Acts 5:17-42 Counted Worthy to Suffer for the Name

Meditation for Preparation

“We ought to obey God rather than men.”  What they are talking about is what is logically the requirement of people who are the creatures of the Lord God and who recognize His sovereignty in the affairs of men.  We must obey God rather than men.  They didn’t ask questions like, is this the wise course to follow, obedience to the word of God?  Should we not, perhaps, pull in our sails a little bit here?  Hedge here?

They didn’t say, is it safe to do this?  Or, is it proper to do this?  Their real attitude was: Does the word of God say that we ought to do this?  And, regardless of the consequences, then we must do it.  They did not, as Paul said, handle the word of God deceitfully.

So far as the word of God is concerned, we are responsible for preaching all of the word of God.  If we cut corners on the word of God and if we say that we shall not preach certain things because we shall experience persecution; or, men will misunderstand us; or we may suffer in other ways; we are really saying to the Holy Spirit in heaven, or to our Triune God in heaven, “You have unfolded truth for men which you should not have done.”

John Calvin used to talk about this; and he talked very much about it in connection with one of the doctrines that men do not like to hear.  And, with reference to it, he said that we are, in effect, saying that God has let slip something hurtful for the Church.  Whatever has been revealed in the word of God is for our good and for our profit.  And even those unpopular teachings of the word of God – (and for Peter and the apostles, the ministry of our Lord was very unpopular.) – we are responsible to proclaim those words.

We cannot use compromise.  We cannot be expedient in the teaching and preaching of the word of God.  We must obey God rather than men. Sometimes we think of this as a kind of ball and chain upon us.  In other words, if we have to do that, we say it as if it’s a bondage for us.  We must obey God rather than men.  They didn’t say it in the spirit of bondage.

In fact, they put it in a very marvelous way.  That they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.  How can it be, that we Christians – I’m speaking of us in Believers Chapel – how can it possibly be that in the presence even of our friends, we do not have the courage, often, to give a testimony for Jesus Christ?  How can it be?  Here are apostles with their lives on the line, before the authorities of their world, standing boldly for our Lord, and rejoicing that they are able to enter prison for His sake?  And we cannot tell our next door neighbor that we are committed to Christ and ask them to consider Him too?

Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Heart Preparation
Read Acts 5:17-42. What does it take to stop you from sharing the gospel? And are you glad to suffer for his name? Why should you be afraid when you consider the worth of the one you worship?

Posted on: July 11, 2013 - 7:46PM

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