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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

SMC_Facebook_2“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19).

These familiar words of Jesus commonly are known to Christians as the Great Commission. While not the only call for evangelism in the New Testament, they certainly are an important proof text supporting the call of Christians to evangelize the lost.

The Apostle Paul provides another proof text in his epistle to the Romans. In Chapter 10 he writes, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?’ (Romans 10:14, 15).

Now someone may ask what these passages have to do with the topic at hand, the tech left’s attack on free speech and why Christians, and especially Christians, should object to it.

It is my hope that a little thought would make the relationship between these two passages and the issue at hand clear. Christianity is a religion of the Word. And how to people hear that Word? From a preacher. If the Word cannot be spoken and written, if it cannot be communicated to unbelievers, they have no chance of coming to faith in Christ.

Further, Christ commands us to go, to make disciples and to teach all his commandments. To fulfill this commandment, Christians must use words. That is to say, they must be able both to speak and to write.

For any civil magistrate to prohibit or to attempt to prohibit Christians from speaking freely means to prohibit them from doing the very thing Christ himself commanded his disciples to do. This represents an enormous abuse of power by the civil authorities and is itself a great evil.

Someone may object to my reasoning here by saying that internet censorship is not being done by the civil authorities, but rather by private companies who have the right to regulate traffic on their websites. This may seem like a plausible argument, but as I hope to show next week, Big Tech as represented by companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are not acting on their own when they deplatform conservative and libertarian political commentary. Rather, in this author’s opinion, these companies really are acting on behalf of Deep State to censor views it deems dangerous to its cause.

As some have put it, the Deep State has simply outsourced censorship, which in the United States cannot be done directly by government officials due to the First Amendment, to private corporations which are to a significant degree under the control of the Deep State.

As I noted last week, I hope to lay out the case that it’s the globalist Deep State that’s largely behind the push for social media censorship. Lord willing, I plan to make this case next week.

For this week’s installment, I’d like to continue with additional examples of deplatforming found in the Scriptures. Last seek we looked at deplatforming in the Old Testament. This week, our focus will be on deplatforming in the New Testament.

Deplatforming in the New Testament

Although the deplatformings recorded in the New Testament happened many hundreds of years after those we looked at last week in the Old Testament, the spirit, the purpose, behind them is the same. In both cases, it is the vested power interests attempting to quash any challenge to their authority.

The premier examples of deplatforming and attempted deplatforming in the New Testament can be found in the life of Jesus Christ himself. Throughout his earthly ministry, the Jewish religious authorities were Jesus greatest enemies and constantly sought out ways to silence him.

In one case, ordinary Synagogue members attempted to deplatform Christ by throwing him off a hill in Nazareth when they decided they didn’t like his sermon.

And in the end it was the combined efforts of the Jewish leaders, the Jewish people and the Roman civil authorities who joined forces to temporarily succeed in deplatforming Jesus when they brutally executed him on the cross.

Worth noting is the reason why the Jewish religious leaders and some of the Jewish people wanted Christ killed. It was not what Jesus did, but what Jesus said that drew their wrath.

Consider this passage from John’s Gospel. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, ‘Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?’ The Jews answered Him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God’ ” (John 10:31-33).

Note well that it was what Jesus said, not what he did, that so angered these people, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You…make Yourself God.”

Consider another example, this one recorded by Luke. Early in his ministry, Luke tells us that Jesus went into the synagogue in Nazareth and there read the Scriptures and preached.

Jesus’ hometown crowd was on his side at first, but quickly became hostile when he recounted how the prophet Elijah was sent outside the covenant to Zaraphath to help a widow suffering from the famine and how Naaman alone was cured of leprosy by Elisha.

Luke tells us these good church goers were “filled with wrath” and led Jesus outside the city where they planned to throw him off a cliff. That’s deplatforming with a vengeance.

Note that here, as with incident recorded by John, the impetus for the attempt of Jesus life was what he said, not what he did.

