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The Importance Of The Local Church -9 “The Blessings Of Church Membership”

SIH TOA ICON

“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this ninth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the many blessings that can be had by those who join the membership of a local assembly…

 

THE STUDY:

Blessings Of Spiritual Growth:

1.  Receive the Teachings Of God’s Word
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”   (Ephesians 4:11-16)

As the saints are instructed in the Word, they gain….

2.  Spiritual Maturity & Strengthening
For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious.”   (1 Peter 1:24-2:3)

 

Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry:

1.  Build A Good Testimony
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;  Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.  For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;  That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.´  (Romans 1:8-14)

The Christian is able to build up their personal testimony through faithful attendance and increased opportunities of service, but also they are able to build a better testimony being members of a faithful church that is known publically for their faith in service.

2.  Increased Opportunities of Service
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.”   (1 Corinthians 12:18-23)

 
With increased opportunities of service also comes increased rewards when the service is completed faithfully…

3. Rewards For Obedience
And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”   (Colossians 3:23-25)

Blessings Of Community:

1.  Encouragement
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”   (Hebrews 10:22-25)

As saints see faithfulness in the lives of other saints, it encourages them to be faithful as well.

2.  Fellowship
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”   (Acts 2:41-42)

3.  Separation from Sinful World To Worship
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.  And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.”   (Mark 6:30-32)

Just as Christ called the first church to separation from the world for a period of rest and refreshment, so too, every time the saint attends the meeting of the church, they can get their minds off of the sinful world in which they live.  They can do this by concentrating more fully on the Lord through communal worship.

4.  Care From Others
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”   (Acts 2:44-47)

5.  Lord’s Presence and the Joy That Follows
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  (Matthew 18:20)
The Lord promises showing a special presence to those who join together with others to worship Him.  A result of His enhanced presence the saint also experiences increased joy….

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”   (Psalms 16:11)

6.  Spiritual Protection
It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, [concerning] him that hath so done this deed,  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”   (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)
 

Here, we can see that church membership affords added protection from the powerful intervention of Satan in our lives.  In this text we can see that when an individuals are removed from church membership due to unrepentant sin, they are left exposed to greater Satanic influence in their lives.  This was done to show them their sinful condition and bring them back to repentance once their sinful stubborn flesh was overcome through the affliction of Satan.

 
THE SUMMARY:

What are the blessings of church membership that are available to all of her members?
1. Blessings Of Spiritual Growth
2. Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry
3. Blessings Of Community:
Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  There are many varied blessings that will be received as faithful members of His churches.
May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -8 “The Mission Of The Church: To Teach It’s Members”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

 In this eighth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the third responsibility given to the church in the Great Commission.  This is the responsibility to teach those who profess faith in Christ into the membership of the assembly….

 

THE STUDY:

The Third Responsibility Found In The Great Commission: Teaching It’s Members The Word Of God.

1. Where is this responsibility found?:

Matthew’s Account Of The Great Commission…

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.   And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”   (Matthew 28:16-20)

The responsibility to teach the members of the assembly is found in the Matthew account of the Great Commission only.  Please note several things about this responsibility…

1.  It involves “teaching”.
The word translated “teaching” in the phrase “Teaching them to observe all things…” is a different Greek word than that which is translated “teach” in the phrase “teach all nations”. (If you recall the meaning of “TEACH all nations” was a Greek word that meant to take the gospel to all nations.  In other words, it meant to share with the lost the good news of Christ and salvation.)

In our text for this study, the Greek word translated “TEACHING them to observe all things….” is a Greek word that means “to indoctrinate”, “to instruct”, “to share knowledge”,  or “to cause to learn”.  It is through understanding the difference between these two Greek words that we get a clear picture of what was meant in Matthew’s account of the GC.

2.  It involves teaching “them”.  Who does “them” refer to?  It is those who have been given the gospel, accepting it by faith and submitting to church membership through baptism…

The local assembly is to…
1.  “Teach all nations” – Take the gospel to the lost world showing them Christ and the salvation He is offering.
2.  “Baptizing them in the name of …” – When they are saved, they are to make a public profession of that faith and join the local assembly through baptism.
3.  “Teaching them to observe” – Once a member of the church, they are to be instructed by the assembly.

We find the same responsibility reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul as he ministered to the local churches of the Gentile world….

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church…. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.   (Acts 20:17-31)

The phrase “he hath purchased with His own blood” carries with it a dual application.  First of all, the local assembly is made up of those for whom Christ died. So in that sense He died for the assembly.  Secondly, the local assemblies, as the body of Christ, receive the purification of the sins of the assembly through the death of Christ on the cross, just as believers receive their blessings through this same channel (Eph 5:22-29).

Paul also reaffirmed this responsibility to Timothy, who most scholars believe was the young Pastor of the church at Ephesus….

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”   (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

2. How does the assembly carry out this responsibility?  Through the ministry of godly men who are to exercise of spiritual gifts they are given.
The Godly men:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”   (Ephesians 4:11-13)

In this text, we can see several offices being established for the instruction and strengthening of the local assembly…
1. apostles – their ministry was to present the inspired New Testament writings to establish assemblies and to accredit the teachings and ministry of the local assembly.  Their office and ministry ended soon after the completion of God’s Word in 100 AD
2. prophets – their ministry was to present the Old and New Testament writings to man.  Their office and ministry ended soon after the completion of God’s Word in 100 AD
3. evangelists – their ministry is to take the gospel to the lost world.  In today’s time we commonly refer to these men as “missionaries”.
4. pastors/teachers – their ministry, as explained in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, is to teach the local assembly, to evangelize in their local area, and to take the watch care over the assembly. (see also Titus 1:7-9)

Notice the aim of the teaching of His Word to the membership:
1. For the perfecting of the saints – to give the saints EVERYTHING they need to live lives that honor and glorify Christ on earth.  This verse clearly tells us that nothing else is needed for the saint to live a Godly life on earth apart from the instruction of God’s Word.
2. “For the work of the ministry  – to give saints the needed tools to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of others.
3. “For the edifying of the body of Christ – to build up, strengthen, the saints spiritually.

This teaching is to continue until
1.  “We all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,  – All saints come into full and complete agreement on the doctrines of their faith and an understanding of the person, work and their relationship with Christ.  In other words, this teaching should continue until we go to heaven.  As seen, based upon past history, all Christians will never come to total, absolute agreement on doctrinal truths this side of heaven.
2.  unto a perfect man unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ  – All saints become spiritually mature and equipped to the point that they are living lives that compare to that of Christ on the earth, with no need of improvement.   Again, this will never happen this side of heaven.

It is because of the need for churches until Christ’s second coming that He promised in the Great Commission that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). In other words, it will never enter into the realm of the unseen.  It will always be seen and active until Christ comes.

ALSO NOTE: The office of “deacon” was also established.  Their role is to help meet the physical needs of the members and to support the Pastor/Teachers who are to care for the members spiritual needs…

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples [unto them], and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.   (Acts 6:1-4) (see also I Tim 3:8-15)

The office of deacon is not included in the Ephesians 4:11-13 because their ministry does not include spiritual instruction and strengthening of the assembly.  The Ephesians listing is exclusively reserved to those who are active in the spiritual oversight and ministry of the Word to the membership.

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:
1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)
2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

To evangelize the lost; to baptize into the assembly those who profess faith in Christ; to indoctrinate church members to equip them for the service of Christ.

As we studied the first part of the Great Commission that is given to His assemblies we have seen:
1.  The content of the gospel message:
Christ’s Death; Christ’s Burial; Christ’s Resurrection; The Witnesses To The Resurrection

2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies is described as:
To make students Of Christ; To declare the good news of Christ; To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message; To be sent as Jesus was sent; To share our experience of Christ with others

3.  The priority of taking the Gospel into the world
Jerusalem, the CITY where the church is located; Judaea, equivalent to the state in which the church is located; Samaria, the other states that make up the nation where the church is located; uttermost parts of the world, the other nations of the world.

As we studied the second part of the Great Commission, we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to observe both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
1. Baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ and His Work
2. Baptism pictures the work of Christ on our behalf
3. Baptism is a picture of our salvation from sins
4. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:
5. Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership
6. The Lord’s Supper observance is also the responsibility of a local assembly.
7. The Lord’s Supper is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

As we have studied the third, and final part, of the Great Commission, we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to teach the Word to its members through the use of Godly, gifted men in places of leadership for its edification…

1.  The responsibility to teach the members of the assembly is found in the Matthew’s account of the Great Commission.
2.  It involves “teaching” (ie to indoctrinate, to instruct, to cause to learn).
3.  It involves teaching “them”.  (ie baptized believers who have joined the membership of the local assembly.
4.  The same church responsibility reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul.
5.  Several offices were established for the instruction and strengthening of the local assembly: apostles; prophets; evangelists; pastor/teachers.  The office of evangelist and pastor/teacher continue to this day.…
6.  This teaching is for the good of the membership by giving the saints EVERYTHING they need to live lives that honor and glorify Christ on earth; giving saints the needed tools to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of others;  to build up, strengthen, the saints spiritually.
7.  This teaching is to continue until Christ comes again.
Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the only organization that has been given the responsibility to teach the truths of God’s Word to His disciples.  It is through the ministry of the local church that the Lord equips His saints to meet all the challenges of life on a fallen earth and still live lives glorifying to Him.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -7: “The Mission Of The Church: The Ordinances of Baptism and Lord’s Supper

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this seventh lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the second responsibility given to the church in the Great Commission.  This is the responsibility to baptize those who profess faith in Christ into the membership of the assembly….

THE STUDY:

The Second Responsibility Found In The Great Commission: Baptize Into the Assembly.

1. What Is Baptism?: A public profession of faith in Christ and His Work

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”   (1 Peter 3:18-22)

Peter now speaks of an OT event which is a picture of the ordinance of baptism.  Christ spoke to the wicked men of Noah’s day through the ministry of Noah as he built the ark.  It was a public testimony of Noah’s faith in Christ and his belief in the message that his Lord had given to him through the inspiration and illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Just as the salvation of the individuals in the ark during the flood was a living symbolic picture of salvation found in Christ.  The ark pictured Christ, those in the ark pictures the believers and the judgment of sin pictured by the flood. Baptism symbolically pictures the same truth… salvation through the work of Christ from sin and its results.

Baptism as a picture of salvation from sins:

Baptism is immersion in water…

The word “baptize” is used several times in the New Testament and is translated from a Greek word that means “to be immersed, submerged, or soaked”.   Biblical baptism is when an individual is actually immersed (picturing a burial) in water.

The steps of an individuals baptism are as follows…
1. The individual stands in the body of water.
2. The individual is lowered (until totally covered) into the water
3. The individual is raised from the water into a standing position.

These steps proclaim what Christ has done on his behalf:
1. When, first standing in the water, it is a picture of Christ standing on the earth working on behalf of his people.  His teaching, His healing, and most importantly, his arrest, abuse and crucifixion are all symbolized by this standing.
2.  When lowered under the water, it is a picture of the death and burial of Christ, done on behalf of those who are saved.
3.  When brought up out of the water, it is a picture of the resurrection of Christ, the proof that He paid the price necessary to secure salvation for His people and He is now victorious over death.

These steps of baptism also proclaim what God has done in the life of the new believer:
1. When, first standing in the water, it is a picture of the believer’s walk on earth prior to his salvation experience.  It is a sinful walk based upon selfish desires and the lusts of his flesh.
2.  When lowered under the water, it is a picture of the believer who is spiritually dead and under the bondage of sin.
3.  When brought up out of the water, it is a picture of the believers release from sins bondage, spiritual life being given to him and a new life of service to Christ beginning.

Baptism is to proclaim to all that an individual, through salvation, has a good conscience towards God:

baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)” 

Peter makes it plain that baptism is not observed to gain salvation for an individual.. “not putting away the filth of the flesh”.  On the contrary, Peter tells us that it is “the answer of a good conscience towards God”, it is observed once the recipient recognizes his sins have been forgiven and he is now right with God.  This is why he no longer has a guilty conscience before God and makes him the ideal candidate for baptism.

2. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:

To Baptize Into The Assembly Those Who Have Made Professions Of Faith:

Matthew:  baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

The “them” referred to are those who have been made followers of Christ through receipt of the gospel message.

Mark:  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Here Christ confirms that baptism is one PROOF of a genuine salvation experience.  If someone claims belief in Christ, but is not willing to publically confess Christ is their Savior, the authenticity of their experience must be questioned.

