“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Everything in life has an order, and how well something runs depends upon how well you follow that order. For instance, a car has a proper firing order. If one of the cylinders doesn’t fire properly, it will cause the vehicle not to run smoothly, and it will keep the engine from being able to do what it was made to do. When you get an engine that is fine-tuned and firing in its proper order, you will get the most power out of that engine and be able to do the most of what that engine can do.
When obedience is out of order is when your life is not able to perform to its peak ability. You will never be able to do what God made you to do until you keep obedience in its proper order. The verse above shows that there is a proper order, and the results of keeping obedience in its proper order is amazing. Let me point out several observations about the order of obedience.
First, this verse does not say that we shouldn’t obey man. The verse above says that we ought to obey God before we obey man. You should obey man as long as man stays in his place and doesn’t try to usurp God’s authority.
Second, this verse does say that there is a proper order for obedience. The order of obedience is to obey God first and man second. In other words, when man commands you to do something against God’s Word, you are to obey God and disobey man. Everything that man tells us to do should fall in line with what God commands us to do. You can obey man’s laws and directives as long as man’s commands don’t contradict what God commands you to do.
Third, the benefit of obedience is the power of the Holy Ghost. Verse 32 shows that God gives His Holy Ghost “to them that obey him.” The Holy Ghost power you receive from obeying God far outweighs the temporal satisfaction you get from pleasing the flesh. You will never have God’s power on your life if you don’t learn to obey God.
Fourth, the work of obedience is conviction on those who are wrong. In verse 33, conviction fell on those who heard the apostles preach in the obedience to the Holy Ghost. You will find that your life will bring more conviction on those who are watching you if you will obey God’s Word. I am not saying that those who are under conviction will like you, but I am saying doing right causes those who are doing wrong to see the errors of their life.
Fifth, miraculous works are the result of obedience. The works that God was able to do through the life of the apostles was miraculous because they chose to keep God as their primary focus on who to obey. My friend, God is interested in keeping obedience in its proper order. The vehicle to the result is more important to God than the result. Certainly, God wants people saved, and He wants to build great works, but you will displease God if you must do wrong to grow your ministry and to see people saved.
Sixth, the blessing of obedience is God’s presence and favor. In verse 39, Gamaliel acknowledged that the apostles had the favor of God on their lives. The greatest blessing of obedience is that you will find that you are walking in the presence of God. You will only get close to the LORD if you obey Him and His Word.