Read - Acts 4v23-31
Message - Scott Woodburn
If you've been paying attention to the American political scene you will have heard much about the "de-platforming" of Donald Trump. What is that? To de-platform someone is to remove from them the platform they use to speak. In Donald Trump's case he was banned from the social media app Twitter. It was on Twitter that the former President was followed by millions of people who heard his thoughts every day. Needless to say debates currently rage about the rights and the wrongs of Twitter's decision.
We'll leave politics there for today but regardless of Donald Trump I worry about the current urge to de-platform those with whom we do not agree. As Christians our concern should always be the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ which in this current age is becoming increasingly problematic for many in society. I suspect a good few of us will live to see an age where the Gospel is seen as something not suitable for the public sphere.
There is nothing new under the sun and if a modern government ever seek to silence the church it certainly won't be the first time. The Apostles were told that they couldn't share the Gospel anymore. Their response? They called upon the Lord and prayed for boldness in the face of opposition (v29).
Standing against God's people were the chief priests and elders (v23). Christ had been sent to the cross and was forced to stand before Herod and Pilate (v27). Their alliance was joined by Gentiles and people of Israel (v27b). None of this is surprising. As the fellowship pray they quote directly from Psalm 2 (v25-26). They remember that God has already said by the Holy Spirit that the nations rage and the people of the earth plot in vain. The kings of the earth are united in their opposition to the Lord and his anointed. Who is the anointed one? It is Jesus.
There are times in human history that nations have listened to the Gospel and times they have not. There have been moments that the Gospel was preached in our own parliament at Westminster and other days when the Gospel has been something of an embarrassment. I am no prophet but would suggest that we live in a time were the Gospel is still tolerated but we are moving quickly to a place of de-platforming. I hope I'm wrong, perhaps days of revival will come and we will see a harvest of souls. Thankfully, God knows.
We can't predict anything with certainty but in days of trouble our response should be boldness. John Bunyan was in prison for far longer than he should have been but he was promised that he would be released if only he would not preach. He responded by saying "If I am released today, I will preach tomorrow." The Gospel may be foolishness to those perishing but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. May the Lord give us the boldness to share the Gospel is such an age as this.
Q76 Which is the ninth commandment? The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.