.”For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ” 2 Co.11:13, and ”by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” Ro.16:18, even those who are ignorant and weak in the faith.

Thursday 14: God blesses the servants of righteousness.
« That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season  » Ps 1:3a.
Reading 1: Dt 28:1-2. Reading 2: Ps 1:1-6. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ps 1:3.
Introduction: God is the one who makes those who keep righteousness prosper, as ” The righteous will flourish like a palm tree” Ps 92:12a. Jesus says, ”Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” Mt.5:6. The believers rejoice in the righteousness of God, which is His word (Jn 17:17). Therefore they praise Him, ”Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws” Ps 119:164.

Friday 15: It’s the believers’duty to make God’s truth shine.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others” Mt 5:16.
Reading 1: Eph 5:8-17. Reading 2: Mt 5:14-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 5:16.
Introduction: The Lord has raised up his people to be ”the witnesses of his truth” so they must not remain silent (Lk 19:40). For it is mostly to them that God’s order is addressed,”Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season” 2 Tim 4:4. Our hymn says, Many people are complaining, bring the light to them…” FFPM Hymn N° 310.

Saturday 16: Devote yourself to the truth.
“Offer yourselves to God” Ro 6:13b.
Reading 1: Dt 6:10-19. Reading 2: Ro 6:7-14. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ro 6:13.
Introduction: This word is appropriate to the christian believers, those who have decided to get rid of sin and wickedness (Ro 6:13) and made the choice to serve Christ as ”an instrument of righteousness for God.” The sinners’ renewal is God’s great mercy to them, allowing them to become ”servants to righteousness leading to holiness” (Ro 6:9b). For ”those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” Ro 8:30.

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