Malagasy Lutheran Church

Song & Gospel

Third Sunday after Trinity June 29th – July 04th, 2020

« God loves to show mercy”

« God loves to show mercy. » This refers to God’s deep nature. He says, indeed, « For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice » Hos 6:6a. This reveals His specificity as a God who loves to forgive sins, which made the prophet say, « As far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him » Ps 103:12-13. For God’s mercy involves His compassion to fallen man, with a view to justify and restore him. For even if his heart longs to get back on his feet and to do what is good, he remains bound by sin, which made Paul cry out: « Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? » Rom 7:24. But in all of this, the Lord still says, « My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness » 2 Cor 12:9a. Therefore, « Whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts » 1 Jn 3:20a. That was why Jesus said to the Pharisee who criticized Him for eating with sinners, « Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick…For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners » Mt 9:12,13b – like Saul, the Pharisee, who fiercely persecuted the Christians, but who received mercy and was made into “God’s chosen instrument.” Therefore, David praised God in these terms, « The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always accuse, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities » Ps 103:8-10. What we should watch for is « to take things for granted, and so to become ungrateful” (Lu 17:17), or else « to be foolish” (Eph 5:17). Most dangerous is to « become accustomed to being forgiven, and so become insensitive to the calls to repentance and to get rid of evil practices.” For « God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance » Rom 2:4b. In this respect, Jesus preached, « REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN HAS COME NEAR » Mt 4:17b.

Monday 29.: God loves to show mercy and does not retain His anger.
« He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency » Mi.7: 18b.
Reading 1: Ro. 9: 9-16. Reading 2: Mk.7: 18-20. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mi.7: 18.
Introduction: Surely God loves to show mercy, so He does not destroy the sinner but invites them to come to his senses so that he may turn and be reconciled to Him. He does so in order to justify him and make him into a « new man. » He will then say like David, « Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight » Ps 51:4a. And like the prodigal son, he will confess to his father, « Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son » Lk 15:18b-19a.

Tuesday 30.: God’s mercy does not forsake the sinner.
« God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance » Rom 2:4b.
Reading 1: Lk 15:11-24. Reading 2: Rom 2:1-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 2:3-4.
Introduction: It is not out of weakness but out of kindness that God has compassion on the sinner and shows him His mercy. He said to Israel, « Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you » Isa 49:15. When the brigand crucified next to Jesus begged him: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, « Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise » Lk 23:42-43.

Wednesday 01.: God’s mercy forgives the sinner.
« Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven » Mt 9:2.
Reading 1: Isa 55:6-9. Reading 2: Mt 9:1-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 9:1-2.
Introduction: Jesus was given absolute power to judge according to Jn.5: 22-23, but He would far rather see the sinner come to Him to repent and to show his faith, so that God may save him. Indeed, He said: « Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away » Jn 6:37b. David said, « O you who answer prayer! To you all flesh shall come » Ps 65:2.

Thursday 02.: The mercy of God seeks the sinner.
« For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost » Lk 19:10.
Reading 1: Isa 44:19-22. Reading 2: Lk 19:1-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 19:10.
Introduction: God does not forget the men and the people He has chosen. When Israel fell in trouble as a result of her unfaithfulness, namely her straying and betrayal, she fell in despair and said, « The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me » Isa 49:14. But God neither reject his people (Ro.11:1), nor forget them. He remembers His covenant and calls them back, saying, « Return to me, for I have redeemed you » Isa 44:22d.

Friday 03rd: The mercy of God saves the sinner.
« I came not to judge the world, but to save the world » Jn 12:47b.
Reading 1: Jer 33:5-11. Reading 2: Jn 12:44-50. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 12.46-47.
Introduction: The mercy of God means that He is keen to forgive sins, and does not want to keep record of them! This is how He stands for the sinners according to the Apostle John’s statement: « But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world » 1 Jn 2:1-2. His love is so great that « He laid down his life for us » 1 Jn 3:16.

Saturday 04.: God’s mercy remains forever.
« But with everlasting love I will have compassion on you » Isa 54:8b.
Reading 1: Eph 5:11-17. Reading 2: Isa 54:4-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 54:8.
Introduction: God’s mercy is « everlasting mercy » because « He loved his people with eternal love » (Jer 31:3). On this basis, He establishes a covenant with His people, saying: « But my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you » Isa 54:10b.

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