Sermon #1350 Miscellaneous Notes
Title: DO You Have A GOOD CONSCIENCE?
Text: Hebrews 13:18
Reading: Hebrews 9:1-28
Date: Sunday Morning - June 27, 1999
Tape # V-34b
I want to talk to you this morning about your conscience. Is it right to follow your conscience? Should we let our consciences be our guide, as we make our way through this world? What is the conscience? What does it do? Should I trust my conscience?
It is common for people in all walks of life, striving to rally men and women to a cause, to appeal to the conscience.
When our President was trying to move public opinion in support of bombing Czechoslovakia, he said the atrocities committed against the people of Kosovo had “awakened the American conscience.”
I have a book in my library by the late Barry Goldwater called, “The Conscience of a Conservative”. Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, argues that his battle for the right to peddle pornography is “a matter of conscience”.
Yesterday, I read a brief portion of an article arguing in defense of feminism, abortion, and homosexuality. The writer appealed repeatedly to the readers’ consciences, insisting that conscience demands our approval of such perversity.
In the religious world, multitudes base their hope regarding eternal life, salvation, and everlasting acceptance with God, upon what they think is their “good conscience”.
Do you have a good conscience? Do I? Does the Word of God have anything to say about the conscience? Indeed, it does. There are numerous references to the conscience in Holy Scripture. The Word of God talks about…
· “A Good Conscience” “A Conscience Void of Offence
· An Accusing Conscience An Excusing Conscience
· “A Weak Conscience” “A Pure Conscience
· “A Defiled Conscience” “A Seared Conscience”
· “An Evil Conscience” A Purged Conscience
What kind of conscience do you have? What kind of conscience do I have? What do our consciences tell us about ourselves?
Proposition: A good conscience is something everyone wants, but few possess. – Do you have a good conscience? Do I?
It is my prayer that God the Holy Spirit will be pleased this day to sprinkle your heart with the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and cause you to have a good conscience by his grace.
Divisions: I want to three things revealed in Holy Scripture about the conscience. Then, I will try to show you from the Scriptures what a good conscience is.
1. We all have a conscience.
2. We all want a good conscience.
3. The only way we can obtain a good conscience is by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ.
4. What is a good conscience?
I. WE ALL HAVE A CONSCIENCE.
Someone said, The conscience is the voice of God in a man’s soul.” I do not know whether that is true or not; but I do know that God has put a conscience in every person, which either accuses or excuses him in all his actions.
Conscience is that voice inside you hat you simply cannot silence. You can muffle the voice. You can sear the conscience. But you cannot silence it.
Conscience is that faculty of the mind which God has put in us all, by which we judge the moral character of human conduct, our own and others. It is an inborn sense of right and wrong.
A. The conscience is the law of God written on the heart (Rom. 2:14-15).
All men have a sense of right and wrong which, to a greater or lesser degree, reflects the law of God written upon the heart in creation.
B. The conscience of a man often produces a sense of guilt, legal fear, which many mistake for conviction (John 8:9).
The conviction of sin is more than a sense of guilt and just condemnation. The conviction of sin arises from the revelation of Christ in the heart and is accompanied by a conviction of righteousness and of judgment. Holy Spirit conviction is that gracious work of God the Holy Spirit by which he effectually applies the gospel to the hearts of chosen, redeemed sinners, causing them to see that…
1. Christ alone is and must be the object of faith. – “Of sin, because they believe not on me.”
2. Righteousness has been established by the obedience of the God-man. – “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father.”
3. Justice has been satisfied by the sin-atoning blood of Christ. – “Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (Genesis 3:15 has been fulfilled!)
Illustration: It was their conscience which caused Adam and Eve to hide from God after the fall. It was their conscience that made the know their nakedness and filled them with shame. And the fact that they could appease their consciences with fig leaf garment made by their own hands shows that the conscience of fallen man is, like every faculty of human nature, utterly perverted and depraved.
C. We must not trust our consciences.
The conscience cannot be trusted any more than the thoughts of the depraved mind or the emotions of the depraved heart can be trusted, because our depravity has made us perverse in all our faculties.
1. The Scriptures tell us plainly that the conscience of fallen man is “an evil conscience” from which we must be cleansed by the blood of Christ (Heb. 10:22).
2. The consciences of lost religious men are “defiled” (Tit. 1:15), so defiled that they may, in a sense, have a good conscience” while performing abominable things. – Saul of Tarsus did.
NOTE: The Apostle Paul, writing by divine inspiration, tells us that when he was persecuting the church, wishing himself accursed from Christ, his conscience was bearing him witness. He was fully convinced that he was doing the right thing.
3. Some are so hardened by free will, works religion or by ungodly behavior, often by both, that they live with a “seared” conscience (1 Tim. 4:1-2).
Such men and women, even children (Littleton, CO) have consciences which are so cauterized and hardened that they are past feeling. They have no regard for the rightness or wrongness of what they say or do. They have no conscience of anything.
John Gill wrote, “Under a cloak of sanctity they commit the most shocking impieties.”
If you work at it, if you hold down the truth of God long enough and persistently enough, you can cauterize your conscience. You can so sear your conscience, so harden yourself, that your conscience will excuse your wickedness.
D. We must never trust our consciences.
Let us ever be careful not to violate our consciences, not for anyone. But do not trust your conscience. He who trusts his own conscience, like he who trusts his own heart, trusts both a fool and a devil.
Our guide in all things must be the Word of God alone! -- Not our feelings! -- Not our desires! -- Not the opinions of others! -- The Word of God alone!
