Scripture Reference: Acts 5:17-29
Introduction: The gospel was spreading (Acts 2:41; 4:4). Such antagonized the Jews (4:1, 2). Preaching was forbidden (4:18-20). The apostles did not stop. So the Jewish leaders cast them into prison. An angel released them, and again they were instructed to stop (Acts 5:28). To this order Peter makes his reply (5:29).
I. THIS WAS AN EXPRESSION OF DEEP CONVICTION.
A. Peter expressed the conviction of all true believers. “We must obey God.”
- The word “must” expresses a necessity, in this case, a necessity of law and duty. Jesus told the apostles to preach (Mk. 16:15). So did the angel who released them (Acts 5:19-20).
- The rulers say, “Don’t preach.” Where does Peter’s duty lie?
B. Contrast the attitude of the apostles with some others.
- Pharaoh had no concept of duty to God, only to self (Exod. 5:1-2). He was not about to let them go. He felt no obligation to do what God wanted. How do you react to God’s will?
- King Saul rejected the word of Jehovah when he put the desires of himself and others above God’s commands (I Sam 15:22-24). Peter has an opportunity to do the same, but refuses.
- Peter’s answer is still true. “We must obey God.” Peter had the courage of his convictions and did what he said he must (5:42). Do you have the conviction of Peter?
- Do you really feel that you must obey God? Do you have the courage to do what God says? Many times we will face circumstances similar to Peter’s. Earthly considerations will say, “Obey these men.”
- Peter knew God raised Jesus. Thus whose power was greater- man’s to kill, or God’s to give eternal life. Whom must we obey? (Mt. 10:28).
II. WHY WE MUST OBEY GOD.
A. The first ground of obligation to obey God is found in the character of God.
- We must obey God because He is God. It is right and proper that the creature obey the Creator. It is eminently fitting and reasonable that a holy God should make demands for the weak and sinful creature.
- We must obey God because He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Heb. 1:10-12; 11:3). He has given us our being in the world and has preserved that being.
- Since God has done for us what man cannot do, and has done more for us than it is possible for man to do, we are more obligated to God than to man.
B. When God created the earth, He gave natural laws to regulate its functions (Genesis 1:1).
- The natural laws are as old as the universe, and shall never cease until the world ends (Gen 8:22). Why? They are God’s laws. Any disobedience is out of place in an obedient universe.
- This principle is true in regards to moral and spiritual law. The Creator has given such (Heb. 1:1-2). When we violate God’s law, we bring death and destruction (1 John 3:4; Rom 5:12).
- Ultimate personal destruction will come when we refuse to obey God (Acts 3:23).
C. We must obey God because obedience makes us what we should be.
- All of us in our serious moments of reflection want to be better. How do we improve? God created us and knows what is necessary for us. His scriptures tell us what to do (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2:15).
- Everything worthwhile takes effort. Are we willing to pay the price (Heb 5:8-9)? We must recognize the need to obey God just as Jesus did (John 8:29; Matt 26:42).
D. We must obey God because no one else is worthy of our obedience.
- Only God is worthy of our undying trust and obedience. Moses tried to impress this on the minds of Israel (Duet 4:39-40). Under the N.T. it is no less true (Jn. 6:68).
- What man or group would you feel worthy of your undying support and devotion? (Mt. 6:33)
E. We must obey God because judgment is coming (II Cor. 5:10).
- It is not our purpose to bring about obedience through fear, but Jesus used judgment to warn people (Matt 7: 26-27). Those who live in disobedience are God’s enemies (Col. 1:21).
- Every enemy will be put under the feet of Christ (1 Cor. 15:25).
III. OBEDIENCE TO GOD IS A REVELATION OF CHARACTER
A. Such obedience is a demonstration of one’s desire to put God first in all things.
- We are taught to love God supremely (Mt. 22:37). If we love God as we should, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15).
- When one refuses to obey men, and chooses to obey God, he is demonstrating his love for God in his life.
B. Obedience to God shows that one does not love the world.
- Most people need to get a divorce from the world (I John 2:15). When a person obeys God in spite of men, he has developed an appreciation for things heavenly.
- His obedience is a manifestation of a character that is heavenly minded.
Conclusion: Why do you delay in obeying the gospel? (Mk. 16:16) Many of you have submitted to baptism after repentance. To you He says (Mt. 6:33; Rev 2:10) “We must obey God.”