Malagasy Lutheran ChurchSong & GospelSunday second after Trinity, 18th May – 24th June, 2023″God invites men » *

« Inviting » to dinner conveys three main ideas. It is an honour to be invited. Grief and peacekeeping. Provision of nourishing food. When met, it is unity and assurance, yes, friendship, just as God destined Adam and Eve to live in Eden, filled with His grace. But the human mind cannot understand that the Holy and True God invites unrighteous sinners. He does not invite just one person, but everyone. It reveals the greatness of God’s love which « covers all sins » Pr 12:10. For « where sin increased, grace abounded
all the more » Rom 5:20b, this is the mercy of God who forgives and welcomes sinners, like the loving Father who rejoiced when His Son returned to Him; so He said, « Let us eat and celebrate, for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! » Lk 15:23b-24a. God wants to renew His relationship with mankind; therefore, He deliberately erases the reason for His separation from them from His book and turns a new page that renews everything (Rev 21:5). This is the creation of a new man and
the renewed making of a covenant with Him. He said, « I […] do not remember your sins » Isa 43:25b, for « Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? » Ezek 18:23. For He will justify the people whom He invites, and will sanctify them to Himself as God’s family, set them apart for Him as a holy nation (1 Pet 2:9). He fed them with life-giving food and made them truly His people who will be a witness of His forgiving and life-giving love
(Jn 3:17). For He is « not a God of the dead, but of the living » Mt 22:32b. « The dead cannot praise His name » or honour Him (Ps 115:17). So do not hesitate, for the Lord says: go ahead, « for all things are ready » Lk 14:17.

Monday, 19th: God invites men.
« On this mountain the LORD will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples » Isa 25:6a.
Reading 1: 1 Cor 11:23-26. Reading 2: Isa 25:6-9. Preaching 1: Preaching 2: Isa 25:6.
Introduction: God’s invitation shows at the first place His love that wants to reconcile the sinner to Himself, and by which He shows the openness of his heart, such that He has prepared a place for each of them (Jn 14:3). For this reason, He sent Jesus Christ, His one and only Son, to call them to turn to God. Figuratively speaking, they are the lost sheep He is seeking (Lk 19:10), so that « when he
has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ’Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost’ » Lk 15:5-6.

Tuesday, 20th: God knows who is worthy of His invitation.
« Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe? » Mt 22:12.
Reading 1: Rom 1:18-25. Reading 2: Mt 22:8-14. Preaching 1: Preaching 2: Rom 8:12.
Introduction: God’s feast is sign of the honor that God gives to His guests, but it also implies that the guests should honor Him as their host. This is why He makes a distinction which allows those He finds worthy to come in, and which prevents those who were not able to honor Him from entering. Indeed, He says, « Those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be treated with contempt » 1 Sam 2:30. Paul said, « Pay … revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due » Rom 13:7.

Wednesday, 21st: The spiritual food that fits the believers.
« Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple » Lk 14:27.
Reading 1: Acts 20:17-24. Reading 2: Lk 14:25-35. Preaching 1: Preaching 2: Lk 14:27.
Introduction: Jesus declared, « My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work » Jn 4:34. This reflects self-abnegation to God and dedication to advancing His kingdom, which is most precious to Him. Jesus said, « For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it » Mar 8:35. This is what led servants of God to sacrifice up to their lives in order to inherit the « crown of life » Rev 2:10.

Thursday, 22nd: God’s banquet is full of grace.
« Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life » Ps 23:6a.
Reading 1: Eph 2:1-10. Reading 2: Ps 23:1-6. Preaching 1: Preaching 2: Ps 23:5-6.
Introduction: “Grace” means literally God’s mercy that is beneficial to us. It is priceless and cannot be exchanged, as it is pure gift from God – even if men’s thanksgiving falls short of the greatness of His grace (Lk 17:17). Yet for God it is a matter of love, not sale, so that Paul said, « For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable » Rom 11:29.

Friday, 23rd: God’s invitation, an invitation of love.
« How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity » Ps 133:1.
Reading 1: Jn 13:31-34. Reading 2: Ps 133:1-3. Preaching 1: Preaching 2: Ps 133:1.
Introduction: The globe where God’s households live is love. God is the One who loves first, and who also gives His Spirit of love to His people so that they may love Him and love one another with the love of God that He has poured in their hearts (1 Jn 4:7). « And everyone who loves the parent loves the child » 1 Jn 5:1b. In this respect, Jesus said, « Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another » Jn 13:34b.

Saturday, 24th: The great banquet: the wedding of the Lamb.
« Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb » Rev 19:9.
Reading 1: Jn 6:47-58. Reading 2: Rev 19:1-9. Preaching 1: Preaching 2: Rev 19:9.
Introduction: God prepares a great banquet for those who make common cause with His one and only Son, and are therefore called His “bride.” This is what the Apostle Paul said regarding them: « I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I promised you in marriage to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ » 2 Cor 11:2. For they are those who make up « God’s Church, » that He sanctifies for Himself (Eph.5:25-26). They are those who « will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so … will be with the Lord forever » (1 Thess 4:17), those who will attend the great marriage feast of the Lamb of God.

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