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HOW OUR GOD-GIVEN CONSCIENCE ENABLES US
TO KNOW AND OBEY GOD’S WILL FOR US

by Timothy Lin, Ph.D.,
Former Pastor, Professor and Seminary President.
Introduction by Eugene Merrill, Ph.D.,
Distinguished Professor of Old Testament,
Dallas Theological Seminary.

A sermon preached by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Pastor Emeritus
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Afternoon, June 28, 2020


Hymn Sung Before the Sermon: “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!” (by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934).

Please turn to Romans 2:14-15 (p. 1193 Scofield). Stand as I read it.

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:14-15).

You may be seated.

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Conscience works the same way in Christians. Before we act conscience either encourages us to continue or warns us to stop.

Once a decision has been acted on, conscience waits her turn to speak. The voice of conscience waits to speak after the mind slows down and emotions cool off.

Conscience may not speak immediately following the completion of an act. If the voice of conscience is ignored repeatedly, it may retreat, but will never give up. Soon she will repeat her verdict of our past sin and condemn us once again. If we reject the verdict of our conscience all our lives, conscience will triumph in the life to come. “Their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts accusing them or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Jesus Christ” (Romans 2:15-16; p. 1193).

In his famous speech before the Diet of Worms in 1521 Martin Luther said, “My conscience is bound to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against conscience.”

Turn to Proverbs 20:27 (p. 686).

“The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.”

This speaks of man’s conscience. Conscience is the candle of God, searching the very inside of a man. The commentary on this is given in I Corinthians 2:11 (p. 1213),

“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”

Dr. Lin said, “When a Christian rejects conscience by habitual disobedience, conscience does not give up. The voice of conscience does not go away. But when a person continues in sin, his conscience frequently continues to convict of guilt and warns of judgment. To avoid self-accusation from conscience men try to deaden her voice. When a man fights his conscience it may lead to a nervous breakdown, or even worse, drive a person insane in the end. When King Saul became demonized he tried to kill David, and later committed suicide. When Judas betrayed Jesus he was filled with remorse ‘and went away and hanged himself’” (Matthew 27:3-5; p. 1040).

Also, repeated failure to obey the conscience may cause physical illness. Years ago Dr. Lin was holding meetings in a certain church. The family of a young woman attended the meetings bringing the young woman with them on a mat. Dr. Lin found out that the girl had become paralyzed, no longer able to stand or walk. Dr. Lin met with the girl privately. She told Dr. Lin that she absolutely hated her parents. Dr. Lin told her this was a terrible sin against God. He told her to confess this sin and receive forgiveness and cleansing. When she did this she was able to sit up, then to stand, and she walked out of the meeting to meet her rejoicing parents!

Here are some of the ways people try to deaden their consciences:

1. By using alcohol and drugs.

2. By keeping busy all the time.

3. By taking a logical instead of a moral stand.

But none of these things make a person happy in the end. “There is no peace for the wicked” (Isaiah 57:20-21; p. 763).

I personally have known some men who were called to preach, but resisted the call out of fear. They were never happy again! One man even told his sin to Dr. Cagan. But it did him no good. The Bible says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13; p. 692).

You may ask, “Why did Waldrip and Chan split our church? Didn’t they have a conscience?” Yes, but they rejected their consciences. Why? First of all they rejected Dr. Cagan. They knew that I had great respect for Dr. Cagan – but they did not respect him. They knew that Dr. Cagan’s life verse was I John 2:17 (p. 1322).

Stand as I read I John 2:15-17.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (I John 2:15-17).

You may be seated. They thought Dr. Cagan was strange. They always do when they meet a man who loves the Word of God!

They thought I was too rough. So they rejected me as well. They went with Kreighton and instantly became new-evangelicals. Dr. Lin said,

To their great loss many contemporary Christians ignore God’s voice in their conscience. They will listen to teaching and preaching every Lord’s Day…but rarely listen to the voice of their conscience… The voice of our regenerated conscience, God’s heavenly radio within, will always meet our needs and guide us one step at a time. Whoever permits conscience to season his speech and deeds, she makes his words true and just, and his actions noble and right.

This message is taken from Timothy Lin, Ph.D., The Holy Spirit, Biblical Studies Ministries International, Inc., www.bsmi.org, 820 Bennett Court, Carmel, IN 46032, copyright 2002.

HAVE THINE OWN WAY, LORD!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
    Thou art the Potter; I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
     While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
     As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
(by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862-1934).