Not only is baptism a public declaration of our faith in Christ, but it is also the prerequisite to church membership…

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”   (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

Although a local church is made up of many members, the local church is still one, unified body. Under the leadership of the indwelling Spirit, the new believer is led of God to partake of water baptism and join into the membership of the local assembly.

The only prerequisite of water baptism is faith in Christ.  Jew or Gentile, slave or free may receive this ordinance and become members of His local assembly, as long as they have trusted in Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Along with Baptism, although not a part of the great commission, the local assembly is given the responsibility to observe the Lord’s Supper.

1. What Is The Lord’s Supper?: It is a public profession and remembrance of Christ, His work and His second coming.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”   (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The Apostle Paul, as he instructs the local church at Corinth, explains to them the purpose of the Lord’s Supper observance, as taught by Christ Himself.  It is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Eating the bread reminds us of Christ’s body that was bruised and abused on our behalf.  Drinking the fruit of the vine reminds us of His shed blood on our behalf.  The Lord also commanded the church to observe this ordinance until He comes again.

2. How do we know that the responsibilities for the Lord’s Supper observance was given to the local church?

Paul, as he writes to the Corinth church says that For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto youPaul clearly said that he was delivering the instructions for this ordinance to the local assembly, the addressee of his letter.

Also, when Christ observed the supper it was with the local church at Jerusalem made up of His Apostles.  There were eleven of His Apostles present for the observance of the supper (Judas left prior to the observance following his accusation) …

Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve…  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”   (Matthew 26:20-28)

And in the evening he cometh with the twelve…  And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it.

And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”   (Mark 14:17-25)

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:  For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 (Luke 22:14-20)

 

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:
1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)
2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

To evangelize the lost; to baptize into the assembly those who profess faith in Christ; to indoctrinate church members to equip them for the service of Christ.

As we studied the first part of the Great Commission that is given to His assemblies we have seen:
1.  The content of the gospel message: Christ’s Death; Christ’s Burial; Christ’s Resurrection; The Witnesses To The Resurrection
2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies is described as: To make students Of Christ; To declare the good news of Christ; To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message; To be sent as Jesus was sent; To share our experience of Christ with others
3.  The priority of taking the Gospel into the world

Jerusalem, the CITY where the church is located; Judaea, equivalent to the state in which the church is located; Samaria, the other states that make up the nation where the church is located; uttermost parts of the world, the other nations of the world.

As we studied the second part of the Great Commission we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to observe both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
1. Baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ and His Work
2. Baptism pictures the work of Christ on our behalf
3. Baptism is a picture of our salvation from sins
4. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:
5. Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership
6. The Lord’s Supper observance is also the responsibility of a local assembly.
7. The Lord’s Supper is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the ONLY organization that has been given the responsibility to observe the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  To properly partake of these, they must be regulated, supplied and observed by a local assembly of the Lord.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -5 “The Mission Of The Church: The Great Commission”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this fifth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the church’s mission.  The mission the Lord has given to His churches is commonly, described as “The Great Commission.  Let’s take the next few studies to come to a better understanding of the mission of the Lord’s churches…

THE STUDY:

The Responsibilities and Recipients of The Great Commission Are Described…

 

1. The complete texts of the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:18-20

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.   And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”   (Matthew 28:16-20)

Mark 16:14-18

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

 

Luke 24:33-50

And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,  Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.  And they told what things [were done] in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them [his] hands and [his] feet.  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?   And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took [it], and did eat before them.  And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.  And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

 

John 20:19-25

Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.  And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

 

Acts 1:2-9

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:  To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:  And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

 

 

2. The Responsibilities of The Great Commission

A. To Take The Gospel To The Lost, Locally and World-Wide:

Matthew: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations

Mark: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Luke: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.

John:  as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Acts:  ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

B. To Baptize Into The Assembly Those Who Have Made Professions Of Faith:

Matthew:  baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mark:  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Here Christ confirms that baptism is one PROOF of a genuine salvation experience.  If someone claims belief in Christ, but is not willing to publically confess Christ is their Savior, the authenticity of their experience must be questioned.

Luke: Not mentioned

John: Not mentioned

Acts:  Not mentioned

C. To Teach God’s Word To The Assembly Members To Equip Them For Service:

Matthew: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:

Mark:  Not mentioned

Luke:  Not mentioned

John:  Not mentioned

Acts:  Not mentioned

 

 

3. The Recipients of the Great Commission:

The assembled Apostles (ie the local church at Jerusalem) with, in some cases, other disciples who were assembled with them, when He delivered the Great Commission.

Matthew:  eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

Mark:  the eleven as they sat at meat,

Luke:  the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, (We have the eleven Apostles assembled with other disciples.  Probably by this point in time, other saved individuals had joined the Lord’s assembly.)

John:  the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said unto him, (This is a gathering of the “disciples” which obviously included 10 of the eleven Apostles.  Note later in the account we are told that Thomas was not there but the other 10 Apostles confirmed they were present at the meeting and told Thomas what had taken place.)

Acts:   the apostles whom he had chosen:,… being assembled together with [them],

 

 

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:

1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)

2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

To evangelize the lost; to baptize into the assembly those who profess faith in Christ; to indoctrinate church members to equip them for the service of Christ.

In the next few parts to this series we will look at the responsibilities of the Great Commission in greater detail.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the ONLY organization that has been given the responsibilities of the Great Commission.  Should we not all be supportive of the organization God has ordained to send His truth into the world for His honor and glory?

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,   Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,   May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,   Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”   (Ephesians 3:14-21)

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -4: “The Foundation Of The Church: Christ and His Word”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this fourth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the church’s foundation.  In other words, we will be studying the basis and underpinnings of the Lord’s churches on earth.

 

THE STUDY:

Christ and His Word Make Up the Foundation of the Local Assembly…

1. Christ is called the Foundation with the Ministry Of The Word Building Upon That Foundation : 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”   (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

 

In this text, we can see that Paul is describing his teaching ministry to the Lord’s churches as “I have laid the foundation”.  He continues by describing the teaching of those who teach the assemblies after his departure as “and another buildeth thereon”.   By using these descriptive phrases Paul is making it plain for us to see that the teaching the truths of Christ make up the foundation and mission of the Lord’s churches.

He then goes further and states that “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  By saying this, he is making it plain that the foundation of the Lord’s churches are made up EXCLUSIVELY of the teachings concerning Christ.   The teachings of this world, no matter how popular or persuasive they might be are not a part of the underpinnings, strength, and establishment of the churches of the Lord.

These principles are further supported by 1 Timothy 3:15 which tells us that the church of God is the “pillar and ground of the truth”.

Paul then explains that the teachings that honor Christ are very valuable and will reap eternal blessings for the teacher; while the teachings that depart from God’s Word are of no lasting value and will not bring about eternal gain.

2.  Christ is called the “Chief Cornerstone” with the Word Being Called The Foundation : Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

 

In these verses, Paul reveals to us that “the household of God” (ie the local church assembly) is built upon the foundation of the Word of God.  He uses the phrase “the apostles and prophets” to refer to the New and the Old Testaments.  Those who held the office of apostle were the  authors of the vast majority of the New Testament.  Likewise, those holding the office of prophet wrote the vast majority of the Old Testament.

What is the dominating, exclusive theme of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures? It is the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is why He is described as the “chief corner stone”.  What is the a chief corner stone.  Basically, it is the foundation of the foundation.  The cornerstone is set and then the other stones making up the foundation are placed in alignment with it.

3.  The Truths Of Christ Found In The Word Are Called “The Rock” Upon Which The Local Church Is Built: Matthew 16:13-20

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.   He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.   And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

 

Please note the series of events that take place in this text:

1. Christ asks his disciples… how does the common Jewish citizen identify Him?

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 

 

 

2.  The response they give … there is no certainty and much disagreement on their part… perhaps John the Baptist, perhaps the OT prophet Elijah or Jeremiah, or another prophet.

And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  

 

3.  Christ’s second question… How do my disciples identify me?

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 

 

4.  Peter replies …. Thou art the Christ (Anointed One, One Sent From God) the Son of the living God.

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 

 

 

5.  The Lord responds by explaining that, to understand these truths about Christ Peter has been greatly blessed with enabling by God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  

 

 

6.  The Lord continues by stating that Peter’s description of Christ is the rock (cornerstone) that the Lord’s church will be empowered, strengthened and established.  It would be through the teachings of these truths about Christ that the church would be invincible.

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 

(In this verse, note the play on the word “rock”.  The word “rock’ is used to describe the truths that Peter has just spoken, Christ was affirming these truths as the foundational truths of His local assembly.

Please notice that Christ gives the title of “Peter” to Simon in response to the statement that Simon has just made. “Peter” is the English translation of a Greek word that means “a small piece of a rock”.  Why does Christ give Peter this title?  He is saying that Peter, as he declares the truth about Christ is adding to the foundation becoming a small part of it.  This is in perfect alignment with what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 (above).  Anyone who proclaims Christ in a local assembly is adding a small piece of rock to the large rock that is the church’s foundation.  This is what Peter had just done proclaiming these truths about Christ in the midst of the local church at Jerusalem.

 

7.  The Lord continues His discourse to all the assembled disciples telling them that, as a local church assembly, they have a tremendous amount of authority as they proclaim truths about Christ to the world.

These truths if accepted by faith, will give access to the kingdom of heaven.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

 

 

As the church warns others of their bondage in sin and coming eternal judgment (binding the hearers on earth); God in heaven will “back up their message” and bring this judgment to pass. (binding the hearers in heaven).

and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:

 

Likewise, as the church promises those who believe the church’s message of Christ will be released from their sin bondage and enter into spiritual, eternal life (loose them on earth); God in heaven will honor their promise and grant to the believer freedom from sin and the judgment to come (loose them in heaven).

and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This is the great level of authority that is possessed by a local church of the Lord that is built upon Christ and the truths of His Word.

 

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches foundation, we saw that

1.  The church’s foundation is made up of the Truths of God’s Word.

2.  The Word which is made up of both Old and New Testaments exclusively reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, the “cornerstone” of that foundation.

3.  Anyone who teaches these truths of Christ in the midst of His assembly will be adding to the foundation of that assembly.

4.  The church, when it proclaims the truths of God possesses a tremendous amount of authority knowing that the Lord is support their teachings of sin, salvation and the eternity to come.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is founded upon the truths of Christ that are presented in His Word.  Because its foundation and message is based upon Christ, the church carries a tremendous amount of authority that is supported by God Himself.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 24:19-22

SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

 

Cultivate Godly Attitudes: Look To Lord, not Wicked: Proverbs 24:19-22

19) Fret not thyself because of evil [men], neither be thou envious at the wicked;
20) For there shall be no reward to the evil [man]; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
21) My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: [and] meddle not with them that are given to change:
22) For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?

 

Solomon now shares with us teachings on the need to cultivate Godly attitudes…

 

EXPOSITION:

Here, we will see the need to keep our eyes on the goal of faithful service to our Lord and Savior…

19) Fret not thyself because of evil [men], neither be thou envious at the wicked;
We should not turn our eyes to those who are wicked….
1.  Do not be anxious about those who bring ruin and opposition to others.
2.  Nor should we desire to be like those who are lawless.

By keeping our eyes upon our Lord and faithful service for Him, we will keep our eyes off the wicked.  This will result in less tension, stress and anxiety; as well as keeping our desires and motivations pure and Godly as well.

“I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.  I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.”   (Psalms 26:4-5)

 

20) For there shall be no reward to the evil [man]; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
Why are we to keep our eyes on Christ and His service?
1.  Because, in the end, the lawless will not be blessed by God
2.  The Lord will take away all their attractiveness (power, possessions, fame, etc etc)

If we begin to concentrate on the wicked and the temporary prosperity that they enjoy, we can find ourselves being attracted to their lifestyle and methods.  However, by keeping our eye son the Lord, we can see “the end from the beginning” and we understand the temporal nature of their success.

These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds [they are] without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;  Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”   (Jude 1:12-13)

 

21) My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: [and] meddle not with them that are given to change:
Because keeping our eyes on Christ is of great benefit….
1.  We are to always recognize the Lord’s greatness and fear His hand of chastening and respect those who hold positions of human authority over us.
2.  We are to not be intermingled with those who are inconsistent and wavering in their lifestyle.

A great motivator to keeping our eyes on the Lord and His service is three-fold: recognize His authority over us; recognize the threat of His hand of chastening upon us; and recognize the human authorities He has set over us.  By doing these, we will keep ourselves separated from the wicked that dwell among us.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.  Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”   (1 Peter 2:13-17)

 

 22) For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
Why should we keep ourselves separated from the wicked?
1.   Those who ignore the authorities over them, will swiftly and unexpectedly face a burning rod that will bring them misery and destruction
2.   No one can fully understand the destruction that awaits those who ignore civil authorities and those who ignore their Ultimate Authority, the Lord.

