A woman who died found herself standing outside the gates of heaven, greeted by Saint Peter. She asked him, “Oh, is this really heaven? Did I make it?”
Peter said, “Yes, but you must do one more thing before you can enter.”
She said, “What is it?”
He said, “I need you to spell a word. The word is love. It’s what heaven is all about.”
She promptly spelled out, “L-O-V-E.”
Peter said, “Excellent. But before you come in, would you sit here for a moment while I go and take care of something?”
She said, “What if someone comes while you’re gone?”
Peter responded, “Just welcome them and have them spell the word.”
The woman was shocked when her ex-husband showed up. He said, “I must have had a heart attack. I’m surprised to be here. Did I really make it to Heaven? Can I come in?”
She said, “I’m surprised you’re here, too. Before you can come in, you have to spell a word first.”
“What word?” he asked.
The woman responded, “Antidisestablishmentarianism.”
Love is the Language of Heaven
Yesterday I began a new sermon series on the fruits of the Spirit. The first fruit of the Spirit is love. Without love, the other fruits of the Spirit aren’t possible. You can’t truly be patient unless you have some love toward the one who makes you impatient. You can’t be kind without a measure of love in your heart to remind you how much kindness God has extended to you.
1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV) says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” Paul is most likely referring to the “tongues” of other human languages — such as what was experienced when the Spirit fell in Acts 2.
But what are the “tongues” of angels? As I pondered this question, I wondered, “What language will be spoken in heaven?”
Here on earth we speak multiple languages. We may assume that English will be the language of heaven, or at least one of the languages spoken there. But why is that our assumption? It’s not that God prefers one language over another.
In heaven, will there be a need for languages? Think of how different our world would be today if we all spoke the same language. After the flood as described in the Book of Genesis, all people still spoke one language (see Genesis 11:1). God “confused” the speech of humans after humans conspired to build a tower to God. They thought they could reach their full human potential apart from God. One way to say it is that they were getting “too big for their britches.” But God intervened, and since them, multiple languages have abounded.
In the great reversal by God’s grace, Jesus gave His life for “all the nations.” The Spirit was poured out on a multi-cultural, multilingual group. Many of Jesus’ disciples today are actively crossing cultural boundaries to share the gospel with others, while a few are dedicated to translating the truth of God’s Word into every language and dialect.
I don’t know what the language of heaven will be, but you could say that God’s language is love. Love is the need we all share, and love is the only way forward for the human race.
So how will you love people today? How will your words and actions demonstrate the love of God in you?
Learning the “5 Love Languages” Together
On Saturday, January 20th, we have the opportunity to learn better how to speak the language of love to one another.
The idea of the love languages seminar is that each of us receives and gives love in different ways. Some people receive love best through words of affirmation. For others, touch is the way that love is received best. People give love in ways that may be different from others, too. Some may give love through acts of service. Others give love by investing quality time in others.
You can learn more about and register for the love languages conference here
At best, our love is limited on earth. But most would agree that love is the greatest thing we can experience. God is love and Jesus came to earth because of God’s love. That means that the whole point of life is love.
In Zephaniah 3:9 (NKJV), there is an amazing prophecy about language during the future reign of Christ: “For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord.”
In the here and now, love is the common language that can bring us together. You and I can show some love today. Reach out and share a word of encouragement. Take time to listen to someone. Give a hug to someone who hasn’t been given a hug for a long time.
Have I told you lately that I love you? I do. I feel your love every time we gather. I wish for everyone to experience that same kind of love through the First Baptist Family.
Will you join me in praying that such a wish would become reality?
Pastor Brent McDougal