Intro. The disciples had been arrested and placed in jail for teaching the people about Jesus Christ. The angel miraculously released them from jail and commanded them to return to the temple in the morning and teach the people. When the religious court was assembled in the morning to consider their case, when they went to the prison to bring the prisoners, they found the jail secured, but when they came to the prisoners' cells they found them empty. A report then came that the disciples were back in the temple teaching. The officers were sent to bring them peaceably to the court, where they were asked, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach anymore in the name of Jesus?"
I. PETER RESPONDED, "WE MUST OBEY GOD RATHER THAN MAN."
A. It is unfortunate that they translated the Greek word dei here as ought, the vast majority of times that this word is used in the New Testament, it is translated must (It was necessary. It is binding.).
1. It is really must stronger than ought.
2. We all ought to do things that we do not do.
3. Ought leaves the decision to me as should.
4. When you say must, you have a divine imperative.
B. Here is a case where they are breaking the law of man.
1. For the most part we as Christians are commanded to obey the authorities that are over us.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that does evil.
Wherefore you must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
For this cause pay your taxes also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
2. It is only when the law of man is in conflict with the law of God that we yield to the higher law of God.
a. The midwives in Egypt refused to kill the boys at birth.
b. The three Hebrew children refused to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar.
c. Daniel prayed after the king signed the decree.
3. Though Peter commanded us to submit to every ordinance of man, here is Peter himself saying, "We must obey God rather than man."
4. As of yet, I do not know of any laws in our land that violate the laws of God.
5. I do feel that we are perhaps on the verge of making such laws, as respect to speaking against certain sinful practices such as homosexuality.
6. The case of the family in Germany who refuse to send their children to public school because of the religious issues.
II. THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS RAISED UP JESUS.
A. Remember this court is filled with judges who did not believe in the resurrection. Now they are declaring boldly that the God of their fathers has raised up Jesus.
1. It was the preaching through Jesus of the resurrection that had the leaders so upset, this was the reason for their being arrested the first time.
And as they spoke unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
And they laid hands on them, and put [them] in prison until the next day:
2. The priests had just accused them of trying to bring the blood of Jesus on them, and Peter answered, "Who you slew and hung on a tree." He laid the guilt right in their lap.
3. The Jehovah Witnesses have sought to make a big issue over hung on a tree. They declare that the cross was a pagan symbol. It is true that we do not know that exact shape of the cross on which Jesus was crucified, but that is immaterial, the fact that he was hung on the cross for our sins is sufficient.
a. The Greek word for tree here is Xulon which means something made of wood. A staff, or club, or cross.
b. The Greek word for living tree is hugros.
III. "GOD HAS EXALTED HIM WITH (TO) HIS RIGHT HAND, TO BE A PRINCE AND A SAVIOR."
A. When Jesus was on trial before the High Priest, Matthew tells us that
Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure You by the living God, that you tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus answered him, You have said it: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Jesus is here referring to the prophesy in Psalm 110
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
1. Peter is now testifying to the fact that God has exalted Jesus to that very position.
2. In a couple chapters when Stephen will be standing before this same council and we read:
But Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
3. I think that it is interesting to note that Saul of Tarsus, who later was to become Paul the Apostle, was probably sitting in that council and listening to this testimony.
B. God has exalted Him to be a Prince and a Savior.
1. Isaiah refers to Jesus as the Prince of Peace.
2. Daniel calls Him the Prince of princes, and refers to Him as the Messiah the Prince.
3. Back in chapter 3 Peter called Him the Prince of life.
4. He is more than just a Prince, He is also the Savior.
a. His name in Greek is Jesus which is the Greek word for the Hebrew word Joshua which means, Jehovah is salvation. The angel told Joseph to call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.
b. As the Savior He brings Israel unto repentance that they might receive forgiveness of their sins.
c. The first words of Jesus to the Jews was, "Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand."
d. Jesus had said that unless you repent, you shall likewise perish.
IV. "AND WE ARE WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS."
A. Jesus had said to the disciples that they would receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them and they would be witnesses of Him both in Jerusalem and all Judea and to the uttermost parts of the world.
1. Here Peter declares that they are witnesses of these things.
2. But they did not stand alone in their witness.
B. So also is the Holy Spirit.
1. At the end of Mark's gospel we read:
So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with [them], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
C. Note that Peter declared that the God has given the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him.
1. The Holy Spirit is given to those who ask.
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
2. The Holy Spirit is given to those who by faith receive Him.
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3. And here Peter declares that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey.
4. The obedience of faith.