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RobertW
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Independence, Missouri

 Re:

[b]THE CONSCIENCE AND HEART IN CONFLICT[/b]


You will recall from previous studies that everyone has a conscience. This conscience acts independent of the heart. As Charles Finney has pointed out, this basically means is that the heart and the conscience may not always agree. This is especially true with impenitant sinners. The heart may [i]love[/i] sin, but the conscience [i]rejects[/i] it. The life that the conscience [i]affirms[/i]- the heart [i]hates[/i]. The conscience stands for righteousness and the evil heart desires sin; therefor the sinner is at war with themselves.

Returning to our previous text we see that Paul’s objective was not to appeal to the sinners hardened hearts, but to their [u]conscience[/u]. Their evil heart needed to be replaced with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). Some preaching appeals to the heart and the other to the conscience. The one that appeals to the impenitent sinners hearts often seeks to befriend or 'please' them in some way. Our text describes those who do it by handling the word of God dishonestly, in craftiness, and deceitfully (II Cor. 4:1, 2). This is the opposite of what Paul would do.

The problem with appealing to sinful hearts is that the conscience stands by and judges the words and the lives of the professor of Christ (or teacher or minister) and when the life or the words do not line up, the conscience rejects the person [i]and[/i] their message. Again, this is not something that the person chooses to do- it is an automatic reflex.

This is illustrated by what Jesus was talking about in Luke 7:31-34 And the Lord said, [i]Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? And to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners![/i]

This passage led Finney to conclude that because the impenitent heart desires sin and the conscience righteousness- it is impossible to please a impenitent sinner. The message approved by the conscience was rejected by the heart and vise versa. The one is too srict and the other is too merciful. This passage proves it impossible to please folk, as the pharisees, who were bent on rebellion.



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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/4 10:12Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

[b]LIGHT UPON A DARKENED CONSCIENCE[/b]

In Proverbs 20:27 we read, [i]The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.[/i] What is a candle? It is a light. God has given to every man a mind, which he so enlightens by His own Spirit, that the man knows how to distinguish good from evil; and conscience, which springs from this, searches the inmost recesses of the soul (Clarke). Men work against and ‘sear’ their consciences and it becomes 'darkened' and unable to do its job rightly (Romans 1:21). This is where the lives of others serve as a ‘LIGHT’ upon their darkened conscience and awakes individuals to reason.

This is what John the Baptist was and this is what Jesus was (and is). Jesus is ‘THE’ Light and John the Baptist was ‘a’ light. Both had an effect upon the [i]moral consciousness[/i] of those around them. John the Baptist was a [u]prophet to the conscience[/u] of the people. His life and his words, even as Paul testified, was commending himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God. When he was around the peoples’ moral conscience came to life. They may have been asleep in their sin before, but when he showed up their conscience came ALIVE.

And this is the question in our times? Does MY life effect the moral conscience of the society into which God has placed me? Does my manor of living pour light upon the darkened consciences of the people around me? What a powerful possibility! That our lives could effect the moral consciousness of everyone we come into contact with; thereby rendering our lives as the salt and light that it was intended to be. Folk who ordinarily may have went head long into sin now have the voice of conscience awakened in them preventing them from going deeper into sin than had we not been around. This becomes reality when we walk in a good conscience and let our light so shine before men.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/4 13:59Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

[b]SPEAK I THE TRUTH? WHAT SAITH YOUR CONSCIENCE?[/b]

There were times in the New Testament when new workers were sent out to the churches that noone knew and it was necessary to write a letter or at least a few words of commendation to be sent with them so they would be accepted (Acts 15:25, 18:27, I Cor. 16:10, Romans 16:1, Colossians 4:10, etc.).

The word ‘commend’ means to stand together with. Paul and the apostles stood together with Apollos, Timothy, Pheobe, and others in their writings. In the case of our text Paul commended himself, not by boasting of his achievements etc., but by literally standing together with their consciences.

What was his claim? He claimed that he did not handle the word of God deceitfully. This is an interesting Greek word that could be rendered to [i]distort[/i]. To distort something is to take something that is clear and make it fuzzy. It is to take it out of focus when the image before was sharp and crisp. The reason others would do this is for some ‘gain’. The conscience picks up on this [i]distortion[/i] and warns the hearers. Paul was saying to the people in effect, I stand along side your own conscience, what saith it? If I preach not the truth let your conscience witness!