By ignoring the Lord, and the civil authorities that He has set over us, we are destined to a lifestyle of disobedience, selfishness, abuse to others and ultimate ruin.  Oh how important it is to focus upon Christ and His service as we live our lives on earth.

Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, [so is] thy wrath.”   (Psalms 90:11)

 

SUMMARY:

By keeping our eyes upon the Lord and those He has set over us:
1.  Relieves anxiety about those who oppose us
2.  Eliminates the desire to emulate the lawless
3.  Allows escape from the coming judgment of the wicked
4.  Allows us to experience the Godly motivations of reverence and fear of chastening
5.  Allows us to remain separated from the wicked

May we all possess Godly wisdom and live our lives for Him.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -3 “The Nature Of The Church: The Lifespan of The Assembly”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this third lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will begin looking at the church’s promised span  and purpose of existence in this sin darkened world.

 

THE STUDY:

Our Lord has clearly shown us the “lifespan” of His local assemblies on earth… 

1. The Lord’s church began with the call of His disciples to form an assembly of followers: 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-20

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”   (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

Here, we are told that the first members of that the Lord called into His assembly were His apostles.  In the beginning times of the Jerusalem assembly, you have the Lord as the Pastor/Teacher of the assembly with the other apostles making up the membership of the church. The only other office that was existing in the beginning days of the church was the office of Treasurer into which Judas was placed (John 13:29).

Keep in mind, all of the Apostles, as well as Christ Himself, had been baptized by John the Baptist. This baptism followed the apostles’ fruits of repentance and made them eligible to obtain church membership (Mark 1:4). This is one aspect of John the Baptist’s ministry of which it was said that he was to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Mark 1:2), by making them eligible for membership in the Lord’s first assembly on earth.

The actual beginning of the Lord’s church is described for us in detail in two passages that describe the same historical event..

And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth [unto him] whom he would: and they came unto him.  And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:  And Simon he surnamed Peter;

17) And James the [son] of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:  And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the [son] of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.”   (Mark 3:13-19)

In these verses, we can see that the Lord chose these original twelve apostles to fulfill specific duties, one of which was to BE WITH HIM.  In other words, they were chosen to accompany Him and be pastored by Him.  Christ fulfilled His role of pastor to them as He led them, taught them, and protected them.  All of this was done to prepare them for their future, permanent, ministries that would begin at Pentecost (the EMPOWERING of the local assembly for ministry in Christ’s absence by the Holy Spirit) (Acts 2:1-36).

 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,  Matthew and Thomas, James the [son] of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,   And Judas [the brother] of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.  And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;  And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.  And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed [them] all.  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed [be ye] poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.   (Luke 6:12-20)

The Lord began His church by choosing, and assembling His apostles (here they are called “his disciples”), who are separated from the crowds that had gathered. Then they rejoined the crowds and ministered to them.

Following their ministry to the crowds, the LORD BEGAN TO TEACH HIS CHURCH (ie His disciples) as He shared with them the Sermon on the Mount.  This is clearly seen by Him looking directly on His disciples as He taught.   In other words, when the Lord taught the Sermon on the Mount, He was teaching His disciples (ie His church, His apostles) as the crowds looked on.

2. The Lord’s church will continue to exist on earth until He comes back at His second coming: Matthew 16:16-20, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 11:25-26

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”   (Matthew 16:16-20)

In the above text we can see that the Lord is making a clear promise that the His church will not be overcome, die a slow death and go out of existence.  Not Satan, not the powers of darkness, NOTHING will gain a lasting complete victory over all of His assemblies on earth.   Individual church assemblies may come and go, but there will always be at least one of the Lord’s churches in existence to minister to His people and the lost world around it.

Also note the phrase “will build”.  This phrase is translated from a Greek word that means “to strengthen”, “to edify”, “to add to”.  This is teaching us that, at the time Jesus spoke this, the church was already in existence and He is promising He would strengthen it, prepare it and “build it up” to be able to exist until His second coming.

He did this in many ways… His personal teaching during His earthly ministry, His completion and accreditation of the inspired Word and ministry of the church of God by 100 AD, the giving of the Holy Spirit to empower His assembly at Pentecost, the establishing of other offices that would be used to further “build up” the assembly, the adding of believers to the first assembly at Jerusalem and the sending of the gospel to (and establishing His churches) throughout the Gentile world.  All of these strengthened the Lord’s assemblies which enabled them to exist in His absence and in the face of all types of opposition.

(There will be much more about the “rock” being mentioned in this text in the next section of our study.  For now, the only important point to be seen is that the church will not die and go out of existence.)

The Lord also explains the event that will cause His churches to go out of existence… it would not be the opposition of the powers of darkness, but the end of the current age. This will take place at His second coming….

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”   (Matthew 28:18-20)

 

A part of the Great Commission that the Lord delivered to His local assembly was the promise of His continuing accompaniment with His churches until the “end of the world”.  The term “world” was translated from a Greek word that means “age” or “specific time period” or “period of duration”.  This is teaching us that the second coming of Christ, which will bring about the end of the current age in which we are living, will also bring an end to the existence of the Lord’s churches on earth.

This same principle is also supported in 1 Corinthians 11:25-26…

 

After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”   (1 Corinthians 11:25-26)

 

The ordinance of the Lord’s supper is a church ordinance, therefore, it is under local church authority and is to be observed, and controlled by His local assemblies.  Here, we are told that His churches are to be observing His supper consistently until He comes back. For His churches to be able to keep this command, His churches must be in existence until His second coming.

The Lord’s church, which started with Christ’s call to assemble given to His Apostles, will exist until the second coming of Christ.

THE SUMMARY:

 

Based on our studies so far we can see that the nature of the Lord’s church includes:
1.  An assembly of individuals
2.  A local assembly
3.  A visible assembly
4.  A called our assembly
5.  A unique assembly

In the second part of our study we saw that the church, as an assembly offers to Christians the three-fold blessing of:
1.  the teaching of God’s Word – to strengthen, mature and ground them.
2.  the care and fellowship of other believers
3.  opportunities of service to Christ.
4.  enriched worship of the Lord through the observance of the ordinances and enhanced prayer effectiveness.

In the third, and last part of our study on the Nature of the Church, we can see that:
1.  The Lord’s church began with Christ’s call for His Apostles to assemble and to accompany Him.
2.  The Lord’s church would go out of existence during the age in which we live
3.  The Lord’s church will not be overcome by the powers of darkness in this world
4.  The Lord’s church will cease to exist at the end of this age, brought about by the second coming of Jesus.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is promised to remain in existence until Christ comes again, therefore it can be a consistent source of instruction, fellowship, worship and opportunities of service as we live our lives on earth.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -1: “The Nature Of The Church: A Local Visible Assembly”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

As we begin our study of the importance of the Lord’s local assemblies.  It is vital that we understand what we mean by the title “the Lord’s church”.  In this first installment of our study, we will be examining the words translated “church” in the KJV Bible to come to a definition of “the Lord’s church”.

 

 

THE STUDY:

To begin our study of the Lord’s church it is important that we understand the meaning of the word ”church” as found in the KJV of the Holy Bible.

The word “church” is not found in the Old Testament Scriptures.  However, it is found over 100 times in the New Testament and, every time, is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia”.

The usage of “Ekklesia”

“Ekklesia” is translated into English using the terms “church” or “assembly”.  The word is used in several differing contexts with one basic similarity.  “Ekklesia” always refers to a visible assembly of people.  The different assemblies described by the term “ekklesia” (with one example of each usage) are:

1.  A political assembly of people in Acts 19:32,39,41;
31) And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring [him] that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
32) Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
33) And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
34) But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great [is] Diana of the Ephesians.
35) And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, [Ye] men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter?
36) Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
37) For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
38) Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
39) But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
40) For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
41) And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
(Acts 19:31-41)

2.  The physical nation of Israel in the wilderness in the OT in Acts 7:38;
37) This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
38) This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
39) To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust [him] from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
40) Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for [as for] this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
41) And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
 (Acts 7:37-41)

3.  Local assemblies of worship on earth – Acts 8:1,3;
1) And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2) And devout men carried Stephen [to his burial], and made great lamentation over him.
3) As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed [them] to prison.
 (Acts 8:1-3)

4.  The assembly of saints gathered in Heavenly Jerusalem throughout eternity – Hebs 12:23
22) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.
 (Hebrews 12:22-24)

By seeing the contextual usage of “ekklesia” we can see that IT ALWAYS SPEAKS OF A LOCAL, VISIBLE ASSEMBLY (more on this in later sections of our study).

1.  As a local assembly, the church was created to especially minister to those who are around us.  It is local in nature, each one established in a different area of the globe to minister to those in their geographic area.

46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48) And ye are witnesses of these things.
49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
50) And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51) And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
(Luke 24:46-51)

2.  As a visible assembly, we can see that the Lord’s church was formed to be a public, visible display of His love, care and grace towards those in that local community.  The community would be watching the church as an assembly and individual members to see if they “practiced what they preached”.

10) Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
11) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12) For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
13) Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men];
14) And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
15)  Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.
 (2 Corinthians 9:10-15)

31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
32) Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
33) Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.
(1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

Please Note: The testimony of a local church is so important, the Lord has given clear instructions for disciplining those who are members of His assembly that are living in habitual sin….

15) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16) But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
 (Matthew 18:15-17)

The of definition of “ekklesia”

The Greek word “ekklesia” contains two basic parts:

1.  The first part is the prefix “ek” which means “from” or “out of”.
2.  The second part is the root word “kaleo” which means “to call”, “to summon”, “to urge”, or “to incite”

The definition of “ekklesia” teaches us that the church is a group that has been “summoned out” or an assembly that has been “called out”.

This calling out from the world is a call to holiness.  Our Lord’s church should be a holy body that is dedicated to glorifying God through submission to His ways and declaration of His truths…

13) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:13-16)

Putting the principles of the usage and definition of “ekklesia” together, we can see that:

The church of the Lord is A LOCAL, VISIBLE ASSEMBLY OF SAINTS THAT HAS BEEN SUMMONED BY GOD, MAKING IT UNIQUE FROM ALL OTHERS ASSEMBLIES IN THIS WORLD.

Its uniqueness is displayed in four ways: its founding, its purpose, its benefits and its accreditation. We will be looking at all four of these areas of uniqueness in later segments of our study.

THE SUMMARY:

Based on our studies so far we can see that the nature of the Lord’s church includes:
1.  An assembly of individuals
2.  A local assembly
3.  A visible assembly
4.  A called our assembly
5.  A unique assembly

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is an assembly personally called out by God which separates it from all other assemblies on earth.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

The Human Conscience Series: “Summary Of Our Study”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

As our study on the human conscience comes to an end. I would like us to take a few moments to review our study and look at a text from Proverbs 28:1…. The wicked flee when no man pursueth:  but the righteous are bold as a lion.  (Prov 28:1)

 THE SCRIPTURES:

1) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.   (Proverbs 28:1 – KJV)

1) The lawless, fleeth when no man pursueth, but, the righteous, like a lion, are confident.   (Proverbs 28:1 – EBR)

THE STUDY:

What a grand way to end our study of the human conscience, we will now take a few moments to study our theme verse.  A verse that is a great summary to our entire series…

Here, we see the work of the conscience in the life one who has been unfaithful to the Lord and following a path of sin….

The wicked flee when no man pursueth:

“Those who have broken the commands of the Lord will run to a hiding place when no man is hunting or persecuting them.”  Why will this take place?  Why is one a fugitive when one man is attempting to catch and harm him?  He does this because of the powerful testimony of the conscience at work in his life.

