“I just love to read about the early church,” Stan began.
“What do you mean by ‘early church’?” I asked.
“It’s the time right after Jesus went to the cross, died, was buried, was resurrected, and then ascended into heaven,” Stan replied. “It’s recorded in the Book of Acts of The Apostles.”
“What do you like about reading that?” I asked.
“It was the time for the church to get off on the right foot,” Stan replied. “The Holy Spirit was clearly leading. If they didn’t get it right, the church might not have survived. I think there’s a lot for the present-day church to learn from what the early church experienced.”
“Like what?” I asked.
“Many, many things,” Stan replied, “but the one I was focusing on this morning is a prime example, not only for the church in general, but for me in particular.”
“What were you looking at?” I said.
“Peter and the other apostles,” Stan replied, “were being bold in talking about Jesus and what He had accomplished through His life, death, and resurrection. The Jewish leaders didn’t like what Peter and the others were saying and they gave them a really hard time. They had them arrested and all sorts of things to try to get them to stop talking about Jesus.”
“Did they stop?” I asked.
“No,” Stan said, “and the reason why they didn’t is what’s important for me.”
“They said,” Stan replied, “that they were obligated to obey God not men.”
“Sounds like a reasonable thing to say,” I responded.
“Yeah,” Stan said, “I agree completely with that sentiment, but there’s an essential part that may go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway.”
Continuing, he added, “How am I going to obey what God says rather than what other people are telling me if I don’t know what God says?”
“And how will you know that?” I asked.
“By reading God’s word and listening to His voice,” Stan replied. “If I don’t do that, there’s no way I’m going to know how to do what He says. I will be sucked into thinking that what other people say is what I’m supposed to obey.”
“And if those other people aren’t in touch with what God says,” I responded, “they may be telling you or me the wrong thing. Is that what I’m supposed to watch for?”
“You got it, my friend,” Stan replied.
But Peter and the apostles answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts of The Apostles 5:29.
But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard.” Acts of The Apostles 4:19, 20.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you make it clear what it is you have for me to obey. Thank you, too, for making it clear that I cannot know what you say and what you have for me to obey unless I spend time reading your Word and listening to your voice. Please help me in knowing what you have for me to obey so I will not get sidetracked by listening to the voice of others who do not know you. Help me to obey you at all costs. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Is it possible to obey God without knowing what you are supposed to obey? Why or why not? It can be difficult living in today’s world, where the world does not know God and His word, but seeks to impose rules contrary to God. How do you deal with that? If you have not been confronted by that, you will be. How will you respond? Do you agree with the sentiment that we are to obey God and not men? Why or why not?