CHAPTER FIVE PART THREE
We Must Obey God Rather than Men
Acts 5:21-32 Part Three New American Standard Bible We Must Obey God rather than Men; We are His Witnesses with the Holy Spirit! The Revival Continues at Solomon’s Porch!
21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. 22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, 23 saying, “We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. 25 But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).
27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council (persecution). The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
“We must obey God rather than men!” Upon this statement the evolution of the Church began to take root as a way of life rather than a way of death. Loving God and your neighbor, praying and fasting for your persecutors and those that hate you, abstaining from fleshly and bodily lusts, turning the other cheek and going the extra mile were all conditional elements that identified those that were of the true faith. This new way of life had clear markings that became day to day culture. These are all taught in what may be considered the first ‘catechism’ called “The Didache” = The Teaching as a way to apply the lifestyle that grew from the Early Church confession of new believers being prepared for John’s baptism or Believer’s Baptism, The Apostle’s Creed. “Go, Stand, Speak the Whole Message of This Life” Acts 5:20.
The Table of the Lord began to turn over the tables of the world.
The declaration of the Apostles and followers of The Way (what early believers referred to when they talked about new Life in Christ (before they were ever called “Christians” – in Antioch) was the whole message of the Gospel. It included Jesus lineage, stories from His ministry and how Israel and the world responded to Him, how God responded to them and the Good News for all who believe. Day to day new stories were added to the Testimony of Jesus by the personal relationship people were experiencing in the practice of constant Communion. Those who turned away from self, the world and evil and believed the Good News of Christ’s death and resurrection, were baptized in water and by Jesus in the Holy Spirit. By these blessings and gifts they entered a lifestyle of constant Communion with Jesus and the new humanity of the Christian Community. Jesus began to build His Church immediately and has been adding to it since the first day of Pentecost.
Now we inherit those same gifts and blessings and are ennobled by the Holy Spirit to partake of that heavenly royalty, robed in Christ’s righteousness and given the engagement ring of His promise of marriage for eternity. We are members of His heavenly bride-ship. So we go forth appearing to be beggars but members of His royal court to declare there is an open door of invitation provided by Jesus to become members of His Holy Family and to sit with Him in Communion now in preparation for the eternal Wedding Feast of The Lamb.
The governments of men may gather to take counsel against the Lord and His anointed. They may call for the prisoners of the Lord to be brought into the courtroom, but they will always and forever get this report: We found the prison house locked securely and our guards at the door but we found no one inside! The reponse will always be the same as well. “We are really perplexed! What does this mean and how should we react? There will always be a messenger between the reality of those functioning in the Kingdom of God who reports to those involved with the kingdoms and authorities of this world. “They are at it again right in the midst of the people!” Temple or wherever the Lord is demonstrating His ministry, mission and message! The opponents, persecutors, jailers will always be the same: “If we do this there will be problems and if we do that there will be problems. What shall we do?” In this situation the best they could come up with is, “Hey, you guys need to stop this. You are no longer allowed to talk about your friend Jesus. When you do you make it look like His blood is on our hands!”
In effect Peter said, “Hey! You are finally getting the message then! Jesus blood is for you too, but really guys, this Jesus who you already judged and tried to get rid of by crucifixion is more than just alive, He rules from heaven in the hearts of everyone who opens their hearts to Him! He is adding to His domain every minute of every day and this is going to keep happening every moment of every day until all authorities, kingdoms and nations come under His authority. When they do you better hope you are on His side because if you are not there is another prison reserved for you. His prison is one you can never escape. As long as you keep placing us into your prisons He will keep sending His angels to release us while you are not looking! We are now His witnesses and when we declare what He shares with us at His Table He sends confirmation in super natural ways to let you know who is really in charge!”
At this point all the Sanhedrin can do is regroup to scheme all over again. Within one generation there would be much bigger enemies but for the moment the Holy Spirit was giving them the tools they would need to share their witness with others around the world in new cultures and to new people groups. There are no short cuts or enemies that can side step the authentic work of Jesus as He builds for eternity. At His Table we are His earthly witnesses who are adding to His ever growing Testimony to all creation of the promise of eternal life to all who believe. All that is needed for any believer to enjoy His Kingdom personally, first hand, one-on-one with Him now only need to sit down at His Table to feed upon what He has prepared and provided. Your seat is by His invitation and He says that when we do this we have “Life” now, the promise of it being eternal and that he will raise us up on the last day! We sit at His Table dead to ourselves, this world and to all that is evil and made alive by His flesh and blood. His flesh and blood is what allows us the distinction to be His first hand witnesses and members of His royalty until the kingdoms of this world all become His.
“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”