Pastor David Gogoll - Pentecost 23 Spirit Inspired Speech (Spirit Inspired Voices)
Today is Pentecost, the fiftieth day of Easter. Ten days ago we celebrated Ascension, remembering how Jesus was taken to his Father’s side in heaven. Before Jesus left he reminded his disciples of his promise to send another Paraclete/advocate/helper/counsellor - the Holy Spirit to them. At Pentecost ten days after Jesus ascends to heaven the Holy Spirit descends, and the promised Holy Spirit comes to the disciples gathered in Jerusalem.
Jesus left before the Holy Spirit came. Sometimes one thing has to happen before another can. For example - We have to hear before we can speak. Does that sound right? How does what we hear relate to or determine what we say or speak? We all have an accent, is it genetic, something we’re born with or is it environmental, something we learn? It’s environmental, our accent, how our speech sounds, is directly related to the speech sounds we hear as a child.
It’s not just our accent, in other ways the way we speak is related to what we hear. Can you think of some examples such as gentle speech, rough speech, good use of language?
Speech is a powerful medium and today I’ve chosen the theme Spirit inspired speech.
· - Who has Spirit-inspired speech?
· - Do we have Spirit-inspired speech? How can we tell?
· - What does Spirit-inspired speech sound like? Does it have a particular accent? Who do Spirit-inspired speakers sound like? Surely they should sound like - Jesus!
· - What is the tone of Spirit-inspired speech?
· - What is the content of Spirit-inspired speech? Jesus!
· - What is the intent / the outcome of Spirit-inspired speech? For people to believe in Jesus.
Think about the day of Pentecost. Once the mighty wind had stopped and the tongues of fire had disappeared, what happened? Did Peter say, “Did you notice friends that the fire above my head was bigger than the fires above the rest of you?” No.
The disciples didn’t speak to each other but spoke to the assembled crowd. And what did they say? The crowd tells us what they were talking about, they were talking about God’s mighty works. The crowd said, “They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”
It’s no surprise because in Acts 1:8 we read that before Jesus ascended to heaven he said to his disciples; 8 ... “you’ll receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; then you’ll tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.” CEV
Spirit inspired speakers talk about Jesus, they are Jesus’ witnesses.
In the Gospel reading today from John 7 we heard Jesus say, 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ 39 By this he meant the Spirit. In John chapter 4 Jesus meets a woman at a well in Samaria and says he’d give her living water / life-giving water. He also says to her; ‘Everyone who drinks this water (from the well) will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ 4:13f
Because the living water flowing within us is the same as the living water Jesus promised the woman then we are a source of living water for those who are thirsty.
This living water, the work of the Holy Spirit, flowing within us leads to speech, Spirit Inspired Speech! Spirit-inspired lives.
Jesus is the one who satisfies thirst but those who have their thirst satisfied by Jesus have rivers of water flowing deep in them, and are able to satisfy the thirst of others.
When we’ve heard and know how much we’re loved, we can share that love with others. When we know Jesus is with us and loves us, we can share the good news of Jesus’ love with others. We’re blessed to be a blessing. Forgiven to be forgiving. Accepted to be accepting. Loved to be loving.
Our words and actions are empowered by the Holy Spirit, and not only our words but also the hearing of those with whom we talk.
Pentecost Sunday affirms the Holy Spirit is at work in each of us. Maybe the Spirit is inspiring our listening and thinking, so we’ll know about the love of God, the love Jesus has for each of us, or when we know that’s true then inspiring our speaking so we can tell others about the wonderful life of Jesus and the wonderful works of God.
In the third season of the series about Jesus’ life called “The Chosen”, (you can find it on YouTube or download The Chosen App) Thomas is in love with Ramah. When Jesus sends the disciples out two by two he sends Thomas to the area where Ramah came from and where her father, Kafni lives. Thomas wants to ask Kafni if he can marry his daughter. Kafni is known to be a tough one. Thomas talks with Jesus about this double mission - one for Jesus and one for himself and Jesus said to Thomas, “Last I heard Kafni wasn’t a believer so while you’re making a pitch for yourself can you put in a good word for me.” Can we put in a good word for Jesus?”
On May 21st at Tabor's service, we were pleased to welcome Gavin and Lynette Luke as guest speakers.
They shared their mission work in Papua New Guinea, particularly for Gama Lutheran School near Goroka in the Eastern Highlands Province and Ialibu Lutheran School in the Southern Highlands Province, also Victory Lutheran Church at Ialibu and the local hospital.
They were inspired by Pastor Len Tscharke and his wife Claire who spent many years working in PNG and were the first missionaries to the people of Ialibu. Both have travelled with Len and Claire when they visited PNG and later with Len and Claire's son and grandchildren and others.
Their current mission is to send containers of goods to these places with school and medical aids donated by people and schools in South Australia.
