Text: Amos 5:13, 5:24, 7:7; Matt 6:33, 7:1-5, 24:12, 26:51-52; James 1:19-20; Eph 6:12; Jude 1:8-10; John 6:15, 6:48-71, 8:32
Summary: Silence is not violence. Silence is prudence. Pray, don’t post. Lastly, Jesus is the real “liberation theology.”
Father, during this challenging time, where there is so much confusion, we ask that you give us wisdom on how we as your children, as followers of Jesus, ought to conduct ourselves. We pray that wherever you place us, we will shine the light of Jesus. We pray for all the darkness, that you would bring an end to it, that you would bind and rebuke all the unclean spirits. I pray that all the enemies of the cross, that all of their schemes will return on its own head, and that they would be exposed. Father, I pray that if anything that I have planned to say is not from you, I pray that you would hold it back and strike it. I pray that I would represent you well during this time. Thank you. In Jesus Name, Amen
This is one of those messages that Jackie might be holding her breath. She’s nervous. I told her a little bit about what topics might be covered today. Obviously, our country is in a lot of pain and confusion and anger. And there are the Black Lives Matter folks. There are the All Lives Matter folks. And depending on who you’re speaking to, one phrase may trigger the other side. Even though on its own, they’re both true. It is true Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter. Police matters. Asians matter. At the same time, all lives matter. And these are not offensive statements in themselves. But when you place Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter side by side, it is explosive right now.
Two words come to mind as I think through and pray through what is unfolding in our country. The first comes from Amos 5:13.
13 Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.
The other passage is from Matthew 24:12.
12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
The two words from these two verses that have been coming to me, again and again, is evil and lawlessness. I think you would agree we are in an evil time. And also we are in a lawless time. Evil and lawless. For Amos 5:13 says, therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. And the best advice that I can give to you during an evil time and today is an evil time, today is an evil day, it is to be silent.
There is pressure in our society right now to be vocal, to post on Facebook. That is a strategy of the enemy. He wants us to be vocal. And I saw cars with things on them and billboards throughout the city as I was driving and walking around saying that if you are silent, you are part of the problem. And that is a lie. That is not biblical. Because silence is not violence. It is not violent to be silent. According to Amos 5:13, silence is prudence. Silence is prudence.
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
It is a time to be prudent. God’s prudence is silence, to be slow to speak. Because once you start speaking, there’s a great chance in our society today that you’ll trigger violence or anger. There should be freedom to voice opinions without there being anger or some type of emotion but right now, the wrong word spoken at the wrong place at the wrong time could lead to a fistfight.
Because we are an evil time. So silence is not violence. This is not the main message. This is just my intro. Silence is not violence. Silence is prudence. And the other thing that has been coming to my mind is, pray, don’t post. It’s a time to pray for our country, to be slow to speak, be slow in 2020 to post on whatever social media that you’re tempted to post. Because when people post, they are locating an enemy. But do we know who the true enemy is? We have to know as Christians who the true enemy is. Ephesians 6:12.
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
We don’t wrestle with governors and presidents and dictators, and in biblical times, emperors and kings. We don’t wrestle with rulers and authorities. We’re wrestling with cosmic powers. We’re talking about the heavenlies. We’re talking about the spiritual realm, and the chief enemy number one is satan. Everything that we see in our world today, behind it all is satan. You have to understand who the enemy is, that will temper your anger at people and direct your anger at the proper source. It is satan.
So silence is not violence. Silence is prudence. And in a time of evil, pray, don’t post. Satan wants you to vocalize your anger. Satan wants you to post on every social media element you possess. He wants the anger that’s been triggered in our society to fan into flame. And the more you do it in your circle, maybe 90% will agree with what you say because your friends are like-minded, but there will be people who read what you say and they will be triggered from the other side. So there is nothing you can say that will not incite some type of a strong emotion one way or the other. So it is prudent not only to be silent, it is prudent to pray and not to post.
Let’s turn to Jude 1:8.
8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.
There’s a discussion here between a good angel, the Archangel Michael, and the fallen angel, which is the devil, satan. And who is right? When they’re talking about Moses’ body, who is telling the truth? We know the angel Michael is telling the truth. But in this discussion, there’s some wisdom that we see in that exchange between a good angel and a fallen angel. Michael chooses to refrain from passing judgments on the other side. Satan and all of his minions are so loose with their judgments. They are blaspheming things they do not understand. They are pronouncing judgment on things that they are absolutely wrong about. But they’re so vocal in their hatred and their slander and their pronouncing of judgment.
