Hebrews 9:14 – Cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
A good conscience is necessary for the believer to be able to navigate with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If one’s conscience is dull from not being listened to, it produces an inability to hear the guidance of the Spirit. The writer of Hebrews makes the contrast between the Old Testament sacrifice of the blood of goats and bulls and the New Testament sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. In Hebrews 9:13, he states that the sacrifice of animals was “sanctified for the cleansing of the flesh.” In verse 14, he asked the question, “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?”
Your conscience gives you an awareness of God’s will. Many years ago, I walked through a very difficult period in my life. Because of hurt, I made some poor decisions. In my choices, I disobeyed God when I ignored my conscience. I found that it became easier and easier to serve a dead work over obeying God. One day, I came under deep conviction and turned loose of my will and declared “Lord, I only want Your best.” Immediately, I experienced the “blood of Jesus cleansing my conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” My conscience was back in full operation and once again I was able to make difficult, but correct decisions. Thank God for the cleansing blood of Jesus! That experience taught me that the word of God is true regarding a “seared conscience” (1 Timothy 4:2).
The conscience becomes the believer’s guidance system as it is cleansed by the blood of Jesus and surrendered to the Holy Spirit. I believe the conscience was part of “Divine DNA” given to man when God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life as recorded in Genesis 2:7. When man fell, the divine life departed and man was left with a natural life. The conscience remained and carried a sense of right and wrong. It helped give man a moral guidance, but was very deficient without the Spirit of God. Man was left to his own devices. Through the new birth, the conscience once again is connected to the “Divine DNA” through the Holy Spirit.
In our awareness of God’s presence and His will, the Holy Spirit can release spiritual gifts. A good conscience is vital for us to be sensitive to the Spirit’s guidance through gifts like wisdom, knowledge, and discernment of spirits. Ask the Lord to search your heart and show you any areas in your conscience that need cleansing. Allow the Spirit to apply the blood of Jesus to any areas which He reveals to you. A fully operating conscience will cause you to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s will in guiding your life.
Father, I ask for the searchlight of Your Spirit to examine my conscience and make me aware of any non-functioning parts. Show me any compromise I have made that restricts my conscience from being fully operational. I pray for the ability to hear Your Spirit’s guidance at all times.
1 Timothy 1:5 – The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Paul identifies three necessary components in order to fulfill the goal of his instruction. The stated goal is “love.” In order for God’s love to operate through us, we must have “a pure heart” and “a good conscience” and “sincere faith.” God’s love is first pure. The world knows many types of so-called love, but “divine love” is pure beyond our ability to comprehend. The Father sent His only begotten Son to demonstrate “pure love.”
It is impossible to understand pure love by just having someone tell you about it. It is impossible to comprehend pure love by reading about it. Pure love has to be lived! Jesus of Nazareth lived the pure love of the Father. It is one reason He could say to His disciples, “When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). As we develop our relationship with the Lord Jesus, we will experience the development of His love in us. The believer is “joined to the Lord.” “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17). God’s love in the believer is present because the believer has become “one spirit” with Him.
The second component necessary for pure love to operate through us is found in a “good conscience”. The conscience is a critical part of our mind. It regulates our sense of “right and wrong”. Before we came to Christ, the conscience was a moral guide to our fallen nature. It is a sensitive part of our human-make up which can easily be damaged and quit working. “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2 KJV). Through the blood of Christ, our conscience is made clean. “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” (Hebrews 10:22).
The third component is sincere faith. When I think of sincere faith, the word “humility” comes to mind. A sincere faith is a faith that operates through the spirit of humility. Love is an operation of faith. Pure love is an action of our love toward others before they demonstrate any kind of love toward us. This requires faith. Jesus is our example of “sincere faith.” He always operated in the spirit of humility. His actions always had others in mind. True faith causes us to keep our eyes on Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith.