At Jesus trial before the elders of the people and the chief priests, once again we see Jesus words were what got him in trouble. Luke notes that Jesus interlocutors asked him if he were the Son of God. When Jesus told them, “You rightly say that I am,” they rested their case, saying, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

John the Baptist also was deplatformed for what he said. In John’s case, his speech got him imprisoned and beheaded.

As Matthew tells us, Herod had John thrown in prison, “Because John had said to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her [Herodias, his brother Phillips wife].’ ” Matthew records that Herod would have killed John for his saying but for the fact that he feared the people, who regarded John as a prophet.

Peter and John are another example of deplatforming. They were arrested for their preaching (speech) in the temple and dragged before the Sanhedrin who “commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

This is noteworthy, for Peter had just performed a miracle, healing a man who had been lame since birth. The Sanhedrin even admitted that “a notable miracle had been done” through the apostles. But the Sanhedrin did not order Peter and John not to perform miracles, they ordered them not to speak nor teach in the name of Jesus. It was the apostles’ speaking that concerned the Sanhedrin, not their miracle working.

Acts chapter 5 recounts how Peter and John were arrested and deplatformed a second time. On this occasion, there were not brought directly before the Sanhedrin, but were imprisoned. Scripture tells us that an angel of the Lord came and brought them out of prison, telling them, “God, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

Once again, we see the emphasis laid on the apostles preaching, their speaking, not on their miracle working. The angel did not tell them to go to the temple and heal people. He told them to preach.

The Biblical emphasis could not be more clear. Christianity is about words. It’s about understanding. It’s about belief. In order to understand and agree with the Gospel, one first has to hear the words of the Gospel. In order to hear and believe the Gospel, the information must be communicated in words.

The ministry experience of the Apostle Paul mirrors that of the examples above. Time and again Paul found himself in trouble, not for what he did, but for what he said.

Any number of examples could be brought forth to buttress this point. One example comes right after his conversion on the Damascus road. Acts chapter 9 records how Paul “Immediately…preached Christ in the synagogues,” and that he, “confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus was is the Christ.”

So how did the Jews in Damascus react to Paul’s preaching. Acts tells us they, “plotted to kill him.”

Another example of deplatforming can be seen in Paul’s speech to the crowd at the temple. Paul was addressing an already hostile crowd when he told of his commission by Christ to go to the Gentiles.

Acts notes that the crowd listed until Paul said “Gentiles” and then started to riot, crying out, tearing their clothes and throwing dust in the air. This resulted in Paul’s arrest, spending many years in jail, and being taken to Rome to appeal to Caesar. Paul was deplatformed because of what he said.

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John RobbinsThe following sermon was preached by John Robbins at Reformation Chapel in Unicoi Tennessee. Last week I featured part one of this sermon.  Today, I present part two. To read part one, please click here. The transcription is my own.

– Steve Matthews

Well, Luke continues in verse five,

Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how he spoke to you while he was still in Galilee.’

Well, these women are terrified. These men suddenly appear, and the women are terrified. Luke says they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth. And the angels speak to them and say, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”

This reminds you of the opening chapter of Acts, where Luke is telling about the apostles watching Jesus being assumed into heaven. And two men again appear, maybe the same two angels, and speak to the apostles, and they say, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here staring up into heaven?” They ask them a question again. And here the angels ask the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead. And then they tell them, “He is not here, but is risen. Remember how he spoke to you.” And this makes it clear about the important of words. See, we’re told in the first chapter of John that the Word preceded the visible creation, that everything that was created was preceded by the Word. The Word comes first, the Logos comes first. And many people get everything backwards, they think events, or history, or creation come first, rather than the Word.

But notice here no one witnesses the resurrection event. And what the women receive are words from the angels. They’re told specifically, “He is not here. He is risen. He is living. He’s not among the dead.” And then the angels remind them of Jesus’ own words that he spoke while he was still with him. Their faith rests on the testimony of Jesus and the testimony of the angels. The women did not see the resurrection event, but they received these words from Christ and from the angels.

