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Summary: Do we hear clearly the words of God or the words of the world?

Did you know that 7,111 languages are spoken today around the world? Almost 3,000 (2,895) languages are endangered today. These numbers change almost daily as more is learned about different people groups around the world.

Endangered languages are mainly those where the language is not taught to the children of a society or people group. However, one Language is said to disappear every 14 days.[1] Most of the languages of the world are spoken by less than 1,000 speakers.[2] More than half the world’s population speak at least one of 23 languages.

200 years ago the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt stumbled upon a village in what is now Venezuela. While there he heard a parrot speaking and asked the villagers what it was saying. No one knew since the parrot spoke the last words in the Atures language.

Two elderly brothers who live in a coastal village in Scotland are the only two people left who can speak a particular dialect of the Scots language. Their people made their living fishing on the water and now that the fishing industry has disappeared nobody has learned the dialect in two generations.

What they discovered is that when a way of life begins to disappear, so do the words and the language that describe that life.

In a multicultural, multilinguistic setting, SIL describes a heart language for a people group as the most effective language for communicating deeply as well as for learning new concepts.[3]

The heart language for many peoples are going away. What about our heart language? Is it dying too? Has the Christian way of life so disappeared in American that we have lost the language to describe our Christian experience and to share it? More importantly, have we lost our ability to hear God? Has the media and modern secular society, and the churches move toward an inclusive language, threatening our Christianity and our Christian way of life with extinction? [4]

What language and life do we practice?

John 8:42–47 (NKJV)

In John 8, Jesus is debating with Pharisees on just who He is. the problem was then and the problem today is people just don’t get it. They do not understand. Jesus asked a very pertinent question in verse 43:

John 8:43a (NKJV) Why do you not understand My speech?

It wasn’t because Jesus was speaking in another language, or speaking in riddles. In fact Jesus spoke often in parables, but only those in tuned with God would understand.

Matthew 13:13 (NKJV) Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

The parables Jesus spoke involved everyday things and events. Yet, only to those that were close to Jesus understood the message the parable conveyed, and even then Jesus had to explain many of the parables. When He spoke of bread, they thought only of literal bread. When He spoke of water, they never connected it with spiritual water. Why was it that they could not understand His speech? It was because they were unwilling to tolerate His teachings.[5]

Communication is tricky thing. I took a course in communications [called "Interpersonal Relationships") in seminary. What someone speaks and what is heard and understood are often two different things. Hearing with understanding is a process that does not always come naturally. What we hear and understand are influence by our values, prejudices, biases, a predispositions.

In the passage preceding our focal verses Jesus was discussing who the Pharisees’ father was. They were descendants of Abraham in the physical sense and they claimed God as their Father in the Spiritual sense. Their presuppositions was wrong. Jesus corrected them.

John 8:42 (NKJV) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

If God was their Father, then they would know who Jesus is.

1 John 5:1 (NKJV) Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

If we claim to love God the Father, we must also love God the Son. Jesus was sent from God and Jesus is God And God the Father sent God the Son on a mission:

John 3:17 (NKJV) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

But that mission of being the Savior of the world was rejected.

John 8:43 (NKJV) Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.

They do not understand Jesus’ speech because they have rejected His word. The Greek for “speech” is <lalian> meaning a manner of talking or speaking. “Word” in the Greek is <logos> the same word used is John 1:1 and its meaning is the message. The Pharisees did not understand Jesus’ speech because they both could not understand the message and what they did understand they thoroughly rejected. Why? It was because of who their spiritual father really was.

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