“And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Acts 23:1)
“It’s said that a very primitive tribe in Africa has a unique way of dealing out justice to guilty parties. If there’s been a murder in the tribe, what they do is line up the suspects, and the guy who can’t spit is put to death as the guilty party. And the reasoning is this: The human conscience is so strong – that knowledge of when we do wrong – and what happens is when you line a guy up, his conscience accuses him of his guilt; the guilt produces a fear and the fear makes his mouth go dry so he spits less and hence dies for the crime. Conscience is a very powerful thing. Let me illustrate further.
An old drunk was once walking home, staggering on the sidewalk, when his dog came out and watched him coming toward him. The dog loved his master. The drunk walked up his pathway. The dog snuggled up behind him, and followed him into the house. The drunk collapsed on the floor, and the dog snuggled up to his hand and waited for that moment when his master would awaken, so he could lick him and have fellowship with him, because he so loved his master. Around midnight, the dog began to bark and bark. The drunk awoke and thought, “Man, the last thing I feel like hearing is a barking dog.” He reached down and grabbed a wooden chair and threw it at the dog, and then collapsed on the floor. In the morning, however, when the drunk awoke, he opened his eyes and saw a sight he could hardly believe. Everything was taken from his house. During the night, thieves had broken in and stolen all his possessions. Only two things were left in the house. One was a broken chair, and the other was a dead dog.
The dog had heard the thieves breaking into the drunk’s home, and tried to warn his master, and his master had killed his very best friend – the one that was trying to warn him of the thieves breaking into his home.”
Your conscience is like that. It’s a barking dog. It isn’t pleasant when it barks at you, but realize that your conscience is your friend not your enemy. The Apostle Paul was standing before a council of Pharisees and Sadducees as one stands on trial. Now the purpose of a trial is to determine if one is innocent or guilty. Paul’s’ accusers had been in great abundance, but when Paul did a check in his conscience, his conscience did not accuse him, it did not bark, he was not spit less. Why? Paul knew according to the Scriptures, his conscience was in good standing with God until this day! Up to this day Paul was in good standing with God.
Therefore, having this assurance he was able to stand with courage and confidence being ready to deal with whatever came his way. Because of Paul’s relationship with God, the enemy couldn’t seem to throw a curve ball at Paul and fool him, because Paul’s God knew all things and therefore knew all the scheming pitches of the enemy before they were thrown. After Paul stood his ground, the council was divided in disagreement among themselves some siding with Paul and some against him.
Listen to your conscience now that God gave you. Is it barking or quiet? Can you stand before your boss, your spouse, your friends, your God and say with Paul “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day?” If not, don’t throw a chair trying to silence your conscience, let it awaken you to action.
Until the nets are filled…Blessings, Pastor Phil <><