Summary: You can receive a word from the Lord through the inner witness of the HOly Spirit
#December 1, 2013
Subject: Receiving Light
Title: Receiving Light Through the Conscience
Psalm 89:15, Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.
Last week we talked about various ways that Christians receive light. We receive light by revelation, by faith through hearing, and by understanding. The things we talked about last week all come from the word of God.
We receive revelation while reading the word…
We receive faith by hearing the word…
We receive understanding from the study of the word…
It is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives in each of those cases and it is the Holy Spirit through those things that gives us light. Some have more light than others. The Holy Spirit works more in some than in others. Jesus said in Luke 19:26, to everyone who has, more will be given.
Those who receive light are responsible to walk in the light they have. If you receive light and refuse to walk in it, how can you expect to receive more light? As a matter of fact, Jesus went on to say in Luke 19, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away…
We receive light in different ways concerning the word. But there is another way that we receive light and it comes not from hearing the written word but through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit in our spirit man. Sometimes we place so much emphasis on the written Word of God, the logos, that we neglect the spoken word of God, the rhema, spoken to our inner man.
Romans chapter 10 and verse 17, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Most times when you hear this passage preached it will be in the context of hearing the scriptures and having faith built up in us through that process. Interestingly enough, the word that is translated word in that verse is not logos referring to the written word, but instead is rhema, the spoken word of God. Faith comes by hearing God speak to you. He may do that through the word, but it also comes through that inner witness. And that inner witness is connected to the conscience.
Acts 24:16, So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
I believe this is God's Word…
I believe it is for me…
I accept it as mine…
And I appropriate it to my life today…
We need to pay close attention to our consciences.
Everyone is born with a conscience. God has established in us from the very beginning of our lives a sense of morality that tells us the difference between right and wrong. It is built into the very fabric of our being, but during the course of life something happens to the conscience. In a sense our conscience is like a computer program. When it first begins it is perfect and works in the fashion originally intended. But many times our computers become infected by outside sources and it changes the way the program tries to work. Certain files in the program, which once worked perfectly, now become corrupted, and the program that once was effective now may still operate, but not at the level it was intended to. The longer it is run in a corrupted environment, the more corrupted it becomes.
The conscience in a person, though created perfect in you to be your moral compass, operates in a corrupted environment as well. We can look at babies and see that when they cry it is because there is a need that isn’t being met. They may need to be fed, or changed, or just held. But in just a few short months that need can become a want and children can become very self centered and selfish. I remember when our girls were little and we told them not to do something or not to touch something, how long do you think it was before they were going to do exactly what they were told not to do?
Because we live in a less than perfect world our consciences become corrupted. That changes when we are born again. Now the Holy Spirit begins to change and re-establish our moral code and to tell us when we are right or wrong.
The Bible tells us some things about the condition of our consciences.
We can have…
a clear conscience
a good conscience
a weak conscience
a guilty conscience
Our consciences can…
can be corrupted
can be cleansed
So for a believer, our consciences become more than just a built in… they become something new in us. Do you remember last week when I talked about how the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirits - Romans 8:16 – that we are children of God? The interaction between our conscience and the Holy Spirit that lives in us is a continual back and forth. Romans 9:1, I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit… there is a knowing that takes place in a believer that comes through the Holy Spirit and our consciences. I’ve heard people say, “I knew I shouldn’t have done that” or “I knew that something bad was going to happen if I didn’t do this or that.” Well the question is, “if you knew, then why did you go on and do it?” the Holy Spirit was trying to tell you something in your conscience. Why didn’t you listen? It’s because we haven’t trained ourselves to listen that way.