When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, people heard the wonders of God declared in their own tongues. In a language they could understand.
Acts 2:5: “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language… we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues! Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”.
To effectively communicate the unchanging truth of the gospel in our changing times, it is good to consider the language that today’s culture speaks and understands. A society which is globally connected, socially networked, visually engaged, formally educated, digitally savvy and often time poor.
When we consider our culture, in many of our Western nations we are seeing an increasing secularisation of our societies with declines in people identifying with Christianity, lower church attendance and an erosion of moral foundations. The Church in these settings is in a missional context. If you were sent to a foreign nation as a missionary, the first thing you would do is learn the language and study the culture so you could effectively communicate your message in a language the people understood.
Whilst in exile in Babylon, a culture in many ways at odds with that of the people of the people of Israel, Daniel was trained in the language and literature of the Babylonians. He didn’t defile himself through engaging in certain behaviours, yet he engaged with the culture he was in and was raised to a position where by the Holy Spirit could interpret dreams and visions of all kinds for leaders in his nation.
1 Chronicles 12:32 talks about the sons of Issachar who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do”. Take time to reflect on the culture we are in, engage with it and allow the Holy Spirit to help you communicate and speak in a language people in our generation understand.