Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Eigtheenth Sunday after Trinity 12.-17. October, 2020

« Living to love God »

The message: It is not usual for man to have a creed or a life purpose to “live to love God.” Yet God made this his first commandment, according to Jesus’ word: « You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind » Mt 22:37 – this means full love. Because their relationship with God distinguishes people from one another: there are those who « seek God because they need Him, » and there are those who « show love to God because they want to serve Him. » In truth, however, both attitudes complete each other: the fulfilment of our desire, and even, our obtaining answer to our prayer should lead us to a commitment to the One from whom all good gifts come (Jas 1:17). This is all about reciprocity of love. In this sense, the Psalmist says: « What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? » Ps 116:12. However, everyone has their own mind and choice; some know God only as the Provider of mercy and the Giver of anything that is asked of Him – just like those who « think only to make God serve their selfish desire, » using Him as « a mere tool. » On the other hand, others devote themselves to God, not because they do trade with Him, serving Him only under the condition that they would obtain what they need, but because they have heard His call and have been visited by the Holy Spirit. The word of the Apostle Paul is fulfilled to them: « For the love of Christ urges us on » 2 Cor 5:14a – a love that is eager to give and to share. Blessed are those who do so, for the Lord’s word is fulfilled to them, which says: « It is more blessed to give than to receive » Acts 20:35 b, like the woman who poured a very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head, and whom He highly approved (Mt 26:13). In contrast, to those who are only concerned with their self-interest Jesus says: « For those who want to save their life will lose it” Mt 16:25 a. But to those who live to love God and who then renounce their own life, He declares: « …those who lose their life for my sake will find it » Mt 16:25b. They will therefore be able to claim: « It is Christ who lives in me » Gal 2:20a.

Monday, 12th: Loving God is life-giving.
« What does the Lord your God require of you? Only … to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul » Deut 10:12b.
Reading 1: Rom 2:4-29. Reading 2: Deut 10:12-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Deut 10:12.
Introduction: Love to God is manifested and fulfilled in the love to serve Him. « To serve Him » involves acknowledging Him as Lord, doing His will, believing His word and obeying His commandments. In this sense, Jesus said to His disciples: « If you love me, you will keep my commandments » Jn 14:15. The Lord rejoices in the fact that we keep His commandments; it is a life-giving source for those who do it (Neh 9:29).

Tuesday, 13th: Loving God through faith in Him.
« Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved » Rom 10:13.
Reading 1: Jn 3:25-36. Reading 2: Rom 10:1-13. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 10:11-13.
Introduction: Faith in God is a mark of love for Him. Indeed, « Love believes all things » 1 Cor 13:7b. Anyone who loves God loves the revelation of His glory, namely His exaltation among humankind and among all His creation. This is fulfilled by faith. For the Lord says: « My righteous one will live by faith » Heb 10:38a. Jesus once said to Martha: « Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God? » Jn 11:40.

Wednesday, 14th: Loving God and living a communion with Him.
« My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me » Jn 10:27.
Reading 1: Ezek 34:11-15. Reading 2: Jn 10:23-38. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 10:27-28.
Introduction: “Communion” means being closely linked and standing for one another out of love. In this sense, Jesus explained to His disciples: « I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing » Jn 15:5. Therefore, as He said: « The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do » Jn 14:12a, He also promised: « No one will snatch them out of my hand » Jn 10:28c.

Thursday, 15th: The believer lives for God.
« For to me, living is Christ » Phil 1:21a.
Reading 1: Jn 6:32-40. Reading 2: Phil 1:12-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Phil 1:21.
Introduction: Dedication to live for Him is the sign of love to God. To this end, Paul said to the believers in Rome: « I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship » Rom 12:1. As for him, he said: « For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain » Phil 1:21.

Friday, 16th: Mutual love pleases God.
« What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? » Ps 116:12.
Reading 1: Mt 26:6-13. Reading 2: Ps 116:1-15. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ps 116:12.
Introduction: God’s kingdom is a kingdom of love which brings about mutual love. God already loves us, so we should love Him back. When Jesus healed ten men with leprosy, He sent them to show themselves to the priests, but only one man, a Samaritan, came back to give thanks to God. Therefore, He said: « Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? » Lk 17:17. Being a child of God consists in loving Him. For « The fruit of the Spirit is love » Gal 5:22a.

Saturday, 17th: The believers live by loving God.
« For the love of Christ urges us on » 2 Cor 5:14a.
Reading 1: Jn 21:15-17. Reading 2: 2 Cor 5:11-15. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Cor 5:14.
Introduction: Loving God is the highest and most reliable motive in human life. This is highly approved by Him, as « The Lord knows those who are his » 2 Tim 2:19a. He will make them vessels « for special use » 2 Tim 2:20b because they trust Him and are trustworthy in His eyes. Surely, He will take care of them as He said: « Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name » Ps 91:14. He then will say to them: « Enter into the joy of your master » Mt 25:21c,23c

This pericope is available in Malagasy, French, English and German; it can be found on the website and on Facebook “Hifi – english.” Listen to 24/7: teachings, testimonies, songs, … © Madanet

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