Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 'We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,' he said. 'Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood.' Peter and the other apostles replied: 'We must obey God rather than men!'
Recently while filling the car a large truck pulled in next to me at the gas station. Up in the cab I could see a small boy sitting in the passenger seat next to the man driving the truck. Reminded me of the story of the father and son who went out one day on an errand. Scrambling up into the front seat, the boy stood next to his dad.
Son, you need to sit down so I can buckle your seatbelt.
But dad, if I sit down I can't see anything. The boy's father smiled,
I know son. But I love you and want to take care of you. What if we had a wreck? Wearing a seat belt will keep you safe. Folding his arms across his chest, angry frown on his face the boy replied,
I may be sitting down on the outside, but I'm still standing up on the inside.
In the early days of the church Jesus sent the apostles on a mission: Go and spread the good news of the Gospel! But when they did, almost immediately the religious leaders became jealous and ordered them to stop. Peter, on behalf of the apostles replied,
We must obey God rather than men! OK, what if it were us? Who would we obey? Someone in authority telling you that what God has said to be true is not true? Someone in authority telling you not to do what God told you to do? While it's easy to tell Peter and the others to obey God rather than man when our turn comes it's not quite so easy. Take for example just the following in our everyday lives:
- Would you fear, love, and trust in God above all things? Or would you obey sin, the world, and your sinful nature expressed in selfish desires that are contrary to God's will? Obey whom say you?
- Would you honor God's name? Or would you use God's grace (included in His name) to excuse living as though God doesn't even exist? Would you go for days, weeks, even months without giving a thought to Him who saves us for His own name's sake? Obey whom say you?
- Will you hold preaching and His word sacred by regular participation in communion? Or will you keep God's Word and gifts behind other things, including things of recreation or work? To be sure sometimes Christians are scheduled to work on Sunday. Which should be why we have service Saturday and Wednesday - But will you be there?
- Would you obey God and love your neighbor as yourself? Or would you listen to your sinful nature that tells you it's okay to ignore his needs or to be mean to your neighbor? Obey whom say you?
Would you obey God and abstain from sex outside of marriage? Or would you allow sin, the evil one, and the world to justify all kinds of 'adultery'. Jesus said,
But I tell you that anyone who looks at woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.What is adultery? Our catechism defines adultery as
lustful desire or activity of any kind, whether heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or otherwise.God's plan and design for sexuality is marriage.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife.Ephesians 5.31 Yet more and more today ignore God and instead approve the way of co-habitation! For any who've decided it's ok to live together outside of marriage, the question is,
Where is repentance?And if it's ok for you in your life, then what of our young people? The bottom line is,
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.Obey whom...say you?
We could make a long list of listen to God or listen to sin and the world things. And right alongside that list we could barely scratch the times when we didn't listen and didn't obey God. Such a list is nothing to take pride in. It doesn't deserve God's praise. It deserves God's punishment. That's what the Law does. It shows us God's Holy will, demands perfection, and on account of our sin condemns us to judgement. Yet the Law does not cause our death, sin does that. So where in all this is obedience?
The obedience that counts is of Christ. Instead of punishing sinners, God chose to send His Son to obey, to keep the law, to humble Himself all the way to the cross. As a result,
God exalted him (Jesus) to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. Acts 5.31 The holy Christian Church is about repentance and forgiveness. Jesus suffered and died for you, in your place,
It is finished, our debt paid in full. The Father accepted his sacrifice and has declared you innocent forever. And so... now that you know all that your Savior has done for you, what does it mean to you?
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, forgive me for the times I've listened to temptation and fallen into sin. Grant me grace and faith to repent, to turn away and stop doing the things you would not have me to do because of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Give me the willingness and strength to obey you in all I do. In Jesus name, Amen.
~ Pastor Kelly Mitteis
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