Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Ninth Sunday before Easter 13 – 19 February 2022 « God sends His people » *

The message: « God is love » 1 Jn 4:16, and because He is love, He wants all men to be saved. His word says: « As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live » Ezek 33:11a. This means repentance, i.e. returning to God and reconciliation with Him again. In this regard Jesus said: « I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd » Jn 10:16. Therefore He calls all those who believe in Him and accept Him as Lord to collaborate with Him in gathering all the sheep that are still outside His ship pen, just as He once asked Isaiah: « Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? » Isa 6:8a.The Lord Jesus Christ clearly sends His disciples out, telling them: « Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[d] to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned » Mar 16:15,16. Accordingly, it is the duty of every believer to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through whom man receives salvation by faith. For how are those who do not know to believe unless someone preaches to them? As it is written: « Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! » Rom 10:13-15. Serving God is not mandatory nor a work for which one should seek a reward; it should be done out of pure willingness and love to Him because of the salvation already received from Him, in accordance with the word of Jesus: « You received without payment; give without payment » Mt 10:8b.

Monday, 14th: God sends His people to do His will. « You shall go to all to whom I send you » Jer 1:7b. Reading 1: Mt 10:16-20. Reading 2: Jer 1:4-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jer 1:7. Introduction: God is the Creator and Lord of all things, including man who has been separated from Him due to sin. Out of His love to them, He has sent His One and Only Son to save them (Jn 3:16). He seeks fellow-workers for the very purpose of proclaiming His saving love and gathering His people, as Jesus said: « The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest » Mt 9:37-38. For this reason, He vouches for His servants, as He is their Lord. Jesus says: « You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name » Jn 15:16.

Tuesday, 15th: The Lord Jesus is the One who commands the messengers. « Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? » Mt 20:15. Reading 1: Jn 15:9-18. Reading 2: Mt 20:1-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 20:15. Introduction: God seeks messengers who are humble, those who fully accept Him as the Ruler over His work; this is in consistence with Jesus’reminder to us: « Servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them » Jn 13:16. Through those who have such hearts, God can manifest His glory, just as He did through Moses and Aaron according to what is written: « Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood » Ex 7:20.

Wednesday, 16th: The messengers live by the Word of God. « But as for that in the good soil …, bear fruit with patient endurance » Lk 8:15. Reading 1: Rev 22:12-21. Reading 2: Lk 8:4-15. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 8:15. Introduction: God calls those whom He sends to preach the word of God to receive the word for themselves first and live by it, before preaching it. It is a way for the messengers to protect themselves, in accordance with the song of the Psalmist: « I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you » Ps 119:11; besides, it is a source of blessing for them, as Jesus says: « If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you » Jn 15:7.

Thursday, 17th: God’s messengers are faithful people. « Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him » 2 Tim 2:15a. Reading 1: Jer. 26:4-15. Reading 2: 2 Tim 2:11-18. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Tim 2:15. Introduction: God blesses and protects the messengers who are faithful in His sight, even though they may go through difficult times, like the three warriors of King David who sneaked into the Philistine camp, as it is written: « Then the three warriors broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and brought it to David » 2 Sam 23:16. Like the Apostle Paul, they will exclaim, « I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service » 1 Tim 1:12.

Friday, 18th: The messengers of God achieve reliable works. « So I do not run aimlessly » 1 Cor 9:26a. Reading 1: Mt 25:14-23. Reading 2: 1 Cor 9:14-10:5. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Cor 9:26. Introduction: God, the Creator, accomplished a perfect work, as it is written: « God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good » Gen 1:31. This is also what He requires of His messengers: to strive wholeheartedly to do reliable work and to make every effort to fulfill their ministry, as the Apostle Paul wrote: « For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life » Eph 2:10.

Saturday, 19th: God vouches for the messengers He sends. « I am with you always, to the end of the age » Mt 28:20b. Reading 1: Acts 18:1-11. Reading 2: Mt 28:16-20. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 28:19-20. Introduction: God’s assurance to His people is not deceitful: He vouches for them everywhere they go (Heb 6:10). He did the same to His servant Joshua when he told him: « No one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you » Jos 1:5. The Apostle Paul reiterated this, to the Christians in Rome when he said « If God is for us, who is against us? […] Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies » Rom 8:31b,33.

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