And here we see how Christians should respond. We refrain, and we say the Lord rebuke you. And then we disengage. Because if you engage with darkness, you may win the argument because you’re on the side of the truth, but in the process, you will lose yourself. If you engage in darkness, even though you’re on the side of truth and you’re telling the truth, Satan will keep on attacking you and slandering you and blaspheming you on the topic that you’re fighting about.
And in the end, if you keep on engaging him directly, in whatever topic, you might win the argument, but you will lose yourself, you will get darkened in the process. And so Christians, we don’t engage Satan head-on. We see a deception, and we say, the Lord rebuke you. I come in the power and authority of Jesus. It is not my authority. I come in Jesus’ authority. Jesus rebuke Satan. That is what we’re supposed to do.
Satan wants us to get angry. He wants us to be deceived, that if you are silent, you’re part of the problem and that silence is violence. You’re being violent as much as that police officer was to George Floyd, that you’re being violent in your silence. You’re part of the problem. That’s how Satan is trying to deceive us. He wants us not to pray. He wants us to post. He wants us to incite more anger in our society. That is Satan’s agenda. Facebook’s fine for giving updates to your family and sharing pictures, but once you start speaking out on these social issues, Satan is winning. Satan is winning.
And Christians are so quick to speak. Instead of being slow to speak, Christians are so quick to side, and go on one side when this is a complex problem. So we have Black Lives Matter. We have All Lives Matter. Let me say today, Jesus’ Life Matters. Can I get that patented and collect royalties in my old age? Jesus’ Life Matters. I want that to be the take-home for today. Jesus’ Life Matters.
There is a social gospel that says the order in Scripture is wrong. It is not, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. And then Love your neighbor as yourself. It is opposite. It is, love your neighbor, love society, with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, make that the passionate pursuit of your life. And then below that, you love God. The order is wrong.
People make it their passion to pursue not the gospel, but a social gospel and it is their aim to put society back together again with their effort. And God just pressed me a bunch of times this week to study liberation theology because I knew about it, but I didn’t really study it. And I would remember it and think, I should study that. I’d forget about it. A day or two later, He’d say, study it. Okay, gotcha. Study this, and I would forget about it. But He finally got my attention to study this. And I was amazed. Liberation theology is on the rise and I see it all over 2020. It is a Catholic doctrine that arose in the 1950s and 1960s, from Catholic theologians living in Latin America.
Liberation theology was centered in Latin America among the poor and it tried to seek faith through the lens of the poor and the oppressed. And they wanted to get people very active in politics and civic affairs. And they stressed things like socioeconomic issues and inequalities and racism, and they believed that God could only be understood through the lens of the poor and the oppressed.
This movement gained strength in the 1970s. And then Pope John Paul in the 1990s saw that this was not biblical, and so he curbed it. Guess what? Under Pope Francis, it is again on the rise, and not by accident. It’s on the rise again. And let me get to my conclusion first, and then I’ll flesh it out a little more. Jesus Christ is our liberation theology. Jesus Christ is our liberation theology.
MLK gave a speech during the heyday of the civil rights movement and he quoted from Amos 5:24. And he said, but let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. And in Amos’ day, there was unrighteousness. There was oppression. There was socio-economic inequality. There was idolatry. There was a spiritual falling away among the 10 tribes in the northern kingdom of Israel. Today, it’s no different.
If you believe in liberation theology or the social gospel, you make it your aim to make Amos 5:24 come to pass in your lifetime, that through your own efforts, you place loving your neighbor as the pursuit of your life, and you pursue it with all your soul, mind and strength. And if that is your aim, there may be brief moments of victory of pushing back darkness, or bringing a glimpse of righteousness.
But for the most part, you look at human history, everyone who made loving their neighbor as their pursuit has utterly failed. Liberation theology does not work because we’re sinners living in a fallen world. Maybe if you have a godly king like King David, maybe for that season because God is from top-down in control and He is moving society according to His law. Maybe in that brief season, there is righteousness and justice, and the poor are taken care of and the widows are taken care of, because from the top down it is a godly kingdom.
But for the most part, there is no such thing as a permanent justice rolling down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. We cannot produce this through our own effort. Because if somebody believes this, they are overestimating their own ability to impact the world for change for good. They’re overestimating whatever a frail, sinful person can do. And they’re underestimating the big problem that is out there in a fallen world. So all this talk of righteousness flowing like waters, and justice like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream, this is all a foreshadowing of Jesus in the kingdom that he alone can usher in. And it started when He came.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
We’re seeking Jesus’ kingdom. And who can bring His kingdom here? Can we do it? Can we do it? If we get enough Christians to focus on the social gospel and believe in liberation theology, and we infiltrate all the top government positions, can we bring righteousness in any meaningful and permanent way here? Liberation theology as has been taught in the past is false. We cannot do it.
