Summary: What is our attitude toward being obedient to Christ. This message examines that subject.


Acts 5:17-32

INTRO: Obedience can be costly, obedience can be difficult, but genuine obedience is seldom boring. From the beginnings of the church, believers have faced the world with the attitude of obedience to God whatever the cost.


The question of obedience is not just to obey or not to obey. The question that faces us is whom to obey. From every side, the demands on our lives will force themselves on us. The Sanhedrin did not require disobedience of the disciples. They, in fact, were demanding obedience, obedience to their authority. Peter’s reply was direct. “We must obey God rather than men!”

Everyone obeys something or someone. Some obey the god of convention, some the demand of self-interest. We all choose whom to obey. The attitude of obedience is the priority of obeying God over every other demand in your life. Do you obey God rather than men?


ILLUS: Suppose Carl Lewis who won four gold medals in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, had awakened on the first morning of the competition with the measles. Now imagine that I heard about his illness on the early morning news and quickly made a call to the Los Angeles office of the US Olympic Team. “Hey,” I might have said, “I can compete in Carl Lewis’ place. I don’t have the measles.” Would they have listened to me? There is more to being an Olympic athlete than not being sick! In the same way, obedience to God is more than not being immoral.

Can’t you imagine what Peter might have said when he and the other disciples had been delivered from the prison? “Lord, you remember how badly I used to swear? I even cussed at the people at your trial who asked me if I was your disciple. Well, Lord, you got me out of prison so I won’t ever swear again.”

Would that have been obedience for Peter? Of course not! It would not have been obedience because God did not just tell Peter not to swear. Peter was given the command to go tell people about the gift of life in Jesus Christ. Anything less would have been disobedience.


Notice what Peter said in v. 32: “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit.” We do not bear our testimony alone. The Holy Spirit shares with us the responsibility of telling people about Jesus.

The scriptural promises of the presence of God in our lives are often linked with the command of sharing Christ. In John 15:26, as Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, He said the Holy Spirit would testify of Him.

When you yield your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes in as a helper, as a partner in obedience. He is with you when you obediently prepare to teach a Sunday School class. He is with you when you obediently pray for a lost friend or minister to someone’s needs in the name of Christ. He is with us when we bear witness in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ILLUS: In 1988, Douglas Corrigan, age 81, of Santa Ana, CA, flew to Dublin, Ireland, as an honored guest for three days of ceremonies commemorating his flight fifty years earlier.

This ceremony was quite another story from an event in Corrigan’s life. At age 20, he helped build Lindburg’s plane The Spirit of St. Louis that flew the New York-to-Paris solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927.

The following year, Corrigan got his pilot’s license. He bought a used monoplane for $310 and spent an additional $600 modifying it into a long-distance machine, to make a trans-Atlantic flight of his own. The authorities refused to grant permission on the ground his plane was too heavy for a safe trans-Atlantic flight.

On July 17, 1938, Corrigan took off from New York and headed for Long Beach, CA. He landed at Dublin, Ireland, 28 hours and 13 minutes later.

“My compass froze,” Corrigan explained. “I guess I flew the wrong way.” Flying 500 feet above the ground in fog without a compass, Douglas Corrigan’s plane landed in Ireland. “I knew I wasn’t in Long Beach when I dropped out of the overcast sky over Dublin,” he said. “The place was greener and some of the houses had roofs.”

From that day on, “Wrong Way Corrigan” became a commonly used term to describe anyone going the wrong direction, believing he was headed the right way.

The Bible says there are still many “WRONG WAY CORRIGANS” today who are going the wrong direction because they have no compass to follow. Proverbs 14:12 says: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”

CONC: One of the signs that you belong to Christ is that you desire to be obedient. Do you have an attitude of obedience?

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