Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Sunday V of Advent, 26 December 2021 – 1st January 2022 « The Messiah has come, filled with the Spirit » *

The message: The Messiah has truly come to bring salvation to the world. It is a unique event, which marks the new year of God, namely the Lord’s entering into our human lives to bring us back and to reconcile us to God, our Creator and Carer, and to deliver us from the bondage of sin. In this, He makes a new sun of life rise upon us (Mal 4:2a), who have dwelt long in the night of the ignorance of God and the separation from Him (Isa 9:1). The work of salvation for which the Messiah was sent is of utmost importance. For it means opening the heavens to us sinners, so that we may inherit eternal life in God (Rom 8:17). To this purpose He was endowed with the power of the Most High, in accordance with Jesus’reading of the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah, saying, « The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor » Lk 4:18-19. This is a work that no one can do, so God Himself does it through His Son the Messiah, as He is the one « who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens » Rev 3:7 c,d. These words show His very power and authority, for « the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power » 1 Cor 4:20, namely the Holy Spirit of God. They contain a special message for us, whom the Lord has called to have a share and responsibilities in the advancement of His kingdom, according to the words of the Apostle Paul: « Be filled with the Spirit » Eph 5:18c. Living in union with Jesus will accomplish this (Jn 15:5). In fact, the Holy Spirit is the One who testifies of Jesus and of the kingdom of God that He is building, according to His words, « When the Advocate comes, […] he will testify on my behalf » Jn 15:26. Therefore, take courage, for the Lord is with us; He gives strength and power to all who believe in Him, the omnipotent power of God, as He said, « I work and who can hinder it? » Isa 43:13b.

Monday, 27th: The Messiah has come, filled with the Lord’s Spirit.
« The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him » Isa 11:2a.
Reading 1: Lk 2:12-31. Reading 2: Isa 11:1-5. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Isa 11:2.
Introduction: The work of God is done, « not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts » Zech 4:6. From His mother’s womb, it was by the Holy Spirit that the Messiah was conceived; it was also the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted (Mt 4:1-11). It was still by the power and the authority of the Holy Spirit that He healed all who came to Him and cast out the evil spirits (Mt 4:23-24). When He taught, He spoke like one who had authority and those who listened were amazed at the gracious words that came from His lips (Lk 4:22).

Tuesday, 28th: The Messiah has come,Wonderful Child.
« The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him » Lk 2:40.
Reading 1: Isa 9:5-6 Reading 2: Lk 2:40. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 2:40.
Introduction: The Lord took on our human likeness and followed the laws of child growth. However, He was filled with the Spirit of God, such that when His parents were looking for Him, « they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers » Lk 2:46-47.

Wednesday, 29th: The Messiah is coming, raising us as children of God.
« So you are no longer a slave but a child » Gal 4:7a.
Reading 1: Jn 1:6-13. Reading 2: Gal 4:1-7. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Gal 4:7.
Introduction: Although Jesus, as God’s Messiah, had the full authority of the Spirit, He did not keep it to Himself alone but used it to raise us as children for God. In fact, the Spirit of God worked through Him; therefore, « to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God » Jn 1:12-13.

Thursday, 30th: God’s Messiah has come to establish His kingdom.
« But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation […] » 1 Pet 2:9.
Reading 1: Ps 110:1-6. Reading 2: 1 Pet 2:4-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Pet 12:9-10a.
Introduction: God is raising up a posterity for Himself; to this purpose, His Messiah suffered, as it is written: « When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days » Isa 53:10b. The « Book of Revelation » states: « To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen » Rev 1:5b-6.

Friday, 31th: God’s children inherit His kingdom.
« And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise » Gal 3:29.
Reading 1: Gen 17:1-8. Reading 2: Gal 3:23-29. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Gal 3:29.
Introduction: The Messiah made « heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ » (Rom 8:17) those whom He adopted as children of God. He made them partners, so He renewed them in godliness and strengthened them to do His work. In that regard, Jesus says: « The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father » Jn 14:12.

Saturday, 1st: HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022! God’s children are led by God’s Spirit.
« For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God » Rom 8:14.
Reading 1: Joel 3:1-5. Reading 2: Rom 8:9-17. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 8:14.
Introduction: The motto stated by the Apostle Paul applies to all those who are adopted by God: « Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him » Rom 8:9b. The apostle Peter said of all the children of God: « Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ » 1 Pet 2:5.

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