As we read the Scriptures and the instruction of the apostles, let us make “love our goal”. Remember, God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son. The Son demonstrated the Father’s love. Now, we have been joined to God by the Holy Spirit and His Love is within our being. Let us love others as He loves us!
Father, I ask for the power of Your love in me to dominate my heart, my conscience, and my faith in all my relationships with others, believers and unbelievers alike.
Ephesians 4:15 – We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.
This clear purpose of our heavenly Father is outlined throughout the New Testament. Many believe or at least live like God’s purpose is to bless them, making them a success, and answering all their prayer requests. That viewpoint was the mistake God’s people made when Jesus walked the earth, teaching and preaching the kingdom of God.
In the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul clearly outlines the will and purpose of God in the life of every believer. Paul pens what should be guiding the believer. “We are to grow up in all aspects of Christ.” Everything the Father is doing is about His only begotten Son. He has included us, intending that we will grow up into Christ. The Father is looking for those who will freely surrender everything to Christ and give control of their life to His Spirit.
Some important questions to be asked are:
Am I allowing the Holy Spirit access to every area of my being?
Can I see areas in my life that have Christ at the center?
Am I aware of specific areas in my life where the Lord is dealing with me?
It is important for each believer to examine himself and determine if “Christ is the head” in their life. It is impossible to grow up into Christ if we are not allowing Him to be head in all things. Through our free will, we say yes to the Lord, first in every clear command given to us in His Word. And secondly, as we learn to recognize His voice as He guides us through life’s decisions.
In order for the Lord to guide us, we must first allow the Holy Spirit access to our thinking processes. Regularly ask the Father to give you the mind of Christ. Identify areas of the past which you have surrendered to Him and evaluate how well you are letting Him be in control. Ascertain specific areas which the Lord has spoken to you about where He wants control.
As believers, we must be active in the growth process. The Psalms teach us how to actively interact with the Lord in both the good and difficult times. David actually commanded his soul to bless God and not forget His benefits. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion; who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle” (Psalm 103:1-5).
Father, I desire Your guidance in every area of my life. I choose to give the Holy Spirit access to my whole being. Thank You for those areas of my life where the Holy Spirit presently has control. Show me specific areas You currently want to help me surrender to the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
There is one human who never changes, Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior. The Word of God manifested in the Word made flesh. That Word dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. That Word is now seated at the right hand of the majesty on high. From the very beginning, God purposed the Word to be made flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1-2). “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14-15).
In all the Scriptures, there is nothing more profound than “the Word was made flesh.” Because God’s Word is forever settled, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, He expected God’s covenant people, the Jews, to receive His word because it is the word of the Father. Jesus came in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. The Jews had been given the responsibility of the oracles of God. “They were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?” (Romans 3:2-4).
The Jews were the carriers of God’s Word for all of mankind. Some did not believe. This was especially true during the ministry of Jesus. Their unbelief did not hinder God’s faithfulness. The whole Jewish nation might have rejected Jesus, but God would still be faithful to His Word. All that we read in the Scriptures concerning Jesus is true today as well. He still ministers in truth and grace through the power of the Holy Spirit. The promises which Jesus fulfilled in His earthly ministry are available to us because “He is the same”. God’s people are to be a people of “hope” because the Lord has given us a sure expectation of our future.
God’s Word never changes. God’s Son is always the same. All truth is eternal. God the Father and God the Son are full of truth and grace ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit. God has done all that He said He would do. Jesus utterly fulfilled the Father’s will. As sons and daughters of God, we are called not only to believe, but to live out the word of God in our daily lives. We too, are called to be faithful carriers of God’s promises. We are called to demonstrate the settled word of God by the conduct of our lives. Not all will believe, but some will glorify God for what they experience in us. All will give an account to God for what is demonstrated as we walk in righteousness and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Father, I thank You for Your settled word. I firmly put my faith in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Help me demonstrate Your truth and grace through how I choose to live my life in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 12:22-24 – You have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
In these passages, we can identify seven privileges believers enjoy through our relationship with the Father and the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We have come unto Mount Zion, (God’s Hill) His permanent resting place in heaven where God reigns as KING of Kings and LORD of Lords.
