1. This verse mentions 3 important subjects: a. "charity [love] out of a pure heart" b. "a good conscience" c. "faith unfeigned." 2. Recently on Wednesday evenings we studied: a. Hebrews 11 [the faith chapter] b. 1 Corinthians 13 [the love chapter]. 3. This morning we are concentrating on passages that teach us what we need to know about "having a good conscience."
I. LET US FIRST GIVE A DEFINITION OF "THE CONSCIENCE"
A. Conscience: the inner part of us that determines whether something is right or wrong. B. 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 39:8-9). 2. He refused because he knew this was "wickedness," and he knew it was a "sin against God." C. A properly trained conscience will also motivate us to seek forgiveness when we make mistakes (Acts 2:37-38; 8:22, 24). D. Now that we know what the conscience is, we need to point out that . . .
II. 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, . . .
III. 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. This is exactly what he did (Acts 9:18). F. The conscience is not necessarily a safe guide to follow -- it must be properly trained according to God's will.
IV. THE BIBLE TEACHES US TO HAVE A GOOD CONSCIENCE TOWARD GOD AND MEN
A. We must have a good conscience toward God. 1. How is this 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. How is this accomplished? 2. We have to be concerned about other people and the impact of our actions on them (1 Corinthians 10:23-33).
1. The passages we have covered emphasize the importance of "having a good conscience." 2. By way of application,: a. If a person disobeys God and feels no remorse, what does this say about his conscience? b. If a person tries to justify his behavior on the basis of what he has always done, what does this say about his conscience? c. If a person does not care about what the Bible teaches, what does this say about his conscience? d. If a person puts other things ahead of the Lord and His church and feels no remorse, what does this say about his conscience? 3. If your conscience needs to undergo a change, we encourage you to come to Christ for cleansing and renewal (Matthew 11:28-30).