The Seared Conscience

Good Morning. Thanks for having us back today! We truly enjoy our time with you all. Before we begin I would like to share a question my wife asked a couple of days ago. She was reading an article in the newspaper about states giving lottery prizes to unvaxxed people for getting vaxxed and businesses threatening the jobs of unvaxxed employees. Her question was: If Covid vaccines are so great why do they think they have to bribe and blackmail people to get them? I REALLY did not like my immediate answer, but I do tend to be pretty cynical! I’ll leave it to your consideration, what do you think? Okay, moving on, it seems the moral code in place for millennia has been abandoned. The cultural conscience has been SEARED! If you like to follow along in Scripture please turn in your Bibles to 1st Timothy 3:14. We will read on through 4:16. What IS a seared conscience? Can it be fixed? Can it be healed? Will God’s mercy extend to its repair? First lets see what Paul has to say about it. For those who can do so comfortably, please stand for the reading of God’s Word. Reading from the New American Standard Bible. Paul has already given Timothy a lot to think about and here he is sort of summarizing for a while.

1st Timothy 3:14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness:

He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.

4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

A Good Minister’s Discipline

6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

11 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. 14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

May God bless the reading of His Word. Please be seated.

Okay, I’m sure you are all used to exegetical preaching. You know, I stand up here and read a scripture and tell you what it means. And I know from experience that only rarely has real, PRACTICAL APPLICATION been tied to it. As if just knowing what it says is the goal! Well the DEMONS know what it SAYS and they tremble! Knowing it isn’t the purpose, LIVING IT IS! Granted its tough to LIVE something in this world you know NOTHING about. But as the demons can attest, knowing TRUTH and rejecting it has ETERNAL consequences. I really hate using demons as an example for anything given today’s fascination with the paranormal. Suffice to say that CHRISTIANS should REJECT spirits good, bad, or otherwise, and everything associated with the possibility that they might be a THING in THIS world! Their use and purpose in Scripture should be deeply studied before ANY dogmatic statement is made about them. Okay back to exegesis with some APPLICATION.

Paul is writing to a young Timothy on his first mission, advising him of the duties of a minister of the Gospel and what he is likely to encounter. He hopes to visit soon but just in case, he is writing some things Timothy has certainly seen and heard but wants to reiterate them to him.

So why do the people sitting in the pews need to know anything about the duties of a minister or what he might run into? Let me ask: Do you have the love of Jesus in your heart? Do you have parents, children or grandchildren, brothers or sisters, dear friends or relatives who need to know about YOUR love for Jesus? Do you know about the Great Commission, whether you can quote it or NOT? EVERY true believer is an ambassador for Christ. For preachers like me it is just not as up close and personal. Remember last time when I said it is your job to hold my feet to the fire to present God’s TRUTH? Not just me, but whoever stands in this spot! Well here in chapter 3 verse 15 it says, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. So the household of God, the church, ALL the people who name the Name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, NOT just the PREACHER, pastor, or deacons, should be educated to BE the pillar and support of God’s truth. It is the job of the preachers, teachers, pastors, and deacons, to try to make SURE of that. And its YOUR job to make sure I’m not trying to spread FALSE doctrine to the younger or less knowledgeable members of the congregation! He reminds Timothy of the great mystery that Jesus Christ presents to man in THESE TRUTHS as the Son of the Living GOD:

