Faithlife Sermons

16 - Sensitivity to the Spirit (Nehemiah)

Nehemiah: A Time for Restoration  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Theme: Staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit is key to keeping on the breastplate of righteousness.


Sensitivity to the Spirit

16 - Nehemiah: A Time for Restoration
Church on the Park | Sunday, 21 FEB 2021 | Glen Gerhauser
Text: “It came about afterward that David’s conscience [lev, heart] bothered [nacah, struck] him because he had cut off the edge of Saul’s robe.” –– 1 Samuel 24:5
Theme: Staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit is key to keeping on the breastplate of righteousness.
Intro: Saul was bent on killing David, pursuing him like one who would hunt a bird in the wild. Saul is now in a dark cave, vulnerable. Little does he know David and his men are hidden in the same cave. Saul is in David’s hand, and David can easily and swiftly strike his greatest enemy, King Saul, dead. But instead, David values Saul’s life––King Saul is the Lord’s anointed––so he only cuts a small piece of Saul’s garment, defiling his robe but saving his life. Saul didn’t even know what David did in the darkness; he had no knowledge that David was in the same cave. And even though David only cuts off the edge of Saul’s robe, his conscience is struck. This small act of dishonour cuts him to the heart. As a young worshipper and warrior, David has a sensitive conscience. The Lord also desires us to have a sensitive conscience––so sensitive that little acts of disobedience pierce it. Today, we will continue to talk about the breastplate of righteousness. How do you put on the breastplate of righteousness and keep it on? And how do you keep your conscience strong and sharp?

1) S - Stay sensitive to the Spirit (1 Samuel 24:5).

Sadly, over the years David’s conscience begins to weaken.
He is not struck to his heart when he lusts after Bathsheba, commits adultery and then kills her husband Uriah.
It’s only a long while later when Nathan confronts him that he repents.
What happened to David? Why did this happen? And more importantly, how can we keep this from happening to us?
First, what is your conscience?
The word ‘conscience’ appears often in the New Testament, about thirty times.
Our English word ‘conscience’ is made of two parts: ‘con’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘science’ meaning ‘knowledge’.
Simply put, your conscience is the inward knowledge you have within you of what is right and wrong, what is good and evil.
I explained it to Valerie (who is seven) that is like your internal radar, detecting when a bad thing is coming.
The Greek word is “συνείδησις suneídēsis; gen. suneidḗseōs, fem. noun from suneídō (4894), to be conscious of. Conscience, to be one’s own witness, one’s own conscience coming forward as witness. It denotes an abiding consciousness whose nature it is to bear inner witness to one’s own conduct in a moral sense (Titus 1:15). It is self–awareness.”Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
“A capacity or faculty of moral intuition, consciousness, or reflection. A person’s internal awareness or sense of abiding by or transgressing moral standards. An internal witness to moral obligation based on intuition or self-assessment.” –– Lexham Bible Dictionary
In Hebrew, the word for conscience is lev, which means heart.
So what we are dealing with when talking about your conscience is your heart. It’s your hearts ability to know right from wrong.
To put on the breastplate of righteousness means you clearly to what is right and wrong in your heart and that your knowledge of good and evil comes from God himself, “the Spirit of knowledge” (Isaiah. 11:1-3; Eph 6:14).
It is the Spirit of God, God’s very own Spirit and Knowledge that gives us the awareness of what is right and wrong.
Before I was saved, I didn’t know God’s Spirit. But once the Holy Spirit came in my life, I felt a deep conviction for things I was saying, thinking, watching and doing––even the records I was DJing.
John 16:7–11 NASB95
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.
The key to having a healthy conscience is staying sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
You will backslide when you lose sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

2) T - Take daily care of your heart (Hebrews 3:12-15).

Hebrews 3:12–15 NASB95
Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, while it is said, Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.”
Sin is deceitful
And when you engage in sin, it begins to harden your heart.
You start thinking something is right when its not.
You begin to live based on your feelings and reasoning rather than God’s Word.
Your heart needs to be guarded daily.
This is one of the reasons great men and women can fall into hideous sins––even denying the Lord Jesus. How?
They stop maintaining and guarding their heart. They allow little things to creep in. Soon those little things become big things.
Putting on the breastplate of righteousness means maintaining your heart.
The New Testament says that you can have a…
Weak conscience
Wounded conscience
Seared conscience
Defiled conscience
Evil conscience
Cleansed conscience
Clear conscience
Good conscience
Blameless conscience
God’s covenant:
Hebrews 8:10–11 NASB95
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, And I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ For all will know Me, From the least to the greatest of them.
God’s covenant with us is all about restoring our conscience so that it reflects God’s mind, word and heart.

3) R - Respond to conviction with repentance (Hebrews 3:15).

When you hear God’s voice, don’t harden your heart (Heb. 3:15).
Be quick to respond in repentance.
Repentance means to change your ways.
Repentance is simply turning from your sin and turning to God
When you repent you look for both forgiveness from God and strength to live right.
When you repent you make practical changes to keep you from doing the same sin over and over again.
In Acts 2:37, the people were pierced to the heart by Peter’s preaching.
But being pierced to the heart is not the end, you need to respond.
They responded by saying, “What must we do?” (Acts 2:37).
Then, they went and did exactly what Peter told them: “Repent and be baptised” (Acts 2:37-42).

4) U - Understand God’s righteousness through his Word (Hebrews 5:13-14).

Because your conscience may not be fully restored or you have defiled it in some way, your knowledge of righteousness and unrighteousness may be warped.
And this means it’s very dangerous to live by your conscience, feelings, emotions, thoughts and desires.
You need to let Jesus be like Nehemiah and restore this section of your inwardly broken walls and gates.
And this is only possible by understanding and abiding in God’s Word.
Listen to Hebrews 5:13-14.
Hebrews 5:13–14 NASB95
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

5) C - Commune with God and his people (Hebrews 3:13).

It’s through communion––cultivating intimacy with God––that you will know God better.
But also remember, if you commune with God you will also commune with his covenant people.
Listen to Hebrews 3:13.
Hebrews 3:13 NASB95
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Also hear Hebrews Hebrews 10:19-25
Hebrews 10:19–25 NASB95
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 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. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

6) K - Keep a clean conscience by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19-25).

Notice what Hebrews 10:19-25 says, “having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
There is nothing like the blood of Jesus to truly cleanse your conscience.
Even at the smallest deviation in your mind and heart, ask the blood of Jesus to wash you.
1 John 1:9 NASB95
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Conclusion: When you put these points into practice you will put on the breastplate of righteousness and keep it on. They spell the word STRUCK: 1) S - Stay sensitive to the Spirit, 2) T - Take daily care of your heart, 3) R - Respond to conviction with repentance, 4) U - Understand God’s righteousness through his Word, 5) C - Commune with God and his people and 6) K - Keep a clean conscience through the blood of Jesus.
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