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Sermon Outline - A Good Conscience, Acts ch.23 v.1
|Preacher||Rev. Maurice Roberts, Inverness|
|Sermon Title||A Good Conscience|
|Text||Acts ch.23 v.1|
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- Paul before the Jewish Council (wisdom)
- The unjust way he is treated (appeal)
- His wonderful claim here (rare)
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY CONSCIENCE?
- Definition: Inner voice that tells us we are guilty when we go wrong.
Illustration: Alarm bell for fire or other danger.
- Important facts about Conscience:
- It is not something we can control directly:
Cp. the muscles of the body.
- Its voice is heard on moral matters - it can excuse and accuse depending on our actions.
- It excuses when we do what the law of God requires: "Not guilty".
- It accuses when we do what God forbids: "Guilty".
- Conscience can speak powerfully when we do what is wrong: guilt/shame/fear...
- It can burn like fire: blushing/stammering/sweating/trembling...
- Bible examples of its power:
- Adam and Eve in the garden:
Observe: They were uncomfortable before God.
- David when Nathan spoke to him:
Observe: He could not forget his sin: Psalm 51
- Adoni-bezek in Judges 1:7:
Observe: He admitted God's just punishment.
- Judas Iscariot's confession of guilt.
HOW FAR SHOULD WE LISTEN TO OUR CONSCIENCE?
- It is God-given but, through sin in us, it is no longer perfect:
Illustration: Knox before Mary Queen of Scots.Observe: Conscience can be damaged - just as an alarm can be(in two ways).
- Rule: Conscience should be obeyed except when it goes against or beyond scripture. Examples
- Conscience is faithful when it warns us against breaking God's commandments; e.g. when we are tempted to lie / steal / cheat...
- Conscience is unfaithful when it goes against the commandments: e.g. Mary-worship
- Conscience is unfaithful when it goes beyond scripture: e.g. The Pharisees criticism of the disciples for plucking ears of corn.
- A conscience may fail in 2 ways:
- too slack: a "seared conscience"
Illustration: a garment ironed by an iron which is too hot.
- too stern: a "pernickety conscience"
It accuses when there is no need.
Observe: We are not called on to add to God's law.
See Matthew 12:7: "guiltless"
- Unlawful Vows: e.g. monks & nuns.
This is an important example.
- So, RULE: an educated conscience is to be respected and its voice listened to. But test your conscience by scripture.
Conscience can "overspeak the Word of God" (Duncan ?)
AS CHRISTIANS, WE MUST TRY TO KEEP A GOOD CONSCIENCE
- This begins by coming to faith in Christ. There is no good conscience except one that is cleansed: Hebrews 10:22
- By following the Word of God carefully: 1 Timothy 1:19
- By keeping ourselves unspotted by this evil world: James 1:27
- By daily and hourly repentance and sorrow for our sins: Psalm 119:59
To keep a good conscience is a blessing:
- it gives boldness in our life
- it helps our assurance
- it brings enjoyment of God
So may we have a life of fellowship with God, as we see in 1 John 1:7.
This sermon outline has been downloaded from http://www.bible-sermons.org.uk