We have come into God’s city for which Abraham searched. In fact, Galatians 4:26 indicates that Jerusalem above is the place of our new birth. All who have been “born again” can say, “I was born in Mount Zion,” Jerusalem, the city of my God.”
We have come unto an innumerable company of angels. The Scriptures indicate that we are surrounded by angels looking into what God has done. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12).
We have come to the General Assembly and Church of the First Born which are written in heaven. Presently, the name of every believer is written together with all the names of those who are members of His church. It is important to be reminded we are not alone. Those who have gone before us are present before the Throne of God and the saints on earth are present through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
We have come to God the judge of all. The blessing for the true believer is that judgment has already taken place as Jesus became God’s sacrifice for our sins. God’s judgments come through the Lord Jesus Christ. As a believer we receive what Christ has done for us. The unbeliever will have to answer for their sins before God because they did not trust Christ who took their judgment upon Himself.
We have come to the spirits of just men made perfect. In the spiritual realm, we have been joined with all those who have died and fully entered into His rest. I believe they are cheering for us to finish our course. In the natural, this is hard to understand, but by faith we receive the insights that God’s Word reveals.
We have come to Jesus, the mediator of the “new covenant.” We have legal rights in heaven to receive salvation. Everything Jesus did on our behalf would hold up in a court of law. By the “Law of Sacrifice,” that is, “the innocent dying for the guilty,” Jesus destroyed what Satan held over us and the judgment which the Law of God brought, declaring all guilty before God.
Father, I thank You for Your Throne of Grace. I rejoice in the place of Your rest. I pray for the continual help of the Holy Spirit in my daily life to abide in the place of rest where all the spirits of just men reside for eternity. I receive by faith all the privileges of a child of God.
Romans 15:7 – Accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
While we accept each other as we are, we do not remain as we are. As each one comes to Christ, forgiveness and acceptance are given by the Father. We then become part of one another on the very common ground of His power of love to forgive and accept each one as we are. For each believer, this is the starting point in Christ Jesus.
From this starting point, we grow together in an atmosphere of love, hope, and encouragement, no matter what difficulty or devastation we face. Of course, people enter the kingdom of God and are baptized into the body having come from many backgrounds. Our life together in the body begins a process of healing and growth which can take a very long time. An atmosphere of love, forgiveness, and acceptance is necessary to help in assisting people to receive, what in many cases has never before been communicated or experienced.
In the body of Christ, we esteem the covenant of marriage, we honor singleness, and we support the single parent. Marriage is under attack as perhaps it has never been before. The marriage covenant is the sure foundation we must build upon. If the marriage foundation is destroyed, the whole culture will collapse. We must first learn how to love, forgive, and accept in our homes before we will be successful in our relationships within the church.
We must reach out to singles, who many times feel displaced from family. The single person can more fully give themselves to the cause of Christ because of less time constraints. Many singles would love to be used within the family of God, both in church activities and within families belonging to a congregation.
It is important for the church body to give support to those who have found themselves single again through divorce or death. Many times, we form groups of people with similar life experiences, but their deeper need is family. They need to know the love of fathers and mothers within the body of Christ.
We must treasure and affirm children, including them in our worship, in our ministry moments, and social events. They are our future! The Lord has always been focused on the generations. Our children will carry the torch in the future. Now is the time of their training.
In the body of Christ we will always find diversity of personality and lifestyles, each adding something valuable to the whole. I suggest including each group I have mentioned in your prayers.
Father, I pray for the families of my congregation, fathers and mothers and their children, that Your kingdom rest on their lives. I pray for the singles as they seek to know how they fit into the family of God. I pray for those who have found themselves single again. I pray for healing in their lives and for the development of healthy relationships.