A BURNING HEART, A BURNING TONGUE

 

Surely we're all agreed that second to the absolute need
for each of us to have a burning relationship with God,
is the need to be in touch with the anguish of the world.
Christians become stale, fellowships sterile, if they
aren't constantly pressed by the pain of the children of
this world.

 

But suppose we are in touch with human suffering. We see
it every day and hear its cries, we work among people who
are the victims of every conceivable sin, and yet we
aren't able to bring them any help. If our contact with
these people goes on and on without some healing going
out to them from us, without some lasting help reaching
them, then our gospel can't be true.

 

It's at this point a good many of us are experiencing
frustration.

 

- If Jesus has, in fact, given us a gospel,

 

- If He has, in fact, sent us to reveal God's

  Kingdom, touch people with God's healing,
  
give
them life from their death, in His name,

 

why is it that time and time again we can't find the right
words? Or, when we speak words of healing no healing
follows?

 

The Lord God has given me the tongue of
those who are taught, that I may know how
to sustain with a word him that is weary.

                                                                        Isaiah 50:4a

 

- a tongue that knows how to sustain
   with a word him that is weary.

 

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been
brought up; and he went to the synagogue, as
his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he
stood up to read; and there was given to him
the book of the prophet Isaiah. He opened
the book and found the place where it was
written,

 

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because

he has anointed me to preach good news
to the poor.

 

He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,

 

To set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."

                                                            Luke 4:16-19

 

The anointing of the Spirit on the Lamb manifests itself
in words of good news to the poor,

 

   words that bring release to the captives,

 

   words that bring recovery of sight to the blind, and
             liberty to the oppressed.

 

What was it that set Jesus apart from every teacher
Israel had ever heard before? His words!

 

...they wondered at the gracious words
which proceeded out of his mouth.

                                                                  Luke 4:22

 

... "What is this word?  For with authority
and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out."
                        Luke 4:36

 

Jesus spoke with a new tongue and the words that came
from that tongue literally brought life.  Things happened

when He spoke.

 

- He commanded ears to open, eyes to see.

 

- With a word He brought people back from the dead.


- With a word He restored the demon possessed

               to their right minds.

 

Jesus didn't just mingle with the anguish of the human
race, He spoke to the anguish and healed it.

 

We mingle with the anguish and soon we're overwhelmed.


Or, we're driven back into our shell.

Or, we're defeated by it.

Or, we're frightened and run from it, when we too should
        be able to speak to human anguish and heal it.

 

Didn't our Lord promise us a new tongue?

 

"And these signs will accompany those who
believe: in my name they will cast out
demons; they will speak in new tongues..."

                                                       Mark 16:17

 

To be able to speak a word from God with such boldness,
                                                                            such confidence,
that the Spirit confirms that word with signs following.

 

Is it unreasonable to desire this? To expect it?

 

"And now, Lord, look upon their threats, and
grant to thy servants to speak thy word with
all boldness, while thou stretchest out thy
hand to heal, and signs and wonders are per­
formed through the name of thy holy servant
Jesus."

And when they had prayed, the place in which
they were gathered together was shaken; and
they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and
spoke the word of God with boldness. 

                                                    Acts 1,:29-31

 

It was that word on their tongue that changed lives,

brought good news to the poor, release to the captives,
sight to the blind.

 

Is it too much to expect that each of us who goes forth
in the name of the Lord should speak with a new tongue?
A new tongue is not eloquence. An eloquent tongue is
beautiful to hear -- like music.

 

- It can thrill you.

- It can hold your attention.
- It can arouse your emotions.

 

                   - But it cannot change your life.

 

A new tongue is not salesmanship. How often we hear
people say of an exceptional salesman,

 

"If only his talents at salesmanship were used
for the Lord!"

 

The Lord doesn't need salesmen,
                                                        hucksters,
                                                        con men,

                                   or magicians. All He needs are
tongues that are willing to be taught how to sustain
with a word him that is weary.

 

A new tongue is the inevitable outgrowth of a new
heart.  Let your heart meet God and then let your heart
teach your tongue the things of God and you will soon
be speaking words that will literally heal the broken­
hearted and set the captives free and open blind eyes
and deaf ears and raise the dead.