They connect with leaders in these areas and are aware of the needs and are able to liaise with those willing to donate these goods. However, the cost of sending each container has increased dramatically since Covid so any monetary donations are gratefully accepted.
Should you wish to donate to a mission in PNG in this way, here are the details through LLL:
The Tscharke PNG Fellowship
Account No. 100992943
Theme How Jesus Irresistible Love Leads To Intimacy.
Gospel Reading John 17:1-19
Gospel Reading John 14; 15-21
Theme;The Spirit of truth works God's will in us.
Recognizing Who You Are - 1 Peter 2: 9, 10
But you are God's chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things he has done. The Scriptures say, “Once you were nobody. Now you are God's people. At one time no one had mercy on you. Now God has treated you with kindness.”
What do you think of yourself? Do you have the confidence to tell others what you feel and believe? Or has your life been one of not believing you’re good enough to count?
Too many people have spent their lives feeling they don’t belong and their opinions don’t matter.
This may have come from childhood experiences when you weren’t the one chosen first, when however hard you worked you didn’t get the prize and others always seemed to do better than you; when people criticized the things you did, even though it was your best. In fact you were the one overlooked when others were chosen. Or perhaps later in life when you knew you had the skills but you didn’t get the position or job you wanted.
A multitude of studies in the last forty years indicate that the way we see ourselves determines to a large degree the way we act and react in life. That one's self-perception, self-worth, and self-esteem tends to be a governing factor in our life. If we see ourselves as a loser, we end up to a large degree acting like a loser. If we see ourselves as a victim, we tend to let people victimize us. If we see ourselves as uncreative, we never come up with any creative ideas. But if we see ourselves as successful then we tend to repeat successes that we've had in the past. We set ourselves up. Our beliefs about ourselves determine our behaviour.
I know from experience how difficult it is trying to change your self-perception. I was painfully shy and lacked the confidence everyone else seemed to possess. One day I realised that if I didn’t change, I’d never amount to anything. So I asked God for help to stop wondering how others saw me and just give me the confidence to say and do what I believed. It wasn’t easy but it worked.
We need to look at ourselves from a different perspective. We need to hear from an informed and authorized source. A student in architecture entered a nationwide contest for building design. Judged by a panel of architects, her design received an Honourable Mention. She was utterly depressed. She believed hers was the best design. At lunch on the last day of the convention, she was sitting over her uneaten sandwich, looking at her creation. An old man was looking at it, too. At last he remarked, not knowing who had designed the building, "This one, I think, is the best of the lot." Judges had merely given her work Honourable Mention, but one old man had liked it. The young student went home elated. Why? Because the old man was Frank Lloyd Wright, probably the greatest architect of the time.
So when someone with authority tells us something positive we can count on it.
From our text there are 4 points to remember.
I. You are acceptable (v. 9, "a chosen race")
*God is the authority on who we are. He is our Creator. He gives us the correct information. He is the one we should be listening to about who we are. Peter, in the first chapter, tells us what God has done for us. In chapter two, he talks about what God says about us. *As believers in Jesus Christ, he informs us about who we are.
Eugene Petersen, in The Message, paraphrases "You are the ones chosen by God . . . from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted" (1 Peter 2:9-10, The Message). Most of us spend our entire lives trying to earn acceptance. We seek it from our parents, our peers, and our partners. We seek acceptance from the people we respect and the people we envy. Our desire to be accepted influences the kind of clothes we wear, the kind of car we drive, the kind of house we buy, and even the career we choose. Why are we so driven by acceptance? Because we love the feeling of acceptance. It tells us ‘we’ve made it’ in this world of challenges.
II. You are valuable
*When you’re chosen, and accepted, it raises your self-esteem.
Some parents on the East Coast of the US received a telephone call from their son during the Korean War. They were thrilled because they hadn't heard from him for many months. He said he was in San Francisco on his way home.
"Mum, I just wanted to let you know that I'm bringing a buddy home with me," he said. "He got hurt pretty bad, and he only has one eye, one arm, and one leg. I'd sure like him to live with us."
"Sure, son," his mother replied. "He sounds like a brave man. We can find room for him for a while."
"Mum, you don't understand. I want him to come live with us."
"Well, OK," she finally said. "We could try it for six months or so."
"No, Mum, I want him to stay always. He needs us. He's only got one eye, one arm, and one leg. He's really in bad shape."
By now his mother had lost her patience. "Son, you're being unrealistic about this. You're emotional because you've been in a war. That boy will be a drag on you and a constant problem for all of us. Be reasonable."
The phone clicked dead. The next day, the parents got a telegram: their son had committed suicide. A week later the parents received the body. They looked down with unspeakable sorrow at the remains of their son - who had one eye, one arm, and one leg.
