1. In 1 Timothy 1:5, three subjects are mentioned that are very important to the Lord: "charity [love] out of a pure heart,""faith unfeigned," and "a good conscience." 2. In our lesson we are concentrating on "having a good conscience." 3. Conscience: the inner part of us that determines whether something is right or wrong. a. A properly trained conscience will prompt a person to do what is right, and it will lead a person to abstain from what is wrong. 1) Joseph illustrated this principle when he refused to commit adultery with Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39:8). 2) He refused because he knew this was "wickedness," and he knew it was a "sin against God" (vs.9). b. A properly trained conscience will also motivate us to seek forgiveness when we make mistakes (Acts 2:37-38; 8:22, 24). 4. The actions of many people illustrate why we need to study this subject. 5. Let us begin by showing that . . .
I. THE BIBLE SPEAKS ABOUT VARIOUS TYPES OF CONSCIENCES
A. Positively, the Bible teaches that a person may have: 1. "a good conscience" (1 Timothy 1:5) 2. a "pure conscience" (1 Timothy 3:9). B. Negatively, the Bible teaches that a person may have: 1. a "seared" conscience (1 Timothy 4:1-3) ["past feeling" -- Ephesians 4:19] 2. a "defiled" conscience (Titus 1:15) 3. "an evil conscience" (Hebrews 10:22) 4. a "weak conscience" (1 Corinthians 8:12). C. Thankfully, God has made it possible for us to undergo a change of conscience. D. In addition to teaching that there are various types of consciences, . . .
II. THE BIBLE SHOWS THAT A PERSON MAY BE DECEIVED ABOUT THE CONDITION OF HIS CONSCIENCE [illustrated by Paul]
A. According to Acts 23:1, Paul had "lived in all good conscience before God." B. Notice what he had done with a clear conscience (Acts 22:3-5). C. His encounter with the Lord showed him he had been wrong (Acts 22:6-10). D. Ananias told him what to do so his sins could be washed away (Acts 22:16). E. (Acts 9:18) This is exactly what he did. F. The conscience is not necessarily a safe guide to follow -- it must be properly trained according to God's will.
III. THE BIBLE TEACHES US TO HAVE A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD AND MEN (Acts 24:16)
A. We must have a good conscience toward God. 1. The Bible teaches us how this is accomplished. a. (Hebrews 9:14) "The blood of Christ" "purges" the conscience. b. This is accomplished when we are baptized (1 Peter 3:21). 2. To maintain a good conscience before God we must follow the instructions given in 1 John 1:7, 9. 3. (1 Peter 2:19-21) Having a good conscience toward God will help us when our faith is tried. B. We must have a good conscience toward men. 1. The Bible also teaches us how this is accomplished. 2. We must be concerned about other people and the impact of our actions on them (1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
1. "Having a good conscience" is very important to the Lord. 2. Let us follow His plan for having clear consciences before Him and our fellow man.