II. WE All WANT A GOOD CONSCIENCE.
Everyone of us wants to have a good conscience, a quiet, peaceful conscience. What would you not give to have a good conscience? -- A conscience which will let you sleep at night? -- A conscience that would let you draw near to God with full assurance? -- A conscience which gives you ease, real ease and peace of heart and mind in the prospect of death, judgment, and eternity?
A. All the religion and religious practices, ceremonies, and sacrifices in the world cannot obtain a good conscience.
B. All the gifts, works of charity and philanthropy imaginable cannot buy a good conscience.
C. Good works of moral reformation and religious devotion, no matter how earnest and sincere, can never earn you a good conscience.
D. Our consciences demand what we cannot give.
Your conscience and mine demands and can only be satisfied with perfection. As I said before, the conscience echoes God’s holy law. Echoing the law, the conscience demands the same thing God’s law demands. Our consciences demand perfection.
1. Our consciences demand and will only accept perfect atonement for sin.
2. Our consciences demand and will only accept perfect righteousness.
3. That perfect atonement and perfect righteousness is found only in Christ’s obedience and death as our Substitute (Heb. 10:1-22).
Illustration: Pilgrim At Calvary
Horatius Bonar was exactly on the money when he wrote, “In another's righteousness we stand, and by another's righteousness we are justified. All accusations against us, founded upon our unrighteousness, we answer by pointing to the perfection of the righteousness which covers us from head to foot, in virtue of which we are unassailable by law as well as shielded from wrath.
Thy work alone, 0 Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, 0 Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, 0 God,
Not mine, 0 Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest,
And set my spirit free.”
III. THE ONLY WAY WE CAN EVER OBTAIN A GOOD CONSCIENCE IS BY THE SPRINKLING OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST UPON OUR HEARTS.
In the Old Testament, the law required that if anyone so much as touched a dead body, he ceremonially unclean. If one person died in the tent, all the family and the tent itself were ceremonially defiled and unclean. That is a picture of our sin and uncleanness in our father Adam.
When Adam sinned against God, we all sinned. When he died, we all died in him (Romans 5:12). From the moment of Adam’s fall, the conscience of man (The ability to know God in truth) has been defiled. By Adam's disobedience, all human kind was plunged into darkness. Men are totally incapable of knowing God, truth, or good, unless and until God himself purifies the conscience (Ephesians 4:18-19).
The sprinkling of blood in the Old Testament was ordained of God to make defiled things ceremonially clean. This was a type of the true cleansing of the hearts and souls of sinners by the blood of the Lord Jesus. "The blood of Christ" is a phrase that refers to His atoning sacrifice for the sins of God's elect (Hebrews 10:10). It is his perfect obedience to God’s holy law, his suffering and death that cleanses condemned sinners whom God the Father chose by his eternal grace in Christ (2 Timothy 1:9). The blood of Christ alone answers all the demands of Gods holy law. And the blood of Christ alone answers all the demands of the conscience. “Without shedding of blood is no remission!”
· God the Father ordained peace by the blood.
· God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ obtained peace, by the shedding of his blood.
· God the Holy Spirit gives the sinner peace, speaking peace to the conscience, by sprinkling our hearts with the blood of Christ.
· Faith receives peace by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have peace with God because my heart, my conscience, looking on the shed blood of Christ echoes what the holy law of God says about the blood – “ENOUGH!”
Christ Jesus my discharge procured,
The whole of wrath divine endured:
The law's tremendous curse He bore;
Justice can never ask for more. – (SOG #135)
MY CONSCIENCE NOW IS FREE AND CLEAR
Guilty, oppressed and vexed with sin,
My fear no words could tell;
God's law my soul in terror held
And threatened me with hell!
I tried, but found I could not do
One thing pleasing to God:
Neither my works nor all my prayers
Could ease me of my load.
I sank in deep despair and felt
That I would surely die:
"No hope for me, I'm lost, undone!"
My soul began to cry.
But then I heard the Savior say,
"Look unto Me and live,
My blood has full atonement made,
I can salvation give."
When Christ revealed Himself to me,
I looked, and I believed;
And trusting Him alone I have
Salvation now received!
My conscience now is free and clear,
And it condemns me not!
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
My sin has blotted out!
My sins are gone! My sins are gone!
Christ washed them all away!
He satisfied my awful debt,
There's nothing left to pay!
Now this is all my hope and peace,
And my security:
Christ Jesus lived in righteousness
And shed His blood for me! -- (SOG #31)
(Tune: America the Beautiful)
Common Meter Double 86.96.D
IV. WHAT IS A GOOD CONSCIENCE?
In Bible terms, a good conscience is a conscience purified from the guilt of sin by the grace of God and purged from reliance upon dead works by the blood of Christ.
A pure conscience may be a weak conscience, not always free from the taboos of religion and society.
But a good conscience is a conscience which has been freed from both the guilt of sin and the dead works of legal religion, relying upon Christ alone for all things. The good conscience sees and understands that “CHRIST IS ALL!”
A Good Conscience Is A Conscience Which…
A. Seeks To Be Void of Offence.
B. Is Honest and Sincere.
Faith unfeigned is true faith, not the pretended faith of the hypocrite. A man with a pure conscience really believes what he says he believes. It is holding the mystery of the faith in a good conscience
C. Is A Source Of Peace and Joy.
D. Is Submissive To The Will Of God.
E. Is Obedient To Christ.
F. Causes People To Live Right.
Application: Now, I ask again what I asked at the beginning of my message – Do you have a good conscience? May God be pleased this day to give you a good conscience by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ.
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Danville (AM 06/27/99)— Rescue, CA – 6-30-99—Danville (Hebrews Series #100-Tuesday 12/10/02)