A Good Conscience - West Jordan
Introduction: God gave each of us a conscience to help us in making good DECISIONS.
Problem: Many have confused a spiritual EXPERIENCE with a GOOD conscience.
Question: Why wouldn’t I simply let my conscience be my guide?
- Our conscience is not a spiritual THERMOMETER – it doesn’t tell us if something is morally hot (right) or cold (wrong). (Romans 2:14-15)
- Our conscience is more like a spiritual THERMOSTAT – reflecting and regulating our moral standards. (1Timothy 1:18-19)
How To Develop a Good Conscience
Practice #1: Make sure your conscience is BIBLICALLY informed.
Practice #2: Make sure your conscience is CULTURALLY adjusted.
Practice #3: Make sure your conscience is LOVE driven.
1 Corinthians 8:4-13 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live. 7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. 9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.
Key Observation: Christian FRIENDSHIP trumps Christian FREEDOM. (v.9)
Question: What is a “weak” conscience?
Answer: It is an “overly sensitive” conscience that is affected by past SIN.
How To Ruin Your Conscience
Exercise #1: Trust your FEELINGS = A LYING conscience (1 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Exercise #2: Do whatever you want, whenever you want by IGNORING your conscience = A CALLOUS conscience (Acts 24:16)
Exercise #3: Continually VIOLATE your conscience = A DEAD conscience (1 Timothy 4:2-3)
When our conscience is properly developed it becomes a valuable EARLY WARNING system.