Summary: This is the 2nd part in a two part sermon discussing the necessity of recognition or understanding in language (i.e. tongues) if the hearer is to benefit from what is said.

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December 8, 2002 1 Corinthians 14:6-20

“I recognize that!” (pt. 2)


There was an art contest held in a local school one Christmas season a few years ago in East Texas. One of the prize winners was a picture drawn by a nine year old boy showing three men, offering gifts to the baby Jesus in his manger. What made the picture unique is how the three gift presenters arrived – there was a fire truck on the side of the picture. The principal asked the boy about his decision to draw the truck, and the boy, in his heavy East Texas accent, was quick to reply: “Well, the Bible says the wise men came from a-far.”

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about some companies that made some major communication errors when they began to market their products in overseas markets. After a woman sued McDonalds because she wasn’t warned her coffee was hot, it seems that companies are changing their instruction manuals and product warning labels to cover themsleves from product liability and to make sure that there is no possibility for a misunderstanding. Listen to a few of these:

On a bar of Dial soap- Directions: Use like regular soap;

Swanson frozen dinners- Suggestion: Defrost before eating;

Marks and Spencer bread pudding- Product will be hot after heating;

Rowenta Iron- Caution, do not iron clothes on body;

On a string of Chinese made Christmas lights- For indoor or outdoor use only;

Sainsbury peanuts warn- May contain peanuts;

On a swedish made chain saw- Do not stop chain with hand- call you stumpy for the rest of your life;

On a blanket from Taiwan- Not to be used as protection from a tornado;

On a motorcycle helmet mounted mirror- Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you;

New Zealand insect spray- This product not tested on animals;

On the bottle top of a flavored milk drink- After opening, keep upright.

As important as it is for companies to accurately and completely communicate with their customers, it is even more important that we accurately and completely communicate with each other. Without it, we can accomplish nothing, and we will be divided. Do you remember the tower of babble? What caused them to be unable to complete the tower and separate from one another? It was the confusion of the languages and that they could no longer speak so that the other person could understand them. Understanding is important. It is important for husbands and wives, parents and children, managers and employees, and it is especially important in churches where the greatest message of all is to be communicated.

Sometimes, that message is garbled because we are not speaking in terms that everyone can understand. People don’t recognize the words that we are using, and that prevents God’s power from working in people’s lives. Last week, we looked at three things that are prevented from happening when there is no recognition of words and no understanding of them.

1. Without recognition, there can be no profit. (vs. 6)

2. Without recognition, there can be no response. (vs. 7-9)

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