Malagasy Lutheran Church Hira & Filazantsara First Sunday following Easter 11-17 April 2021 « The Living Jesus: an assurance for Believers » *

The message: “The Living Jesus: An Assurance for Believers”: Jesus lives; He wins and frees believers from the yoke of sin and the power of death. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul meant when he said that Jesus was “delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification” Rom 4:25. The God of the Bible is not a dead God, unlike pieces of wood and stone (Ps 115:5-7), but “the Living God”, the God who overcomes eternal death. Jesus particularly said, « I was dead, and now
look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades » Rev 1:18. Jesus has indeed risen, for all sinners who have died in sin and ignorance of God; and He raises all who believe and come to Him to the status of children of the living God, to inherit His everlasting kingdom and to bear witness to this Good News (1 Cor 15:6). He assures us: « For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life » Jn 6:40a. He also wants us to look and stare at
Him today, to see Him standing among us, so that we may say as Mary Magdalene did: « I have seen the Lord » Jn 20:18b. Believe in Him, and you shall arise. Yes, the victorious will be the one who stands by faith in the world, for « this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith » 1 Jn 5:41a. He especially wants us to receive His gift of a victorious life and sing, « My soul rejoices, for I am saved; the wounds of my Savior grant me a new life” Hymn FFPM 543.

Monday, 12th: The Living Jesus: An Assurance of Redemption for Believers.
« I know that my redeemer lives » Job 19:25a.
Reading 1: 1 Kor 15:1-8. Reading 2: Job 19:25-27. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Job 19:25.
Introduction: Job’s suffering was the most difficult, but he was strengthened by his faith and stood victorious and witnessed to God’s redemption. We also
have the assurance of redemption in Jesus Christ, as the Apostle Paul declared: « […] Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at
the right hand of God and is also interceding for us » Rom 8:34.

Tuesday, 13th: The Living Jesus: An Assurance of reconciliation with God and with one another for Believers.
« [Jesus], in one body … reconcile(s) both of them to God through the cross » Eph 2:16a.
Reading 1: Jn 14:20-21. Reading 2: Eph 2:11-17. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Eph 2:16.
Introduction: The Living, resurrected Jesus is the living proof that the destruction of the barrier that separated us from God is “finished” (Jn 19:30a),
which is our sin, according to His word: « […] your iniquities have separated you from your God » Isa 59:2a. The reconciliation of human beings in God is
also “finished”, as it is written: « We have now received reconciliation through Our Lord Jesus Christ  » Rom 5:11b.

Wednesday, 14th: The Living Jesus: An Assurance of life for Believers.
« Because I live, you also will live » Jn 14:19d.
Reading 1: Eph 2:1-7. Reading 2: Jn 14:18-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 14:19.
Introduction: The resurrected Jesus Christ: the assurance and guarantee of eternal life for all believers, because of His victory over sin, the devil and all
the works of darkness (Rev 12:7-11). He dwells in us who are His people through the « Spirit of truth”: « But if Christ is in you, … the Spirit gives life
because of righteousness » Rom 8:10a,c. Not only a trvial life, but life with Him and for Him: « And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live
for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again [to save them] » 2 Kor 5:15.

Thursday, 15th: The Living Jesus: An Assurance of victory over the world for Believers.
« For everyone born of God overcomes the world » 1 Jn 5:4a.
Reading 1: Rev 12:7-11. Reading 2: 1 Jn 5:4-12. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Jn 5:4.
Introduction: Jesus makes the believer, who is born of God, a conqueror like Him. Apostles Paul and John exalted this victory in the Living Jesus: « In all
these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us » Rom 8:37, « You […] have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater
than the one who is in the world » 1 Jn 4:4b. In particular, Jesus said: « In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world » Jn
16:33b.

Friday, 16th: The Living Jesus: An Assurance of Peace for Believers.
« Jesus himself stood among them and said to them: Peace be with you » Lk 24:36.
Reading 1: Eph 2:11-17. Reading 2: Lk 24:36-43. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 24:36.
Introduction: « Peace » is serenity and stillness that comes from faith and trust in the living, risen Jesus, who stands and abides among His people. Indeed,
Jesus’ standing and showing that He lives was enough to wipe all His disciples’ anxiety. It is a guarantee and a great assurance of victory for those who
believe in God’s love, no matter what happens to them, as the Apostle Paul declares:  » […] I am convinced that [nothing] will be able to separate us from
the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord » Rom 8:39d.

Saturday, 17th: The Living Jesus: An Assurance of eternal happiness for Believers.
« With eternal pleasures at your right hand » Ps 16:11c.
Reading 1: Isa 35:3-10. Reading 2: Ps 16:10-11. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ps 16:11.
Introduction: Jesus said: « I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full » Jn 10:10b. Indeed, Jesus only can bring lasting happiness to His
people, as He promises: « He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things
has passed away » Rev 21:4. Jesus has gone before us and prepared a place for us (Jn 14:3) in His everlasting Kingdom, according to His Word, « And
those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads » Isa 35:10a-b.

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