【The English Sermon】Speak the word as the Holy Spirit speaks. on May 23. According to Act 2:1 ~11

 Speak the word as the Holy Spirit speaks.

Rev. Sakae Tomokawa, Tajiri church on May 23.

According to Act 2:1 11

    Today's service is the 100th anniversary service of Tajiri Church. I heard that the Tajiri Church was started as a mission point of Rikuzen Furukawa Church with a Pentecost service on May 30, 1921. The pastor of Rikuzen Furukawa Church at that time was Pastor Masashige Ogasawara. In April 1959, Pastor Miyoji Takami was appointed as the full-time pastor of Tajiri Church, and he resigned at the end of March 1965 after building the former parsonage and church building. To be precise, Pastor Takami was dismissed from the church because of his commitment to the heretic Christian sect started by Ikuro Teshima in late 1940. It is a very painful experience. The Rev. Tatunosuke Kokubo was called to be a pastor of Tajirii church on September of 1965. He served the Tajiri church until the end of September, 2012. He had served here for 47 years and 6 months. It is very rare for a pastor to pastor a church for more than 40 years. I personally do not like to glorify or despise pastors, but I feel that Tajiri Church would not be where it is today without the hard work of the Rev. Kokubo.

    On a personal note, I remember that I started visiting the church when I was a sophomore at Tohoku Gakuin University, and I was commuting by train from Tajiri Station. It wasn't for faith. Faith was secondary. The Rev. Kokubo spoke English much more fluently than my current poor English. In other words, I was attracted to Rev. Kokubo’s English. So to speak, I used the church as a means to improve my English. In April 1970, I went to the U.S. by ship with Bunnji Saito and Makoto Kawana. At that time, I was baptized by Pastor Mineo Iyoya, who had been a great help to me and returned to Japan. After returning to Japan, I went back to university and successfully graduated. While I was working at a trading company where I could use English, I made up my mind to become a pastor and entered the Japan Bible Seminary in Mejiro, Tokyo. I'm still fascinated by English, so I don't know what God is doing for me.

    I've rambled on, but I'd like to listen to the Word of God given to me today. Today's verse is one that I have preached many times in Pentecost services. No matter how many times I read it, the Bible always teaches me something new. I hope we can learn about it together. Since ancient times, the Christian church has celebrated Pentecost (also known as the Feast of the Seven Weeks, originally the festival of the wheat harvest, on the fiftieth day after Passover, when bread made from wheat flour is offered to God. Later, it was considered to be the day Moses received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. The Holy Spirit was given to the disciples who had stayed in Jerusalem on the day of the Passover, and they observed it as the "memorial day” of the birth of the church.

    The disciples said, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for what the Father has promised you, which you have heard from me before. For John baptized with water, but you will soon be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5). I guess this is the result of faithfully living the promise of the Risen Lord Jesus (Acts 1:4,5). It was only 50 days after the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross. Acts of the Apostles is said to have been written by the same author who wrote the Gospel of Luke. It was written in the 90s A.D. The resurrected Lord Jesus says to his disciples The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations. Beginning in Jerusalem, you will be witnesses of these things. I will send to you what the Father has promised. Remain in the city until you are covered with power from on high (Luke 24:46-49). After the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, he advised them to stay in Jerusalem. And it doesn't say exactly how long they are to stay in Jerusalem. It can be painful to wait. It is surprisingly easy to wait if it is clearly stated what year and what day. But it is unclear. And if it had been decades since the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus, it would be a different story. It's only 50 days. It would be a lie to say that there is no anxiety or danger for him. But they were waiting.

    Furthermore, the book of Acts tells us that the disciples, Peter and the other eleven, “were praying fervently with one accord with the women, with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers (Acts 1:14). In addition, it says that there were about 120 people. The Tajiri church has 14 members. 120 members would be a large church in Japan. In the United States, there are many large churches with thousands of members. At the beginning of the article, I mentioned that in the Christian church, the Holy Spirit was given from ancient times and the "church" was born. But in reality, there were already 120 people who believed in the Lord Jesus. What does this mean? What does the Holy Spirit mean? It is the Holy Spirit of God. It is God Himself. In other words, God Himself establishes the church, and the church cannot be the church unless it is supported by God's Spirit. No matter how many people are gathered, a church is not a church.

    What is even more strange is that among the 120 people were Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the brothers of Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark 3:21, when the Lord Jesus' relatives found out that He was going to heal their sickness, they "went crazy.” The Lord Jesus' brothers could not understand His gospel ministry or His work. Isn't this a hint of the church that is the "body of Christ" waiting for the Holy Spirit? Isn't it "God's forgiveness" that united the disciples who abandoned the Lord Jesus with Jesus' mother and brothers? No, I think they gathered together to pray for God's forgiveness. God hears the prayers of the repentant. So, let's not give up and keep praying.

    The day of the fiftieth verse came, and they were gathered together as one (original word: homosumadon). “Then tongues like flames appeared in separate directions and stayed on each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in the language of the other nations, as the Spirit made them speak" (Acts 2:1-4). The people who were given the Holy Spirit spoke the Word as the Spirit made them speak. As you can see from the Bible, Peter, along with the other disciples, spoke of the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. He told them that the Lord Jesus is alive and at work today.

    The people who heard him said, "Aren't these men who are speaking (in the original: behold, id., emphasis added) all Galileans? (Acts 2:7), making fun of the disciples. Galilee was a frontier region, and they thought of them as country folk. However, man's evaluation and God's view are completely different. God is the one who dares to choose those who think they are completely unqualified to speak and let them speak about His work. So there is nothing to be afraid of. Whether times are good or bad, let's continue to speak the Word that God shows us. It is arrogant to think that evangelism will yield results in a few years. We need a span of several decades or even several hundred years. The seed that is sown will bear fruit one day. Let's firmly believe that and preach the gospel. Where the Word of the Spirit is spoken sincerely and it is heard sincerely, the "true church" will continue to stand.

【説教】「御言葉を語れ、御霊が語るままに」 使徒言行録 2章1~11節  田尻教会創立記念礼拝 2021年5月23日




使徒言行録 2章1~11節  田尻教会創立記念礼拝 2021年5月23日




    更に、使徒言行録は、弟子たちとペトロを初めとする11弟子たちと「彼らは皆、婦人たちやイエスの母マリヤ、またイエスの兄弟たちと心を合わせて(原語:ホモスゥマドン:with one accord)、熱心に祈っていた。」(使徒1章14節)と記しています。加えて、人数が約120名と記す。田尻教会のメンバーは14名ですよ。120名となれば、日本では大教会です。アメリカでは何千人という大規模教会が沢山あります。冒頭で、キリスト教会では昔から聖霊が与えられて「教会」が誕生したと述べました。だが、現実には既に主イエスを信じる者たちが120名もいたのです。これは一体どういう意味なのでしょうか。聖霊と一体どういう意味なのでしょうか。それは、神の御霊です。神ご自身です。つまり、教会は神ご自身が立て、神の御霊によって支えられなければ教会は教会とならないのです。如何に多くの人が集っていても教会は教会とならないのです。








Thanks for correcting my awful preaching!