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SERIES: The Book of Hebrews
TEXT: Hebrews 9:11-14
MESSAGE: “Healing a Guilty Conscience”
“We found that recalling personal unethical acts led participants to report increased subjective body weight as compared to recalling ethical acts, unethical acts of others or no recall. We also found that this increased sense of weight was related to participants’ heightened feelings of guilt, and not other negative emotions, such as sadness or disgust.…only unethical, guilt-inducing memories led to increased reports of weight.”  Martin Day
Q: How do you deal with the problem of a guilty conscience?
We try to numb our guilt & shame…“We are the most in debt, obese, addicted, medicated adult cohort in US history.” – Brene Brown

How does the gospel heal us from guilt and shame? The reality of…(1. The Perfection 2. The Stain 3. The Cleansing)

  1. The Perfection (v. 11)
“…the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands..”
  1. The Stain (v. 12)
“Is no one any longer guilty of anything? Guilty perhaps of a sin that could be repented of or atoned for?…Anxiety and depression we all acknowledge, and even vague guilt feelings; but has no one committed any sins? Where, indeed, did sin go? What became of it? “I believe there is ‘sin’ which is expressed in ways which cannot be subsumed under verbal artifacts such as ‘crime,’ ‘disease,’ ‘delinquency,’ ‘deviancy.’ There IS immorality; there IS unethical behavior; there IS wrongdoing. And I hope to show that there is usefulness in retaining the concept, and indeed the word, SIN…”  Karl Menninger
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” — Romans 3:23
  1. The Cleansing (v. 13-14)
“For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
“Those earlier sacrifices were but token sacrifices; the sacrifice of Christ was a real self-offering, accomplished on the moral and spiritual plane.”
— F.F. Bruce
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” 
— John 10:18
What cleans a guilty conscience? God himself.
“Not all the blood of beasts on Jewish alters slain could give the guilty conscience peace, or wash away the stain: But Christ, the Heavenly Lamb, take all our sins away, A sacrifice of nobler name and richer blood than they.” — Isaac Watts

Takeaways: How do we apply this to our lives? Let me ask 3 questions…

  1. How is your conscience?
“A bad conscience means a profound self-consciousness and a sense that you could not survive close examination, a sense that if people really knew who you were, really knew what was wrong with you, really knew what was really in your mind, really knew the motives of your heart, really knew what you were like, you’d be rejected. That’s conscience.” — Timothy Keller
  1. Who do you look to for payment?
  2. Would you surrender your sin to God?
 Corinthians 6:18 when he says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
GOSPEL: “…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” — Psalm 103:10