 

1.   If we want to speak with a new tongue, we first have
        to receive a new heart.

 

On the last day of the feast, the great day,
Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one
thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who
believes in me, as the scripture has said,
'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living

water.’"                                      John 7:37-38

 

"Come to me and drink until your heart is full to over­
flowing with God's mercy. Until your heart is on fire
with God's love. Ravish your heart on the goodness of

the Lord until your heart is new."

 

"Lord, my heart is sick! It's like a stone. It's heavy
within me like a lump of lead. Wash me within with your
blood.  Cleanse me!  Create in me a clean heart, 0 God,
and renew a right spirit within me. Take his stony heart
out of me and give me a heart of flesh."

 

2. If we want to speak with anew tongue, we have to
      learn to give for alms such things as are within.

 

And the Lord said to him, "Now you Phari­
sees cleanse the outside of the cup and of
the dish, but inside you are full of extortion

and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who

made the outside make the inside also? But

give for alms those things which are within;

and behold, everything is clean for you."'       

                                                Luke 11:39-41

 

And what do we have within our hearts that we can give?
The one thing we have received:    mercy.

 

So we start giving forth mercy from our hearts with a
merciful attitude,

merciful prayers,

a generous, forbearing spirit.

 

There is no way we're ever going to have anything
genuinely good to say to anybody until our inmost hearts

are     - merciful,
              - forgiving,
              - generous,   - toward all!

 

Let the heart start giving what it has received from God
and our whole life becomes clean, including the most
defiled of all our members:   the tongue.

 

3. Now the heart is ready to teach the tongue to speak.

 

The Lord God has given me the tongue of
those who are taught, that I may know how
to sustain with a word him that is weary.

                                                Isaiah 50:4a

 

- The tongue of those that are taught.

 

The first thing the heart has to teach the tongue to do
is speak to God. Long long before our Lord ever uttered
a word of teaching in the synagogue, or ever spoke a
word of healing to the sick, he was speaking to His
Father ... and all through His ministry He kept speaking
to His Father.

 

If the tongue is going to belong to God and be of use
to God, it needs to give itself to God in speech,

                                                    in words of praise,
thanksgiving, worship. In utterances that are meant only
for His ear.

 

Your heart has received mercy, it has been changed.  Now
let it teach the tongue to confess to God what it believes.

 

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, 0 God, thou
God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing
aloud of thy righteousness.

                                                                  Psalm 51:14

 

I will bless the Lord at all times. His
praise shall continually be in my mouth.

                                                                  Psalm 34:1

 

If your heart is praising God how can your tongue be
still? If your heart is overflowing with gratefulness
to the Lord, how can your tongue hold its peace?

 

Satan will mock you when you use your tongue to glorify
God. He will tell you you're out of your mind,

                                        you're wasting your strength on
foolishness. Just remember that your tongue belongs to
God. Its primary purpose is not to eat,

                                             or to drink,
                                                         or to swallow,
                                                         or to talk to men, but to

praise its Maker and Redeemer.

 

Then the heart needs to teach the tongue to speak to
men. Our Lord came out from those times of being alone
with the Father and spoke to men from His heart.  Every
word was aflame with the fire of God and went forth

from His tongue to do exactly what it was intended to do.

 

Jesus' words brought life whenever they were received be­
cause they came from a heart that was on fire with the
mercy of God.  So now we are anointed and sent to speak
with new tongues words that come from our hearts and
literally give life,

                     healing,
                          hope,
                          encouragement,
                          cleansing,
                          vision.

 

Every one of us is called to do this. Some of us in the
past have thought that every time we meet someone who's
ripe for the Kingdom we have to take them to hear an
evangelist or some special teacher, or get them to read
some great Christian book.

 

But that's not what the Master called us to do. He did
not say, "Go ye into all the world and bring people to
hear Dr. So and So." He said,

 

"Go into all the world and preach the gospel."

 

You preach it, you speak with that new tongue, you give
forth a living word. For if you have received that new
heart from the Lord, and if you are giving for alms the
mercy within that you have received, and if you are

using your tongue to worship and glorify God, then you
can be sure that God has given you the tongue of those
who are taught that you might know how to sustain with
a word him who is weary.

 

He has anointed you to preach good news to the poor,


                                                      release to the captives,

 

                                           sight to the blind,

 

and His word on your tongue will not return to Him void.