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A Good Conscience

April 19, 2009

We must have a good conscience toward God. We are cleansed by the blood of Jesus when we are baptized in the water. Once our past sins are washed away, we must continue to learn God's righteousness and follow it, allowing the blood of Jesus to continue to purge our sins.

Bernie Parsons

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A Good Conscience


a sermon by Bernie Parsons

 presented to the Globe church of Christ on 04/19/2009


A lot of people don’t understand about salvation from sin, what brings it about, and how we must behave after being saved from sin.

There are those who think that, by merely believing in Jesus Christ as the son of God, your soul’s salvation is secured. They teach this because of hand-me-down doctrine, which is derived from a form of Calvinism. Others think that all you have to do is be baptized, and you are saved, no matter how you live afterwards. What does the Bible teach?

We certainly must believe that Jesus is the son of God, or else we will not be saved from our sins.

John 3:15: “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

If you don’t believe in Jesus, you will not follow Him, or His instructions regarding service to, and worship of, God. The unbeliever condemns himself.

But Jesus said that baptism is essential to forgiveness of sins, as well.

Mark 16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Acts 22:12: “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
13: Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
14: And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
15: For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
16: And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”

If we then believe and are baptized, is that all that we need to do?

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
19: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
20: Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
21: The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
22: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Peter makes it plain that baptism saves us. However, he tells us that it is not the physical act of washing dirt from our bodies, but what takes place inside of us. Our salvation lies in the answer of a good conscience toward God.

Hebrews 9:14: “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15: And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins. Once we believe and are baptized, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us, we spiritually become a blank slate, as it were. God removes the worldliness, the dead works that we performed while in sin. With this clean conscience, we must change our lives, and devote ourselves to serving God. We can only do this if we understand what He would have us do.

Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

We must remove that which is objectionable from our lives. Christ will only embrace us if we are clean and holy, without spot, wrinkle, or blemish.

1 Corinthians 6:9: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10: Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11: And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

We move from unrighteousness to righteousness when we are washed in the blood of the Lamb of God. We are cleaned up and set aside for the Master’s use. We abandon those evil things that we once did, replacing them with the things that God would have us do.

Titus 3:3: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
4: But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6: Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
8: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”

We are not only cleaned up, but we are expected to maintain, or continue, that clean condition. We allow God’s Holy Spirit to renew our spirits, and then we walk love, peace, and righteousness. Bought by the blood of Christ, we belong to God.

Hebrews 10:16: “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
17: And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
18: Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
19: Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20: By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21: And having an high priest over the house of God;
22: Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24: And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”

As Christians, we must devote time, thought, and effort in how to do good ourselves, but also how to provoke others to love and the performance of godly works.

1 John 1:5: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
6: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10: If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

We are sinners, but if we make Christ the center of our lives, we will recognize our sins and make an honest effort to remove those sins from our lives. When we do, God forgives us, and the blood of Jesus Christ continues to cleanse us from all sins.

The apostle Paul gave sound advice to the young teacher, Timothy.

1 Timothy 4:13: “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14: Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15: Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16: Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

I think that we all would do well to be diligent about reading the word of God, exhorting and encouraging one another, and in keeping the doctrine of God, delivered through Christ and the apostles. Like Timothy, we need to meditate upon these things of God, and devote ourselves to God, as an example to others around us. We should not only learn and share the teachings of God with others, but we should continue in them—that is, practice them in the lives that we live. Thus, we save ourselves, and anyone who takes to heart the things of God that teach.



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