He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

These are truths that are more important than my life! If proclaiming them costs my life, rejection from friends and family, shunning and rejection by strangers, so be it. Does that sound extreme? Oh, I know, its easy for me to say that here in Smalltown, America, where there is little danger, although it seems to be getting closer all the time. And you won’t see me getting on a plane to preach the Gospel in Tehran anytime soon, unless God gives me the same clear marching orders he gave JONAH! There are plenty HERE who need to hear it! The church is dying in America because it no longer accepts the ABSOLUTENESS of those truths! The people, the ekklesia, the household of God charged with being the pillar and support of God’s truth has very nearly given up. Our comfort and peace have become more important than God’s TRUTH. The Colson Center for Christian Worldview published an article last week saying that by 2040 we will no longer even celebrate EASTER in the west, because the last generation wanting to do that will have died off. Christmas has long been way more about the MERCHANDISE WE GET than about THANKFULNESS for the MIRACULOUS, ETERNAL, GIFT we GOT! Easter is already more about Easter egg hunts than the truth of Christ’s defeat of death and the grave! The leadership of the church thought that by co-opting an existing pagan holiday to Christian purposes the church would GROW! Easter’s certainly not the only time it was done and if you pay close attention, the pagan roots are shining through, again!

Chapter 4 verses 1-2:But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

These ARE later times. People are falling away in DROVES. Many, who still attend church regularly, support doctrines of demons such as pro-choice and same sex marriage. They support the deceitful spirits of tolerance and acceptance for all that which God has deemed abomination. Please don’t get me wrong here. I’m a sinner, all of us are sinners. The wages of SIN is death! Sin, SINGULAR! It only takes ONE to fall short of the Glory of God and BE a transgressor. Christ was only COUNTED as one by sinful men bent on maintaining their position in life! The evangelical and mainline church has been deceived by the hypocrisy of liars with seared consciences. They have elected those people to positions of authority to set DOCTRINE; to teach tolerance instead of holiness, acceptance instead of righteousness. We’re told that we are all sinners anyway so we must never tell others THEY are wrong! I am not saying I’m better than ANY of them. To claim so is evil and hypocrisy in the church has driven away millions! Righteousness does not make me superior and holiness does not make me BETTER! The world and conscience-seared preachers put us on that pedestal and it has a greased seat! Failure is assured and with that failure comes finger pointing and BLAME.

Other issues are brought to light as we pick up at verse 3: men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Marriage was the first social construct put in place by God to be between one man and one woman. Religious doctrine that forbids Godly marriage for whatever reason is pushed by deceitful spirits just as is calling some foods unfit for believers! Those who believe AND KNOW THE TRUTH, that everything created by God is GOOD, know that it is good to SERVE the purpose for which it was CREATED!

Verse 6 in the NASB begins a section titled ‘The Good Minister’s Discipline’. As I’ve already pointed out, we are ALL ministers, so we should ALL pay close attention because Paul is speaking to ALL of us! He says, when we point out these things to the brethren, we will be good servants of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which we have been following.

We are not speaking as someone holier than thou, but in humility as a fellow soldier engaged in the battle right by their side. What battle? Oh, didn’t I mention the battle we are ALL fighting? The battle that is NOT against flesh and blood? The battle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We are to shun, have nothing to do with worldly fables, emotional arguments of tolerance and acceptance that feel good but deceive the heart! We are supposed to discipline ourselves for godliness but he says BODILY discipline is of little profit! He says, This is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance: godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Then he gives the reason it is worthy of acceptance: because it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Godliness, the result of renewing our mind and developing a heart for righteousness. These are not BODILY disciplines!

In verse 11 Paul goes on to tell Timothy: Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

Yes this was written to Timothy but EVERY father and mother is charged with raising up a child in the way they should GO! Forming this habit early on is one large step in that direction. Grandparents should not feel themselves left out of this exhortation. Read Scripture to your grandchildren. There are MANY great stories in there! David, Samson, Moses, Joseph and his coat of many colors, Rahab, Ruth, Esther, the list goes ON! Help the young develop a thirst for the Word. Let them see yours! Will they roll their eyes and object and want their phones or TV? Almost certainly! But who is in charge here? What is more important to their eternal SOUL? THEY certainly don’t know! Its your job, the ADULT’S job to teach them! Resistance is GUARANTEED! Love them through it! Paul goes on in verse 14, Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.

