CONSCIENCE - THE VOICE FROM WITHIN
A. Some say, "The Lord spoke to my heart”
“I heard a voice from within"
1. If they mean they are getting information from God outside the Bible – they are wrong…. God says that he has revealed all that he is going to reveal…. we have it ALL
Joh 16:13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
2 Pet. 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
2. But we do have a voice from within – God does speak to our hearts…….. the conscience!
3. The word conscience comes from
a. "con"- with & "science" - to know or to know oneself
b. Only human beings have this special (God given) mechanism.
1) Animals don't, though sometimes we forget as we speak to our pets…
“Look at what you have done!” or “Why did you do that?”
2) Only humans are made By God, are made Like God and are made for God.
4. All that God wants from us is to TRUST AND OBEY Him
Eccl. 12:13-14 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. (14) For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
5. We all have that mechanism; whether Christian or not
Rom 2:14-16 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, (15) in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, (16) on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
Rom 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, (19) because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. (20) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
2. Animals won't stand in Judgment----- but we will!
3. Consequently, the Human conscience serves two very important:
a. It is that voice from within that judges between what is right & wrong- - -
b. It “approves” of what you have done
c. or says, "You are guilty"
d. It anticipates doing something wrong and keeps you from doing wrong
4. Extremely important lessons because many people perhaps don't know why they're so miserable –
a. Perhaps people leave here this morning and try and run from their conscience
distract themselves - Play, entertainment, riches, work...
Satan’s tools to keep you searching to fill that aching in your breast
b. I want to tell you how to have a good conscience:
I. ONE MUST STRUGGLE TO OBTAIN & MAINTAIN GOOD CONSCIENCE
A. Every person (Unless has destroyed) struggles with conscience in one form or another
1. Especially Christians
Act 24:16 (Paul)…….. “I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
Act 23:1 Paul, looking intently at the Council, said, "Brethren, I have lived my life with a perfectly good conscience before God up to this day."
2. If you want a good conscience you must
begin with God
a. Paul says I've done what I believed was right (Seeking to please the Lord)
b. How did Paul act when he discovered in sin?
1) No food or drink for three days
c. Joseph's first concern was not Potiphar
1) Your husband will kill me
2) but God Gen. 39:9, “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?"
d. If you do wrong – Do you need to make a public confession - No!
1) you need to restore your conscience with God
2) you may ALSO need to appeal to the brethren
3) brethren can’t restore conscience
e. Appeal is made throughout the scriptures
2 Tim. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
Rom 13:5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, [to governing authorities] not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake.
3. Not only must we have a good conscience with God
Also toward man –
Must have a good conscience in way deal with others
a. Influence - 1 Pet. 3:15-16
1 Pet 3:15-16 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (16) and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
1 Pet. 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
b. This is one reason that we make “public confession”
1) Let it be known that you recognize and DENOUNCE that sin that others may have seen
2) i.e. confession – speeding ticket
c. take away any slander from the mouths of your detractors
II. CONSEQUENCES OF STRUGGLING AGAINST CONSCIENCE
A. We are made for Him and it is man's purpose to serve God and when we go against we struggle against our conscience - Fruits:
1. Misery - Psalm 32:2-4
Psa 32:2-4 How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit! (3) When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long. (4) For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
a. Sin gets heavy
b. There are fathers, mothers, members, who are filled with self-pity, criticism, depression because Guilty Conscience
2. Fools - Rom.
Rom 1:21-22 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (22) Professing to be wise, they became fools,
a. Basic problem in Rom. 1 –
1) Heathens could have known the Lord but refused (Struggled against their consciences)
2) Result: Can't think straight on any moral issue
b. Homosexuality, Abortion, Fornication. . ."Asked person how could you feel right in affair...
Response: "What do you mean?"
3. Destroy the voice within –
1 Tim. 4:1-4 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, (2) by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, (3) men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (4) For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;
Eph. 4:17-19, So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, (18) being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; (19) and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.
a. Someone has said that "Guilty conscience is to the soul what pain is to the body"
Warning! Would you want to do away with all physical pain? ….. Tell of child without ability to feel pain…..
b. Only three things can shut the door on your salvation: 2nd return, Death, and Dead conscience
III. GOOD CONSCIENCE IN THE ABSOLUTE SENSE
A. "Good Conscience" is used so loosely today.
"I've done what I thought should be done so conscience clear and good"- Not Necessarily
1 Tim. 3:9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
a. For a clear conscience one must “hold to the mystery of faith”
b. Only the blood of Christ can make a person's conscience pure, clean & in a sense good before God
Heb 9:8-14 The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, (9) which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, (10) since they relate only to food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation. (11) But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; (12) and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (13) For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, (14) how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
2. This is accomplished when one does what God says to reach the Blood - Finally
Rom 6:3-4, Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
1 Pet. 3:20-21 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. (21) Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
a. Not water salvation but the answer or "Appeal to God for a good conscience"
b. Both of these are brought together
Heb let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
B. Are you a Christian? Gone places, said things, acted in way to disgrace Christ
GOOD NEWS – You can leave here with a CLEAR CONSCIENCE
C. Not a Christian, yet? There is good news - You can be washed in the blood of Christ and made clean leaving here truly with a good conscience.