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Sanders and Vought

Bernie Sanders questions Russell Vought in Senate confirmation hearing, 6/7/2017.

Tolerance. It may be the single dominate buzzword or out time. Everyone has heard of it. Progressives claim to have it. Conservatives are berated for lacking it. All must bow down to it. Yet rarely does anyone attempt to define it.

There is a Christian sense to the term “tolerance,” one to which any believer in Jesus Christ would readily affirm, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As Christians, we are to treat others as we ourselves would like to be treated, “for this is the law and the prophets.”

Negatively, tolerance in the Christian sense does not mean agreeing with everybody, saying that all ideas about God, ethics, politics or economics are equally true. There is truth, and there is falsehood. There is darkness and there is light. The prophet Isaiah condemned those who put darkness for light and light for darkness. As Christians, we are called to proclaim the truth and expose the lie.

Aye, and there’s the rub, at least as far as 21st century progressives are concerned. These folks have infinite patience for every idea under the sun, no matter how irrational or destructive it may be, just so long as they can use it as a weapon to smash what little is left of Western civilization.

For the cultural Marxists, if an idea or action doesn’t shock and offend the Protestant bourgeoisie and serve to tear down their civilization, it is by definition intolerable.

Barak Obama gave voice to this notion a few years ago with his “bitter clingers” remark.

Hillary Clinton showed her contempt for ordinary Americans last fall, labeling a large swath of the American population as “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic…they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

Not only does Mrs. Clinton think Americans, her present company excepted, are a bunch of bigots, but she adds that they are irredeemably so. And by stating “they are not America,” it appears that the thinks of these individuals, not as fellow Americans who deserve her respect, but as animals who must be controlled.

And she wonders why she lost the election.

All of which brings me to Bernie Sanders and his remarks in a Senate confirmation hearings this past week. If you haven’t seen the video yet, please take a couple minutes to review it.


The terse exchange between potential deputy White House budget director Russ Vought and Senator Bernie Sanders is packed with theological, legal and political implications. Let’s look at a few of them.

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Resurrection and the Life

On this Lord’s Day with its special emphasis on the bodily resurrection of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, it seemed good to present without comment what others have said concerning this miracle, foretold by the prophets, witnessed by the apostles, and preached by believers ever since.

Scriptural witnesses

  • For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth (Job 19:25).
  • For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption (Psalm 16:10).
  • Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand (Isaiah 53:10).
  • And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17).
  • He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay (Matthew 28:6).
  • “Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).
  • I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (John 11:25).
  • Now when she [Mary Magdalene] had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him Rabboni!” (John 20:14-16).
  • [B]eginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection (Acts 1:22).
  • And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4:33).
  • Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son or God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:3).
  • It [righteousness] shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:24-25).
  • For is we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:5).
  • He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:4).
  • For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:21).
  • Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3).

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separation-church-and-state

“We have the same vocabulary, but a different dictionary,” was a saying coined a hundred years or so back. It was used by Bible believing Christians to describe liberals who were surreptitiously working to undermine the churches of the day.

The liberals didn’t like a fair fight. Instead of openly declaring their unbelief in the Bible, liberal ministers and scholars were wont to cloak their liberalism in the language of Scripture. The social gospelers would speak of the “divinity of Christ” and for all the world appear to be sound Christians. But instead meaning that Jesus was fully God, they meant only that Jesus, as do all men, had a spark of divinity within him. This is not Christianity. It is a humanist lie.

But old-school social gospelers are not the only people to redefine words to suit their agenda. One prominent example of this is what some atheists and liberals have done to the term “separation of church and state.”

If you’re like me, you probably grew up thinking that 1) these words are found in the Constitution and 2) they mean Christian ideas are legally prohibited from having even the smallest influence in matters of government. Both ideas are false.

