Summary: We must obey God rather than men.
PROPOSITION: We must obey God rather than men.
OBJECTIVE: To lead in obedience to God.
This past Sunday, we celebrated Easter. We discussed this past Wednesday that of all the religious organizations in the world, only Christianity celebrates Easter. It is only the Christian that recognizes the resurrection as the focus event. It is only in a fellowship of believers, a gathering of His disciples, that the resurrection of the Lord is recognized and celebrated. And it is this point we bring to attention during this time between the resurrection and Pentecost.
Over the past month and a half, I asked to you give serious thought and prayer concerning your relationship with Jesus Christ. During the time of Lent, every one of us checked our spiritual attitude. I would suppose some were more serious than others; but regardless of your dedication during Lent, everyone did in fact experience an attitude check to their spiritual relationship with Jesus.
We experienced the journey of His passion. We ran and hid as He died upon the cross of crucifixion. We came together and peered into the tomb – and sure enough, it was empty. He is alive. He walks upon the terra firma. His feet wade in the water of the Jordan River. He eats the food of His followers. He is alive!
And the question now is ‘so what’? It is not a ‘so what’ that He is alive. It is not a ‘so what’ that the tomb was empty. It is not even a ‘so what’ that it was the women who were the first to witness this miracle of miracles. The ‘so what’ has to do with “so what are you going to do with the fact that He is alive, that the tomb is empty.” So what do you do with the risen Lord?
The reading from Acts is the result of Peter’s second sermon. It was following the first sermon that the religious leaders told him to go about his business, just don’t incite the people by preaching or teaching in His name.
Peter’s second sermon, exactly as the first, has him before the religious leaders again. And they say something like, ‘didn’t we tell you not to teach in that name?’ Peter must have said something like “Yep. That’s what you said.” I am sure the religious leaders were fit to be tied. They must have been thinking “I told you not to do that. And that is exactly what you did. Now, my friend, you will pay the consequence.’
But Peter went on to say something very important. Peter said in essence, ‘I must do what God tells me to do, rather than what men tell me to do.’ Peter was not telling them to go pound sand. He was not being ugly with the religious leaders. Peter was simply telling the people his ‘so what’ of Jesus.
Peter’s ‘so what’ is of vital importance to the church of the early 21st century. Peter said (and I paraphrase), “Yes you told me not to preach or teach in that name. That name, by the way, is Jesus. This same Jesus is the Son of God who told me to tend to His sheep. ‘So what’ if you told me not to teach in His name. He told me to tend His sheep, and by God’s good grace, the power of broken sin, the fact of the empty tomb, ‘so what’ I am going to do is what God tells me to do. ‘So what’ that you say otherwise. ‘So what’ if I must pay the consequences. So what I am going to do is that what God tells me to do.”
So what does the empty tomb mean to you? So what are you going to do with the risen Lord?
There are a lot of people that come to Easter and really get a bit time thrill over the Risen Lord. In His honor, large churches with big salary costs are built. In His Name, programs with all the ribbons and bows are instituted. So what did Jesus say to his followers? Did He say something like build large churches; institute major programs? Jesus said, “feed hungry; cloth the naked; give drink to the thirsty.’
There are a lot of people that come to Easter and get a major buzz over the Risen Lord. The first thing they do is go out and start a petition to get the 10 Commandments on all the walls of all the public schools. So what did Jesus say about the scripture? Jesus said that we are to write his words on your heart.
There are a lot of people that come to Easter and say that they are glad that another holiday is over. Then they plan for some other event. Jesus said for us not to be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. You only have today; rejoice and be glad in it.