Malagasy Lutheran Church
Song & Gospel
Sunday IV before Easter, March 20 – 26, 2022
« God is compassionate to his people »

The message: « God is compassionate to his people » and does not want them to be in distress, as it is written: « For he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone » Lam.3:33. Because of his infinite love, God cannot really remain inactive when He sees his people suffering; He instead intervenes, bringing his salvation to deliver them from the difficulties that befall them. Mankind has undergone a great misery since they have been separated from God because of the sin in Eden, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command for them to « not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor touch it, lest they die » (Gen 3:3). The pleasant relationship with God has been broken, so death intruded on human life as well as on the lives of all living things, because « the wages of sin is death » (Rom 6:23). So, God’s compassion for his people is his manifestation of his saving love for us in its fullness, in his Son Jesus Christ (Jn 3:16). It was indeed Jesus who was judged and condemned for the sake of the sinful us, in order to justify us, as He said: « I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep » Jn 10:11. Therefore, accept the salvation that God offers, for He is ready to forgive our sins so that we may be reconciled with Him; and He still calls us: « Return, O faithless children, I will heal your faithlessness » Jer 3:22b. Jesus’ call emphasizes this: « Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest » Mt 11:28.

Monday 21st: God is compassionate to his people and answers their cries.
« In my distress I called upon the Lord [ … ] and my cry came to his ears » 2 Sam 22:7.
Reading 1: Lk 18:1-8. Reading 2: 2 Sam 22:1-7. Preaching 1 (free option). Preaching 2: 2 Sam 22:7.
Introduction: The Lord is such a compassionate Father that He will never ignore the cries of his afflicted people nor will He leave their prayers unanswered. For He is close to those who call on his name and put their trust in Him; and He shall speak to them the same way He did to the children of Israel: « I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them » Ex 3:7-8a.

Tuesday 22nd: God is compassionate to his people and delivers them from darkness.
« For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light » Eph 5:8a.
Reading 1: Jn 12:27-36. Reading 2: Eph 5:1-9. Preaching 1 free choice). Preaching 2: Eph 5:8.
Introduction: The world is dark without God, and so are those who are separated from Him. On the first day of creation, the Lord was there to bring forth the light, as it is written: « Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light » Gen 1:3. And He still does the same for all who believe in Him, as Jesus said: « I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life » Jn 8:12.

Wednesday 23rd: God looks after his people through his word.
« Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it » Lk 11:28.
Reading 1: Ps 119:137-144. Reading 2: Lk 11:14-28. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 11:28.
Introduction: God cares for his people and shows his unfailing and enduring love to save them. He does so through his words, as Jesus says: « I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built [founded upon the rock] » Lk 6:47-48.

Thursday 24: Jesus Christ is the Protector of God’s people.
« If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father » 1 Jn 2:1b.
Reading 1: Rom 8:30-34. Reading 2: 1 Jn 1:8-10;2:1-2. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Jn 2:1-2.
Introduction: The devil is an accuser of people for the mistakes they may have made, whether they are believers or not. Jesus Christ came to redeem mankind as it is written: « God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him » Jn 3:17. Believe in Jesus for He « is truly the Savior of the world » Jn 4:42.

Friday 25: God cares for his people and gives them victory.
« In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us » Rom 8:37.
Reading 1: 1 Jn 2:12-17. Reading 2: Rom 8:31-39. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 8:37.
Introduction: The earth is not free from struggle, and God allows even believers to undergo trials in order to show his glory (Jn 11:40). However, God does not let his people fight alone, especially in the « distressing times » as described in Scripture (2 Tim 3:1), but gives them the assurance of salvation, saying: « Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth » Rev 3:10.

Saturday 26: God is eternally compassionate to his people.
« I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you » Jer 31:3.
Reading 1: Jn 13:1-8. Reading 2: Jer 31:1-6. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jer 31:3.
Introduction: The Apostle John said, « God is love » 1 Jn 4:16. God’s love is long-lasting and long-suffering, so that those who believe in Him may be saved and live. And He makes a covenant with them, saying, « For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you » Isa 54:10.

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