We Must Obey God!

Believers in a number of countries face a choice between obeying God or men, the choice the apostles had to make as recorded in Acts 5:29-32. You are confronted with similar, although sometimes less obvious, choices—how will you respond?

As Peter reminds the Sanhedrin, who had arrested the apostles for preaching Jesus, you must obey God. Peter is not taking the post-modern position, that I am the only authority. Rather, he recognizes that God has ordained authority. Those authorities are to be obeyed because God ordained them, as Paul points out in Romans 13. Lest you think Paul was speaking only of good, just governments, remember what kind of ruler Nero was! Guard against the temptation to despise and speak evil of authorities. “The Apostles do not put their personal preference above the commands of duly commissioned ecclesiastical or political authority, as so many do today. . . . The apostles were confronted with a human authority that set itself against the divine Authenitcator of all authority. When men forbid what God has commanded or command what God has forbidden, we have only one option:’We must obey God rather than men’!” (Dennis E. Johnson, Let’s Study Acts, p. 59).

Yet remember that God requires that you obey him as the ultimate authority. When Continue reading “We Must Obey God!”

Judgment and Fear in the Church

The people of Israel had finally entered the promised land. The presence of God with his people had been powerfully demonstrated as he brought the walls of Jericho crashing down. But in the midst of that triumph, Israel is laid low by sin in the camp. That sin has to be dealt with if God’s people are to live in fellowship with him. In Acts 5:1-11 the New Testament church encounters a similar crisis.

You live in the power of the resurrection. The filling of the Spirit described in Acts 4:31 leads to powerful testimony to the resurrection. God’s Word cannot be silenced.

Another effect of the Spirit’s grace is the spontaneous generosity, with believers selling property and giving to the needy. Outstanding in this was Continue reading “Judgment and Fear in the Church”

Prayer under Pressure

How do you pray when you are under pressure? More often? More intensely? For relief from your problems? Listen to the early church pray in Acts 4:23-31 and learn from them.

Begin your prayer with praise. Praise God that he is sovereign. Note that the disciples pray to a personal God who hears prayer. The term they use to address God reflects the truth that he is the sovereign master of all. The corresponding term is servant, used by the believers of themselves later in the prayer. That sovereignty is evident Continue reading “Prayer under Pressure”

Now and Forever!

Psalm 121 is a profound expression of the Lord’s faithfulness. But how does that fit with the suffering that you and those around you are enduring? What will sustain you this year?

Lift up your eyes to the hills and beyond. This is one of the “Songs of Ascents,” referring probably to songs sung by the pilgrims traveling to the Passover or one of the other feasts at Jerusalem. No matter from which direction one approached, he went up to Jerusalem. The hills might be a place of refuge–they were at times for God’s people, and continue to be for some who live in that area. The eyes go up to the hills–and beyond the hills to the universe–and then to the maker of the universe.

It is not the hills that give protection, but the One who comes from the hills, the Lord, who has made Continue reading “Now and Forever!”