I would interject here: do not neglect God’s gift of YOUR children, grandchildren, other family and friends! Raise the level of CONVERSATION above TV and weather and gossip about the neighbors or the latest video game! Eternity is COMING! Paul goes on: 15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.

Isn’t this assurance worth the effort? Do you believe that God REALLY pays attention to what is going on in YOUR life? Or Not? Is His PROVIDENCE really something you depend on? I don’t mean do you just sit back and wait for Him to take care of it. I mean do you pray like its all on Him but WORK like its all on YOU? I know, it says Timothy’s spiritual gift was bestowed when the hands of the presbyters were laid on him. Question: Is that how PAUL received HIS gift? Is that how MOST of the Prophets received their Spiritual Gifts? NO! God can and DOES use whosoever He chooses, for HIS purposes in HIS GOOD TIME. HE IS GOD! That absolutely does not work to ANYONE’S ETERNAL DETRIMENT! And if you think it does maybe you should think again! Maybe you should get to know the God of Creation BETTER! Revisionist historians have been trying to convince us that the Founders were NOT devout, righteous, patriotic, civic minded men with minds and eyes firmly fixed on their LEGACY! NO! They were hypocritical land and slave owners who wanted to keep everyone else under their thumb! As I said there are many who will LIE to promote themselves, their ideas, and their power. People who refuse to educate themselves with TRUTH are fertile ground for their ruinous, evil, aspirations!

The Founders had a FIRM belief in the PROVIDENCE of Almighty God; a firm belief BASED ON REASON! Ben Franklin was about 81 years old when the Constitution was being debated. When it began to look like the whole thing was going to fail because of arguments over different ideas, he called for a resolution that prayer be offered before the opening of each day’s business and he gave this reason: The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: ‘that God governs in the affairs of men.’ And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? With GOD’S help our Constitution was completed and ratified. What they gave us, the greatest document for the governance of a free people in the history of the world, has been under increasingly virulent attack for decades. The agenda to destroy our way of life keeps gaining momentum. We, ladies and gentlemen, are the only brake that can hope to slow down this destruction. We can only do it with God’s help. I say with God’s help because just like He helped Israel take the Promised Land, they still HAD TO SHOW UP! They still had to fight! They still had to show their COMMITTMENT to HIM and His Righteousness. AS DO WE!

I know, this is Smalltown! We are FEW! What can we do to stand against the multitude that wants us MUTE! Do you all remember the Alamo? Just a hundred and eighty six men stood against Santa Ana’s army? He offered them the chance to LEAVE! He offered them their LIVES! All they had to do was quit, give up! His army was THOUSANDS strong! Staying was certain death! Their goal was worth more than their lives. It was BIGGER than them! It was worth the sacrifice! It was THEIR Legacy! NOT ONE MAN quit. Isn’t Christ and ALL the providence of God this nation has enjoyed a TRUTH worth standing up and proclaiming? That kind of truth is certainly worth taking pains to be ABSORBED IN, don’t you think? Allowing ourselves to be muzzled, to bow the knee, to be neutered by peace with, tolerance of, and acceptance of the UNHOLY and PROFANE, is NOT what a Christian’s LEGACY is supposed to BE! We are not called to allow our children, whether biological or those of our COMMUNITIES, to be indoctrinated into the unholy and profane we see being forced into day care, public schools, drag queen reading hour in our libraries, CRT in our colleges and perversion in the ads on TV as if it WERE NORMAL!