We have all experienced guilt in our lives.  It is a very powerful emotion that changes the way we perceive everything around us…. a perfect example of the power of guilt is found in Leviticus 26:27-37.  Here, the Lord is speaking to those who have willfully rebelled against His desires for the nation of Israel. They had chosen to replace the worship of Jehovah with the worship of false idols.  Look at how He responds to their sinfulness…
27) And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me;

Due to their willful rebellion against the Lord and the testimony of their conscience…
28) Then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins…

The Lord would intervene in two ways:

First, He would take away many of the blessings that they no longer appreciated…
29) And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.
30) And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you.
31) And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours.
32) And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
33) And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.
34) Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye [be] in your enemies’ land; [even] then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths.
35) As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

Secondly, He would placed in their hearts a spirit of fear and paranoia, through the continuing testimony of their conscience….
36) And upon them that are left [alive] of you I will send a faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.
37) And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

In comparison, those who are diligent in following the promptings of their conscience, possess an inner spiritual confidence and strength that is founded upon their close relationship with their Lord.  We have that principle shown to us in 1 John 3:19-22 ….
19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
By knowing that we have applied the truth of God to our lives, we can have confidence that we are one of His people.
20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
If our human fallen fleshly conscience is telling us that we have sin in our lives, how many more sins are seen by the Holy God who knows all things?  If our conscience is telling us we have sin in our life, we can rest assured our sin does not stop there.  There are probably many other sins we commit that are known by God but unknown to us at our current level of spiritual maturity.

21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
The blessing of having a clear conscience before God involves:
1.  knowing we have a close relationship with Him, we are saved and putting Him first in our lives.
2.  knowing that the same God that saved us, is the same God that promises to be with us, lead us, protect us and accompany us throughout our walk on earth.  We can no with certainty He will bless us for our faithfulness to Him.
3.  knowing that as we pray in His will, He will grant our requests as He works out what is best for our lives.

All of this becomes a reality to us as we see His gracious intervention exhibited in our lives through a changed life of obedience to Him.  When we see obedience in our lives, we are also viewing His grace at work in our lives.  Our lives of obedience is a great source of confidence that we are truly saved and in a close walk with Him.

Proverb 28:1 is a case study of the results of going against the urgings of our conscience and committing willful, rebellious sin in the life….
1. The Lord takes away material blessings
2. The Lord takes away spiritual blessings of confidence, bravery and reliance upon Him
3. The Lord allows them to become a defeated and powerless people that was bringing shame to the cause of their Lord.

And in comparison the results of following our conscience and living lives of service that glorify and honor Him…
1.  We know the Lord will meet our every need as our loving heavenly Father.
2.  We know the Lord will bless us spiritually granting us confidence, bravery and reliance upon Him.
3.  We know the Lord will enable us to be powerful, victorious servants, glorifying Him in all areas of our lives.

After reading these texts, helping us to understand the benefits of following our conscience, and seeing the harmful results of ignoring the conscience’s testimony in our lives, how can we not strive to follow our conscience every day?   In doing so, we will be glorifying our Lord and living a blessed life of close communion with Him.

THE SUMMARY:

In our study of the human conscience we have seen:

Lesson One and Lesson Four
1.That the conscience is the gracious gift given by God that is a guide for our lives.  The guiding of the conscience is based upon the perceived truth that we have within us. This emphasizes to us the importance of having a well-rounded knowledge of Scripture which can form the foundation of the working of our conscience.
2.  The conviction of the conscience and the conviction of the Holy Spirit, although similar and related are, in actually, two separate types of conviction from the Lord.

We saw that conscience conviction without the Holy Spirit’s workings results in: sorrow without Godly intervention and eternal spiritual death. Compare this to the conscience that is used as a tool by the Holy Spirit to convict and convince results in: sorrow that results in turning from the sin to service to God;  sorrow that is a gift of God’s grace; sorrow that results in repentance and salvation; sorrow for sin that is permanent; and sorrow that results in Godliness as a top priority of life.

Lesson Two
3.  The conscience of man was active within men during the times of the Old Testament and times of the New Testament as well.

Lesson Three
4.    The conscience works in many and varied ways but all its workings are aimed towards bringing us into alignment with the will of God for our lives.

Lesson Five
5.   For the truth of God’s Word to affect our lifestyle, the truth must be received in our mind and conscience and then applied to our will.

Lesson Six
6.  The ministries of the conscience can be pictured by a messenger, an eye, and a rod.  It is through its three ministries that we can come to understand our true spiritual condition and the spiritual needs of our lives

Lesson Seven
7.  The conscience helps us in seven ways to better serve Christ… It guides our conduct; It strengthens us for service; it enhances our fellowship;  it encourages our witnessing; it aids our prayerlife; it teaches us to be Godly citizens; it builds our character.

Lesson Eight through Eleven
8.  There are four types of consciences described in the Bible: Good, Strong, Weak, and Evil.
9.  We looked at the many differing characteristics, marks and keys to properly deal with each type in our life.
10.  We are to strive to obtain a good and strong conscience; while constantly on guard against allowing our conscience to become weak, or evil.
11.  One of the main keys to developing the desired type of conscience lies in our hearing, believing, and applying the truths of God’s Word to our life.  Also, the need to heed the urgings of the conscience and to live our lives according to it’s leadership is an important factor as well.

Lesson Twelve
12. We saw the importance of submitting to the God-given authorities that are over us.  These included (family, church and government)
13.  We saw several examples of those who chose to follow the Lord’s will for their lives and in doing so, they rebelled against sinful desires of the government that was over them.
14. Finally, in the rare event we must disobey the government to make Christ our first priority we must: be sure we have a consistent Godly testimony; disobey only based upon CLEAR Biblical teachings; always be exhibiting love and concern for others during our disobedience; disobey with the goal to be a witness of the glory of God; behave as Christ would behave.

By God’s grace let us all be aware of the importance and condition of our consciences.  In doing so, let us all strive to maintain a good and strong conscience that will a constant companion as we live our lives for Christ.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

The Human Conscience Series: “Civil Disobedience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

 

It is a very dangerous thing to oppose a body which has God-given authority (ie the family, the church, the government).

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation…   (Romans 13:1-2)

THE SCRIPTURES:

19) But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20) For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
21) So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all [men] glorified God for that which was done. (Acts 4:19-21)

29) Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29)

1) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.  5) Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 

6) For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  7) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.  8) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  9) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.  11) And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.  12) The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  13) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].   (Romans 13:1-14)

THE STUDY:

Why are we to obey civil governments? (All texts from Romans 13:)

1.  To Avoid God’s Wrath
1) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil. 

The human governments were established by the Lord to punish evildoers and avenge the abused.  When the governments are fulfilling their God-given responsibilities, we need to support and submit ourselves to its laws.

2.  For Our Conscience’s Sake
5) Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.   6) For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  7) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 

We are to follow the dictates of our conscience, and monetarily support human governments, knowing that they exist for our good and the glory and honor of our Lord.  They are the Lord’s minister, we are to be supportive of their ministry.

3. For Love’s Sake
8) Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.  9) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law. 

Motivated by love for our fellow man, we are to be supportive of the human government that is fighting to stop abuse and harm coming to those we love.  This is done by the government upholding the moral laws of God and punishing those who choose to selfishly abuse others.

4. For Jesus’s Sake
11) And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.  12) The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  13) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].   

Submitting ourselves to our government will enhance our public testimony.  Submission to governments who are upholding His commands will result in us living holy lives that will glorify Him and set a good example for others to follow.

There are times when we are to disobey governments for the sake of Christ…

(Acts 4:19-21)
19) But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.  20) For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.  21) So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all [men] glorified God for that which was done.

(Acts 5:29-32)
29) Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.  30) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.  31) Him hath God exalted with his right hand [to be] a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  32) And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

In both the above texts, we find the early Christians choosing to continue to tell others about the Lord Jesus, in opposition to the government’s attempts to stop their witness. Peter describes it as “We ought to obey God rather than man” in other words, “the proper thing to do is to submit to the desires of God and put them ahead of the desires of the government.”

We have this same principle brought out in several other examples in the Bible:

1. Exodus 1: – The midwives chose to save the children of the Hebrews instead of murdering them as the government had commanded.
2.  Daniel 1: – Daniel and the Hebrew children chose to not partake of the unlawful food given to them by the government
3.  Daniel 6: – Daniel continued to set the proper example by pryaing in public in opposition to the command of the government.
4.  Jeremiah 37:-38: – Jeremiah refused to rely upon a heathen nation, as dictated by the government, but chose to rely upon His God.
5.  Acts 28: – Paul chose to continue His ministry in opposition to the governments command resulting in Him being emprisoned by Rome.
6.  Rev 1:9 – John had been place upon the isle of Patmos by Rome as a punishment for His continuing to minister for Christ.

Principles To Follow In Civil Disobedience (from Romans 13:)…

1.  We must be sure we have a consistent Godly testimony
13) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

2.  Our disobedience must be based upon CLEAR Biblical teachings
5) Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 

3. We must always be exhibiting love and concern for others during our disobedience
9) For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  10) Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.

4. We must disobey with the goal to be a witness of the glory of God.  This means we must behave as Christ would behave.
14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

5. We are to disobey only when all other avenues have been exhausted
18) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  (Romans 12:18)

PLEASE REMEMBER, TO CONSCIENCIOUSLY OBJECT TO THE GOVERNMENT MEANS:
1. TO OBJECT TO SOMETHING BASED UPON THE DICTATES OF OUR CONSCIENCE
2. TO OBJECT TO SOMETHING USING OUR CONSCIENCE TO GUIDE US WHILE WE ARE OBJECTING

THE SUMMARY:

Why are we to obey civil governments? (All texts from Romans 13:)
1.  To Avoid God’s Wrath
2.  For Our Conscience’s Sake
3. For Love’s Sake
4. For Jesus’s Sake

There are times when we are to disobey governments for the sake of Christ…
1. Exodus 1: – The midwives chose to save the children of the Hebrews instead of murdering them as the government had commanded.
2.  Daniel 1: – Daniel and the Hebrew children chose to not partake of the unlawful food given to them by the government
3.  Daniel 6: – Daniel continued to set the proper example by pryaing in public in opposition to the command of the government.
4.  Jeremiah 37:-38: – Jeremiah refused to rely upon a heathen nation, as dictated by the government, but chose to rely upon His God.
5.  Acts 28: – Paul chose to continue His ministry in opposition to the governments command resulting in Him being emprisoned by Rome.
6.  Rev 1:9 – John had been place upon the isle of Patmos by Rome as a punishment for His continuing to minister for Christ.

Principles To Follow In Civil Disobedience (from Romans 13:)…
1.  We must be sure we have a consistent Godly testimony
2.  Our disobedience must be based upon CLEAR Biblical teachings
3. We must always be exhibiting love and concern for others during our disobedience
4. We must disobey with the goal to be a witness of the glory of God.  This means we must behave as Christ would behave.
5. We are to disobey only when all other avenues have been exhausted

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

The Human Conscience Series: “The Four Types Of Consciences: An Evil Conscience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

 

The Scriptures help us to understand that there are four different types of consciences that exist within man:
1.  A Good Conscience
2.  A Strong Conscience
3.  A Weak Conscience
4.  An Evil Conscience

Along with identifying these types of consciences, we also find teachings concerning the identifying marks of these consciences and how to maintain, or develop, the types of conscience that the Lord is pleased with.  In this section of our study we will be looking at an “Evil” conscience…

THE SCRIPTURES:

7) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  8) Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice.  9) Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.  10) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  11) Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  12) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.  13) [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.   (Psalms 51:7-13)

8) The wisdom of the prudent [is] to understand his way: but the folly of fools [is] deceit.  9) Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous [there is] favour.   (Proverbs 14:8-9)

20) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  21) Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!   (Isaiah 5:20-21)

1) Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because [there is] no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  2) By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.  3) Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.  4) Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people [are] as they that strive with the priest.  5) Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.   (Hosea 4:1-5)

5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,  6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.   (Matthew 4:5-7)

22) The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!  24) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.   (Matthew 6:22-24)

1)  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2) The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:1-2)

28) And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  29) Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness,  maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  30) Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  31) Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  32) Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.   (Romans 1:28-32)

 8) For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though [it were] but for a season.  9) Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  10) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  11) For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.   (2 Corinthians 7:8-11)

18) (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ:  19) Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)   (Philippians 3:18-19)

6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.  9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.   (Philippians 4:6-9)

1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;  2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;  3) Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  4) For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:  5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.   (1 Timothy 4:1-5)

11) But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;  12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].  13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:  14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?   (Hebrews 9:11-14)

19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  21) And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  23) Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)  24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:   (Hebrews 10:19-24)

5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.   (1 John 1:5-10)

1) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.  2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.  3) And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.   (1 John 3:1-4)

THE STUDY:

The Characteristics Of An Evil Conscience:

#1 – It will call Evil, Good and Good, Evil

(Isaiah 5:20-21)
20) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  21) Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

An evil conscience is twisted, unable to recognize the true nature of good and evil.  It relies upon fallen human reasoning and appearance, apart from God’s Word, to make it’s judgments.

(Romans 1:28-32)
28) And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  29) Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness,  maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  30) Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  31) Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  32) Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. 

