Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
(or, "we must," Revised Version). A great principle requires to be seen in the full daylight before it can be made the foundation of great action. Fanaticism borrows its strength from the night of ignorance, not from the noon of truth. Persecution may vindicate itself on the ground of obedience to God, but it proves itself to have no title to such a principle because it destroys freedom.
I. THE GREAT REQUIREMENT. Obedience to God.
1. It is a requirement abundantly set forth in the Scriptures, in conscience, in the teaching of providence in connection with revealed truth, and especially in that inspired guidance which no true and earnest man is left without.
2. Enforced by the work of the Church, by the dangers of the world, by the deceitfulness of the heart, by the promises of God's Word.
3. Rewarded by the sense of inward strength, by superiority to circumstances, by successes in Christian effort - if not in this world fully, in eternity.
II. THE GREAT TRIAL.
1. Human laws, human requirements, human errors, human passions, all may say, "Obey the voice of man rather than of God."
2. Compromise the great danger of the Church. Under its new disguise of a pantheistic submission to inevitable law of development, specially subtle.
3. Lack of moral courage and conviction, obscuring principle and magnifying the strength of surrounding obstacles. We need the Holy Ghost, upholding the work of God in our own hearts, penetrating the deceptions of the world, arming us with spiritual preparation against inevitable assaults from without.
4. Individually the same great question to be settled between ourselves and God. His controversy. "Yield yourselves to God." - R.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.