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TITLE: How to Have a Clear Conscience TEXT: Hebrews 9:1-15 THEME: The believer should find a clear conscience in the New Covenant

1 TITLE: How to Have a Clear Conscience TEXT: Hebrews 9:1-15 OPENING SENTENCE: One of the great literary works of history is by Fyodor Dostoyevsky titled, Crime and Punishment is an insightful analysis
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1 TITLE: How to Have a Clear Conscience TEXT: Hebrews 9:1-15 OPENING SENTENCE: One of the great literary works of history is by Fyodor Dostoyevsky titled, Crime and Punishment is an insightful analysis of the nature of guilt and how if it is no dealt with it will eat at us and even dehumanize us if left unsettled. INTRODUCTION: It is the story of a poor Russian ex-student who justifies in his mind stealing from and older wealthy women and in the process kills her but he is caught by her sister and he kills her as well. The rest of the book describes his state of mind as he struggles with his fear of getting caught, the reality of what he has done and guilt that sickens him and taints everything he does. It is not until he confesses that he finds freedom. I think one could easily argue from the Bible that perhaps the greatest emotional and psychological human need is to have a clear conscience, and to be delivered from a guilty conscience. And the older I live and the more I watch people, I think I can see in real life that this is the greatest human dilemma and everyone chooses some way to rid himself of the guilty conscience we all have. Some people: 1. Deny their sin. Either that they didn t do it or that it is not really wrong. This is the approach of secular psychology- if sin does not really exist then we need not feel guilt. 2. Excuse their sin. The blame is to place somewhere else. 3. Redefine sin. It is not really sin- it is a misinformed conscience. 4. Run from their sin. Someplace where the people or circumstances do not constantly remind them of what happened. 5. Ignore their sin. Pretend it doesn t exist. 6. Pretend they have not sinned. Put on a mask. 7. Lie about their sin. They didn t really do it. 8. Cover up their sin. So they or others don t see it. 9. Justify their sin. Everyone is doing so it isn t so bad. 10. Blame others for their sin. My upbringing or environment 11. Drown their sin. With drugs or alcohol. 12. Look for ways and for people who will make them feel comfortable with their sin. 13. Try to pay for their sin. Penance or blood churches in Russia. 14. Destroy their conscience. Become desensitized to things. The conscience can be trained to not informed properly. In some causes to create a feeling a guilt when there should be none or to not feel guilt when we should. 15. Various forms of religion. This morning we will look at one such approach. TRANSIITON SENTENCE: This morning I want us to see that there is only one way to deal with a guilty conscience. And that is Jesus' way. 2 TRANSITION: The Jewish religion was not sufficient to clear the conscience. Neither is the Moslem religion, or the Buddhist or the Hindu or whatever... The same could be said of modern psychology approaches which seek to deny the existence of sin. Only Jesus can give people that which they most need emotionally, mentally, psychologically, spiritually, and physically!! Only Jesus can give a person a clean conscience. SAY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY: This morning I want you to see that if you are not a Christian, then you are still in your sins, and you have yet to enjoy the forgiveness of sin much less a clean conscience. You're gonna deal with this problem one way or another in life- the world's way or God's way. I want us to see what God s way is by looking at what will not work and know that Jesus is the only way to deal with sin and get freedom form a guilty conscience. TEXT: Hebrews 9:1-15 How can the believer find freedom from a guilty conscience? I. By knowing what will not work. (1-10) 9 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4 which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. 6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings external regulations applying until the time of the new order. A. The parts and furniture of the tabernacle cannot free us. (1-5) The author reminds us that the sacred furniture were symbols of spiritual realities. As such they point to something greater. As a child I would have preachers spend a whole sermon series on the tabernacle and its furniture. They would explain each piece and what it symbolized. B. The priestly service in the tabernacle cannot free us. (6-10) The complex rituals required for the High Priesthood to enter the holy of holies of the tabernacle 3 allowed him to perform the annual sacrificial practices required by God for the nations sin. It had to be performed each year and by and imperfect man. C. The reason they cannot free us. 1. Under this system we were separated from our object of devotion by a wall. The veil symbolizes the separation between God and his people because of sin. 2. The law had a symbolic value that looked forward to a better system. 3. They were external acts that cannot clear the internal conscience. 4. They were temporary acts that had to be repeated. 5. The sacrifices we inadequate to permanently remove the penalty of sin. ILLUSTRATE: If this is Gods past plan and it could not give us a clear conscience how much less are any other approaches to deal with a guilty conscience. A London psychiatrist once told Dr. Billy Graham that 70% of the people in treatment in England could be released if they could find forgiveness. Their problem, he said, was guilt, and they could find no relief from the grief and pressure under which they lived. APPLY: Often people today are told they have nothing to be guilty about, and in some circumstances that is true. Some people feel guilty about things they have not done: things that have been done to them by responsible adults, who have abused and misused them. They need help to see who is to blame. But most people with guilty consciences don t need to be told that they are guiltless. Deep down they know there something to be guilty for, and what they need is not to hear that they are guiltless, but that they are forgiven. How can the believer find freedom from a guilty conscience? II. By knowing that Jesus Christ alone can give you a clear conscience. (11-14) 11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 4 A. He removes the veil that separates us from God. In the gospels one of the great acts of God when Jesus died on the cross is that the veil or wall