OBEYING GOD RATHER THAN MEN
April 11, 2013
Today’s readings: Acts 5:27-33; Psalm 34:2-20; John 3:31-36
The call to the New Evangelization is a call to obey God, as He sends forth His people to proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to the whole world. This obedience is done even in the face of opposition and persecution by secular forces. Laws in some countries like the USA prohibit prayer and Christian symbols in public events or places, impose diabolical acts like abortion and same-sex marriage even on Christians against their religious convictions, prevent speaking against homosexuality under threat of prosecution and imprisonment due to “hate speech.” In all these, our stand is clear: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29).
Now that is a sure formula for conflict with secular forces. And they are powerful forces indeed, backed by a powerful diabolical being, Satan. But we have God to turn to. It is God Himself who empowers us, through “the holy Spirit that God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:32b). The Spirit is a Spirit of power and boldness. Everything we need to overcome the enemy is already provided for. God knows the power of the forces we face, and He provides. “He does not ration the gift of the Spirit.” (Jn 3:34b).
When we engage the enemy in battle as we evangelize, it is the Lord Himself fighting with and for us. “They eyes of the Lord are directed toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The Lord’s face is against evildoers to wipe out their memory from the earth.” (Ps 34:16-17). As we engage in battle, as with any war, we will be afflicted and at times even suffer seeming defeat. But we need never be discouraged nor be afraid. The Lord is always with us. “The righteous cry out, the Lord hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Ps 34:18-20).
So God sends us to evangelize. “We are witnesses of these things” (Acts 5:32a). God sent Jesus, and Jesus sends us, and “the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.” (Jn 3:34a). We proclaim Christ the Savior, and his wonderful gift of forgiveness and restoration. Our message is simple but clear: “God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant (the world) repentance and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31).
As we have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, and as we live our lives for him, we are already assured that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (Jn 3:36a). But how about everyone else? God loves them as well. Jesus died for them as well. This is why we are sent to proclaim Christ to them.
Thus we have to evangelize, as this is the great commission given to all by Jesus himself, before he ascended into heaven. We are to obey him. We are to share Christ. If we do not, then we are not so assured of our salvation, for “whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.” (Jn 3:36b).
God bless you all.
“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)