The type of mind that cannot properly discern between good and evil is described as a “reprobate” mind.  In other words, it is a mind that is worthless and rejected by the Lord.  The reprobate mind causes the life to be filled with acts of sinfulness and a rejection and ignoring of the principles of God’s Word.

 

#2 – It calls Shame, Glory and Glory, Shame

(Philippians 3:18-19)
18) (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ:  19) Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 

An evil conscience finds a reason for boasting in doing shameful things.  It proudly proclaims it’s works of wickedness while shying away from doing that which is pleasing to God.

 

#3 – It is a Conscience that is Nourished By Darkness

(Matthew 6:22-24)
22) The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  23) But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!  24) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 

When feeding upon darkness, the conscience is spiritually blind and unable to make judgments in the light of God’s Word.  The end result are choices motivated to please the sinful flesh and made in opposition to the desires of God.

 

#4 – It Is A Conscience that is Burned and Scarred Until No Longer Effective

(I Timothy 4:1-5)
1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;  2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;  3) Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  4) For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:  5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

It is possible for the conscience to become “seared” and scarred resulting in it becoming less sensitive to evil.  Over time this scarring can become so severe, that it’s influence and effectiveness can be rendered useless.

How does this take place?

(Proverbs 14:8-9)
8) The wisdom of the prudent [is] to understand his way: but the folly of fools [is] deceit.  9) Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous [there is] favour. 

By not taking sin seriously….

(Hosea 4:1-5)
1) Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because [there is] no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.  2) By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.  3) Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.  4) Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people [are] as they that strive with the priest.  5) Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.   

Failure to reverence God by respecting God’s holiness and justice….

(1 John 1:5-10)
5) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  8) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  10) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

By ignoring and covering our sin instead of forsaking it…

Every time that the urgings of the conscience are ignored it “scars” the conscience causing it to be slightly less sensitive to evil.  If this ignoring of the conscience continues, over time its influence and effectiveness is diminished.  Finally the conscience becomes evil and no longer an effective tool to discern evil and make lifestyle choices.

The Cure For An Evil Conscience:

#1 – Confess and Repent Sin

(Psalms 51:7-13)
7) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  8) Make me to hear joy and gladness; [that] the bones [which] thou hast broken may rejoice.  9) Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.  10) Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.  11) Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.  12) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.  13) [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 

The acknowledgment and forsaking of sin is a key element to restoration from an evil conscience.  This should be done motivated by a desire to have a closer relationship with the Lord and to share the truths of God’s Word with others, leading them to Christ.

 

#2 – Rely On The Lord To Cleanse The Conscience

(Hebrews 9:11-14)
11) But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;  12) Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us].  13) For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:  14) How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?   

It is only as an act of divine grace that we can receive a cleansed, renewed conscience.  Our attempts at self-reformation and self-purification are of no value in this situation.  It will only be a spirit of humility and reliance upon the work of Christ on the cross that that allows us to receive the purification of the conscience resulting in service to the Lord.

 

#3 – Draw Near To God Through Prayer and The Word

(Hebrews 10:19-24)
19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  21) And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  23) Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)  24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:   

In this text God’s Word is pictured as flowing water that can cleanse the conscience from the effects of sin.  This takes place following the work of Christ giving us access to His presence, followed by the application of the Word to our lives resulting in a purification of the conscience and cleansing of our lives.   Motivated by appreciation for this gracious cleansing, we are to speak of our faith to others, live holy lives of obedience to Christ, and seek to encourage others to love and serve the Lord.

 

#4 – Feed Conscience With Right Diet

(Philippians 4:6-9)
6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.  9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.   

Keep in mind, one of the great causes of an evil conscience is feeding upon error and rejecting the truth of God’s Word.  Here, we find that a remedy for that situation is to feed on the Word of God and then meditate upon that which is found therein.   By doing this, we are laying a foundation of truth through which the conscience can now function.

Do We Have An Evil Conscience?

#1 – Do We Play With Sin?

(Proverbs 14:8-9)
8) The wisdom of the prudent [is] to understand his way: but the folly of fools [is] deceit.  9) Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous [there is] favour.   

An evil conscience will minimize the harmfulness of sin and encourage the commission of sin in the life.

#2 – Is Our Repentance of a Godly Sort or Is It Simply Sorrow Of The World?

 (2 Corinthians 7:8-11)
8) For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though [it were] but for a season.  9) Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  10) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  11) For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. A godly sorrow for sin is motivated by an intense desire to please the Lord and glorify His name.  It is being sorry because we have sinned against God. It is self-sacrificial by nature.

The sorrow of the world is a sorrow motivated by sorrow that we were caught in our sin and now must face punishment for that which we have done.  It is selfish by nature.

#3 – Do We Measure Sin As “Big” and “Little”?

(1 John 3:4)
4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

All sin is a transgression of God’s law and goes against the very nature of God. Any sin that is committed goes against the desires of God and will have lasting spiritual results.

#4 – Are We More Concerned About Our Reputation Than Our Character?

(John 3:1-2)
1)  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  2) The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.  Nicodemus was so concerned about “what others would say”, that he approached Christ in the nighttime, hoping to not be seen by others.  Although he was pleased God by coming to Christ, he chose to hide his trip knowing others would be fault-finding and critical of his actions.

#5 – Do We Argue With The Truth?

(Matthew 4:5-7)
5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,  6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.  7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.   

Here, we can see Satan misapplying God’s Word using it as a temptation to sin.  How sad to think that the Word of God, that which was meant to lead us to righteousness, can be used to argue the need to perform acts of wickedness.  This is exactly what each of us can do if we twist the meanings of God’s Word to justify the sins that we commit in our lives.

#6 – Do we believe we are living a perfect, sinless life on earth?  Are we blinded to the sin that we commit?

(Romans 7:14-25)
14) For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.  15) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good.  17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. 19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

 

THE SUMMARY:

In this study we have seen…

The Characteristics Of An Evil Conscience:
#1 – It will call Evil, Good and Good, Evil
#2 – It calls Shame, Glory and Glory, Shame
#3 – It is a Conscience that is Nourished By Darkness
#4 – It Is A Conscience that is Burned and Scarred Until No Longer Effective

 

The Cure For An Evil Conscience:
#1 – Confess and Repent Sin
#2 – Rely On The Lord To Cleanse The Conscience
#3 – Draw Near To God Through Prayer and The Word
#4 – Feed Conscience With Right Diet

 

Do We Have An Evil Conscience?
#1 – Do We Play With Sin?
#2 – Is Our Repentance of a Godly Sort or Is It Simply Sorrow Of The World?
#3 – Do We Measure Sin As “Big” and “Little”?
#4 – Are We More Concerned About Our Reputation Than Our Character?
#5 – Do We Argue With The Truth?

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

“Teach Others Also” 13-Part Small Group Studies

The Human Conscience Series: “The Four Types Of Consciences: A Weak Conscience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

 

The Scriptures help us to understand that there are four different types of consciences that exist within man:
1.  A Good Conscience
2.  A Strong Conscience
3.  A Weak Conscience
4.  An Evil Conscience

Along with identifying these types of consciences, we also find teachings concerning the identifying marks of these consciences and how to maintain, or develop, the types of conscience that the Lord is pleased with.  In this section of our study we will be looking at a “Weak” conscience…

THE SCRIPTURES:

Rom 14:1-23  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  (2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  (3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  (5)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (6)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  (7)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.  (8)  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  (9)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.  (14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  (15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  (17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18)  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Rom 15:1-7  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  (2)  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  (3)  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.  (4)  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.  (5)  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  (6)  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

1Co 8:7-12  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  (8)  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  (9)  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  (10)  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  (11)  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  (12)  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

Eph 4:14-15  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (15)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Col 2:8-22  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  (9)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  (10)  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  (11)  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  (12)  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  (13)  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  (14)  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  (15)  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  (16)  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:  (17)  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  (18)  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,  (19)  And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  (20)  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (21)  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  (22)  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Heb 5:12-14  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  (13)  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  (14)  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

 

THE STUDY:

The Characteristics Of A Weak Conscience:

#1 – It Is A Conscience Lacking Truth Possessed By A Saved Person (Possibly Attending Church)

(1 Corinthians 8:7)

1Co 8:7-12  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  (8)  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 

They are saved people who are lacking the truths of God’s Word.  Because of this their conscience is functioning on a base that lacks a full understanding of the Word.

 

(Romans 14:1)

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye,

Although they possess a weak conscience, they can still be “in the faith”.  

 

 

#2 – Makes Hasty Judgments About Doubtful Things

(Romans 14:1)

but not to doubtful disputations.

One who is weak in the faith argues and makes judgments on doubtful things.  They make judgments that are not based on a “thus saith the Lord”, but are based upon a lack of Biblical knowledge.

 

#3 – Very Critical Of Others

(Romans 14:2-4)

(2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  (3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth… Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind…   (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 

Paul teaches us several truths about those who are quick to judge over doubtful things…  Paul uses the issue of eating meat offered to idols.  He emphasizes that in these issues:
1.  we are to allow freedom for each individual to make up their own mind.
2.  we are to refrain from judging others about these doubtful teachings.
3.  we are to remember that each one of us are held accountable and will personally answer to the Lord for what we do in our own lives.

Based upon the above three points, it makes it plain that any judgements that are made should be done by those who are spiritually mature, from a heart of love and a desire to help those who are being judged.

 

#4 – It Is Unstable, Stumbles Easily

(Romans 14:13)

(13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.  (14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 

Those who have weak consciences, due to a lack of a firm Biblical foundation, find themselves easily stumbling being misled by ungodly examples, or unscriptural teachings.  Many times, they will be hindered in their Christian walk as they follow those who will lead them away from the path that the Lord would have for them to take.

 

#5 – It Is Easily Wounded Or Offended

(Romans 14:15-16, 1Corinthians 8:12)

(15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 

Those who are weak will be easily wounded and offended.  Because of this, great charity and care should be used when working with these individuals.  By mishandling the situation, those who are trying to help can actually makes matters worse.

 

(9)  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  (10)  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  (11)  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  (12)  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

Also, in many cases, those who are stronger in the faith must limit the exercise of their won personal liberties for the sake of those who are weaker.  In the case above, although eating meat offered to idols is a liberty that strong Christians possess, Paul teaches that the exercise of this liberty should be withheld for the good of those who could misinterpret our actions.

 

 

#6 – It Has Confused Priorities

(Romans 14:17)

(17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18)  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Due to the lack of Biblical foundation for the judgments their conscience makes, the weak continually doubt themselves and unsure of the appropriate course that should be taken.  Their priorities become confused with them not knowing that these doubtful issues are not to be their number one priority in life.  Instead, their first priority is to have a close walk with the Lord and doing everything in a spirit of trust and joy in Christ.

 

 

#7 – It Is Legalistic (Imposing Man’s Rules Upon Others)

(Colossians 2:8, 20-22)

Col 2:8-22  Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  (9)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  (10)  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:  (11)  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  (12)  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.  (13)  And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;  (14)  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  (15)  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.  (16)  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:  (17)  Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.  (18)  Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,  (19)  And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  (20)  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (21)  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  (22)  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Those whose conscience is weak has a tendency to impose the regulations of man upon themselves and others.  Instead of being able to discern God’s desires for our lives, they find themselves attempting to enforce the legalistic laws of man mistaking them for the laws of God.

Paul describes these human regulations as “philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”.   He then goes further by stating “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (Touch not; taste not; handle not;  Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?”

#8 – It Is Weak Due To Lack of Exercise

(Hebrews 5:12-14)

Heb 5:12-14  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  (13)  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  (14)  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

For those who are spiritually weak, we find another aspect of their weakness involves not exercising their conscience as they should.  Instead of following it’s urgings, they turn from the revelation of their conscience and ignore it.   This hinders the work of their conscience, deadening it, causing them to have difficulty in discerning between good and evil.

 

 

The Cure For A Weak Conscience:

 

#1 – Speaking The Truth In Love

(Ephesians 4:14-15)

Eph 4:14-15  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (15)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

By those who are strong kindly speaking the truth to the weak, motivated from a heart of love and desire to help them grow, the weak can be taught resulting in their spiritual maturity.

 

 

#2 – Received and Nurtured By Mature Christians

(Romans 14:1)

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

We are to bring to hold close to ourselves those who are weak.  They are to be nurtured and gently cared for by mature Christians  who are well equipped to meet their needs through the gracious intervention of Christ.

