Chain of Command
And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:18–20 NKJV)
I wish I could say that everyone will want to hear the gospel, but it just isn’t true. Even as we look to the Scriptures, we see instances, like the one above, where people not only rejected the gospel but also threatened God’s messengers to keep quiet about it. More likely than not, we will eventually face situations like this as we’re faithful to fill our commission (Matthew 28:19–20). So what are we supposed to do? Do we stop sharing when people put pressure on us to stay silent?
There is a proper time to stop witnessing with our words, and it’s when we sense people are moving further and further away, becoming more resistant to the gospel. We shouldn’t be annoying or obnoxious by continuing to speak; instead, we need to allow our actions to affirm what we have already shared. Such seasons of silence stem from a desire to invest in the long-term harvest of a heart, not taking the quick and easy route to fruitlessness.
But we should never stop sharing the gospel because we fear man. Peter and John understood this when they stood up to the authorities of their day and declared that they were bound to share the good news. God had told them to do something that man had told them not to do, but they reasoned that His will should be obeyed above man’s (Matthew 28:19–20). Their chain of command began and ended with Christ.
When we refer to Jesus as our Lord, it’s saying something pretty powerful. It’s saying we should be concerned with obeying Him above everyone else. He’s the only one we need to worry about pleasing, and He’s pleased when we share what He’s done for mankind, even when mankind isn’t.