Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel XXV Sunday following Trinity, November 21st-27 2021 “God Keeps His Covenant” *

The message: God keeps His covenant and remains loyal to it because He is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). He is faithful to His love and True in His word and promise, as it is written: « God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? » Num 23:19. God makes covenants with His people because He is a loving and jealous God, who commanded: « You shall have no other gods besides me » Ex 20:3, so He marks His people for Him, according to His words: « I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine » Isa 43:1b,c. God made with His chosen nation of Israel a covenant based on obedience to God’s commandments, according to His saying: « But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people » Jer 31:33. He has renewed and expanded it through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to be a covenant of peace with all who believe in His Name, according to His words: « I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty » 2 Cor 6:18, it is founded on a commandment of love, as Jesus said to His disciples: « If you love me, you will keep my commandments » Jn 14:15. God does keep His covenant, though He makes it with unrighteous and unfaithful humans; that is because He does not want His people to perish and still wants to preserve mercy for them. This is consistent with His words: « For I desire mercy […] » Hos 6:6a. However, it is a patience that exhorts people to repent (Rom 2:4), to turn from their evil ways and return to God, and to be reconciled with Him. For this purpose, He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, who accepted to offer Himself as a sacrifice, so that His blood would be « the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins » Mt 26:28. Jesus tells His people to hold fast to His covenant, for He will come to set His own apart and take them to Himself; so, those who remain faithful are acceptable to Him (Mt 25:21,23). His Word says: « The one who endures to the end will be saved » Mt 24:13.

Monday 22: God does not forget, but keeps His covenant;
« See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands » Isa 49:16a.
Reading 1: Rom 11:1-6. Reading 2: Isa 49:12-17. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 49:16.
Introduction: Keeping covenant and faithfulness are God’s very attribute (Num 23:19). He did not only made a verbal covenant; but He also sealed it with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, which is both the proof and the guarantee of the accomplishment of our redemption. The covenant He made is, therefore, a « redemptive covenant in the blood » for eternal forgiveness and as proof of filiation with God, for « if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ » Rom 8:17a.

Tuesday 23: God keeps His words and covenant.
« Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away » Mt 24:35.
Reading 1: Ps 102:25-29. Reading 2: Mt 24:35-44. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 24:43-44.
Introduction: The word of God is not yes and no, but only yes, because He is God. So the children of God will speak in the same way. And the tumult shall be silenced, and fine-sounding arguments shall disappear; while the living and mighty, the pure and true word of God shall dominate and prevail. This is what many expect, especially all of God’s children who will say: « Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening » 1 Sam 3:9b.

Wednesday 24: God calls believers to sanctify themselves.
« For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness » 1 Thes 4:7.
Reading 1: Ps 24:1-6. Reading 2: 1 Thes 4:1-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Thes 4:7.
Introduction: Maintaining holiness is an aspect of keeping the covenant with God, that is, devoting oneself to God, keeping one’s conduct pure and undefiled from the world and its ways. This is according to the words of Jesus, saying: « I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world » Jn 17:14. Therefore, the Apostle John admonished: « 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.

Thursday 25: God calls the believers to renew their devotion.
« Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God » Rom 12:2b.
Reading 1: Rev 2:1-5. Reading 2: Rom 12:1-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Reading 2: Rom 12:1-2.
Introduction: God’s covenant remains unchanged, and God does not regret calling people (1 Cor 1:9). But it is the believers who may be caught by weakness, lukewarmness, and routine that they need to renew their commitment to God. That is why the Apostle Paul admonished us « not to walk in the old way of the written code, but in the renewal by the Holy Spirit » (Rom 7:6). God really wants us to continually renew our relationship with Him and our commitment to His service. So, Jesus admonishes His people, saying: « Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God » Rev 3:2.

Friday 26: God prepares the believers to welcome Him.
« The marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready » Rev 19:7b.
Reading 1: Mt 25:1-13. Reading 2: Rev 19:5-9. Preaching 1 (free choice).Preaching 2: Rev 19:7.
Introduction: The greatest manifestation of a covenant is the wedding, about which Jesus says that He is the Lamb of God who comes to marry His bride, the Church, or the communion of those who believe in Him. It is a unique time, when the Lord establishes the commitment of His people to God and the work of God (Jn 14:12). For those who has endured for the sake of His Name and the Gospel can be considered as « faithful wives worthy to be the brides ». The Apostle Paul wrote: « If we endure, we will also reign with him » 2 Tim 2:12a.

Saturday 27: God keeps His covenant, and will take His own.
« Enter into the joy of your master » Mt 25:21d.
Reading 1: 2 Tim 4:1-8. Reading 2: Mt 25:14-21. Preaching 1 (Free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 25:21.
Introduction: The Lord knows those who have kept the covenant and calls them « faithful » like Him. To them, Jesus would leave the door of the kingdom of heaven wide open and no one would shut it (Rev 3:7), and He says to them: « Enter into the joy of your master » Mt 25:21d.

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