There are a lot of famous spokesmen in the world. Tony the Tiger. Mr. Clean. Ronald McDonald. Lebron James. The Honey Bee from Honey Nut Cheerios. (Although I have to admit that I have no idea what his name is.)
A spokesman is important. These spokesmen help to sell the product. They tell you to invest in what the company sells. They tell you "you aren’t as cool as Lebron James if you don’t eat the Club Hamburger!”
If you had to name one spokesman for Christianity, whom would you name?
The whimsical and kind words of Max Lucado? The theologically heavy, yet humanly raw writings of Martin Luther? How about the wise, well-known voice of Billy Graham? The Gospel sing-song voice of Reverend T.D. Jakes?
All of these Christian speak and write in very different ways. Which one is the best? Which one is most correct?
What does the voice of Christianity sound like?
I wonder if the post Ascension disciples were pondering that very question. They had just received their marching orders. They were to “go and make disciples of all nations by baptizing them…and by teaching them to obey everything (Jesus) had commanded them.” (Mt. 28:19) Teaching involved talking. They would have to use their voice.
Should they be hellfire and brimstone like the Old Testament prophets? Should they speak mildly in one on one conversation? Should they hire speech writers to help them write the first sermon OR should they just hire someone to preach it for them? Maybe they could buy big rolls of papyrus, make bolded posters with crosses on them and place them all over the Colisseum?
As they sat their quietly in that Jerusalem room and pondered what the Christian voice might sound like, little did they know that God was about to reveal to them exactly what it sounded like.
1. What does the Christian Voice Sound Like?
Suddenly, they heard the sound like the blowing of a violent wind. Think of a hurricane without the rain. A tornado without the wind. Then, they saw what appeared to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Finally, Scripture says they were filled with the Holy Spirit and then it describes how they went and immediately began preaching sermons. (Acts 2)
Understand what this means. These disciples – ordinary men – fishermen, accountants, untrained, unschooled – suddenly knew what the Christian voice sounded like. It was familiar.
It was their own.
What does it sound like today?
Look at what the prophet Joel has to say about Pentecost and the time after it in chapter two of his prophecy. He says, “Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants – both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28-29)
Consider then what the Christian voice sounds like.
Sometimes, Joel says, it sounds like sons and daughters.
If you have older children who have grown up and left the house, you might be nodding your head. But notice that Joel puts no age limit on this prophecy. Meaning that if your kid is still a kid, this prophecy is no less valid.
Now you may be thinking, “My kid? The voice of Christianity? Not so much. She’s inquisitive (always asking “Why?”) to be sure and she’s knows all the words to “Let It Go,” but the voice of Chrsitianity? That might be taking it too far.”
…Think of those Precious Lambs last weekend. They are nothing more than preschool . Not even tall enough to ride the Ferris Wheel at an amusement park. Last week they sang in church. High pitched? A little. Off key? Some. Off beat? Definitely.
But did that change their message? It was the Word of God from Matthew 28: “Surely, I will be with you always to the very end of the age.”
Wonderful. Beautiful. God’s Word.
Sometimes the voice of the Christian sounds like the voice of a child!
But that’s not all the Christian voice sounds like. Joel writes, “Your young men will see visions.” (2:28)
Again, that might sound a little strange. Teenage boys aren’t usually thought of for their responsibility. Culturally, we think of them as talking about the latest cheat codes on a video game, the stats of their favorite football team, and whether Marci Fischer has a crush on them or not!
But Joel tells us that “your young men will see visions.” High schoolers will challenge their public school teachers on the origins of the world. Teens from New Ulm join forces with some of our teens and go door-to-door inviting people to church. In a few weeks, the WELS Youth rally will gather over 2000 teens from across the United States united in singing praises to God. Shortly after that we will have teen confirmation and two young adults will confess their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ before all of us!
Sometimes, the voice of the Christian sounds like the voice of a teenager!
But that’s not all the Christian voice sounds like. Joel writes, “your old men will dream dreams.” (2:28)
Again, you might struggle to think this possible. Especially with a much older man who lives in a retirement home. One might think, “They need help with every aspect of living. They need someone to push the wheelchair. Someone to bring them food. If I want to hear anything they are saying, I have to lean in close and listen intently! How could they be the spokesmen of the Lord?”
Monday mornings I head over Brighton Gardens retirement home. The majority of the residents who join me for worship there have to be wheeled in. They need help finding the page in the bulletin. They need help finding a spot to sit.
They don’t need any help singing Amazing Grace! They sing “How Great Thou Art” at the top of their lungs. Sure, their fingers might write a with a tad more of a crook, but they can still write letters of blessing. Sure, their ways might be a bit old fashioned, but if you listen…really listen, you might learn wonderful lessons about God.
