Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!’” Acts 5:29 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Be bold but gracious.”
In Acts 5:29. Peter and the other apostles had been experiencing great persecution simply because they were Christians. Finally they were arrested and brought before the authorities in a religious court. Previously the apostles had been commanded that they were no longer to speak the name of Jesus in public or to teach His gospel, but they had done it anyway. So now they were under arrest and facing punishment.
After being accused by the High Priest and other authorities of having broken the law and therefore deserving punishment, Peter responded with the words recorded in Acts 5:29, “We must obey God rather than men.” Jesus had instructed them to share the Good News and so they were doing it – and they fully intended to continue doing so.
Peter spoke those words boldly but graciously. There’s no indication that he was angry, mean, or threatening in any way. He was evidently respectful of the High Priest’s position and he spoke to him in a measured tone, simply advising him that “we will obey God’s rules rather than yours.” This is consistent with what we see from many other Biblical examples including Moses before Pharaoh, Jeremiah before Zedekiah, Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar, Jesus before Pilate, and Paul before Agrippa – they were bold but gracious and they simply stated that despite the challenges involved, they would obey God rather than follow the unbiblical rules of men.
I was told the other day that a new law was recently passed in the state of California making it illegal to distribute literature that encourages or enables what they term “discriminatory ideas”. Evidently that includes literature that conflicts with the Gay and Lesbian agenda. If true, that then makes my new book, “Getting Along without Going Along: Biblical sexual ethics in an age of controversy and conflict”, illegal in California. That’s unfortunate because I have many friends and relatives in California who will want to purchase a copy, and I fully intend to sell them one.
Legislation like that has been proposed in California numerous times in years past, but I didn’t know it had actually made it into law (it was probably only a matter of time anyway). I’ll have to see it for myself to be sure. If it has passed, then I’m sure there will be a legal challenge to it. Regardless, I intend to sell and distribute my book in California anyway. I won’t be needlessly confrontational about it; I’ll simply and quietly provide copies to those who want one. But the book teaches Biblical truth about the issue of sexual ethics and I do intend to distribute it.
When we’re faced with challenging situations that require us to take a stand for a Biblical principles or religious rights we have to do so boldly, but also graciously. That’s our Biblical example.