 

 

#3 – Edification

(Romans 14:13-23)

Rom 14:13-23  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way…  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another… (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

The two great needs of the weak Christian is “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another”.  Through the intervention of those who are mature, peace can be brought into those who find themselves weak in the faith. Through the proper teaching and examples, those who are weak can grow in the faith and become very useful vessels in the service of Christ.

 

#4 – Sacrifices Made For Them (Take Great Care In Speaking And Working With Them)

(Romans 15:1)

Rom 15:1-3  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  (2)  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  (3)  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

This includes loving self-sacrifice on the part of the strong.  Some of those sacrifices may include:
1.  helping to support the weak in areas where they are spiritually weak and sickly.
2.  teaching and setting the example so that they may be built up in the faith.
3.  exposing themselves to ridicule and criticism for giving their attention to the weak.

Do We Have A Weak Conscience?

#1 – Are We Not Receiving Teaching From The Word On A Regular Basis?
#2 – Do We Have A Tendency To Make Hasty Judgments About Things That Are Not Clearly Taught In The Word Of God?
#3 – Do We Find Yourself To Be Very Critical Of Others?
#4 – Are We Easily Hindered In Your Spiritual Walk?
#5 – Do We Have A Hard Time Taking Criticism From Others?
#6 – Do We Have Trouble Setting Godly Priorities?
#7 – Do We Find Yourself Imposing Man’s Rules Upon Others?
#8 – Do We Ignore the Conviction of Your Conscience By Acting Against It?

 

THE SUMMARY:

In this study we have seen…

The Characteristics Of A Weak Conscience:
#1 – It Is A Conscience Lacking Truth Possessed By A Saved Person (Possibly Attending Church)
#2 – Makes Hasty Judgments About Doubtful Things
#3 – Very Critical Of Others
#4 – It Is Unstable, Stumbles Easily
#5 – It Is Easily Wounded Or Offended
#6 – It Has Confused Priorities
#7 – It Is Legalistic (Imposing Man’s Rules Upon Others)
#8 – It Is Weak Due To Lack of Exercise

 

 

The Cure For A Weak Conscience:
#1 – Speaking The Truth In Love
#2 – Received and Nurtured By Mature Christians
#3 – Edification
#4 – Sacrifices Made For Them (Take Great Care In Speaking And Working With Them)

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

The Human Conscience Series: “The Four Types Of Consciences: A Strong Conscience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

The Scriptures help us to understand that there are four different types of consciences that exist within man:
1.  A Good Conscience
2.  A Strong Conscience
3.  A Weak Conscience
4.  An Evil Conscience

Along with identifying these types of consciences, we also find teachings concerning the identifying marks of these consciences and how to maintain, or develop, the types of conscience that the Lord is pleased with.  In this section of our study we will be looking at a “Strong” conscience…

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

Joh 7:14-17  Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.  (15)  And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?  (16)  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

Rom 14:1-23  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  (2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  (3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  (5)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (6)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  (7)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.  (8)  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  (9)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  (13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.  (14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  (15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  (17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18)  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.  (19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Rom 15:1-7  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  (2)  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  (3)  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.  (4)  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.  (5)  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  (6)  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

Ephesians 4:13-16 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14) That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

1Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;  18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

THE STUDY:

The Characteristics Of A Strong Conscience:

#1 – A Strong Conscience Recognizes and Applies The Truth

(John 7:14-17)

And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 

Following Jesus displaying a great knowledge of the teaching of the Old Testament, the Jews then ponder how He could have received such knowledge.

An individual with a strong conscience consistently fulfills God’s will for His life…

If any man will do his will,

A strong conscience discerns between Godly and human teachings…

he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 

For the conscience to lead us to do God’s will, it first must be able to discern between the teachings of God and the false teachings of man.  A strong conscience has the ability to recognize the teachings of God and then lead an individual to submit to those teachings as a lifestyle.  

#2 – A Strong Conscience Sacrificially Helps Those Who Are Weaker In The Faith

(Romans 14:1-23, Romans 15:1-7, Ephesians 4:13-16)

(Romans 14:1-23)

An individual with a strong conscience does not argue over that which is uncertain…

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 

An individual with a strong conscience accepts other’s differences…

(2)  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 

(3)  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.  (4)  Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.  (5)  One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.  (6)  He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.  (7)  For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 

Those of a strong conscience recognize that, due to their spiritual weakness, others may sincerely believe that which is not true.  They recognize the need to slowly work with the weak, gradually building them up in the truths of God, instead of finding fault and being critical of that which the weak sincerely believe is true.

An individual with a strong conscience recognizes their accountablility before God…

(8)  For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  (9)  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.  (10)  But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.  (11)  For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.  (12)  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 

Those of a strong conscience recognize they will be held accountable for their workings with the weak.  They also recognize, apart from the grace of God, they would be spiritually weak as well.

An individual with a strong conscience does not hinder the growth of the spiritually weak…

(13)  Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 

An individual with a strong conscience willingly abstains from exercising his liberty for the sake of the weak…

(14)  I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.  (15)  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.  (16)  Let not then your good be evil spoken of:  (17)  For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  (18)  For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men…  All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.  (21)  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.  (22)  Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.  (23)  And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Many times the strong are called upon to abstain from a liberty God has given to them, so as to not to cause a lost individual to sin against the dictates of their weak conscience.  Willful sinning against one’s conscience is a greater sin than following the dictates of a weak conscience, which does not recognize a liberty given through the grace of God.

An individual with a strong conscience seeks things that they agree upon with the weak and things which build up the weak…

(19)  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.  (20)  For meat destroy not the work of God.

When the saved attempt to build up the weak they should not always be concentrating on the things that separate them but they should also recognize and fellowship over the many things of which they are in agreement.

Rom 15:1-7 

An individual with a strong conscience sacrifices for the benefit of the weak…

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  (2)  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  (3)  For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.  (4)  For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. 

Those who are strong are to follow the example that Christ has set by giving of themselves so that others may benefit from the graces God has given to the strong.  All of God’s blessings that are given to us are given to share with and be a blessing to others.  Those of a strong conscience recognize that grave responsibility.

An individual with a strong conscience works for unity with the weak for the glory of God…

(5)  Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:  (6)  That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (7) Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

If saved, those who are weak share with the strong the goal of wanting to glorify God in their lives.  Using this principle as a motivating, unifying force, it will aid in the growth of the weak and the willingness to sacrifice on the part of the strong.

If we summarize the above, we can see that those with a strong conscience recognize, understand and seek to build up those weaker in the faith.  This is done through a variety of self-sacrificial acts, always remembering the goodness of God and their accountability before Him.

Ephesians 4:13-16

An individual with a strong conscience will speak the truth in love for the benefit of the weak…

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  14) That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Until we reach perfection in eternity, all men should be willing to work for the good of those who are weaker, and submit to the teachings of those who are stronger in the faith.  No one is so weak they cannot help others, nor is anyone so strong they do not need the help of others.

 

#3 – A Strong Conscience Witnesses Of The Grace Of God

1Timothy 6:17-19

An individual with a strong conscience will be willing to speak to those of greater wealth, honor and position of authority…

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God,

An individual with a strong conscience recognizes and appreciates the blessings of God.

who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 

An individual with a strong conscience witnesses of the necessity of stewardship, the promise of rewards, and the blessings of eternity

18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;  19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Some of the areas of a strong witness include: the goodness and blessings of God, our responsibility to recognize and use those blessings properly, coming rewards for faithfulness in service, and the offer of eternal life to those who are lost.

(Note: why does it APPEAR as if the Lord is teaching that eternal life only comes after good works of willingness to give of personal wealth for the benefit of others?

1.  When a person understands the principle of self-sacrifice for the needy, it is the first step to understanding the great sacrifice that Christ has made for us (the truly spiritually needy ones).  If a person cannot grasp what it means to give of their wealth for the benefit of those who are lacking, they can never come to an understanding of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

2.  A person who is not willing to give of their wealth for others, based upon the command of Christ, cannot be saved.  It is only when we no longer are relying upon our wealth for our future security and are willing to give up all to follow Christ, that we can be saved…

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.  And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.  And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.  And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!  And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”   (Mark 10:17-25)

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”   (Matthew 16:24-27)

 

Do We Have A Strong Conscience?:

#1 Are we consistently fulfilling God’s will for our life?  John 7:14-17
#2 Can we easily discern between Godly teaching and the teaching of man?  John 7:14-17
#3 Do we abstain from arguing over the questionable things of God?  Romans 14:1-23
#5 Do we accept the differences of others?  Romans 14:1-23
#6 Do we recognize our accountability before God?   Romans 14:1-23
#7 Do we do our best to avoid hinder the growth of the spiritually weak?  Romans 14:1-23
#8 Are we willing to abstain from a spiritual liberty for the good of those who are weak? Romans 14:1-23
#9 Do we search of areas of agreement with those who are weak? Romans 14:1-23
#10 Are we willing to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of the weak? Romans 15:1-7 
#11 Do we consistently work for unity with the weak based upon the shared goal of God’s glory? Romans 15:1-7
#12 Are we willing to speak the truth in love for the benefit of the weak? Ephesians 4:13-16
#13 Are we willing to stand boldly and witness to those of greater wealth, honor and position of authority?  1Timothy 6:17-19
#14 Do we recognize and appreciates the blessings of God in our life and the lives of others? 1Timothy 6:17-19
#15 Does our witness include the necessity of stewardship, the promise of rewards, and the blessings of eternity?  1Timothy 6:17-19

If we can answer “yes” to the above questions, we can rest assured that we possess a good, properly functioning conscience within us.

THE SUMMARY:

In this study we have seen…

The Characteristics Of A Strong Conscience:

#1 – A Strong Conscience Recognizes and Applies The Truth
An individual with a strong conscience consistently fulfills God’s will for His life…
A strong conscience discerns between Godly and human teachings…

#2 – A Strong Conscience Sacrificially Helps Those Who Are Weaker In The Faith
An individual with a strong conscience does not argue over that which is uncertain…
An individual with a strong conscience accepts other’s differences…
An individual with a strong conscience recognizes their accountablility before God…
An individual with a strong conscience does not hinder the growth of the spiritually weak…
An individual with a strong conscience willingly abstains from exercising his liberty for the sake of the weak…
An individual with a strong conscience seeks things that they agree upon with the weak and things which build up the weak…
An individual with a strong conscience sacrifices for the benefit of the weak…
An individual with a strong conscience works for unity with the weak for the glory of God…
An individual with a strong conscience will speak the truth in love for the benefit of the weak…

#3 – A Strong Conscience Witnesses Of The Grace Of God
An individual with a strong conscience will be willing to speak to those of greater wealth, honor and position of authority…
An individual with a strong conscience recognizes and appreciates the blessings of God.
An individual with a strong conscience witnesses of the necessity of stewardship, the promise of rewards, and the blessings of eternity

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

The Human Conscience Series: “The Four Types Of Consciences: A Good Conscience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

 

The Scriptures help us to understand that there are four different types of consciences that exist within man:

1.  A Good Conscience
2.  A Strong Conscience
3.  A Weak Conscience
4.  An Evil Conscience

Along with identifying these types of consciences, we also find teachings concerning the identifying marks of these consciences and how to maintain, or develop, the types of conscience that the Lord is pleased with.  May the Lord bless us as we embark a voyage to study each type of these consciences by looking at a “Good” conscience…

THE SCRIPTURES:

Mat 6:22-23  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  (23)  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

Act 24:16  And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

1Ti 1:3-6  As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,  (4)  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.  (5)  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:  (6)  From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

1Ti 1:18-19  This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;  (19)  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Heb 5:13-14  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  (14)  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Heb 13:18  Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

1Pe 3:14-17  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;  (15)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  (16)  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.  (17)  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

THE STUDY:

The Characteristics Of A Good Conscience:

#1 – A Good Conscience fulfills it’s God-given roles

It keeps us on our God-given course of life…

1Ti 1:3-6  As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,  (4)  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.  (5)  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:  (6)  From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

Paul instructs young pastor, Timothy, of the need to teach God’s Word while setting aside the teachings and practices of man.  Why? Because God’s Word alone edifies (builds up, strengthens) the faith of God’s people.  This is the ultimate goal of those who teach the Word. To present truth that will strengthen God’s people, encourage them to show genuine love for others and possess a sincere faith within.  Sad to say, there are some teachers of the Word who have turned aside to vain proclaimations of untruths, thereby defeating the very Godly purpose they have been given.

 

It leads us to consistent victories over temptation…

1Ti 1:18-19  This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;  (19)  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Paul hands to Timothy the responsibility to fight the “good fight of faith”.  Timothy was to do this by guarding and holding close faith and a good conscience, both of which are absolutely necessary to have an effective testimony for Christ.  Some have left their faith and conscience behind, and in doing so, have suffered a ruined testimony and have become ineffective witnesses for Christ.

