Malagasy Lutheran Church

Song & Gospel

Sixth Sunday after Trinity 20th – 25th July 2020

”Keep God’s commandments”

“Keep the commands of God, because He is King.” God’s kingdom is governed by the rule of law, namely God’s commandments. If God has given the laws that are to rule and govern His kingdom, His purpose is that men may live and that God, who is its Lord, may receive the reverence and glory and obedience due Him. He said, indeed: “A son honors his father, and servants their master. If then I am a father, where is the honor due me? And if I am a master, where is the respect due me? says the Lord of hosts to you” Mal 1:6a. “Lord of hosts” means Lord Almighty who is above all names and all authorities. So keeping God’s commands is first of all linked to the prayer that Jesus taught to His people: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” Mt 6:10. This is the guarantee for men’s life and their receiving God’s blessings. This is the founding word and promise that He gave to His people Israel: “If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you” Dt 28:1-2. Otherwise, curse and disaster will come upon them (Dt 28:15). God has already given His commands so that men may be happy; yet not all men nor all nations follow them, and many hesitate to accept “the will of God,” because it is contrary to their human will. The Apostle Paul said: “For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires” 2 Tim 4:3. These times are a time of shrinking back so that even the elect may be deceived, if that were possible (Mt 24:24b). This is not surprising if that results in suffering and dismay, namely “terrible times,” far from God and His salvation. But He does not forsake His people, so He sent Jesus. He said: “The Son of Man has come to save and seek what is lost” Lk 19:10.

Monday 20th: GOD GIVES THE LAW.
« Then God spoke all these words » Ex 20:1.
Reading 1: Jn 1:1-4. Reading 2: Ex 20:1-17. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ex 20:1.
Introduction: God, who is ”God of the law,” is ”a God not of disorder but of peace” 1 Cor 14:33; He harmonises everything He created by means of the law that He edicted, and He saw that ”It was very good” Gen 1:31. Following God’s law is key to the success in what we do, so the Lord said to Joshua as he was appointed to succeed Moses: ”This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful” Jos 1:8.

« All these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God » Deut 28:2.
Reading 1: Mt 7:24-27. Reading 2: Deut 28:1-13. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Deut 28:1-2.
Introduction: “Obedience to God’s law” is the characteristic of God’s children. Jesus said: « If you love me, you will keep my commandments » Jn 14:15. They do not lack blessing, as the Lord says: « If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land »Is 1:19. To them Jesus says: « My peace I give to you » Jn 14:27b.

Wednesday 22nd: FAITH FULFILS THE LAW.
« Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law » Rom 3:31.
Reading 1: Mt 21:18-22. Reading 2: Rom 3:21-31. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 3:30-31.
Introduction: The law He has given is precious to God, because this is what fulfils the kingdom of grace that He has prepared to make us humans happy. This is received by faith, by trust in and obedience to God whom we worship and serve, as expressed by Thomas: « My Lord and my God! » Jn 20:28.

« I have come not to abolish but to fulfill » Mt 5 :17b.
Reading 1:Rom 13:10-14. Reading 2: Mt 5:17-19. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 5:17.
Introduction: Jesus’s word highlights here, how unwilling people are to follow God’s law because sin still binds them and reigns in them. Some people think, indeed, that when they are under grace, they are done away with the law (cf. Rom 6:14). Others say that the Old Testament is no more needed as we are now living in the “era of the Gospel.” Paul said: « But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! » Gal 2:17. For Christ is: “the Word who became flesh” (Jn 1:14), in order to fulfill all God’s laws.

« On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets » Mt 22:40.
Reading 1: 1Cor 13:4-13. Reading 2: Mt 22:34-40. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 22:40.
Introduction: These “two great commandments” referred to by Jesus here fulfil all the laws and all that has been spoken through the prophets, according to what is written, « Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law » Rom 13:10. For “God is love” 1 Jn 4:16.

Saturday 25th: OBEY GOD’S LAW.
« In vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines » Mt 15:9.
Reading 1: Deut 27:1-10. Reading 2: Mt 15:1-9. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 15:9.
Introduction: As « The Lord knows those who are his » 2 Tim 2:19, the fact of keeping His commands and accomplishing His will and His work distinguishes the people of God, according to Jesus’word: « Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do » Jn 14:12. They do not worship God nor serve Him in vain, for He says: « But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall » Mal 4:2.

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