WILL YOU OBEY GOD OR MAN?
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
“We ought to obey God rather than men” —no truer words have ever been spoken, for He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! When the requests of men and the requests of God do not agree, it is the higher authority to whom we must answer, even when it means rebelling against the lesser. If any human authority says no to God, then we can say no to that authority. We are not slaves of man, but slaves of God. Ultimately, every human authority will also have to answer to the one true Lord.
We live in a day and time when the Evil One is doing everything within his power to silence the mouth of God, namely by silencing the mouths of God’s people. Satan’s “ministers” come into the church “transformed” as “ministers of righteousness” (II Cor.11:15). They indoctrinate people to think that it is somehow righteous to obey men rather than God.
God’s people are being trained that it is His will to be obedient to human leadership no matter what. Now, of course we respect civil government, and we believe in obeying the laws of this great country. Any American who truly loves God and country will believe and respect the laws laid down by our government, as long as the government does not infringe upon our right to worship and serve God.
But today, our nation has come to a point where we, as believers, are going to have to take a stand. We can’t live on the heroism of our forefathers any longer. We will have to become heroes of faith (and of country) for ourselves. We will have to be willing to face the persecution of other men.
There are laws being activated now that will indeed force Christians to decide: Will I obey God and His Word or will I obey man? We must once again become men and women of God who will obey Him no matter the cost.
The brainwashing to obey our leaders extends to both church and civil government, and many are failing to see the victory the enemy is gaining through this deception. People have come to believe that any rebellion is wrong, even rebellion against blatant heresy. Amazingly, this lie of the enemy has made compromise and fear appear to be godly.
Never mind that the church of Jesus Christ was actually born in rebellion. As well, this great nation of America was birthed in rebellion.
Thomas Jefferson stated, “resistance to tyrants is obedience to God,” and that is true whether we are speaking of civil tyrants or religious tyrants.
The reformers had to rebel against the established church. All powers are not ordained of God, and we should resist those that are not. We must not bow before the feet of Baal.
Yes, even Christianity itself was birthed in rebellion, and so I have to reiterate the question once again: Is it wrong to disobey those in leadership over us? Again, the answer is no, not when hierarchical leadership is disobeying the Word of God.
The motto of the true church of Jesus Christ must once again ring loud and clear: “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom 3:4).
The modern church has succumbed to a few other lies of Satan’s ministers as well—lies that distract believers from taking a stand for the very survival of our country and the church.
For instance, instead of standing for freedom from all civil and religious dictatorship, the modern church has become too busy trying to take “dominion” for themselves. Modern “dominionist” theology promises believers that they will hold positions of power and authority in society, if they will just climb the ranks of leadership. But, of course, you can’t climb their ranks and stand against their unbiblical teachings at the same time.
Modern believers have also become too busy expecting to be treated like kings and queens themselves.
Joel Osteen has said, “I’ve come to expect to be treated differently. I’ve learned to expect people to want to help me. My attitude is: I’m a child of the Most High God. My Father created the whole universe. He has crowned me with favor, therefore, I can expect preferential treatment. I can expect people to go out of their way to want to help me.”
No wonder we don’t see believers willing to face the possible consequences of standing for truth and freedom in this country. They are expecting preferential treatment rather than recognizing what they should be willing to endure for Christ.
Jesus said, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord” (Mat 10:24).
DESPISED AND REJECTED
Christ Himself was despised and rejected for His stand. His disciples were also hated. So, why do we believe that we will not also be despised, rejected, and hated? Why do we believe that we are only here to be blessed by God without ever having to take a stand for Him?
What if the only reward for obedience is harassment and hatred? Will you still consider yourself blessed? Will you still obey God rather than men?
The Word of God says, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hates you” (I Jn. 3:13). When you obey God, other men will not be pleased. This is not to say that God does not bless His children, because He most certainly does, even materially, but sometimes a spiritual blessing is far greater in the eyes of God.
“Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake” (Mat 5:11).
WAS IT RIGHT?