Even with our disabilities, character flaws, shortcomings, insecurities, and immaturity, *God accepts us as we are. He invites us home. No conditions. Nor restrictions. He chooses us for his team. We don't have to get cleaned up or stitched up or made up to be accepted by God. He accepts us with one eye, one arm, one leg - feeling just like a piece of rubbish.
Value depends on what someone is willing to pay for something. A house, a car, a piece of art, is only worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Value also can depend on who has owned an item in the past. Auctions of items owned by celebrities often fetch so much more than their true value.
Based on these two criteria, what's your value? How much are you worth?
The Scriptures say, "You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him" (1 Cor. 7:23 NIV). Who owns you? What was paid for you? Christ owns you and paid for you with his life. God exchanged his own Son for you. The cross proves your value. God says I love you this much, as we look at Jesus’ outstretched arms. Jesus gave his life for us. Jesus went to the cross for us. Why? Because we are such incredible value and worth to him. One cannot begin to comprehend the incredible worth we are to Jesus. To Jesus, we are the most precious treasure in all the world.
III. You are capable (v. 9, "a royal priesthood")
Now that may sound a little scary to us. A priest? But Peter is saying that the two benefits that priests have are now available to everybody who is a believer in Jesus Christ.
One, *we have direct access to God. We pray to God. We confess our sins to him. We don't have to experience God through anyone else. We can go directly to God.
Two, we have a responsibility to minister to the needs of other people. Every Christian is a minister. *God says that you and I have been gifted for ministry to serve other people. We are "God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for us" (1 Peter 2:9, The Message).
The Latin word for priest means bridge. The priest is a bridge builder between God and man. Or as the old preacher said, "We are saved to serve." If we are not serving what in the world were we saved for?
Can you imagine the feelings of esteem when one realizes that God has entrusted his work to us?
IV. You are forgivable (v. 9-10)
In other words, you are forgiven. There are no three words that communicate self-worth better than; You are forgiven. God rubs out our sins. He doesn't keep reminding us of our sins like we often do. He judges us, “Not Guilty!”
When we come to Christ our sins are wiped out. We are no longer held accountable for them. They are forgotten. Gone. Erased. Treated as though they never existed.
So it is with God's mercy. When we confess our sins, Christ forgives us immediately and without charge. As if nothing had ever gone wrong.
So there you have it. The four pillars of self-esteem. I am acceptable. I am valuable. I am capable. I am forgivable. Because of what God has done for us we live, as our text says, "so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light" (1 Peter 2:9). We are God's handiwork, his masterpiece, his creation. Therefore, we declare praise to him for who we are. Peter goes on to say, "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:10). We are his own - we are chosen, we have worth, we are found capable, we are forgiven. When we have that then we know that the world's judging system just doesn't matter. We know we have worth. We are God's.
Family therapist Paul Faulkner tells of the man who set out to adopt a troubled teenage girl. One would question the father's logic. The girl was destructive, disobedient, and dishonest. She was determined to be this way; her behaviour was carrying out the false and erroneous thoughts she had of herself. One day she came home from school and ransacked the house looking for money. By the time he arrived, she was gone and the house was in shambles.
Upon hearing of her actions, friends urged him not to finalize the adoption. "Let her go," they said. "After all, she's not really your daughter." His response was simple. "Yes, I know. But I told her she was."
God, too, has told us that we are his children, if we trust and believe in him. We may rebel and abuse our rights and privileges, but God still tells us that we are his.
There’s a humorous story of a visit by the leader of a country to a nursing home. He entered the facility with his entourage and was received with delight by the elderly residents. As he went from person to person in the living area, he noticed a woman in a wheelchair who seemed rather disinterested. He didn’t want to offend someone who might be important to him in a future election so he approached her, smiled and patted her shoulder, and held her hand. She smiled back but said nothing. "Do you know who I am?" the man asked. "No," she replied, "but if you'll ask that lady at the nurses' station over there, she'll tell you."
Do you know who you are? If you ask Jesus he will tell you.
As believers in him, we are accepted, valued, capable, and forgiven.
Remember: Jesus loves you!
What more could we want?
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Rick Ezell (posted on Wednesday, January 01, 2014) for his ideas and words which I used.
Gospel reading Luke 7:36-50
Theme: The freeing wonder of forgiveness
Leader Pastor Peter Hartwich
Harvest Thanks Giving
Gospel Reading Luke 17:11:19 The Thankful Leaper
Sermon Praise the Lord with Thanks Giving.
Leaders Pastor David Gogoll and Karen Pietsch
Gospel Reading John 20:19:31 Thomas sees the risen Christ and belives
Gospel reading; John 20: 1 - 18 Mary finds the tomb empty and Jesus appears to her.
Theme; Jesus resurrection, God's power to live a new life with Christ