Respect your elders. Because sometimes the voice of Christianity sounds just like the voice of your grandparent!
But young men, old men, and young children are not all that the voices of Christians sound like. Joel tells us "I will pour out my Spirit on all people….even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.” (Joel 2:28, 29)
In other words, at different times the voice of Christianity will sound like the voice of every believer.
But here’s where you really need to pay attention.
First, make sure no one’s around. Close a door. Breath deeply. Then, hum a bit. Softly a first, then a bit louder.
Did you hear it?
You just heard the voice of Christianity! You just heard the voice of one of God’s spokesmen.
2. How does a Christian Voice Speak?
Now I’m sure you are immediately objecting:
“I’m terrible at speaking.”
“I freeze up and say silly things.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“If I can’t convince my kids to eat their broccoli, how can I convince others to believe in Jesus?”
I’m sure the disciples might have had similar objections. In Jerusalem that first Pentecost was a United Nations of the Ancient World: Parthians, Median, Elamites, Mesopotamians, Judeans, Cappadocians, Pontians, Asians, phyrgians, Pamphylians, Egyptians, Libyans, Romans, Cretans, and Arabs!
Yet, Scripture tells us that they heard the message of Jesus – clearly—and each in their own language.
This was long before the time of the Rosetta Stone. How could the disciples have been able to speak all these different languages so quickly?
Were they studying in their off time? When? They had been following Jesus for over three years. Were they naturally brilliant? Not necessarily. Some of them were fishermen and farmers. Were they drunk? Not at all!
Peter answers by pointing to the words of the prophet Joel: "I will pour out my Spirit on all people….I will pour my Spirit in those days.”
In other words, the disciples weren’t in it alone. Their voices didn’t speak by themselves. They had the Holy Spirit of God guiding them.
The same is true for you.
Now you might not have a tongue of fire on your head. You probably can’t speak in tongues and I don’t want you to even try picking up a poisonous snake.
Yet, if you are a believer, know this: You have the Holy Spirit with you!
How do I know this?
Scripture says, “No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3) You can’t be a believer unless the Holy Spirit is with you – in your heart.
This is comforting isn’t it? You, dear believer, are an instrument of the Holy Spirit. As you speak his Word, he is using you for his purposes.
Which means that there is no reason to worry!
I imagine that a rickety old violin might feel a little worried in the way that he will sound as a concert approaches. But, if that old violin hears that it will be played by a world renowned violinist, all that worry fades away!
You are an instrument that is in the hands of the Holy Spirit of God! He is world renowned for the faith that he works and strengthens through the Word. Though you may be broken and rusty in your speaking skills, that does not mean that He can’t use you to beautifully share God’s Word!
Scripture tells us, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
This is true. It’s true even when you, yes, you, speak God’s Word.
3. What Does a Spokesman Say?
Now about the only objection you might have left is to ask the simple question, “what does the Christian voice say?”
Take a look at Peter’s speech in Acts 2 and you see that answer. Peter continues in his Pentecost address to speak of the past. Specifically, the past 50 days. He tells how Jesus lived. How Jesus died. How Jesus rose again. He tells them of how they sinned and how Jesus save them from their sins.
You know this. You know it well. So speak it. Speak of how your Savior lived perfectly, died innocently, and rose triumphantly for the forgiveness of sins.
Then, don’t just speak the past, but speak the future.
Now, you might be thinking, “The future? How am I to do that? I don’t own a crystal ball. I don’t get visions. I can’t read palms. My magic 8 ball is broken. How am I to speak about the future, if I don’t know it!?!”
But, dear Christian, as a believer in Jesus, might I add that you do know the future. Look at the words of Joel for a reminder:
God says, "I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood on the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:30-32)
In other words, you know the Law. The end is coming. It comes as death for many of us. For others, it will come as Judgment day. And without Jesus, it will be dreadful.
But, you also know the Gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance! (Joel 2:33)
Don’t shudder in proclaiming comfort for the future. Confidently and boldly speak the good news of Jesus!
When Peter and the disciples had finished their work on the first Pentecost, Scripture tells us that over 3,000 were added to their number that day.
Brothers and sisters, you may not see thousands of people coming to faith as soon as you start sharing your faith, but don’t be surprised to start seeing results. The LORD is at work! He will cause people to think. He will cause people to ask questions. He will be at work as you share his word!
So, be a spokesman!
Just about the only time that a spokesman doesn’t do his job is when he doesn’t speak for the product he represents.
You represent Jesus. Do your job. Speak of him. At home, at work, on the job, with your neighbors, at the dog park, in the coffee shop, online. Be a spokesman for Jesus! Amen.