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  • Joyce Heinrich

A Loud Shout of Allegiance (Acts 5:29)

"We must obey God rather than men." —Acts 5:29

If ever there was a more gripping conviction for this generation's Christians to live by, I don’t know of it! “We must obey God rather than men” is a loud shout of allegiance to our Lord. It has reverberated through 2,000 years and is still so powerful a challenge that we find ourselves crying out for such loyalty.

This quote is an amazing, fearless declaration of Christ’s apostles to the Sanhedrin after the council arrested and imprisoned them for preaching the gospel (Acts 5:17-18). God did intervene by sending an angel to take them out of the prison  (v. 19), even as all the doors remained locked and the walls intact. What then—did the apostles run and hide? Hardly. By God’s command they went directly back to the temple and began teaching the people again (v. 20). And, again, the apostles were brought before the council:

The high priest questioned them, saying, "We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us." (Acts 5:28)

They faced probable imprisonment or execution, and they knew it. But the Lord’s Spirit filled them with boldness and used them to refute the Jewish leaders. They replied, “We must obey God rather than men.” Then they do the unthinkable. They launch into an emotionally charged version of the gospel of Jesus Christ, preaching to their opponents, even laying the blame for the death of Christ on them:

The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed; by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:30-32)

The Scriptures record the council’s outrage and hatred of the apostles. It was so intense that they were raging to kill them. Again, the Lord intervened through one of their own teachers, who persuaded the council not to kill them.

Oh, how my heart longs to be as stalwart and obedient, as committed to Jesus, as our beloved apostles were. We are commanded and constrained by God’s Spirit to obey our Holy God. God has a plan. As Christians, as His children, we must obey Him so that we will have the privilege and the joy of serving Him as He accomplishes His purposes here on earth.

We must obey—it is not an option. The spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ depends on it. The hope of restoration for our nation lies within its influence. And our own spiritual welfare is dictated by it.

Now it is our turn to shout our allegiance to Christ. We must obey Him in testifying and telling of the salvation we have in Christ no matter how difficult it may be. We cannot, we must not, call good what God calls perversion, or abomination. We must uphold God's Word, no matter what it will cost us. The apostles thought death was a probable outcome of their obedience to the Lord. It would have been, except for God’s intervention. It may be so for us, too. And yet, “We must obey God rather than men.”

Will you resolve with me to stand firm for Christ as God gives us all grace and courage? God grant us apostolic courage, faith, and a loud shout of allegiance to Him! As we memorize this verse, may it become the daily commitment of our soul.


For Reflection

  1. Are you in the Word daily? We must be in the Word to know the mind and heart of God—to know what He would have us do.

  2. Are you faithful in praying for your churches, our nation, for each other’s needs and griefs, and for the salvation of souls? We must obey God in this loving service to one another.

  3. Are you regularly meeting together to worship and hear the Word preached? We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together for the sake of our mutual edification, encouragement, and corporate power in prayer.


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