Summary: Proposition: In this passage the apostles tell us "We must obey God rather than men." How do we know that we are obeying God? 1. Saturating our lives with His Word 2. Individual and corporate prayer 3. Living in the flow of the Holy Spirit
Theme: Obeying God
Proposition: In this passage the disciples make a very poignant statement: "We must obey God rather than men." How do we know that we are obeying God - 1. Through meditating and obeying His Word 2. Through prayer 3. Through listening to and following the lead of the Holy Spirit.
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and LORD!
We all know this morning that Jesus' death and resurrection has had a extraordinary impact on human history. Our world has never been the same since Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead. And for that we praise the LORD!
Jesus' death and resurrection has also impacted His disciples in ways that we are still experiencing and rejoicing today. St. Luke wrote his book, The Acts of the Apostles, in hopes to share a few of the ways that the lives of those early disciples were impacted by Jesus' death and resurrection. Luke tells us that following the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Jesus' disciples continued to heal people much like Jesus had during His earthly ministry.
In Acts 5:12-17, Luke reports that signs and wonders were a regular part of Early Church life. Verse fifteen shares an amazing story of how God used Peter's shadow as a means of healing. These had to be exciting times for the apostles and all those that were around the Early Church. Can you imagine seeing all of this first hand? Those early disciples were experiencing all kinds of amazing miracles, lives were being transformed and people were joining the church in large numbers. Joy and celebrating the name of Jesus was everywhere.
However, that did not mean that everyone was happy or celebrating. Our reading this morning tells us that some in the religious establishment were rejoicing. Our reading arises out of a heated confrontation between the Sanhedrin Council and those early apostles. Earlier in the chapter ( 5:17-26) Luke reports that the apostles had been arrested and thrown into prison. God miraculously then frees them and commands them to go back into the Temple area to continue their preaching about Jesus and salvation (verses 19-20).
When everyone awoke the next morning they were astonished at the news that the apostles were no longer imprisoned but were preaching the Gospel of Jesus once again. How in the world had these men gotten out of prison? The officials checked the prison and found it to be secure and yet, the apostles were outside the Temple preaching about Jesus and the New Life. The High Priest knew that he had to get a hold of the situation before it got out of control. He knew that pretty soon these disciples of Jesus would have more control of Jerusalem than his establishment and he was not going to allow that to happen. This whole Jesus matter was getting out of hand.
In our passage the High Priest has the apostles brought in again. This time it is before the Sanhedrin Council to see if they can get a handle on all that has been going on.
After a period of questioning the apostles are once again commanded to:
1. Never again speak or teach about Jesus or this New Life. They are to refrain from preaching about Jesus' resurrection and to never attempt to heal anyone in the name of Jesus.
2. Quit telling people that the Temple authorities ( the establishment) had anything to do with Jesus' death. (It seems that the Sanhedrin council wanted to shift the blame of Jesus' death solely onto the shoulders of Romans. They wanted people to believe that it was Rome who had put Jesus to death).
It is right here in verse 29 that I would like for us to spend some time this morning. Peter's response to the religious establishment demands our attention. It is Peter's statement that I believe our LORD would like for us to look at this morning:
WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MEN.
I think all of us would agree with Peter's statement or at least the principles behind that statement. I think all of us would agree this morning, that we should always obey God rather than men, no matter what men may say or how they respond. We should first and foremost obey God.
However, I think we also have to agree that Peter's statement is quite revolutionary. He is taking on the religious establishment of his day. He is looking square in the face of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin Council and is telling them that he will not bow down to his commands if in fact he believes that God wants him to do something different. He is challenging both their authority and their right over what he can say and do. This was not something that a normal fisherman from Galilee would do in that day. This was radical. But is Peter right?