I am thankful to God Almighty for His love towards us from the first 1st day of the week of January 2014 to today 28th December being the last 1st day of the week. We are all happy to be here today and I thank God for this. What we want to discuss is abstract. Every human being possesses it.
Even though one may try to ignore it but it always comes to the fore at appropriate time. It is conscience. Our topic this morning is YOUR CONSCIENCE AND YOU
“An inner sense that is conscious of the moral rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior or intentions and makes one know whether one is doing right or wrong” (The Long man Dictionary of Contemporary English). The Book of Romans 2:15confirms the definition.
Conscience as defined is something in us that is always there to tell us whether what we want to do or intend to do is goodor bad irrespective of one’s disposition or circumstance.
There are examples in the Bible of those whose conscience came to play at the circumstances they found themselves. We shall discuss a few of them.
- Joseph And His Brethren
(a) Jacob sent Joseph to take food to his brethren in the field. They got hold of him, stripped him of his coat of many colours. They put him in a pit and sat down to eat the food Joseph brought to them. They sold Joseph to Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. When they sat down to eat the boy’s food, and the boy crying in the pit, did their conscience not worry them (Gen. 37:12-28)?
(b) When their father mourned bitterly for Joseph and refused to be comforted, did their conscience not prick them(Gen. 37:34-35)?
(c) 22 years after they went to Egypt to buy food. Here they came face to face with conscience. Joseph knew them but they did not know him.
Joseph examined them seriously to ascertain whether his father Jacob and his bother Benjamin were alive. He knew that they were not spies. Listen to the lamentation of Joseph’s brethren: “They said one to another, were very guilty concerning our brother in that we saw the anguish for his soul, when he besought us and we would not hear; therefore is this stress come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold also his blood is required”(Gen.42:21-22).
Another drama ensued when Joseph finally revealed himself to them. Gen.45:3,”And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph, doth my father yet alive? And his brethren could not answer him for they were troubled at his presence”. When evil executed in secret is revealed unexpectedly, the perpetrator always looks stupid; loses his senses.
(d) The conscience finally set them free. Before Jacob died,he had advised his sons (those who sold Joseph)to go and plead with Joseph for forgiveness after his death. Because Jacob thought Joseph might bear grudge against them. They sent a message to Joseph to forgive them. Gen. 50:15-21(18). I do not know how old Jacob was when he died. Jacob was 120 years when he came to Egypt. And if you add the number of years Jacob lived in Egypt to 22 years after they had sold Joseph, this will give you the number of years the sons of Jacob were in agony of conscience before they were finally set free.
Can some brethren still behave like the brethren of Joseph? You eat somebody’s food, gain from that person, yet you plan evil against him? Let us consider the followings:
(i) Master/servant relationship – Eph. 6:5-6-8-9
(ii) Husband/wife relationship
(iii) Children/alleged witch/wizard parents
- Amnon and Tamar: Trick
(i) The act – II Sam.13:11-17
Verse 16:”And she said unto him, there is no cause; this evil in sending me away is greater than the other thou didst unto me. But he would not hearken unto her”.
(ii) Two years later, Amnon was killed by Absalom.
Verse 32b, “… for by appointment of Absalom this hath been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar”.
Do we still have some brethren who behave like Amnon? Pretending to love a sister, calling her all the sweet names in the world and as soon as he has his way, he hates her, blackmails her, calling her all sorts of names.
The worse comes when the sister is pregnant. He denies not having affair with the sister ever since he was born. If he admits having had affair with the sister will deny the pregnancy. If the parents of the girl are not willing to forgive their daughter she is ostracized. She now becomes a vagabond. Later he goes and married another woman as wife. Where is the brother’s conscience? If you reject the mother why the child? How will you react to the two possibilities?
(i) You become a judge and the boy a rascal. He is charged to your court for murder. Will you sentence him to death?
(ii) He comes to your site for labour work while the other of your children are in the university. Howchildren are in the university. How will you feel?
For the man to be free from conscience, he has to go to the woman, plead for forgiveness, accept the child and give him all his rights otherwise he will be guilty till his dies.
- Joseph and Portiphar’s wife:
“…How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God”(Gen.39:96)? Joseph had the liberty of having affair with Portiphar’s wife without Portiphar knowing, but he knew that to do such a thing with his master’s wife was wickedness and a sin against God. He feared God. When our wives or husband are not around us especially when we travel out for seminars etc how do we behaved? When some mess up,what does their conscience tell them?
Do we sometimes ignore or mortgage our conscience when we face persecution, sickness, childlessness etc. No, we must not.
You have been attending Church services here but not yet baptized. What does your conscience tell you when others come out to be baptized and you are not. If you are not baptized into Christ (the Church of Christ) you are not having a good conscience towards God (II Pet.3:21).
God purposely created conscience in us to prove us right or wrong when we do something or intend to do it. If we listen to our conscience, then our heart will always be right with God but if not the conscience will continue to hunt us. Let us cast our mind back for the past 12 months or years gone by and see if we had done something which our conscience did not approve of; let us go back to those we wronged and pray for forgiveness. It is there and then our conscience will be free. For the year 2015, may we allow our conscience to be a watch dog in all the spheres of our lives.
Remain blessed in Jesus Name – Amen.
A Sermon By Brother N. U. Akpan (Elder) On 28th December, 2014