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  • Writer's pictureJan Weihl

Obey God not men (Acts 5)

If we are not careful, "obey God, not men" can easily be taken out of context. God calls us to live at peace whenever possible. Yet living at peace never means refraining from sharing Jesus' love and message of salvation with those who want to hear it.


Years ago when one of my kids was in 5th grade in a public school, she wore a t-shirt to school that had a picture of Jesus on it which said, "He waits for you with arms wide open." No one bothered her about it except one other student who told her she could not wear that shirt or speak the name, Jesus, at school. So, from that day on, my daughter was determined to wear that t-shirt as many times per week as I would wash it. In her mind, she was refusing to let a bully stop her from sharing the love of Jesus.


That's basically the premise of Acts 5:29. The apostles, Peter and John, healed a lame man and the crowds marveled. So Peter and John immediately proclaimed that the healing was done, not by their own power, but by the power and name of Jesus. Then they proclaimed Jesus' gospel message of salvation with the people.


But out of jealousy, the priests and the Sadducees commanded them to stop:


Acts 4:18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.


But Peter and John continued to obey the command of the Holy Spirit to keep sharing the gospel:


Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men."


It's difficult to look at these chapters and understand why Jewish leaders who were tasked with leading the people to God would want to suppress the truth which could set people free from their sins and lead them to eternal life.


Likewise, it's hard to understand why a 5th grade student who attended our own church, would tell my daughter that she couldn't speak the name of Jesus at school, when no one else had a problem with it.


But the application I get from both examples is sometimes opposition to sharing the gospel comes from the most unexpected and unlikely sources. People who should be cheering us on and locking arms to share the gospel with us, instead try to knock the wind out of our sails.


So how do we respond?


First, we need to make sure we are being respectful, lawful, and loving. But second, when God puts us in front of someone who is open to hearing the truth, the gospel of salvation in Jesus, obey God and share it.


Here's one way to share the gospel:


1) Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God's expectations. (Romans 3:23).


2) The penalty for even one sin is eternal death, separated from God's love for all eternity. (Romans 6:23).


3) But God loves us so much, His desire is that all would choose to repent and trust in Jesus so that everyone would have eternal life with Him. (2 Peter 3:9).


4) When we choose to repent of our sins and trust in Jesus' death in our place, God gives us the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:23).


5) Are you ready to trust in Jesus as your savior today and submit to Him as the Lord God of your life, with the assurance of being with Him for all eternity?



Jan Weihl

Living Word Ministries

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