in the temple was torn in two. His death satisfied Gods holiness making it possible for us to come into his presence. B. He is the reality for which all the rituals symbolize. C. He deals with the internal nature of the heart. D. His sacrifice is permanent and can remove the penalty of sin. 1 Peter 3: and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[a] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, ILLUSTRATE: A man entered a bar, bought a glass of beer and then immediately threw it into the bartender's face. Quickly grabbing a napkin, he helped the bartender dry his face while he apologized with great remorse. I'm so sorry, he said. I have this compulsion to do this. I fight it, but I don't know what to do about it. You had better do something about your problem, the bartender replied. You can be sure I'll remember you and will never serve you another drink until you get help. It was months before the man faced the bartender again. When he asked for a beer, the bartender refused. Then the man explained that he had been seeing a psychiatrist and that his problem was solved. Convinced it was now okay to serve him, the bartender poured him a drink. The man took the glass and splashed the beer into the barkeeper's astonished face. I thought you were cured, the shocked bartender screamed. I am, said the man. I still do it, but I don't feel guilty about it anymore. APPLY: This is not what Jesus does. He does simply remove the feeling of guilt- he also gives us to power and motive to change. How can the believer find freedom from a guilty conscience? III. By knowing that Jesus Christ can free us from our sin. (11-15) 5 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Verse 15 tell us plainly that Jesus has paid our ransom to death and sin and we are free. We are free from guilt. We are free from death. We are now free to receive the eternal inheritance because of what Jesus Christ did for us. A. Jesus death and resurrection establishes a new covenant. B. The blood of Christ cleanses us from our sin 5 C. Jesus death paid the ransom that held us hostage to free us from sin. ILLUSTRATE: Martin Luther, the lowly monk who changed the face of Europe in the course of his lifetime, faced many foes in his battle to reform the church. There were those who accused him of slander and those that accused him of hypocrisy and greed. Often times the very things he was fighting against would be charged to him by his enemies. They knew that if they could deflect his criticism back unto himself, their lot would be all that easier. No greater foe did he face in that regard than the devil. Luther wrote and spoke about the presence of Satan, his nearness to the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Luther often painted Satan as a mock friend, one who was deceptively there, putting on airs of godliness only to plunge the dagger in when given the chance. He wrote this of Satan s accusations: How dare you, Satan? Indeed! You of all beings have the audacity to accuse us of sin? You of all God s creation have the temerity to heap the blame on us? You have no right to accuse or blame, for you yourself are the guilty one, the one who must suffer the inevitable punishment for rebellion and lawlessness. No, Satan. It is you, not I. I am made perfect through Christ Jesus and you cannot mar that perfection. How dare you accuse me! APPLY: When the devil accuses us of sin, we ought to properly cloak ourselves in indignation. We will confront temptation for the rest of our lives but there is no need to bear Satan s taunts or accusations because of them. He has no right. Turn away in indignation from the one whispers blame and raise your repentant heart to the One who offers only forgiveness, Christ Jesus, our Lord. SAY WHAT YOU HAVE SAID: This morning we looked at three ways to deal with a guilty conscience; the world's way, God's older incomplete way and his new way. We saw what God s new way is by looking at what will not work and know that Jesus is the only way to deal with sin and get freedom form a guilty conscience TIE INTO OPENING SENTENCE: There are many ways people try to deal with guilt- I listed 15 ways at the beginning of the sermon. They all face the same problem- they don t work before God. APPLY TO SPECIFIC AUDIENCE: 1. We must acknowledge that we have sinned before God. 2. We must acknowledge that we cannot deal with the guilt and penalty of sin by our own works or rituals. 3. We must place our faith in Jesus Christ who, as God, died on the cross for our sin and was resurrected proving his power over sin and death. HAYMAKER:... Author unknown I dreamed I stood at Calvary And saw three crosses there; 6 On left and right were nailed two thieves, The cross between was bare. A soldier took his sword in hand, Then pointing it at me; He said, you there, prepare to die. That cross is meant for thee. I quickly fell upon my knees, For mercy did I cry; As strong hands grabbed my hands and feet, I shouted, Why, oh why? And then a voice both soft and sweet Was heard above the din; Let this one go, take me instead. I ll pay his debt of sin. With his body torn and bleeding, And thorn marks round his head; With face bruised where they beat him, He stepped into my stead. Then Jesus laid upon the cross, His life to freely give; That all my sins be washed away, And through his death, I d live. He stretched his arms out open wide, No struggle did he make; As they prepared to nail him there, His life to gladly take. They drove the spikes in hands and feet And slammed the cross in place; His bones were shaken out of joint, And blood flowed down his face. Forgive them, Father was his cry, They know not what they ve done. They do not realize that you, Have sent your only son. Deep darkness filled the noonday sky And trembling shook the ground; As God, the Father, turned away, 7 While God, the Son, gazed round. It s finished now , the Saviour said. The door stands open wide; Into thy hand s my spirit comes. And then they pierced his side. The graves were bursting open, And dead men walked around; The temple veil was rent in twain, And I fell to the ground. When I awoke, the night had passed And sunshine flooded in; I cried, Dear Lord, forgive me please, And cleanse me from my sin. For you sent down your only son, A ransom for the lost; And I see you included me, When counting out the cost. Take o er the reins that guide my life, Remove my wilful pride; Sweep clean my heart and enter in, Forever, there abide. Yes, I dreamt I stood at Calvary And saw those crosses three; Yet no longer do I look with fear Where Jesus died for me
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