Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18-20 NIV)
It would be wonderful if everyone in the world loved God and sought to do his will. But that is not the world we live in. Many are indifferent or even hostile to the God of the Bible. And some of them will challenge any public expression of faith. That may be prayer, Bible reading, sharing our faith, nativity scenes, etc. So how do we live and share our faith in a culture that is becoming more and more post-Christian?
Peter and John’s response is instructive here. They were commanded by the authorities not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. They were to keep their faith to themselves, not to share it with others. But Peter and John recognized in God a higher authority than the Jewish leadership. And they expressed that in their response. Do we obey human authority, or God, the ultimate authority?
I do not advocate being offensive in the practice and sharing of our faith. But neither should we hide it. We believe we have something that the world desperately needs, even though they may not recognize it. Should we not share it with them? Would we not warn people of danger in the road ahead, even if they found it offensive? How much more should we warn them of the disaster awaiting those who die apart from Christ? And the great reward that comes to those who put their trust in him.