Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Sunday XVI after Trinity, 19-25 September 2021 « It is God gives life » *

The message: « It is God who gives life » That is the primary idea contained in God’s act of creation work since the beginning, as it is written: « In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be
light,’ and there was light » Gen 1:1-3. So « the light » is nothing but the existence of life, according to what is written: « In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and
that life was the light of all mankind » Jn 1:1-4. Surely God is the Lord over life, and He wants that we, sinful humans, may live. Because through sin death has come into our human life, consistently with what Paul wrote : « […] and death [entered the world] through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned » Rom 5:12b, for « the sting of death is sin » 1 Cor 15:56ª. Therefore He says: « As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn
from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel? » Ezek 33:11. As the result of sin we are dead, separated from God. So He sent his One and Only Son to reconcile us to Him again (2 Cor.5:19-20), and to give life to the world (Jn.6:33). In this regard, Jesus said: « Because I live, you also will live » Jn.14:19. For « Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life » Jn 3:36ª. So then, « Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household » Acts 16:31.

Monday, 20th : It is God who gives life because He is Lord over it.
« I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal » Deut 32:39b.
Reading 1: Jas 4:7-12. Reading 2: Deut 32:39-40. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Deut 32:39.
Introduction: God is the Lord of life and has the power to give life to those He has created, and to take it back according to His sovereignty. He is also the Judge, the One who has the power to give eternal life or to cast into hell as it is written: « There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy » Jas 4:12. His saved will not be destroyed by the second death (Rev 2:11). Together with all the inhabitants of heaven, they praise and glorify Him for His greatness and His saving-love for them, singing: « You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being » Rev 4:11.

Tuesday, 21st: It is God who gives life through Jesus Christ.
« I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me » Jn 14:6.
Reading 1: Acts 3:12-26. Reading 2: Jn 14:1-6. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 14:6.
Introduction: There is only one way that God uses to give eternal life, and that is through Jesus Christ. Indeed, He is the source of life, nourishing His people and feeding them with His Word and Spirit, as it is written: « For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world » Jn 6:33. He gives those who believe in Him the power to become children of God (Jn 1:12a), and to live forever in Him (Jn 14:19d). A sinner who deserves to die cannot save himself unless Jesus himself intercedes for him or her (Rom 8:34d). In this regard, the Apostle Paul wrote: « For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord » Rom 6:23b.

Wednesday, 22th: Only Jesus Christ has the power to give life.
« Jesus called in a loud voice, « Lazarus, come out! » The dead man came out […] » Jn 11:43-44a.
Reading 1: 1 Kings 17:17-24. Reading 2: Jn 11:40-45. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2 : Jn 11:43-44.
Introduction: Jesus is the Messiah of God who came to redeem His people from death and all its forms, as He declared to the disciples of John the Baptist:
« Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor » Mt 11:4-5. In Him is life (Jn 1:4a), so He has the power to raise even the dead. This is what he did to the son of a widow in Nain: « Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother » Lk 7:14-15.

Thursday, 23rd: Believe in Jesus Christ the giver of life.
« Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God? » Jn 11:40.
Reading 1: Ps 116:1-10a. Reading 2: Jn 11:32-40. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 11:40.
Introduction: Unbelief is a stumbling block to the fulfillment of God’s word in people’s lives. But to those who believe in God’s word, His glory will shine, the manifestation of His saving power, which raises even the dead, as He promised: « Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life » Jn 5:24. Believe in Jesus for you to see His glory, as Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, said to Mary: « Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! » Lk 1:45.

Friday, 24th: Living for Jesus Christ is the climax of life.
« For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain » Phil 1:21.
Reading 1: Mar 8:34-38. Reading 2: Phil 1:19-26. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Phil 1:21.
Introduction: People who deny themselves to serve God and preach the Gospel in order to bring salvation to many, live the example of Jesus who said to His disciples: « My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work » Jn 4:34. This is a great advantage, because their labor will not be in vain before God (1 Cor 15:58). The apostle Paul was well aware of that, so he wrote: « I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me » Gal 2:20.

Saturday, 25th : Those who believe in Jesus win over eternal decay.
« And the mortal [must clothe itself] with immortality » 1 Cor 15:53b.
Reading 1 : Mt 16:24-28. Reading 2 : 1 Cor 15:50-54. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2 : 1 Cor 15:52-53.
Introduction: Whoever believes in Jesus, that means, whoever receives His redemption and forgiveness, enters immediately, starting here on earth, into eternal life, as it is written: « Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life » Jn.3:36a. Therefore, the believer’s end is not in decay, for it is Jesus, who was already risen, who will raise them from the dust of death and give them eternal life in Him. Despite the many ordeals that believers endure for the sake of the Gospel, the Lord Jesus fights their battles and makes them win, as it is written: « For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us » Rom 8:36-37.

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