Malagasy Lutheran ChurchSongs & Gospels Sunday XI following Trinity, August 20th-26th 2023“The Faithful servant” *

The message: The present times are times of spiritual retreat and trial (Rev 3:10) when God seeks and requires faithful servants, in whom He trusts and to whom He entrusts His work. For they are the witnesses of God who sent them, reflecting His character and His ways, people who are fully committed to Him and do His will and perform His work, according to Jesus’ words: « [They] will also do the works that I do » Jn 14:12. This is how Jesus said to His disciples: « Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect » Mt 5:48. Above all He wants His servants to be as faithful as Him who is « Faithful and True » Rev
19:11. He does not want them to love or indulge in lies (Tit 1:2), but to love the truth, and not deviate from nor betray it. Like the apostle Paul, they will be able to claim: « But we have the mind of Christ » 1 Cor 2:16b. As regards the character of man in general: « There is no one who is righteous, not even one »
Rom 3:10, even Jesus said, « You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He […] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him » Jn 8:44, because he has been a deceiver from the beginning (Gen.3:4-5). On the other side, the faithful servant of God surrenders
under His mighty hand, submitting to His conduct, because « servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them » Jn 13:16. They walk in true fear of God, serving Him in truth, working and fighting for righteousness, as those who will have to give an account
(Heb.13:17). Because of their endurance, they are given the name of « vessel of honor » (2 Tim.2:20). They are servants in whom their master rejoices and who are approved by Him, so He says to them: « Well done, good and trustworthy servant; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge
of many things; enter into the joy of your master » Mt 25:21,23. For He fulfills His word to them: « For those who honor me I will honor » 1 Sam 2:30b.

Monday, 21.08.23: The faithful servant keeps the word of God.
« For all his ordinances were before me, and from his statutes I did not turn aside » 2 Sam 22:23.
Reading 1: Jn 14:15-21. Reading 2: 2 Sam 22:21-29. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Sam22:23.
Introduction: The faithful servant obeys the word of God and is attached to Him. In this respect, the psalmist says: « I treasure your word in my heart, so that I may not sin against you » Ps 119:11. God is pleased with him, and He even makes a covenant with him. For He says, « Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God » Jer 11:4b.

Tuesday, 22.08.23: The faithful servant discharges the duties of his service.
« And that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness » Rom 6:18.
Reading 1: Ps 26:1-8. Reading 2: Rom 6:17-23. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 6:17-18.
Introduction: « Servant » here means « slave, » someone who can do nothing but his service. God sets a great choice before us: to serve sin that leads to death or to serve God to gain eternal life. In this regard, Jesus said: « No one can serve two masters » Mt 6:24a. Therefore, « present your members to God as instruments of righteousness » Rom 6:13b.

Wednesday, 23.08.23: The faithful servant does the will of God.
« Which of the two did the will of his father? » Mt 21:31a.
Reading 1: Ps 40:6-10. Reading 2: Mt 21:28-31. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt 21:31.
Introduction: The parable of the two brothers that their father sent to visit his vineyard is given to be meditated on. The youngest had agreed to go, but he finally did not. As for the older boy, he had initially refused, but ended up going. The apostle John said: « Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action » 1 Jn 3:18. Jesus said, « Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one » Mt 5:37, even the devil who lies and deceives. Take your ministry seriously because it is holy.

Friday, 25.08.23: The faithful servant serves in holiness.
« Having become slaves of God, your fruit is holiness » Rom 6:22b.
Reading 1: Lev 10: 1-5. Reading 2: Rom 6:1-23. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 6:22.
Introduction: God is jealous of His holiness and the holiness of His work. This is why those whom He calls to make common cause with Him, He makes faithful in this, namely all those who have heard the call of Jesus saying: « He who believes in me will also do the works that I do » Jn 14:12. The sanctification by God of all those who serve Him is done by the blood of Christ which « cleanses us from all unrighteousness » 1 Jn 1:9, and by the word of God, according to Jesus’ prayer to the Father: « Sanctify them through the truth: your word is truth » Jn 17:17.

Thursday, 24.08.23: The faithful servant serves in the truth.
« Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed […] » 2 Tim 2:15a.
Reading 1: Lk 9:57-62. Reading 2: 2 Tim 2:11-15. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2 Tim 2:15.
Introduction: His honesty is what gives credit to the servant, that is, his loving to do the will of God, « what is good and acceptable and perfect » Rom 12:2. Surely, he obtains the approval of God, as it is written: « For the Lord is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face » Ps 11:7.

Saturday, 26.08.23: The faithful servant trusts the One who sent him.
« Being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised » Rom 4:21.
Reading 1: Ps 16:1-11. Reading 2: Rom 4:13-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Rom 4:21-22.
Introduction: The work of God is a work of faith, done by faith in God who is both the Lord of the work and the Head and Consumer of faith (Heb 12:2). For it is written: “But without faith it is impossible to please him” Heb 11:6a. The Apostle Paul said: « And for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him » 2 Tim 1:12.

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