But their falsity doesn’t stop many people from passionately believing them. Take a look at this video of a recent Town Hall held by Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.


When minister steps up to pray, some in the audience scream “Prayer? Prayer?” A man can be heard loudly repeating “separation of church and state, separation of church and state.” Another says, “He’s [the minister] not supposed to be up there [at the lectern].”

When the minister ends the prayer in Jesus’ name, the crowd again explodes.

Now for all I know, the loud mouthed protesters may have been dupes paid by George Soros. Perhaps they were expressing an honest, albeit mistaken, opinion. At any rate, they would be better served taking time to learn a thing or two about the Constitution before getting so worked up a minister doing his job.

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shepherds_illuminationFor the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

“I have no idea why justification is by faith alone,” said the hapless minister in story related to my class by Dr. Robert Reymond. The minister, it would seem, was a well intentioned but rather confused fellow.

“Good grief!,” Dr. Reymond continued, “the Bible tells right in Romans chapter 4 the reason why we’re justified by faith alone. ‘Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed…’ ”

The saints of God of justified – that is, they are declared righteous by God – not on the basis of their works, but on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone, so that their salvation may be on the basis of God’s grace – that is, his unmerited favor – alone.

The redeemed have nothing to boast in except their great Savior. As the old hymn puts it, “Noting in my hand I bring, Simply to the cross I cling.”

Grace is God’s giving his people, not what they deserve, but the blessings he has purposed for them out of the mere good pleasure of his will.

And nowhere is God’s grace more evident than in the birth of Christ Jesus, who, as Paul tells us, was “born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”

In Christ, God has made a way to save his people. The law was given through Moses. And the law condemns us, for we all are guilty of violating it. In it, we have no hope. But Christ fulfilled the law perfectly. And those who believe in him are credited with his righteousness, that they may live for God.

And while it’s important to understand the graciousness of God’s grace, it is also important to remember that his grace is never apart from the truth.

Unlike what some modern day theologians would tell you, God does not speak to us through myth or falsehood. Those who say such things impugn the character of God by their words and bring condemnation upon themselves.

God speaks to us through his Word, and his Word is truth. Always.

Jesus declared that he himself was truth, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

How is it that Christ could say “I am the truth”? Doesn’t that seem to be a rather strange way to speak? We might say that so-and-so spoke the truth. But we don’t say of him “he is the truth.” Yet Jesus described himself, not as speaking the truth, but as truth itself.

The answer, I believe, lies in what Gordon Clark taught about truth and persons. Truth, as Clark insisted, is a characteristic of propositions only. A proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence.

For example, “The ball is red,” is a propositional statement, because it states that a certain property, in this case “red”, attaches to a certain subject, “the ball”. Now if we perceive that the ball is in fact red, we would say the proposition “The ball is red” is true. If, on the other hand, the ball appears green to us, we would say the statement is false.

But what do propositions have to do with the person of Christ? It has to do with how one defines a person. A person, in Clark’s definition, is a complex of propositions. Or to put it a little less philosophically, a person is the thoughts he thinks.

Christ could say of himself “I am the truth” because all his thoughts were true. And since a person is defined by his thoughts, it is proper for Jesus to speak of himself as “the truth.”

When Christ was born in Bethlehem all those years ago, it was the birth, not of one who merely spoke the truth, but of truth itself.


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moses

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (John 1:17).

The first chapter of John is a gold mine of theological insight. To paraphrase the apostle himself, if all that could be written on the chapter actually were written, one supposes that the whole earth could not contain the books.

And while it is not the intention of this writer to attempt anything like a comprehensive review of all that John has to tell us, it seems that a look at one small portion of the chapter is not too daunting a task.

In verse 17, John draws an important distinction for us, namely the distinction between Moses and Jesus Christ. The law, John tells us, was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

This brief statement is loaded with implications, a few of which, Lord willing, I will endeavor to point out over the next two weeks.

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