 

It produces an honest lifestyle…

Heb 13:18  Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

The writer of Hebrews asks for the prayers of others.  The proof of the sincerity of their request is the fact they desired to live honest lives, which was proof of a properly functioning conscience.

 

It pushes us to witness of Christ and His goodness to others…

1Pe 3:14-17  But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;  (15)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  (16)  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.  (17)  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

When we are mistreated due to our service to Christ, we are to be happy and not fearful.  We can know we are doing what the Lord would have us to do and therefore, He will bless us and use us as He sees fit.  During these times of troubles we are to set the Lord as number one in our life and be prepared to speak when others ask of about our faith.   This will lead to a pure conscience, which will encourage us to overlook the fault-finders and realize that they must answer for their abuse, while we will be guiltless before the Lord.  This is a lifestyle that is pleasing to God.

 

#2 – A Good Conscience testifies of truth of His Word 

It’s operations are based upon the light of God’s Word…

Mat 6:22-23  The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  (23)  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

When we receive the Word within us, our conscience uses it as the basis of its functioning, declaring the truth within us and causing our lives to be beacons of light to a lost and sin darkened world.

#3 – A Good Conscience  is exercised

It is used on a consistent basis…

Act 24:16  And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Paul consistently, put forth consistent effort to live so that he might have a clear conscience in his dealings with God and other men.

It finds its strength and effectiveness in its regular use….

Heb 5:13-14  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  (14)  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Our conscience is like our muscles…. It must be steadily used to keep it toned and working properly.  Keeping our conscience working properly leads us to spiritual growth and maturity; which is shown by the ability to properly discern between good and evil.

Do We Have A Good Conscience?:

#1 – Do we find ourselves obeying the Word of God as a lifestyle?  (1 Tim 1:3-6; 1 Tim 1:18-19)
#2 – Are we sincere in what we do? (Heb 13:18)
#3 – Are we faithful, even when we are faced with opposition to our service? (1 Peter 3:14-17)
#4 – When convicted do we immediately correct the situation?  (Acts 24:16, Heb 5:13-14)

If we can answer “yes” to the above questions, we can rest assured that we possess a good, properly functioning conscience within us.

 

THE SUMMARY:

In this study we have seen…

The Characteristics Of A Good Conscience:

#1 – it fulfills its God-given roles
It keeps us on our God-given course of life…
It leads us to consistent victories over temptation…
It produces an honest lifestyle…
It pushes us to witness of Christ and His goodness to others…

#2 – it testifies of truth of His Word
Its operations are based upon the light of God’s Word…

#3 – it is exercised
It is used on a consistent basis…
It finds its strength and effectiveness in its regular use….

The Marks Of A Good Conscience:

#1 – Do we find ourselves obeying the Word of God as a lifestyle?
#2 – Are we sincere in what we do?
#3 – Are we faithful, even when we are faced with opposition to our service?
#4 – When convicted do we immediately correct the situation?

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

The Human Conscience Series: “God’s Purpose For Our Conscience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

 

The Lord, by His grace, has given to us the wonderful gift of our conscience, that is meant to benefit us in all aspects of our lives.   What are some of the specific reasons that God had in mind when He gave us our conscience?  Let’s take a few moments to examine God’s purposes for our conscience…

THE SCRIPTURES:

16) And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and [toward] men.   (Acts 24:16)

3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 
4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5) Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6) For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.   (Romans 13:3-6)

 

4) As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one.
5) For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6) But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.
7) Howbeit [there is] not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat [it] as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
8) But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
9) But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
10) For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;
11) And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?
12) But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
13) Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.   (1 Corinthians 8:4-13)

 

2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.   (2 Corinthians 4:2)

10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.

11) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.   (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

5) Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:   (1 Timothy 1:5)

(18) This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 

(19) Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:   (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

9) Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.   (1 Timothy 3:9)

12) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

13) For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14) But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.   (Hebrews 5:12-14)

19) For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.   (1 Peter 2:19)

15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16) Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.   (1 Peter 3:15-16)

18) My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19) And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.
22) And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.   (1 John 3:18-22)

THE STUDY:

Seven great purposes for our conscience…

#1 – Our Conscience Was Given To Guide Our Conduct

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and [toward] men.   (Acts 24:16)

Paul explains that he “exercises” (consistently strives) to live his life so that his conscience can be clear toward God and others.

 

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  (2 Corinthians 4:2)

Paul was putting off a lifestyle of sinful deceit and corruption so that his life may clearly reveal the truth of God.  In doing so, he was placing his life as an example of Godly living that would be affect the conscience of those who were watching him.

 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things [done] in [his] body, according to that he hath done, whether [it be] good or bad.  Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

Paul and his companions, with the realization of the coming judgment of all men’s works, God’s holiness, and the existence of Divine wrath; strived to persuade others of their need of Christ.

Paul knew that their efforts to win others to Christ were clearly seen by God. He hoped that their efforts were recognized as acts of service to God by others as well.  How would those watching Paul’s life know that Paul was being faithful to God?  It would be through the testimony of the conscience of the watchers.

#2 – Our Conscience Was Given To Strengthen Us For Service

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:  (1 Timothy 1:5)

Paul gives us a quick summary of 3 main areas of Godly service…. Self-sacrificial love for God and others, Obedient lifestyle that incurs no guilt from our conscience, Genuine trust in Christ and His Word.

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

Paul, as he hands pastoral responsibilities to Timothy, explains that fighting the “good fight” involves carefully retaining sincere belief in Christ (and the doctrinal truths found in His Word), along with living a life that does not offend his conscience.  Those who have ignored these two principles end up in shipwreck, their testimony ruined and their service brought to an end.

Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. (1 Timothy 3:9)

Paul reminds Timothy of the need to genuinely, authentically hold to the truth.  A sincere trust in the truth will become the basis of the functioning of our conscience, causing it to function purely (without sinful influences).

#3 – Our Conscience Was Given To Enhance Our Fellowship

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one.  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)  But to us [there is but] one God, the Father, of whom [are] all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom [are] all things, and we by him.  Howbeit [there is] not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat [it] as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.  But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.  But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.  For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;  And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?  But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.  Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.  (1 Corinthians 8:4-13)

In these verses, Paul teaches us that, when our conscience functions properly, it will help us to recognize truth and error that weaker Christians (those with weaker consciences) do not understand. This helps the stronger Christians to make wise choices to avoid being stumbling blocks to the weaker Christians spiritual growth.

#4 – Our Conscience Was Given To Encourage Our Witnessing

For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.   (1 Peter 2:19)

When a man chooses to be faithful to the Lord, although that faithfulness brings upon himself abuse and mistreatment, he should thank God for that grace.  It enhances his testimony by proving his dedication to have a pure conscience in the sight of God no matter what the cost.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.   (1 Peter 3:15-16)

We should strive for Godly desires combined with preparedness to share the truth of Christ to anyone who asks. These Godly motives and actions will bring peace and a freedom from a guilty conscience in the face of the false accusations of the lost.

#5 – Our Conscience Was Given To Aid Our Prayers

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, [then] have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.   (1 John 3:18-22)

Christians should always seek to serve the Lord sincerely with no hint of hypocrisy or showmanship.

When our conscience speaks clearly of our innocence, we can have confidence that we are doing what is pleasing towards God.  If our imperfect conscience tells us we are guilty of hypocrisy, how much more does a perfect God recognize we are being hypocritical; remember, he knows us better than we know ourselves.

If we have a clear conscience concerning our sincerity, it is proof that we want to do His will above all.  If this is so, when we pray we can be confident we sincerely desire for His will to be done. Therefore, when we pray to God we can be assured that our prayers will be answered because His will is always performed in answer to our prayers.

#6 – Our Conscience Was Given To Be Godly Citizens of Our Country

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  (Romans 13:3-6)

The Lord has established the civil governments to uphold and encourage good works while condemning and punishing evil.  If we are living Godly lives, when a government functions as it should there is no need to fear.  It is only when we disobey God that we should fear government as they are the sword of God’s judgment on earth.  We are to be subject to human government to avoid the judgment that arises from the government, as well as to avoid our consciences guilty knowing that we are pleasing God as well.

#7 – Our Conscience Was Given To Build Our Character

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  For every one that useth milk [is] unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, [even] those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.   (Hebrews 5:12-14)

A properly working conscience is a useful tool for building the Christian’s character. Our conscience helps us to recognize good and evil which, when followed, brings about Christian growth.  A younger Christian who actively learns God’s Word which forms the basis of their conscience’s workings, are laying a foundation for their growth.  Then, when they consistently follow the leadings of their conscience they exercise their conscience strengthening it and making it work more effectively.

THE SUMMARY:

The conscience is a wonderful tool given to the Christian by God’s grace which aids in seven aspects of service to our Lord and Savior:  
#1 – To Guide Our Conduct
#2 – To Strengthen Us For Service
#3 – To Enhance Our Fellowship
#4 – To Encourage Our Witnessing
#5 – To Aid Our Prayers
#6 – To Be Godly Citizens of Our Country
#7 – To Build Our Character

Let’s never take a conscience for granted.  Let’s always remember to build up our conscience by learning and believing the truth and consistently following the leadership of our conscience as we serve our Lord.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

The Human Conscience Series: “The Workings Of Our Conscience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

Within the pages of Scripture we find the operation of the conscience explained through the use of three different examples derived from the world around us.  Let’s take a few moments to learn more about the workings of the human conscience from the Word of God…

THE SCRIPTURES:

And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.   (2 Samuel 24:10)

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!  (Matthew 6:22-23)

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)   (Romans 2:14-15)

THE STUDY:

Our Conscience Acts Like A Messenger Within Us

In Biblical times, a King would write the laws of the land over which he ruled… then he would send his messengers to the towns in his kingdom taking a written copy of the newly written law with them.  They would enter the town, announce the details of the new law and then post them for all to see.

This role of the messenger equates with the role of our conscience that lies within us.  Our conscience does not write the laws of God, nor does it enforce those laws, it simply announces the existence of the law and reminds us when we are breaking those laws.  The conscience, when working properly, is on of God’s messengers to reveal His law to mankind.

Paul explains the human conscious acting as a messenger of God, by looking at the lives of the Gentiles (Romans 2:14-15)…

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, 

How can it be that the Gentiles who had never received knowledge of His laws from a human, outside source, were keeping some aspects of the law of God?

these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:

Paul recognized that, if they had never received the law of God from an external human source, they must possess some principles of the law within themselves.

Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, 

These principles are instilled in the mind of every man. God gives to every man the necessary amount of knowledge to hold all mankind responsible for the sin they commit. This is done as an act of divine grace, using the revelation that comes through the act and existence of creation, without the receipt of God’s law from any separate human source.

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (Romans 2:12)

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

 (Romans 1:18-21)

their conscience also bearing witness, 

Once the natural law of God enters the mind of man, the conscience then takes that knowledge and announces that law to man.  It testifies to the laws’ existence and acts as a constant reminder to man when they violate those laws.

and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 

Once the conscience testifies of the laws existence and violation, the mind then must, either, accept responsibility for the infraction and take the appropriate action to deal with the sin; or else, refuse to accept responsibility for the action and find an excuse to cover the transgression.

All of this takes place due to the natural law given to every man and the conscience’s role as messenger confirming and repeating the law’s existence to all mankind.

Our Conscience Acts Like An Eye Within Us

We are all familiar with the workings of our physical eyes.  It is through our eyes that we can receive light and we are given knowledge of the surroundings around us.

But we can take this understanding a step farther.  Our eyes do not let ALL the light and ALL of our surroundings to us.  Our eyes can only reveal to us what they are pointed towards.  If our eyes are looking at what lies ahead of us, we have no knowledge of what lies behind.

This is the lesson of Matthew 6:22-23…

The light of the body is the eye: 

The eye is the organ through which the body receives knowledge of light that is present.  The eye isn’t the light but it testifies and reveals the light that already exists.

if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 

If the eye is whole, functioning properly, looking into the light, the existence of the light is clearly revealed and dominates our sight.

But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. 

However, if the eye is diseased, not working as it should, it will be avoiding light, and looking into the dark areas that exist.  It is this darkness that will then fill the body.

If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

If the eye only looks into darkness, never being pointed to the light, the body is totally consumed with darkness, experiencing a total lack of light.

