Listening to God Over Men
Acts 4:19-20 -- But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
There is pressure today to conform to the culture’s beliefs and ideologies. The crazier our society becomes in its denial of fundamental truths about God, the more increased the pressure grows for Christians to affirm those falsehoods. The church is supposed to be a pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3). This means the church upholds the truth even when the world denies it.
We see an example to follow in our passage today. In Acts 4:19-20 we see Peter and John standing before the religious leaders of Israel after they were arrested. The leaders forbid them from speaking anymore in the name of Jesus. They warned them to no longer speak the gospel. We see their response in Acts 4:19-20, “But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.’”
These faithful disciples stood in the face of opposition and refused to follow their restrictions of speech. What was their justification? It was right to listen to God over these men. When leaders over us expect us to do something that disobeys God, then we cannot oblige. Peter and John tell them that they have no choice but to speak what they’ve heard and seen. They are witnesses to the death and resurrection of Jesus. He is the king, and they are declaring it.
Christians today need to remember this passage. We may find political leaders or cultural leaders telling us to do things or affirm things we can’t. They may even come against us for declaring the gospel or the truths of Scripture. Should Christians retreat in these cases? No. We have our example here in Acts 4. We need the Lord to give us courage today to live out our faith with boldness, despite opposition. Remember not only what Peter and John saw and heard, remember what you’ve seen and heard as well. Proclaim what the Lord has done.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why were the religious leaders trying to shut down Peter and John?
- How does their response inform us about our call as Christians today?
- What are some examples of how Christians may need to listen to God over men?
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