Obedience to God and Man

If people were true to the first commandment, obedience to the remaining nine would follow naturally. It is because they are unsound in this that they break the others.  (D.L. Moody). … More

Obedience
Again we find the Sadducees angry because of the Apostle’s preaching of the Resurrection, and the fact that these untrained and unauthorized men were having such great success in their ministry (v. 17). The apostles were risking their very lives to share the living Word of God, while this council was desperately trying to defend their dead traditions. It is amazing how much pride can be hidden under the disguise of “defending the faith,” even among Christians.
 
The high priest and his associates had the Apostles arrested and put in jail (v. 18). The apostles did not resist arrest or call for a public protest. Instead they quietly went along with the temple guard. However, during the night, an angel set them free and told them to return to their witnessing in the temple (vv. 19-21). When the Sanhedrin sent for the prisoners the next morning they found no one and instead they found them teaching in the temple again (vv. 22-25). What could these religious leaders do with a group of preachers whom jails could not hold? Upon recapturing them they charged them with: (vv. 26-28)
 
1. Disobedience to their order not to teach in Jesus’ name.
2. Their persistence of making the Sanhedrin responsible for the death of Christ.

The apostles did not change their convictions, but simply replied that obedience to God took priority over obedience to man (vv. 29-32). The great characteristics of these early men of God:
 
1. They were men of courage. The command to gostraight back and preach in the Temple sounds almostincredible to a prudent mind. 
2. They were men of principle. And their ruling principle was that in all circumstances obedience to God must come first.
3. They had a clear idea of their function. They knew that they were witnesses for Christ.
 

Application

The Christian life is not a parking lot, but instead it is a launching pad. How would I feel if I were sent to jail for sharing Christ? Would it be “poor me” or “praise the Lord"?

Acts 5:17-32 (English Standard Version)

But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, "Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life." And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council and all the senate of the people of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, "We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside." Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, "Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people." Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, "We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."

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