When applied to our conscience the lesson is a very simple one.  The function of the conscience is limited to the standard to which it is pointed.  In other words, when we fill our minds with the light of truth, the conscience works properly and testifies to the truth to us.  However, when our conscience is not healthy, it is only pointed at the darkness of error, our conscience testifies to us in error.

A very specific example of this principle is found in the followers of Molech, who sacrificed their children to their false god.  How could they do such a thing?  They had been brought up from babies believing a set of false truths about Molech and the need to sacrifice their children.  The actions of their conscience was based on these horrible false teachings, therefore their conscience did not affect them as they sacrificed their children, but would have made them feel guilty  if they had not been willing to offer their children.  How sad, how blind!  Much like the people of Isaiah’s day….

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”   (Isaiah 5:20)

Our Conscience Acts Like A Shepherd’s Rod Within Us

The Shepherd’s rod was used exclusively by the shepherd to care for the sheep.  It was used as a club to drive off attacking enemies, it was used to gently discipline the wayfaring sheep, directing them back to the flock.

The conscience acts in a similar way, protecting the individual from sin, while directing to the path that should be taken.

And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. 

Here we see David’s conscience working as a disciplinary rod bringing to David’s attention that he had sinfully chosen to number the people of Israel.  David has departed from the path that he should have been traveling and his conscience reminded him that his action was sinful, while also persuading him to repent of this sin and turn back to the path he was meant to travel upon.

And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done:

David’s repentance resulted from the intervention of his conscience.  His repentance included:

1. acknowledgment of the sin that he committed

2. acknowledgment of his responsibility in the commission of that sin

and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.   (2 Samuel 24:10)

3.  acknowledgment of the need for forgiveness

4.  acknowledgment that his sin was committed against the Lord and therefore,

5.  acknowledgement that forgiveness must come from the Lord

6.  acknowledgement of the true regret and sorrow that he felt

THE SUMMARY:

The conscience is a wonderful tool given by God’s grace to help the lost see their need of salvation and then, in the life of the Christian to keep us on track as we seek to serve our Lord and Savior.  Through its three ministries (messenger, eye, rod) the conscience is a very effective tool that can be used of God to reveal the true spiritual condition of individuals and the spiritual need that is in their life.

The role of the Holy Spirit in using our conscience to show men their spiritual condition will be covered in another lesson.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The Human Conscience Series: “The Gateways Of Our Mind”

SIH TOA ICON

The wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

 

In this section we will be looking at the process involved in the receipt, approval and proclamation of truth in our being.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Jer 13:23   Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

 

Rom 2:15   Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

 

 Rom 10:13-18  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

1Co 8:7  Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

1Co 14:12-17  Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.  For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.   What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.    Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?    For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

THE STUDY:

The Gateways Of The Mind

Key to above chart:

#1 – The Gateway Of Understanding

Gives Access To The MIND

It is through this gateway that teaching is RECEIVED (becomes knowledge in the mind)

1Co 14:12-17

“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.  Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.  For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.  What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.  Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?  For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.”

For God’s people to receive be taught the truths of God, they must understand these truths (following their receipt of them through hearing, reading, or seeing them on display in the lives of others)

In our example above, we find that Paul was clearly explaining to the speakers of truth that they must teach these truths in a language that could be understood by the listeners.  If they did not proclaim the truths of God in an understandable way these truths could not enter the minds of the listeners and therefore, be of benefit to them.

#2 – The Gateway Of Belief

Gives Access To The CONSCIENCE

It is through this gateway that teaching is APPROVED (accepted as truth and begins to effect the conscience)

Rom 10:13-18

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?  So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

1Co 8:7

“Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.”

Once the truth is received in the mind, faith in these truths must to exercised before they will affect the human conscience.  It is only after the Word is believed that it will enter into the conscience.  For example, if a person does not believe that lying is sinful, their conscience will not convict him when he speaks a lie.

#3 – The Gateway Of Conviction

Gives Access To The WILL

It is through this gateway that teaching is APPLIED (begins to influence the choices we make in life)

Rom 2:15

“Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)”

Following the receipt and belief of the truth conviction will then follow if the truth is violated in one’s life.  At the time of belief, the truth of God is now implanted in the conscience which begins it’s work of conviction.  This conviction of the conscience can affect the choices (will) that one makes, thereby changing the actions of the one being convicted.

Keep in mind, when it is only the conscience that is convicting the individual, an outward reformation of that person’s life can take place. Their outward actions may change but they are yet in their sins, unregenerate and awaiting God’s judgment.  However, combined with the workings of the Holy Spirit of God, this conviction can lead to regeneration, the bestowal of a new nature within which leads to a converted lifestyle of service to Christ. (see lesson on “The Origin and Conviction of the Conscience)

THE SUMMARY:

The key to the understanding the nature and characteristics of sin is found through the receipt of truth into the mind.

The key to the recognition of sin in our life is the receipt of the truth of God into our conscience.

The key to the outward change of reformation of our actions is the conviction of the conscience working upon the will.

The key to an inward change of regeneration which will then change our outward life is found in the Holy Spirit’s use of the conscience to convict and lead us to Christ as our Savior and our Lord.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The Human Conscience Series: “The Origin And Conviction Of Our Conscience”

SIH TOA ICONThe wicked flee when no man pursueth:

but the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Prov 28:1)

In the past few lessons we have seen the Biblical meaning of the word “conscience”; the existence of the human conscience in both the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures and examples of some of the many varied ways it influences man.

Now, let’s take a few moments to learn more about the origin of the human conscience and it’s convicting powers…

THE SCRIPTURES:

(Genesis 1:27)
So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

(Psalms 51:4)
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest.

(John 8:9)
And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

(John 16:7-11)
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

(Acts 3:18-19)
But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

(Acts 16:14-15)
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us.

(Romans 2:14-15)
For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

(2 Corinthians 1:12)
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

(2 Corinthians 7:9-11)
Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

THE STUDY:

The Origin of the Human Conscience

The conscience was given to man by God…

1.  So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27)

Please notice that God created (formed, shaped) man in His image (likeness, a shadow).  One aspect of mankind being created in the likeness of God is the ability to discern moral right from wrong.

Animals can understand that a certain action will result in their punishment, but they cannot discern the morality of an action.  Man, however, was given the ability to not only link and action to its consequences, but they can also understand that their sin has broken the commands of God and that their actions  have displeased God….

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done [this] evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, [and] be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:4)

Here, we see that our conscience was given to us by God giving us moral discernment which is one aspect of being made in His image.

2. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:  Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)  (Romans 2:14-15)

In this set of verses, we can see that Gentiles who had never been taught the Word of God, were still capable of recognizing sin and the need to live moral lives.  By doing this, they “shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, .

In other words, God has written His law in their mind and desires.  Through the testimony of their conscience, the law in their mind and desires are validated and emphasized.  This is much like a witness at a legal proceeding verifying the evidence and giving it more weight in the eyes of the jurors.

Who did the writing of the law upon the heart of man?  It is the Lord of course.  It is the Lord that equipped man with the conscience, and uses it as a tool to confirm and bring to the forefront His standard of morality…

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.”   (2 Corinthians 1:12)

These verses help us to come to an understanding of the definition of our conscience….

The Conscience Conviction vs. Holy Spirit Conviction

There is a clear difference between conscience conviction apart from the Holy Spirit and conscience conviction in conjunction with the Holy Spirit…

1. “And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  (John 8:9)

This is a clear example of conviction that is the result of the conscience of man APART without the intervention of the Holy Spirit.  It results in shame and acknowledgment of sin, but does not result in repentance nor a changed life.

2. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us. (Acts 16:14-15)

This is an example of a woman who had been convicted by the Holy Spirit, through the use of her conscience resulting in her heart being “opened”;  turning from her sin to submission to Christ “she attended unto the things which were spoken by Paul” and “she was baptized”.  In this example, we can see a true repentance for sin taking place which led to a changed life of obedience to Christ.

3.  Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

(2 Corinthians 7:9-11)

The sorrow that results from the conviction of the conscience APART from the Holy Spirit is described here as “the sorrow of the world”.  Conviction which proceeds from the Holy Spirit through the use of the conscience is described as “Godly sorrow”.   Note the basic differences:

Conscience conviction without the Holy Spirit’s workings results in:
a.  sorrow without Godly intervention – “ye were made sorry” and “sorrow of the world”
b.  eternal spiritual death – “worketh death”.

Conscience used as a tool by the Holy Spirit to convict and convince results in:
a.  sorrow that results in turning from the sin to service to God – “sorrowed to repentance”
b.  sorrow that is a gift of God’s grace – “sorry after a Godly manner” and “sorrowed after a Godly sort”
c.  sorrow that results in repentance and salvation – “sorrow worketh repentance to salvation”
d.  sorrow for sin that is permanent – “not to be repented of”
e.  sorrow that results in Godliness as top priority – “what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge!”

The conviction that is brought upon us through our conscience alone is useful showing us our sin and, by implication, our need of salvation.  However, it is only through the conviction of the Holy Spirit of God opening our sin hardened heart, turning us from our sin to our Lord and Savior that we can experience a Godly sorrow and true salvation in Him.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  (John 16:7-11)

THE SUMMARY:

May we thank the Lord for the wonderful gift of the conscience that He has given to us.  By His grace, may He, in the person of the Holy Spirit, use our conscience to convict us of our sin, open our sin hardened hearts, draw us to Himself, recognizing Him as our Lord and Savior, and grace us with Godly sorrow, repentance and faith.

In doing so, we will receive salvation from our sins, become new creatures in Christ and receive a continual display of His grace in our lives, beginning now and stretching throughout eternity…

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:18-19)

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscience.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/conscienceprotected.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

 

 

SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 13:18-21

SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

 

Wise Attitudes: The Word Of God (2): Proverbs 13:18-21

18) Poverty and shame [shall be to] him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
19) The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but [it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil.
20) He that walketh with wise [men] shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
21) Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

EXPOSITION:

A description of the benefits of a wise attitude concerning the Scriptures is shown to us in this text…

18) Poverty and shame [shall be to] him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
1.  A foolish attitude is described as “willfully loosening” or “letting slide away” the instruction found in the Word. We can refuse His Word by simply allowing it to gradually slip away and no longer be a part of our life.
2.  This is compared with the wise attitude of “protecting” or “guarding over” the correction found in the Word.  In this case, instead of allowing these things to slip away due to lack of diligence, we carefully watch over His Word making certain it continues to be a living part of our lifestyle and testimony.

What do these attitudes result in?

1.  For the foolish, allowing the Word to slide away results in spiritual poverty (and, perhaps, physical poverty) as well as public shame in this world and eternity to come.
2.  For the wise, carefully guarding His Word, results in being taken seriously by those around us and receiving eternal rewards for faithfulness from the hand of God.

Wise attitudes result in spiritual blessings, human respect and eternal rewards.

But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”   (Hebrews 11:6)

19) The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but [it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil.
1.  For those who wisely desire to depart from sin, overcoming sin is agreeable, pleasant and brings fulfillment.
2.  For the fools holy living is detestable and to be avoided.  

Wise attitudes result in a fulfilling, pleasant life desirous of Godliness.

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith:  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”   (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

20) He that walketh with wise [men] shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
1.  For those who are wise, they will understand the strong influence of others and, therefore, will desire to accompany others who are wise.
2.  The fool does not understand the power of the influence of their companions and, therefore, form close relationships with those that are foolish.

Wise attitudes result in seeking out Godly acquaintances that will enhance their spiritual growth.

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.  And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.  Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”   (Malachi 3:16-18)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”   (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

21) Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
1.  For the foolish who make a practice of sin, harm, distress and retribution will follow them.
2.  For those who wisely forsake sin and live according to righteousness, they shall receive that which is beneficial and pleasing to them.

Wise attitudes will lead a man to a righteous lifestyle that will only benefit Him now and throughout eternity.

Many sorrows [shall be] to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.”   (Psalms 32:10)

SUMMARY:

A wise attitude that leads a man to reject sin and live according to the desires of God is of great gain…
1.  Wise attitudes result in spiritual blessings, human respect and eternal rewards.
2.  Wise attitudes result in a fulfilling, pleasant life desirous of Godliness.
3.  Wise attitudes result in seeking out Godly acquaintances that will enhance their spiritual growth.
4.  Wise attitudes will lead a man to a righteous lifestyle that will only benefit Him now and throughout eternity.

May we all remember the overflowing blessings that await those who are in submission to the will and ways of the Lord.  May we use these blessings as a motivating force as we produce a Godly lifestyle that honors and glorifies the Lord.

But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”   (Hebrews 11:6)

Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.”   (Hebrews 11:26)

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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