Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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PENTECOST – June 9, 2019 – John 14:23-31 “GOD’S GIFT OF LANGUAGE”

Introduction:  Grace be to  you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, from John 14.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • In my undergraduate studies, I was an education major with a minor in English. I loved literature, but I had no clue as to the astounding value of language. 
  • We all have some understanding of the value of language – to share experiences, to teach, to comfort, to love, to support, to warn, to question. And also the use of language to lie, to deceive, to get out of trouble, or to get someone else in trouble.  And of course, each day throughout the world, there are millions of people abusing language in this manner. 
  • Worst of all are those who use language to lie and deceive about God, His nature, and His Son Jesus, our Savior. This includes those teaching about God from texts other than Holy Scripture, the Bible, those who make up what they teach in their hearts and minds, and especially those who attempt to erase or modify the teachings of Holy Scripture.
  • It is pretty much universally accepted that language is not a perfect medium to exchange information. The problem is the subjectivity of human experience, human knowing, human conceptions.  So we hear all the time that “all language” is subjective.  This means that any language, any series of words, is only “subjectively” true.  This line of reasoning is often used then to destroy the objective truth of Holy Scripture, and its authority in our lives.  However, all of this denies the existence of the True God, Who is a God of Truth, and with Whom nothing is impossible.  In other words, all of this is an effort to use human observation and reason to overthrow God and His Word.  It will not work, ultimately.   
  • The history of “language” in Holy Scripture is fascinating. God obviously is the author and inventor of human language.  He “spoke” creation into existence.  He “spoke” with Adam in the Garden, and also toEve after her creation and the fall into sin.  Obviously Adam and Eve, after the fall, used language to “excuse” and “hide” their sin from God.  That didn’t work!  And God has even included a commandment about language – that we not tell lies about our neighbor or slander him.  However, one of the most prevalent sins is just this – gossip. 
  • Then we have the Tower of Babel, and the confusion of languages, that we read about in the Old Testament reading. The blessing of language was compromised with this judgment of God.  However, as we read in the Second Reading, at Pentecost this judgment was overcome by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 
  • Then we have many statements of Jesus about “keeping His Word.” And statements about the Scripture being “true” and trustworthy.  Not partially true, not subjectively true, but real truth, words which correspond exactly to what is, to what is real.  And the topic, truly and truthfully expounded in Holy Scripture, is the nature of God, His grace, mercy, and love to fallen and sinful human beings.  And this language is “true,” corresponding to what is real.  And surely God is able to provide this for us! 
  • So this morning we consider “GOD’S GIFT OF LANGUAGE,” and what Jesus would have us know, so that we be richly blessed in our lives here and now. We see in the Old Testament Lesson that:


I.  Evil Destroys Communication


OT Lesson:  “The Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do.  And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.’  So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.”


Statement:  It is no different when people use language to take advantage of others – as much of advertising does, and a lot of sales efforts.  This is intentional misinforming of others, and it is wretched sin.  With sin infecting each of us, we do tend to hear and view things in a way which is most advantageous to us.  And we do sometimes struggle to accurately convey information to others in a clear and unambiguous way. 


Application:  Given the negative impact of human sin on God’s gift of language and communication, it is not surprising that our struggles contribute much to the evils in the world. But the problem lies not in God, and not in His gift of language, but in us.  Therefore it rather amusing that human beings, flawed as we are by sin, would conclude that language is subjective and relative, and hence the imperfect and flawed tool of communication.  The fact is that the flaws in communication reside totally and completely within those same human beings, corrupted as we are by sin.


Transition:  But the good news in Holy Scripture, in our texts is that:


II.  The Holy Spirit Of God Restores Communication


Acts 2  “And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. . . .  And they were amazed and astonished, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians – we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.’”            


Statement:  And the Holy Spirit also enables us to truly know and understand the blessed truths of the Gospel – so that regardless of culture, nationality, or ethnicity, all can know alike the wondrous love of God, His forgiveness, His mercy, and His deep care for us.  So, whereas for humans attempting to know the truth, this is highly flawed by sin.  But where God is providing truth to humans, by His Word and by the power of His Holy Spirit, there truth is heard, understood, and in many cases believed as well.  And we are among those whom God has blessed in this way.


Application:  So within the church, language is supposed to be “healed,” and this is the will and work of God among us.  However, just as the devil entered the Garden, so he also enters the church – and by means of false prophets and teachers, and “pseudo-scholars,” he attempts to blur truth and inject lies.  We are called upon to fight this – just as true prophets of old had to do constantly, and also the apostles.  That we may succeed in this Jesus urges us keep His Word, for:


III.  The Blessing Of Knowing The Truth Comes Only To Those Who Keep Jesus Word


John 8:31,32  “Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My Word, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Text:  “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word, and My Father will love him, and We will come  to him and make Our hone with him.  Whoever does not love Me does not keep My Words.  And the Word that you hear is not Mine but the Father’s Who sent Me.”


A.  His Word Is Provided To Us In Holy Scripture – the Writings Of The Apostles, Moved By The Holy Spirit


Text:  “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you.  But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”


John 15:25-27  “But the Word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated Me without a cause.’  But when the Helper comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, Who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me.  And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”


B.  He Sends The Gospel Of His Love, Of Peace With God Into A Wicked World Of Fear And Trouble


Text:  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”


John 16:33  “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


C.  We Have The Gospel Of Peace And Love Because Of Jesus’ Obedience


Text:  “I do as the Father commanded Me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”


Statement:  Yes, He was obedient unto death, even death on a cross – to take away the sins of the world. [Phil. 2:8]  Therefore His Word is truth, and assured to us – by the apostolic Word of the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth.”


Application:  This is about as basic as faith gets – to believe that God is True, that He is absolutely truthful, that His Word is reliable and is to be kept as such!  Who would believe in a God Who is incapable of communicating truthfully with us?   So you see, those eroding God’s Word are utter cynics and unbelievers.  They are governed and motivated by “the ruler of this world,” the devil!  Therefore, beware, and keep your love for Jesus, and keep His Word.  It is our protectant from evil!


Conclusion:  Note that all of this comes to us through God’s precious gift of language.  One of the benefits of language is that it is public – especially when written down, as God’s Word is.  Therefore it cannot mean just anything, but its meaning is shared – if we receive it simply as it is, by faith. 


God is love.  Therefore His every Word must also be love to us.  God grant each of such apprehension of His love, that we also love Him.  He will keep us as we keep His Word.  Amen.


Votum:  And the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep you hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.