Summary: Obedience is a must for those who want to have a right relationship with God.
The Necessity of Obedience
[Give background of text- jailed & miraculously freed]
Intro: If you know the story of the first man and woman in the Bible, you know that God gave them only one restriction: Don’t eat from one certain tree or you will certainly die. With a little help from the serpent, Eve tasted the forbidden fruit and got herself into a bad jam. With a little help from Eve, Adam tasted the fruit. When God came and found them playing hide and seek with Him, He confronted Adam, who blamed Eve, who blamed the serpent. The serpent didn’t have anyone else to blame, so God started with Him and worked his way back up the line. Both Adam and Eve were punished for disobeying the only command God had given them. They were banished from the garden, and things would never be the same; but, don’t mistake God’s discipline for abandonment. God did not leave them. He still wanted to give them the opportunity to choose right and to obey their Creator. Here is the main thought I’d like to look at today:
Prop: Obedience is a must for those who want to have a right relationship with God.
Interrogative: What can we learn about the urgency of obedience from our text?
TS: I’d like to look at four truths that demonstrate the necessity of obedience.
I. Obedience Is a Moral Obligation
-Let me clarify that we are talking specifically about obedience to God. Yes, we are to obey the God-given authority over us, but that is not the focus of the message today. God has given us specific commands regarding some things in life, and it is our responsibility and obligation to do those things. Obedience is not optional for those who desire to please God and remain in right relationship with Him. However, it is important to remember that this obedience is designed to work in the context of close relationship with God. As we get to know Him better and experience how much He loves us, then we are not simply keeping a set of rules, but we are simply doing what is in keeping with who God is.
-God’s commands were never designed to be kept outside of a right relationship with Him. God has a plan for each of us, and it is a plan for good, not evil. It is a plan to bless us and prosper us, not to harm us. He tells us to draw near to Him so He can help us live the life we were meant to live. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” When we do that, He will give us the strength to obey and make the right choices in life.
-As Peter and the other apostles stood in the middle of the semi-circle of Jewish leaders and temple rulers gathered around them to call them to account, I’m sure they had every reason to feel intimidated. This was the same group that had been responsible for putting Jesus to death just a few months earlier. Peter and John had already faced this group back in Acts 4, and had been sternly warned that they were not to talk about Jesus anymore. In that meeting, Peter said, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19-20).
-Now, several, if not all, of the apostles are standing before the Sanhedrin, and are being threatened and intimidated so they will stop talking about Jesus. However, they know what God has already told them. Jesus told them that they would be witnesses of Him. Before that, He told them to go and preach the good news to all nations. And just a few verses ago, God sent an angel to release them from jail, and the angel told them to go stand in the temple courts and tell people that there is new life in Jesus! They had no doubt about what God wanted them to do. It was a moral obligation, but even more, it was one thing they could give back to the One who had done so much for them. So, with God’s help, they obeyed.
-TS: In these next 3 points, let’s talk about what obedience does in our lives.
II. Obedience Produces Authority
-When Peter answered the Sanhedrin, he wasn’t being mouthy or sassy; he was simply speaking out the truth, knowing that he had only done what God had told him to do. He spoke with authority and boldness, because He knew who was backing Him. The Creator of the universe had given him specific instructions, so Peter had no qualms about doing it.