“Peter and the other apostles replied: We must obey God rather than men!”(Acts 5:29) The apostles were made to appear before the Sanhedrin and ordered not to teach about Jesus anymore. There response set the tone for every Christian in every generation to follow. “We must obey God rather than men”. It’s true, it’s a simple message but apparently one that so many in our modern culture struggle with or simply don’t adhere to. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a law abiding, taxpaying United States citizen. I love my country and respect and try to obey our leaders. But, when it comes to obeying a man made civil law or obeying God, I will obey God every time. I’m well aware of the Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage. I’ll admit I find it a little humorous that the Court’s believe they even have that right. God ordained His plan for marriage long before our modern day courts were even in existence. Our Court’s didn’t create or ordain the marriage relationship so they don’t have the right to change it. God could’ve created anything out of the rib He took from the lonely man in the garden but He created a woman, a helpmeet, a wife for Adam. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”(Gen.2:24) Faithful Christians today must possess the same mindset that the apostles had in the first Century. The law had spoken and commanded the apostles to stop teaching about Jesus but that didn’t even slow them down. When obeying civil man made laws lead us to dishonor God, we must obey God rather than men. Christians should strive to be good citizens and obey the laws but we absolutely MUST obey God. Will you obey the Supreme Court or the Supreme Being?
“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”(Eccl.12:13) If everyone could just get this what a different world we’d live in. Mankind has tried for ages to figure out what this life is all about. In other words, what are we doing here? People have tried everything from good to evil and even illegal, just looking for a purpose for our existence. Even Solomon, who wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, in all of his wisdom tried everything in search of purpose before he found the real answer. “I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”(Eccl.2:10-11) So what’s the secret? What’s the purpose of life? After trying seemingly everything, good and bad, to find purpose and fulfillment in this life, Solomon concluded it’s about obeying God. “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”(Eccl.12:13) From both his wisdom and experience Solomon is teaching us that the purpose of this life is living for God. Like many others before him and after him, Solomon searched everywhere for fulfillment but only found true purpose and fulfillment in God. True lasting fulfillment will never be found in money; Solomon had plenty of that. True fulfillment will never be found in sex; Solomon had “seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines.”(I Kings 11:3) The conclusion of the matter is true fulfillment and purpose is only found in a relationship with God.
Christian’s should be men and women of conviction. A conviction is a strongly held belief. The apostle Paul held three strong convictions. I wonder do we share the same convictions. “I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”(Rom.1:14-16) Paul is convicted about his personal obligation to all lost souls, eager to preach the gospel and not ashamed of the gospel. I love these three powerful convictions that Paul has. What would it be like if every Christian passionately held those same three convictions? What if every Christian felt a passionate obligation to all lost people? If we truly feel obligated about something we fulfill that obligation. If we feel obligated to lost people then we’ll do what we can to share Jesus with them. It’s not about judging or debating, it’s simply about sharing Jesus with the lost. Paul felt such a deep obligation to lost people that he was extremely eager to preach the gospel to them. We are eager for the work day to be over. We are eager for payday to arrive but how eager are we to teach the gospel to others? If we’re not so eager to preach the gospel to others, is it because we’re ashamed of the gospel? Paul was so convicted by the gospel that there was no way he could ever be ashamed of it. No Christian should ever be ashamed of the soul saving gospel message. Christians need to rise up and be men and women of conviction.
“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong- that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”(Rom.1:11-12) What’s on your mind when you wake up on Sunday morning? Are you excited about the opportunity to gather with brothers and sisters in Christ and worship God or are you frustrated that you can’t sleep in? Sunday should be a day that all of us as Christians look forward to. Sunday is my favorite day of the week because I know I will see my church family and worship our Father in heaven. We should view Sunday as a family reunion day. We get to spend the day with family and worship our Lord. In the above cited verses Paul expresses how he can’t wait to see his brothers and sisters at Rome. Paul is so excited about seeing them and writes of the encouragement that they will provide for one another. This is exactly how each of us should view Sunday. We should long for the coming of Sunday each week knowing that we will be built up, edified and encouraged as a result of gathering with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know I need our time on Sunday because I need the encouragement I receive from every one of you. I also need to be present on Sunday so that I may encourage you. As is the case with many things, I think we get out of Sunday what we put into Sunday. If we’ll have the right attitude and look forward to Sunday and the time with our family in Christ I think Sunday will become much more valuable for us all. By the way, Sunday is coming!
“For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”(Heb.2:17-18) Jesus was “made like his brothers”, that’s you and me, when became flesh. While living on this earth and in the flesh he went through many of the same things that you and I endure today. We know that Jesus was tempted.(Mt.4:1-11) In fact, the Hebrew writer explains that Jesus “suffered when he was tempted”. Even though Jesus suffered when he was tempted, we know that he never sinned.(Heb.4:15) The good news for all of us today is that because Jesus suffered when he was tempted he is able to help those who are being tempted. When you and I are tempted Jesus understands how we feel and what we’re going through and is able to help us. All of us deal with various temptations probably on a daily basis. Far too many times we lose out to the temptation yielding to sin. I don’t know about you but I need help. It gives me great comfort and assurance knowing that Jesus understands what I go through when I’m tempted and that he’s there to help me. How does he help? I believe Jesus gives us strength to overcome the temptations as we look to him in prayer. If we would just remember to pray instead of yielding to the temptation. If we would look to Jesus instead of the potential sin that stares us in the face. Remember, God has promised there is always a way of escape from each temptation. We must remember to look for it. “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”(I Cor.10:13)