When we obey God, things happen. They happen in a big way. Some people love it when we obey God. Some people do not love it when we obey God. As followers of Jesus, we realize the amazing love, forgiveness, grace and peace that we have found in Jesus, and we realize this same life is available to everyone who will turn from their sin and put their trust in Jesus. He offers abundant life and eternal life.
We obey God when we serve him, show love to others, and share the good news of Jesus.
When we obey, God brings healing. In Acts 5, we read the story of how some of the first followers of Jesus obeyed the Lord. They prayed for people to be healed and God healed them physically. This temporary physical healing helped people to see that God offers eternal spiritual healing: salvation through Jesus Christ. In the Bible and also today, physical healing in the name of Jesus is always a sign that spiritual healing is available through Jesus. The apostles shared the good news that God saves children, teenagers, women and men. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
12 Many signs and wonders were being done among the people through the hands of the apostles. They were all together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared to join them, but the people spoke well of them. 14 Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers — multitudes of both men and women. 15 As a result, they would carry the sick out into the streets and lay them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 In addition, a multitude came together from the towns surrounding Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
When we obey, expect persecution. As the apostles shared the good news of Jesus, not everyone who heard the news was happy. Some felt threatened, became jealous and opposed them strongly. Because these people had influence and power in the city, the apostles were literally put in jail. This happens today, all over the world. House church leaders in China are put in jail by communist leaders. In many middle eastern countries, converting to Christianity will cause a person to face persecution from their family and friends. In America just last week, we heard news of a high school football coach in Seattle who lost his job for bowing his head, taking a knee and offering a silent prayer after his school’s football games.
Teenagers who stand for Jesus may get laughed at by their friends. Adults who live for Jesus may be ostracized by their friends who want to live a lifestyle that is not in line with God’s word. Whether the persecution is physical, psychological, financial or in other ways, the persecution is real. God will sustain you. He will guide you. He will meet your needs. We do not seek persecution, but if it comes because we are obeying Jesus, we will endure it, glorifying God and praising his name.
17 Then the high priest rose up. He and all who were with him, who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 So they arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
When we obey, God brings deliverance. In Acts 5, we see how God sent a messenger — an angel — to the apostles to release them from jail. He then sent them back to the place where they had been arrested so they could continue sharing the good news. They obeyed the Lord’s instructions.
On that day, the deliverance was actual deliverance from jail. Sometimes deliverance does not come in the form of physical escape from our situation. However even in those cases, when God brings deliverance, he brings freedom to us in our hearts: peace and strength internally, a peace that passes all understanding. He delivers us from guilt, from fear, from oppression, from laziness, from lack of purpose and from a host of other things. He shows us the way to get “back in the game” and to continue to obey him.
19 But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple, and tell the people all about this life.” 21 Hearing this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach. When the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin — the full council of the Israelites — and sent orders to the jail to have them brought. 22 But when the servants got there, they did not find them in the jail, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing in front of the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” 24 As the captain of the temple police and the chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them, wondering what would come of this.
When we obey, expect opportunities to share the good news of Jesus. This week, pray and ask the Lord to open your eyes to the opportunities all around you to share the good news of Jesus. When you live in obedience to God’s word, people will notice that there is something different about you. Your words will sound like the things Jesus would say, your actions will be the kinds of things that Jesus would do, and your attitude will be a lot like Jesus’ attitude.
Your life of obedience will open up doors to share the good news. Essentially you are saying, “I’m not this way just because I’m a good person. I was once lost and hopeless and trapped in my sin, but Jesus saved me and changed my life forever. He can do the same for anyone who trusts in him.”
The apostles in Acts 5 shared with those who would listen how Jesus came to earth, died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin, rose from the dead, and now — seated at the right hand of God — draws people to saving faith, promising to forgive sin. He will become your Savior and ruler if you put your faith in him. This truly is good news and must be shared!
25 Someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the commander went with the servants and brought them in without force, because they were afraid the people might stone them. 27 After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin, and the high priest asked, 28 “Didn’t we strictly order you not to teach in this name? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” 29 Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people. 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted this man to his right hand as ruler and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
Together we obey. God brings healing. Expect persecution. God brings deliverance. Expect opportunities (this week!) to share the good news of Jesus. Together we obey.