Obey God Rather Than Men

Randall Flack

What are the voices that you listen to?
When you’re blindfolded how helpful is it to have a multitude of voices shouting instructions to you? Would you prefer to have just one voice? Does that one voice need to be trustworthy (knowledge and character)?
A lot of voices and opinions calling out to us in our world today.
In this passage we see many different and differing voices and different lifestyles based on how people obey those voices.
Acts 5:17-42
What is the theme of this story?
1. “We ought to obey God rather than man” (v. 29) [because God cannot be stopped]
What are the events of this story?
1. Apostles arrested
2. Apostles freed
3. Apostles preach again
4. Jewish leaders shocked
5. Jewish leaders arrest Apostles again
6. Peter preaches to Jewish leaders
7. Jewish leaders wanted to kill them
8. Gamaliel gives good advice
a. Theudas – this “prophet” was going to lead an exodus back over the Jordan river on dry ground, but the Roman governor of Judea sent out his horses to kill, disperse, and behead Theudas
b. Judas- rebelled against Roman taxation, claiming that only God should rule over them, but he was also executed by the Romans
9. Apostles beaten
10. Apostles rejoice and preach

Pattern of obedience overcoming opposition

ANTHROPOLOGY - What does this story teach us about our human nature?
1. Our jealousy (pride) drives us to do evil and deny the truth (v.17, 32, 33)
2. We are people-pleasers (v.26, 28, 36-37) (Being a God-pleaser is unnatural)
3. We must obey, even without a clear reason (v.20, 29, 42)
THEOLOGY - What does this story teach us about God?
1. God is our Master (vv.20-21, 29, 32, 42)
2. God is our Provider (v. 19, 31, 34)
3. God is our Savior (v. 31)
4. God is our Joy (v.41)
SOTERIOLOGY - What does this story teach us about the gospel?
1. “You Are the Christ” based off of Peter’s confession in Matt. 16:16
2. Salvation is found God’s way only: Christ, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” Man’s plans for salvation are not and will not ever be successful.
3. God’s redemption plan is unstoppable. Satan and man have tried to oppose God’s plan, but they can’t overthrow it. God uses the worst things to become the best things.
a. Jesus’ death - salvation freely for all
b. Joseph’s enslavement - physical salvation for Egypt and his family
c. Persecution of the church led to the spread of the gospel and the creation of more churches
d. The most violent opponent of Christianity became its biggest supporter: Paul
e. Rise of the Antichrist and all the anti-Israel nations will lead to another victory for Christ
“Same song, different verse”
4. Vv. 30-32 (microcosm and zoom out) – The unstoppability of God’s redemption plan is seen in these verses, this chapter, this book, and it’s the story of the whole Bible
Updated Theme:
1. We ought to obey God rather than man . . . because God’s plan cannot be stopped

1. Anthropologically challenging- listen to the right voices
Who are the voices that we listen to and allow to influence us?
o The voice you listen to and follow determines your destiny – your leader determines your location (Religious leaders listened to themselves, Apostles followed God, Theudas and Judas’ followers were destroyed)
o What are the books you read, what are the shows you watch, what is the music you listen to? Those voices are teaching you and calling for your obedience
Three categories of people: Are we a doer, an opposer, or a watcher? (v.13)
What do you refuse to obey God about? Always coming up with an excuse not to. You’re a Christian! You’re not against God and His people, but are you a watcher? Just happy to sit back and let others do the job of witnessing, praying, serving, and studying?
We can’t be concerned about the consequences. We can’t control them or let them control us.
Apostles vs religious leaders
Potential consequences often keep us from doing right but they don’t often enough keep us from doing wrong
I had said that we don’t need a reason to obey, however we should obey God because we can trust God
2. Theologically encouraging- trust God's unstoppable plan
What in your life have you given up on? Marriage, extended family problems, sinful addiction or habit, trying to lose weight and be healthy, salvation of a loved one, overcoming a tough situation of abuse from your past, or trying to get past some “big” sin you’ve committed.
Don’t give up on it bc God hasn’t. Giving up is saying that God can’t. Continuing on and enduring is saying I can’t, but God can.
"The abuse we suffered is a part of our individual stories, but when we trust God with our lives, he writes the final chapter. He has the last say. What the enemy of our soul meant for evil, God can turn around for good, and he is able to turn our ashes into something beautiful, to turn our grief into joy, and to bring us from the pit of despair to a place where we overflow with praise (see Isa. 61:3)" from "Journey to Heal" by Crystal Sutherland
Isa. 61:3 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Think of all the ways that God has already shown himself to be unstoppable in your life, all the obstacles that He has obliterated already in your life: SALVATION, marriage, child-birth.
Our testimony: “In spite of me, your saving grace prevailed.”
The nature of God which is LOVING and POWERFUL is to reach down into our broken/sinful world, to take us from where we are, and get us where we need to be. BUT He does that work in his way and in his time. Trust Him. Trust His love. Trust His power. Trust His plan. Trust your Heavenly Father.
But don’t just trust, as his children and servants we must also obey.


In the beginning, in the form of God,
With just a word You sang creation's song;
But when by sin humanity was marred,
You took on flesh to save a world gone wrong.

At Calvary, the soldiers chose the nails
to fasten You upon the cruel tree.
The hammer drove into Your sinless hands
The nails You chose to pay sin's penalty

Triumphantly prevailing over hell,
You broke sin's curse by rising from the dead.
Parading captives forth in victory,
You freed my soul and crushed the serpent's head.

And when one day redemption is complete,
I gaze at last upon Your face unveiled;
My voice shall echo through eternity,
"In spite of me, Your saving grace prevailed!"
You are the Christ, Son of the living God;
My rebel heart in mercy You pursued.
No other name deserves my praise;
You are my life, my all, and I belong to You!