I read an article, which gave credit to Dr. Brook Stockton for the following statements made about resisting ungodly authority:
Was it right for Joseph to disobey his boss’ wife (Gen. 39)?
Was it right for Moses’ parents to disobey the civil authority over them and not kill their baby (Ex. 1)?
Was it right for the Hebrew midwives to disobey the Egyptian government and save the babies (Ex.1)?
Was it right for Rahab to disobey the king of Jericho (Joshua 2)?
Was it right for Ruth to disobey her mother-in-law (Ruth 1)?
Was it right for the judges in the book of Judges to take up the sword, organize an army, and overthrow wicked governments?
Was it right for Sampson to disobey the Philistine government officials (Judges 16)?
Was it right for David to disobey his older brothers and not go home as ordered (1 Samuel 17)?
Was it right for Jonathan to disobey his father and not deliver David to Saul (I Samuel 20)?
Was it right for David not to surrender himself to the will of the king who wanted him dead and destroyed (1 Samuel 19-30)?
Was it right for the younger prophet to disobey the older prophet (I Kings 13)?
Was it right for Naboth to refuse the offer of King Ahab to purchase his property (I Kings 21)?
Was it right for Elijah not to obey the summons of king Ahaziah (2 Kings 1)?
Was it right for Elisha to disobey Elijah and not ‘Stay here’ (2 Kings 2)?
Was it right for Israel to submit to her idolatrous kings (2 Kings 17)?
Wasn’t Israel sent into captivity because they obeyed their idolatrous kings (2 Kings 17)?
Wasn’t Israel chided by God for obeying the laws of King Omri (Micah 6:16)?
Was it right for Jehoiada the priest to resist the de facto queen and overthrow her rule (2 Kings 11)?
Was it right for the three Hebrews to remain standing after the king’s order to bow (Daniel 3)?
Was it right for Daniel to pray after an executive order forbidding prayer to any God but the king (Daniel 6)?
Was it right for Habakkuk and Zechariah to encourage Israel to disobey the Persian king and revive the building of the temple after they were ordered to stop (Ezra 4 & 5)?
Was it right for Peter to keep on preaching Christ after Israel’s government ordered him to stop preaching (Acts 5)?
Was it right for Martin Luther to disobey the Pope (15th Century)?
Was John Huss wrong for resisting the hierarchy of the Catholic Church (14th Century)?
Was it right for John Bunyan to refuse to take a government license to preach the gospel—something that cost him years in prison (16th Century)?
Was it right for the Pilgrims not to submit to the King of England (1620)?
Was it right for John Hancock, George Washington, and Patrick Henry to declare independence from rebellious King George because of taxation and other reasons (Declaration of Independence)?
Was it right for the Germans at the concentration camps to obey their wicked, elected officials and kill Jews?
Was it right for the French underground to disobey the German authorities and to smuggle Jews out of France?
“Was it right for General Robert E. Lee to teach his slaves how to read and write so they could earn a living upon their release when the laws of Virginia forbid him to do so?
Was it right for General Robert E. Lee to resist the federal forces marching into Virginia, to take up arms, and resist the order of President Lincoln?
Was it right for Bostonians to trespass on private property and to dump tea in the Boston Harbor to protest a tea tax?
Should Christians in the 1850s have obeyed the Fugitive Slave Laws and sent runaway slaves back to their owners?”
Of course, the answer to all of these questions is obvious: It is always right for God’s people to obey the Lord.
This month, as America celebrates 240 years of independence, let us remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who stood in faith and obeyed the Lord in righteousness, not only to protect our freedoms, but also ensure God’s blessing on this nation.
Now it is our turn. Church, if we are to stand for righteousness in these final and trying days, then we must have the power and boldness of the Holy Spirit working in our hearts and lives so that we, too, will be strong enough to obey God rather than men.
This article is a reprint (modified) from the June 2010 issue of The Evangelist.
Joel Osteen, “Your Best Life Now” p.38-39. 2004