Summary: When we obey God, it does not mean everything will be fine, but it does mean God will see us through. Obedience is a choice we make. Be prepare to pay a price but it’s worth it. God will do His part; there is a divine partnership in obedience. Obedience
There is a similarity between this incident and that of Acts 4.
• But this time it’s not just Peter and John being arrested, the whole group of the apostles were arrested for preaching the gospel.
• Once again they make it clear that the necessity of their lives is to obey God, not men; therefore they would go on preaching the Gospel.
• They would not be intimidated. They would not bow to threats. They would not cower in fear of what man could do to them.
These apostles had already gone through the trauma of Peter and John’s arrest after the healing of the lame beggar in the temple.
• Now they face the same threat, this time by a more angered group of religious leaders.
• They were placed in a "public jail" which was the holding place for thieves and murderers. The high priest ’meant business’ this time. He was tired of all the commotion with these Gospel preachers!
• So he has them jailed in order to bring them before the Sanhedrin (Council of 70 elders of Israel) that they might silence them.
Then the angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, takes the prisoners out of the jail, and gives them the command to go preach the gospel: “Go, stand in the temple courts, and tell the people the full message of this new life.” (5:20)
• Now, don’t you think this would be a good time to give excuses? ‘Preach again? Each time we did that we got thrown into prison, and you ask us to do it again?’
• But they did not give any excuses, only a willingness to obey! And they did it again, opening in the temple courts, not in hiding.
When we obey God, it does not mean we will not have problems.
• In fact, it may mean more imprisonment for them, more questioning, more threats, and more problems.
• But they have already made the choice to obey God. 5:41 says when “the apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
Obedience is a choice you make. 5:29 – “We must obey God rather than men!”
• Peter and John made that stand in Chapter 4:19 “Tell me whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” And they are repeating it here.
That’s the stand we need to take in life – everyone obeys something or someone.
• You are either listening to the voice of tradition, the desires of your own heart, the lures of this world, or to the countless other noises around us.
• Obedience is the priority of obeying God over every other demands of life.
Be prepared to pay a price.
• The apostles were prepared to be arrested and imprisoned again. They were prepared to make sacrifices for the sake of preaching the Gospel.
• Obeying God does not mean everything will be fine. It does mean that God will see you through. The apostles obeyed God and they were sent back into prison.
There is a price to pay. If we want to choose an easy life, obeying God would be difficult.
• Moses obeyed God and he faced a very defiant Pharaoh. He obeyed God and saw the Red Sea. He obeyed God and the people grumbled against him.
• Elijah obeyed God and has to run from place to place to find food, and found a poor widow who did not have enough for themselves.
• David obeyed God and King Saul wanted to kill him.
• Paul obeyed God and has to run for his life. Even when you are in the centre of God’s will, you can face a shipwreck just like Paul.
Obedience can lead us to greater challenges and trials.
• Jesus says, “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20)
• But obeying God does mean that God is watching over us and will make a way for us. We can expect God to act, even in miraculous ways.
• 5:19 “During the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.” (It happens again in Acts 12)
D. L. Moody talks about the joy of obeying the Lord. He says, “Joy flows right on through trouble; joy flows on through the dark; joy flows in the night as well as in the day; joy flows all through persecution and opposition. It is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart; a secret spring the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about. The Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to him.”
No wonder Paul and Silas sing while being locked up in prison (Acts 16).