That’s why Jesus says, seek His righteousness. You look at the person of Jesus and when Jesus comes a second time, He will establish righteousness because He brings heaven to earth and He renews and resets everything. Until then, people may try to bring it through some social change. They’re protesting through whatever means at their disposal, it will not last. And if you make that your end goal, you’ll be frustrated and you will become angry. And over time, you will become darkened. That is not where the Christian should exert his or her energy.
And we have to look no further than the life of Jesus. When Jesus came, did He come to overthrow Rome? Rome was far worse. Even though we think America right now is in bad shape, Roman emperors crucified Christians, it was far worse politically and spiritually, and more oppressive, orders of magnitude worse than whatever we’re experiencing in America in 2020. And Jesus did not talk about overthrowing Caesar. There were some among them like Simon the Zealot. That was his goal. He wanted to overthrow Rome, but he realized over the course of following Jesus, oh Jesus is not after that. He’s not into liberation theology or a social gospel. He’s into something far deeper and much more personal.
And that’s why when Jesus is being arrested in Matthew 26, Peter pulls out a sword and he cuts off of a man’s ear, and Jesus says in Matthew 26, put your sword back into its place for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Jesus did not come to promote violence or to overthrow governments and to produce chaos. That is not Jesus’ mission, although some, even in God’s Church, think that is what a godly Christian should do. We should speak out, we should be vocal, we should be angry. And we’re not even realizing that our words are producing more anger and more violence.
Jesus was not interested in the poor the way that people today talk about the poor. Jesus had compassion for the poor. And among all of his disciples, most of them were poor. And I think that just speaks to when you’re a poor person, Jesus offers you salvation, you have less resistance. You don’t have to calculate in your mind, what am I going to give up when I start following this Rabbi? So I think that’s what it shows. It shows the heart. The person’s heart is less complicated. What do I have to lose? My life is not great. And Jesus says, follow me. There’s less resistance. I will follow.
If the rich, young ruler has to calculate, my bank account is giant and I am a rich man, I’m a young man, I have so much potential and so many opportunities. Can I really part with my wealth? And Jesus says, yes, for you, you must part with it because it will stumble you. You must leave everything to follow me. Poor people, they have nothing in their hands. They just start following.
So when Jesus gathered crowds, he was not interested in establishing a ministry like a food kitchen and perpetually feed the crowds day after day. That is not what Jesus was after. He showed compassion in a moment to a crowd of people because he was preaching for so long and they were hungry, and he didn’t want to send them away hungry. And so to those who were listening to His word, He wanted to feed them because He’s just overflowing with compassion. But he was not interested in a food kitchen ministry.
Because later on in John 6, He starts speaking about what this feeding was a pointer to. He says, one day, you’re going to eat my flesh because I am the bread. One day you will drink my blood. And He is foreshadowing the Lord’s Supper. And when He taught this, because that was the true intention of the feeding, it was a pointer to Jesus’ body being broken and His blood being shed.
What Jesus is after is not physical feeding, but a spiritual rebirth. And so He taught this and what happened? Many even among his disciples said, this is too hard of a teaching, I’m offended, and they fell away. And most of the people in the crowd who just wanted Jesus to keep on feeding them because He’s so powerful, they wanted to make Him King. What does Jesus do? He withdraws. Jesus sees what’s in a person’s heart, and He doesn’t entrust Himself to everybody.
Let’s read from Amos 7:7.
7 This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand.
The reason why that Jesus says in Matthew 7 not to judge is that Jesus is the judge. And right now He has a plumbline. It’s a string and at the bottom is a weight and it measures right angles for construction. And He is walking among the nations and right now He’s walking in America with a plumbline. Jesus is the judge. We are not to presume to be the judge. Jesus is the perfect, righteous judge and His timing is perfect.
He’s standing and when He judges America, can we blame Him? Will we say, no, Lord, you got it wrong. We are not worthy of judgment. We are a righteous nation. No, we are not righteous. Jesus has a plumbline and He’s walking among the nations. As Christians, we should be silent. It is prudent in days that are evil to be silent. That’s from Amos 5:13. And we should pray, not post.
In Ephesians 6:6, satan is our real enemy. Not anybody else, not societal structures. Satan, who is behind it all, is our true enemy. And Jesus is the judge. And Jesus’ life matters, not black lives matter or all lives matter. Let’s discard all of that conversation and vocabulary. Jesus’ life matters. According to John8:32, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Jesus is the real liberation theology, because He did not come to set us free for a season or for a year or a decade. Jesus came to set us free forever.