Twelve men who followed Christ without blinking, changed the world. They didn’t do it ALL AT ONCE! They made a small impact wherever they went. We can do that here! We can share Christ’s legacy here. Just make a small impact wherever you go. Leave the ripple effect to GOD! Let us do our part and He is MORE than prepared to do HIS! It starts with knowing HIM, becoming His disciple. Jesus had fishermen, tax collectors, shepherds, plain, ordinary people who were willing to KNOW HIM. They didn’t worry about what was in God’s hands. They just tried their best to take care of what God had placed in theirs without fear and without doubt. There has been a schism in the church over the method of baptism for centuries if not millennia! Some sprinkle, some immerse, but water is the THING. I don’t want to burst any bubbles here but if you are willing to really READ what the Scripture says about baptism in the NAME of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit you should very quickly come to the realization that WATER is only a SYMBOL. Immersing yourself in the NAME is the KEY to understanding. It is the NAME that carries the knowable essence of GOD! That is why the Jews would not write His Name out in full in the Scriptures! The very WORD of His Name was considered too HOLY to put on paper! To be baptized in the NAME is to be immersed in all we can know of the living God we SERVE!

In the beginning was the Word and the Word WAS GOD! The Word was the NAME! It is in THAT we are to immerse ourselves! BELIEVER’S Baptism is Discipleship of the highest order not just a one time symbolic act! Just like a wedding ring is only the SYMBOL of marriage, NOT the marriage itself. You can believe anything you want. Belief doesn’t validate truth, TRUTH validates belief. Discipleship is how you put on the WHOLE armor of God. Its what makes you able to share the TRUTH of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pick up your cross of TRUTH today and follow Paul’s direction to Timothy. We only looked at a small piece of it today. There is much more. This isn’t about glorious missions to foreign lands or great stories of close calls or even martyrdom. Its about making a small impact wherever you are. Its about OUR legacy! You never know what God has in store! Jesus promised us that if we profess Him before men, He will profess us before the Father. This is the promise of the Son of God and can NEVER be undone! Next Sunday might be a good time to renew that profession. If you have never made that profession, TODAY is none too soon! We’ll have a hymn of invitation and then a closing prayer. If you have questions or comments, I’ll be glad to hear them.

Before ending today here are a few thoughts about our culture and our time:

  1. For a country that killed an entire generation in the womb but tells adults to wear masks to “save lives”, your words are a joke and an embarrassment!
  2. Covid is a true killer. So far its killed the flu, cancer, heart disease—its killed the ability to think, logic & common sense. It killed the economy, the working class, & millions of jobs. It killed millions of businesses, human connection, love and compassion. This on top of the victims of flawed and big-pharma controlled treatment options and censorship. It is a true killer, but, I think, not the only one.

And last but certainly not least:

  1. I seriously don’t get it. I was born in Kansas City, raised in South East Nebraska, and a U.S. Citizen my whole life, served in the US Air Force during Viet Nam, No serious criminal record, no warrants. But when I travel by plane within my own country, I have to get in a whole body scanner or face an invasive pat down. I have to present an official government approved ID. So does the 5 year old kid with his parents, the elderly gentleman who served in WW2, and the nuns. But somehow its no problem that millions of people are tearing across the border illegally with satchels of God knows what – Drugs? Weapons? Soup? Who knows? And some bringing children – are they theirs? Are they trafficking? Kidnapping? “Borrowing” so in case they get caught they’re immediately released? Who knows? Something is very, very, wrong with this picture. Model US citizens are forced to “Virtually” strip(that’s what the scanners do) yet people who are showing an open defiance of our laws are being treated like victims and above the law, above interrogation and given a free pass. And there are CHRISTIAN organizations Transporting them around the COUNTRY! It ain’t right folks, and we ALL know it.

With every head bowed and every eye closed let us pray. We beg You, most Gracious Heavenly Father, to give us strength and courage to fulfill the call You have given us. We beg you to use us to REDEEM this land in which we have been blessed beyond measure to be born. We beg you to USE us to not just share Your Word but to show its power within US. May we be diligent in obedience. May we be merciful without being tolerant of sin; loving without being accepting of perversion; meek without being weak; Lord may we learn to live as Pilgrims, being IN the world but not OF the world. Fill our hearts with the TRUTH of Jesus Christ. THAT is the most valuable legacy we have to pass on in this world, no matter the risk, no matter the cost. This we ask in the precious and holy Name of Your Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Thanks again for having us back today. God bless and have a great week.

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