When Silence is Betrayal

“If you remain silent when you ought to speak out against them, then your silence is tantamount to betrayal.”

What follows is a sermon by Pastor Wang Yi of the Early Rain house church movement in China. Before Pastor Yi was recently arrested and imprisoned he gave the following sermon based on Ephesians 5:15.

If you were somehow still unconvinced as to the totalitarian nature of Chinese Communism then I would highly commend you for taking the time to watch it.

To be able to better follow what Pastor Yi said, below is a full transcript of his sermon:

The last thing I want to talk about is Paul’s challenge to you here.

Most Christians will occasionally think, that even though no one can perfectly obey, this command to no longer take part in the works of darkness—most of you will still think to yourselves—that this is not a terribly difficult challenge.

You will say, “Yes, yes I know the Bible calls me to walk in the light. I believe in Jesus. I must no longer take part in the works of darkness.”

But the second thing Paul says here is very difficult for most Christians to obey. He says you must stand up and expose the works of darkness. You must show the works of darkness for what they are.

This verse (Ephesians 5:11) is saying that when someone at your school or at your company or at your work place tries to make you sign a pledge to not believe in Christianity, and he is making everyone sign one, Paul is saying, that as a citizen of Heaven, as a child of light, you are not merely required to not sign it. Do you understand?

For most Christians, not signing a pledge is already a struggle. But Paul is not finished with you. Actually, it is Jesus who is not finished with you. Jesus says, “Not only must you refuse to sign the pledge, not only must you refuse to join them in their evil deeds, to conspire with them and to walk in their wicked ways, you must also rebuke those who do such things. You must expose them.”

You are light. Your responsibility is to expose them, to shed light on the darkness around you. You are the light of the world. You are a city on a hill. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.

As the church today faces a new round of government persecution, even if you want to hide, you will not be able to.

Allow me to say that hiding is even tantamount to betrayal.  Hiding is tantamount to renouncing the Lord of light.

How will you be able to hide? The earthly city already knows of your existence. People are already talking about you. They are already scheming together against you. Do you think you can hide?

I was really thankful to see something yesterday that a brother wrote. The police officer asked him, “What was written on the sign you were holding [while street preaching]?” He said, “I don’t remember.” The officer said, “Even I remember. You don’t remember? And you call yourself an evangelist! I can tell you exactly what was on it!”

And you want to hide?

Let me put it this way. This is Paul’s teaching, and it is the teaching of Jesus Christ in the Bible. Hiding is betrayal. Oftentimes, silence is apostasy. Do you understand?

God is not saying, “All you need to do is not write those words.” God says, “No, if you remain silent when you ought to speak out against them, then your silence is tantamount to betrayal.”

Brothers and sisters, to keep quiet is to renounce your faith. To hide is to renounce your identity as children of light. Amen.

May the Lord allow the Chinese house church, may the Lord allow this church, not only to be a church of light that does not walk in darkness, but also to be a church of light that exposes the darkness, a church that exposes the darkness for what it is.

We will not hide. We will not be silent. Because we have something to say to this city. Because we were saved in order to declare a message to this world.

If we say to God, “God, I’ve said all I have to say.” Remember that Paul only said this before leaving this world to meet God. “Lord, I’ve said all I have to say. Take me home.”

As long as I’m still alive in this city, as long as I’m still walking on this earth, my purpose for living, my purpose for doing all that I do, is to declare a message to this world and to this city, both in season and out of season.

I have a message to declare. Amen!

What a timely message for us all. What an inspiring example of not being ashamed of Christ, and a terrific example of courage under fire!

May the Lord work within us all the same conviction and faithfulness. And may He richly bless and strengthen us by His Spirit to be His witnesses. To be shining lights which expose the deeds of darkness.


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