No matter what situation you’re in, did you know that you could be the freest person? That is the truth of the gospel, that you can be the freest person in the midst of the most incredible injustice. And you’re not going to respond in anger. Instead, you’re going to pronounce forgiveness. You’re going to say, Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re not Christians. I don’t judge them. You’re the judge.
Imagine if Christians instead of being angry, they were that kind of a witness in 2020? Like Stephen being martyred. See, that’s how we should be. Not only in martyrdom, but every day of our life as the attacks, the injustice, the oppression is coming our way. We respond with forgiveness, and we shine the light of Jesus to those who are persecuting us. And we’re displaying an utter healing and deliverance and salvation from deep within that has nothing to do with the circumstances that we’re in.
Are there things that are systemic in our society? Things that are falling? Things that are sinful? Yes, of course. We are sinners in a fallen world. That is without saying, of course. There’s so much that can be said about racism and oppression and inequality, of course. But when I see a black person who is suffering, and they are being tempted to be angry because of the injustice and they go back to years of slavery, we can’t speak to that. We are not in their shoes. We didn’t have to go through what they’re going through. But I would say to them, that you know, Jesus is your liberation theology. I will say that Jesus can heal you so deeply that even though you are the victim of so much inequality and racism, did you know that you can rise above it? It’s not an insensitive thing to say that. I’m just speaking truth. Jesus says, I am the truth and I will set you free.
So somebody who says, yes, I’m a Christian, but this thing is so big. It’s so deep in society. It is imprinted in years of generations that have gone before me. Are we saying Jesus is a liar? Are we saying Jesus cannot heal that wound? Of course He can heal it. We should be saying to everybody that we meet, Jesus is your answer.
To the white person who is maybe a supremacist and a racist, what is the answer for this person? Is it for them to lose their job which is appropriate? Yes. Is it to send them to prison if they act out on that racism? Perhaps. But what will set that white supremacist free? Only the person of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can heal the racism that comes out and is being expressed from deep within. We’re talking about heart issues. When somebody is a victim and there is a deep wound, or when somebody is acting out in their racism, both are heart issues.
And the reason why the social gospel doesn’t work and liberation theology as is taught doesn’t work is because we’re dealing with external things and it never ever gets to the heart. Only Jesus can get to the heart. That’s why He is the only real liberation theology. I will say the same thing to a Christian in China or North Korea who is being persecuted or being tortured. Did you know that Jesus can heal that would so that while you’re being persecuted, as it says all throughout the New Testament, that they can shine the light of Jesus because they’ve been so transformed?
So let’s tell that to ourselves and to one another. In the midst of all of the anger, all the verbiage, all the vocabulary that is out there. It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s going to trigger somebody. Let’s tell Christians, Jesus’ life matters. And He will make all the difference. He will set you free from deep within and when you are free from within, it doesn’t matter what Satan throws at you from the outside. You will not respond when receiving anger and slander and attacks and violence. You will not respond with anger, attacks, and violence because you are different. Let’s pray.
Father, there’s so much confusion in our day. So much anger, pockets of violence, so much confusion. We went from COVID-19 lockdowns to everybody being out in public protesting in the environment. Lord, you’re telling us through your word how you want the Christians, because you’re looking especially at the Christian in a time like this, how are we responding?
Do we take you at your word that silence is prudence? Do we take you at your word that we should be praying and not posting? Do we understand who the true enemy is? It’s always satan. Behind every societal structure, it is satan who is the ruler of this world. In light of these truths, we understand that Jesus you alone can set a man or a woman free. We confess it, we believe it. Jesus, you are our liberation theology.
It doesn’t matter what kind of world we’re in, even the great tribulation. If it comes upon us in our lifetime, it doesn’t matter. We can be so transformed within our heart, that while we’re being persecuted and led like a lamb to the slaughter, flogged in the Senate, we’re shining the light of Jesus, not angry, not fearful, so transformed, speaking words of forgiveness, pointing everybody who was persecuted or is angry around us, to the person of Jesus. We understand the name of Jesus incites hatred and violence. But Lord that is the only answer for this world. Jesus, you are the only answer.
So we point everybody who will listen to the person of Jesus. You are the truth, and the truth sets us free. Thank you for clearing away so much confusion. I pray that you plant these words, the seed of your word into our hearts, and that you water it. Thank you, Lord, for speaking today. In Jesus Name, Amen