Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, 6 – 12 February 2022 “God, assurance of salvation” *

The message: There are many things people put their trust in to protect their lives or save them overcome hardships: money, wealth, connections, guarantees provided by life insurance companies. Others may trust in knowledge, understanding or everything that they have their heart set on; self-confidence is very dear to them, which makes them think they do not need anyone or anything else. All these, however, are limited for they are creatures and not the Creator, and depending on them may lead to misfortune. This is the reason why the Ecclesiastes says: « Vanity of vanities, All is vanity » Ecc 1:2b, which means: none of them can save! On the other hand, blessed are those who put their confidence in God, because He is “a very present help in trouble » Ps 46:1b; He is the « father of orphans and protector of widows » Ps 68:5a, and His promise to us is real, when He says: « I will never leave you or forsake you » Heb 13:5. This is confirmed by the assurance of Jesus to all who follow Him: « And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age » Mt 28:20b. Call upon Him in the days of trouble, believe in Him, and you will be saved!

Monday, 07th: God, assurance of salvation for man. « Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord » Jer 17:7. Reading 1: Ps 37:1-7. Reading 2: Jer 17:5-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jer 17:7. Introduction: God wants man to be perseverant while trusting Him, as He said through the psalmist: « Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! » Ps 27:14. For God answers the prayers that are addressed to Him in His own time ; He does not change His mind concerning His election of His people and the promise of salvation He has given them, saying « You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off; do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand » Isa 41:9-10. Jesus’ words confirm this: « But take courage; I have conquered the world! » Jn 16:33b.

Tuesday, 08th: Jesus Christ, the pledge of salvation. « And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus […] » Col 3:17. Reading 1: Jn 16:19-24. Reading 2: Col 3:12-17. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Col 3:17. Introduction: Jesus Christ who died on the cross, raised from the dead, and who lives forever is the guarantee of the fulfillment of God’salvation for us. Also, He guarantees before God the prayers pronounced in His Name according to His word: « I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son » Jn 14:13. The Apostle Peter confirmed this when he said: « There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved » Acts 4:12.

Wednesday, 09th: The kingdom of God, inheritance for those who put their trust in God. « Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn » Mt 13:30b. Reading 1: Rev 21:5-8. Reading 2: Mt 13:24-30 Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 13:30. Introduction: Faith in Jesus Christ as God the Savior and obedience to His words are what can save us. In this regards He said: « The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned » Mar 16:16. Everlasting life is His gift as an inheritance to those who believe, according to His words: « Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation » Jn 5:28-29.

Thursday, 10th: Put your trust in God, not in riches. « For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? » Mar 8:36. Reading 1: 1 Tim 6:6-10. Reading 2: Mar 8:34-38. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mar 8:36. Introduction: God exhorts His people not to put their confidence in earthly things, which are merely creatures or human made, so that they cannot save neither life nor soul. For the proverbs’author declares, « Those who trust in their riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like green leaves » Pr 11:28. The righteous are those who fear God and believe in Him who repays all deeds (Job 34:11). Talking about the foolishness of those who put their trust in their riches, Jesus declares: « You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you » Lk 12:20a.

Friday, 11th: Do not trust men more than God. « Cursed are those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength, whose hearts turn away from the Lord » Jer 17:5. Reading 1: Ps 146:1-5. Reading 2: Jer 17:5-6. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jer 17:5. Introduction: People are often tempted to trust someone they consider greater than themselves. God clearly warns us through the psalmist in this respect: « Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help » Ps 146:3. The Apostle Paul confirmed this when he exhorted the church in Corinth: « So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you » 1 Cor 3:21-22.

Saturday, 12th: Blessed are those who put their trust in God. « From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord […] will give me » 2 Tim 4:8a. Reading 1: Lk 1:45-56. Reading 2: 2 Tim 4:6-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Tim 4:8. Introduction: There are many ways in which people believe to find happiness. However, this is what God says about true happiness: « Happy are those who make the Lord their trust […] » Ps 40:4. He also says: « Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord » Jer 17:7. Indeed, God grants infinite blessings to those who believe and trust Him, those who have united their life to His and make common cause with Him in His work, according to Jesus’word: « But those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life » Jn 4:14.

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