Malagasy Lutheran Church Song & Gospel Sunday III after Easter, 21 – May 27, 2023 “God works renewal” *

The message: Our life as humans needs renewal because of the work of sin, which is “the sting of death” (1 Cor 15:56). To this purpose the Lord says, “I am making everything new!” Rev 21:5. For “darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples” Isa 60:2, the death that covers all things. This causes alteration and damage in many aspects: sickness, turmoil in households and in the society, etc. And even in God’s household greed reigns more than the authority of Christ, the Head of the Church. In addition to this come self-indulgence into frivolity, stunning egoism and the profanation of what is sacred, according to the word of the Apostle Paul (2 Tim 3:2-3). In sum, corruption is spread out and the light of the gospel
hidden, which is the “power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” Rom 1:16. Renewal is most needed; but unfortunately, man is not able to do it. In this respect, the Apostle Paul said, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do” Rom 7:19, so He cried out,
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Rom 7:24. In this regard, Jesus said, “Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into
new wineskins, and both are preserved” Mt 9:17. God loves to renew all His creatures so that they may live again, particularly our heart that has been exhausted by sin. Therefore, He invites all men to come to Him and receive Him through His Son Jesus Christ who said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” Jn 7:37b-39a.

Monday, 22nd: God renews.
« See, I am making all things new » Rev 21:5a.
Reading 1: Isa 65:17-19. Reading 2: Rev 21:1-5a. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rev 21:3-5.
Introduction: God’s creation is destroyed by the sin that reigns in human hearts. Because he was separated from God, he forgot to honour the Creator who gave him the authority to rule over His creation (Gen 1:28-30). God will renew everything, from the hearts of men to the return and reconciliation with Him (2 Cor 5:19-20) to all His creations, which He created to glorify the glory of His name (Ps 66:2).

Tuesday, 23rd: God sends His Spirit for renewal.
« I will put my spirit within you and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances » Ezek 36:27.
Reading 1: Eph 5:15-20. Reading 2: Ezek 36:25-27. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ezek 36:27.
Introduction: People renewed by God walk according to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14). Because the Holy Spirit is the power that made him a child of God (Jn 1:12), he is a « new man in Christ » (2 Cor 5:17). He walks in harmony with the Holy Spirit so that he « does not fulfil the lust of the flesh » (Gal 5:16), but is empowered to be a witness of Christ « in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth » (Acts 1:8).

Wednesday, 24th: The unity of believers enables the coming of the Holy Spirit.
« All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers » Acts 1:14.
Reading 1: Exo 29:1-9. Reading 2: Acts 1:12-14. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Acts 1:14.
Introduction: The unity of the prayers of the holy people is strong, so that the promise is fulfilled that the Lord made about the coming of the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49), that is, Pentecost. Jesus said: « If two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven » Mt 18:19.

Thursday, 25th: God sends the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
« […] How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!  » Lk 11:13b.
Reading 1: Mt 7:7-11. Reading 2: Lk 11:5-13. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Lk 11:13.
Introduction: God directs His people to ask for the Holy Spirit, who is the most precious and best of Him. It is not like the gift of earth, which can be lost and people may distance themselves from Him when they receive it, but it connects them even more with God. But the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of union with God and knowledge of Him, as it is written: « The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God » 1 Cor 2:10b.

Friday, 26th: The new heart receives the Holy Spirit.
« I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh » Ezek 11:19.
Reading 1: Acts 2:34-39. Reading 2: Ezek 11:14-20. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ezek 11:19.
Introduction: The Holy Spirit is protected by God with His greatest jealousy. But He can only relate to that which is pure and holy. For it is written:  » Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false and do not swear deceitfully » Ps 24:3-4. Jesus said, « Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God » Mt 5:8.

Saturday, 27th: Holiness, the renewed state of man.
« Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth » Jn 17:17.
Reading 1: 2 Sam 22:20-31. Reading 2: Jn 17:13-19. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 17:17.
Introduction: The Holy Spirit gave birth to human beings as « sons of God » (Jn 1:12). He also fills the man of God who inherits godliness (2 Tim 4:7). Then the Lord said: « The holiness without which no one will see the Lord » Heb 12:14. For this He said: « The holy still be holy  » Rev 22:11c.

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