CLEANSING FOR THE DEFILED (Heb. 9:14) (I John 1:5-9)

I. Introduction

A. One of the great words of the gospel is cleansing

I. Sin not only renders us guilty before God but it leaves us defiled on the inside.

2. There is a difference between cleansing and forgiveness.

B. Forgiveness is something objective and happens outside us.

I. It takes place in heaven in the records of the Eternal God.

2. Forgiveness assures us that the debt is cleared and the penalty rescinded.

C. Cleansing on the other hand is subjective and something that happens within us as a conscious experience.

II. But what part of us is it that needs to be cleansed?

A. Is it our thoughts, affections or our memory?

I. It is none of these initially! True they all are affected once the cleansing takes place.

2. But scripture teaches that area of our being that needs to be cleansed is our conscience (Heb. 9-14)

B. Lets seek to refine what our conscience is.

I. Conscience is that God given faculty in each of us that approves or disapproves when we do right or wrong.

2. Inasmuch as all of us are sinners we get far more disapproval from our conscience than approval.

3. This indicates that our conscience is defiled.

C. In Heb. 10:22 we are told that our hearts can be sprinkled from an evil conscience.

I. Since conscience is a part of the heart it means when the conscience is cleansed the whole heart is clean.

2. The Bible calls this a pure heart.

3. So it is the conscience upon which the blood is sprinkled.

III. What an Extraordinary faculty this thing called the conscience.

A. When defiled it can make us miserable in mind, unwell in body and out of fellowship with God.

I. There are however differences in the sensitivity of conscience.

2. Unless we have a conscience sensitized and instructed by the Word of the Holy Spirit how are we to know what's wrong and what's right.

B. The passage of time does not remove the stain of sin from the conscience.

I. Long after sin has ceased to occupy our thoughts the stain of sin remains upon the conscience.

2. Our conscience demands that Divine justice be satisfied.

3. This is precisely what the blood of Jesus demonstrates.

C. The blood is a token of judgment met at the Cross - of the fire of God's wrath burnt out with nothing left but the ashes.

IV. Dead Works

A. Heb. 9:14 tells us the blood not only cleanses the conscience from sin but it cleanses the conscience of dead works.

I. What does it mean to be cleansed of dead works?

2. The definition I would give is that dead works are the things we feel we ought to do to become better Christians but never quite succeed in doing.

3. Things like giving more time to prayer and bible reading.

4. Having more faith and confidence in God-having more patience and a godly walk.

5. The list could go on - we ought, I ought

B. There is nothing wrong with the standards - the commandment is holy just and good.

I. The trouble is that we are unable to keep them.

2. We know what we ought to do to be better Christians the problem is we are unable to do them.

C. The result is that the failure to do these things bothers our conscience.

I. So we have a multitude of Christians living with consciences burdened by the prayers they have not prayed, promises they have not kept, souls that we have failed to witness too.

2. All of this adds to our sense of condemnation

3. These are the things we would call dead works.

D. When I come to Jesus and confess my failure, I receive at the foot of His Cross what I was attempting to find by works-and I receive it as a gift.

I. If I had lost a ten dollar bill and was frantically looking for it, what would be the first thing I would do if I found it? Obviously, I would stop looking for it.

2. The first thing I do when I find peace through the blood of His Cross is to stop looking for peace in other ways.

3, Jesus was referring to this peace when He said: Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

E. All of this is in order that we might serve the living God.

V. All of This is Conditional According to John. I John 1:7

A. Both cleansing and fellowship are conditional according to John. They are conditioned by a walk in the Light.

1. Light and darkness are not vague synonyms for good and evil. Light is that which reveals, darkness always hides.

2. God is said to be the One in the Light - that means He shows up everything just as it is;

3. We are called upon to walk in the light which means we agree with God and call sin-sin.

4. What His light reveals-His blood cleanses.

B. So if we walk in the light-allow Him to show us any darkness in our lives.

I. Then we have cleansing from our sin and fellowship with one another.

2. At that moment we have a conscience void of offense toward God and man. (Acts 24-16)