Malagasy Lutheran Church 23th Sunday after Trinity – Week of 16.-21. November 2020

“Inherit God’s kingdom”

A loving incitation and invitation is the theme presented to us today, namely to receive and inherit the kingdom of God. In this regard, it may be said that there are two kingdoms, between which men can choose: the first one is the kingdom of God, who is its Creator and Lord, and who sets the laws that rule over it―a kingdom that is ”not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” Rom 14:17. Therefore the kingdom of God is based on what the Holy Scripture says, and the Holy Spirit is He who guides and teaches and builds up God’s people―the community of the believers, or the Church. The other one is ”the kingdom of the world” where ”the king of darkness” reigns (Eph 6:12), namely Satan, the enemy of God and conterfeiter of His work, who lures his followers to all evil and unrighteousness, and deceives men and leads them to perdition by making them indulge in ”the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 Jn 2:16), so that ”their god is their stomach” Phil 3:19. So the two have nothing in common, having their own respective ways and minds, and their own respective spirit at work in them. Therefore, the Lord says: ”Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness? What agreement does Christ have with Beliar?” 2 Cor 6:14-16. Thus, the Apostel John said to his spiritual children: ”Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world” 1 Jn 2:15. Therefore, the word of God says: ”Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you, and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” 2 Cor 6:17-18. Indeed, the Lord said: ”YOU ARE MINE” Is 43:1.

Monday, 16th: God’s kingdom, kingdom of righteousness.
« See, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice » Isa 32:1.
Reading 1: Ps 110:1-7. Reading 2: Isa 32:1-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 32:1.
Introduction: The kingdom of righteouness is the kingdom of the word of God. Jesus prayed thus for his disciples: « Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth » Jn 17:17. In the same vein, the psalmist sang: « The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever » Ps 119:160. The Apostle John declared: « I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth » 3 Jn:4.

Tuesday, 17th: The kingdom of God, a kingdom of peace.
« I urge …thanksgivings be made for everyone for kings … so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity » 1 Tim 2:1-2.
Reading 1: Lk 2:8-14. Reading 2: 1 Tim 2:1-6. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Tim 2:1-2.
Introduction: God is a God of peace (1 Cor 14:33), so peace is what governs His kingdom; it is the essence of life for its people who are called « children of peace » Lk 10:6. Peace is the reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ who is ”The Prince of Peace” Isa 9:5. Jesus says: « Peace be with you » Jn 20:19.

Wednesday, 18th: The kingdom of God, kingdom of the Holy Spirit.
« For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit » Rom 14:17.
Reading 1: Jn 20:18-23. Reading 2: Rom 14:13-18. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 14:17.
Introduction: The Holy Spirit is the power and righteousness of God that is at work to renew men’s lives so thay they may inherit God’s kingdom. In this respect, Jesus said to Nicodemus: « Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit » Jn 3:5. Therefore, « Receive the Holy Spirit » Jn 20:22.

Thursday, 19th: The kingdom of God, kingdom of love.
« I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing » 1 Cor 13:2b.
Reading 1: Ps 33:1-3. Reading 2: 1 Cor 13:1-3. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Cor 13:2b.
Introduction: God’s kingdom is a kingdom of love because « God is love » 1 Jn 4:8. Those who do not have love, do not yet know God, as love is that what unites us with God. Jesus says: « 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. « The greatest of these is love » 1 Cor 13:13.

Friday, 20th: Seek the kingdom of God.
« But strive first for the kingdom of God[l] and his[m] righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well » Mt 6:33.
Reading 1: Rom 8:28-31. Reading 2: Mt 6:28-34. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 6:33.
Introduction: Choosing the kingdom of God is without parallel, it is the most reliable foundation of life. It is tantamount to letting Jesus Christ enter and reign in our hearts in order to receive salvation, « Because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved » Rom 10:9. Jesus says, « The kingdom of God is among you » Lk 17:21c, i.e., you who believe in His Name.

Saturday, 21st: Inherit the kingdom of God.
« Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world » Mt 25:34.
Reading 1: Isa 25:6-9. Reading 2: Mt 25:31-40. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 25:34.
Introduction: No one can enter the heavenly kingdom except through Jesus Christ Only who holds the keys of His kingdom, and who « opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens » Rev 3:7b. For He said: « I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me » Jn 14:6. To His people who trust Him and who truly repent to Him, He says, « Enter into the joy of your master » Mt 25:21c.

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