KEY THOT: When the Sanhedrin (Jewish Council) demanded to know why Peter and the apostles violated their order not to preach about Jesus, Peter replied: “We must obey God rather than men... We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him” (v.29,32). Peter is affirming God's mission to his church, to be witnesses of "these things"--viz., that Jesus has been exalted to be be Lord and Saviour to grant repentance and forgiveness of sins to all who receive Him. So when Christians obey Jesus' commission to be "my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth' (Acts 1:8), God will honour their obedience by granting them His Holy Spirit to guide and empower them. The Holy Spirit is given not just to edify insiders but to evangelize the outsiders. If we simply stay indoor and focus all ministries on ourselves, we will never experience the power of the Spirit in our lives.
Yesterday being Easter Sunday, some of us had the privilege of distributing bread and eggs to the poorer segment of our public housing blocks around the church. This year, we not only blessed the residents with bread and egg, but we also bless them with a simple prayer of blessing even as we give out the bread and egg. We were able to pray for families which were traditionally shunned by churches for fear of "breaking the law". While some of these families reject our offer of prayer, many accepted and were appreciative of our prayers for them.
As Christians, we must always choose to obey God when human laws passed to forbid us from being witnesses of Christ. While we may need wisdom to do it in more restricted environment, we should never stop doing it--if we still want to experience God's power through His Spirit. Unfortunately, I have observed many churches, for fear of breaking the law, have turned inward and ignored our responsibility to be witnesses of the Gospel. Such inwardly-focused "ministries" are often devoid of tangible presence and power of the Holy Spirit. There is only one way to attract the Holy Spirit's presence: becoming witnesses of "these things".
Father, You have commanded us to fear God rather not men. Grant us boldness to focus our ministry on the lost. Thank You that You have promised Your Holy Spirit to churches that are committed to minister among the unsaved as witnesses of Christ. Amen.