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/6 9:53Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

[b]Integrity and The Conscience[/b]

Paul was careful not to give the consciences of men a cause to reject him. He was already rejected in the hearts of the impenitent, he dare not be rejected in their conscience also. And this is the challenge for believers; to commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in such a way that no matter what the heart may feel the conscience always [u]affirms[/u] our life and teaching. Not just our own consciences, but also of those who hear us.

Paul knew how easy it would be to distort his truth or twist that truth until he was accepted by those in rebellion. But that would bring the indictment of their conscience. Paul wanted to be manifest in the consciences of men that he was indeed a man of God who spoke the truth and no lie. He knew that was the only place he could effectively do the work of the Lord. Paul was not a salesman. He was not a customer service representative. He was an Apostle of the Most High God and he had to walk in his calling in such a way that the conscience of men affirmed his ministry.

We could suppose that some would reject him at first and later peradventure would repent and come to him for the truth. He knew he could not please an impenitent heart and a good conscience at the same time. This is a most powerful truth. To please the sinful heart is to disqualify ourselves from helping them if that day ever comes they truly wish to get right with God. This conscience will have already rejected us. Standing with the conscience may not win the friendship of the sinner, but it will win their respect.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/6 16:46Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

[b]THE CONFOUNDED AND CONFUSED CONSCIENCE[/b]

Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. (Ezekiel 22)

I have marveled to see a thing under the sun in these days of declension and wholesale iniquity and it is that of so many of the gate keepers having so little discernment. A generation seemingly willing to pass off anything as good as if there were no test or discernment to be passed. A people that it would seem have no conscience of evil and good and pass off both as if they were one and the same.

The cry from the land is, "DON'T JUDGE! DON'T JUDGE" or "DON'T JUDGE ON OUTWARD APPEARANCE!" My friend if a man is walking down a dark alley with a machete in hand do you keep walking or turn around? If he comes off as threatening and evil he most always is. If he or she flaunts their wickedness and the marks of sin then what more need you to discern? As an old timey preacher used to say, "If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck then you can believe it is probably a duck."

But not so in our times. The conscience of many in our generation is utterly confounded. Some so distorted that they actually believe that the way to preach Christ is to look and act like devils. What confusion? What twistedness? What confounding of the conscience? We see it all around. The enemy has came in to make a mockery of the church. Men posing to minister before the Lord dressed as the prophets of Baal. And again, what do we hear? "DON'T JUDGE! DON'T JUDGE" or "DON'T JUDGE ON OUTWARD APPEARANCE!" Why not?

As revivalists we tell folk they must die to our Old Man. As repentance preachers we tell folk that we must be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The enemy has made such a mark on people's lives that it is almost unreal. As if a billion legions were walking the earth. And what a wonder? Legion is freed from his chains- clothed and in his right mind and then to reach the other 'legions' of his day he strips naked and puts the chains back on. What are you DOING legion? Well, didn't you hear? Hear what? You have to look like them to set them free? What folly?

And what has happened? The very thing that folk are supposed to be being led out of they are being led BACK in to! And all in the name of Jesus. What ever happened to RENOUNCING the former lives? Not today- we just use the lifestyle we used to live slap Jesus on it and use it to market the Gospel. What did God say? [i]Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane...[/i]. NO DIFFERENCE between the HOLY and the PROFANE.

What deception? What love of the world? What mixture? What wanting to hang on to the old life in the name of ministry! COME OUT! COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE YE SEPERATE saith the LORD and TOUCH NOT the UNCLEAN THING and I will receive you. Where is it more seen than in popular youth ministry? Even the highest and brightest are succumbing to the temptation to [i]compromise[/i]. Secular bands playing in our most powerful meetings! Youth pastors that look more worldly than the world itself- bent on beating the world at their own game. And we wonder why hell hath enlarged herself to swallow this generation. The lyrics of much modern music has been utterly dummed down.

What does it yield? A generation that confounds the fire of hell with the fire of God. A generation that cannot discern the difference between a soul moving rift and the unction of God or a good bass line and the anointing. Are the leaders any better? Can they tell the difference? Do they even know what is moving them? I have felt some of the same 'feelings' in rock concerts when I was in sin and I'm sure that was not the fire of God!

How do we turn the tide? How do we confront the madness? Like blind leaders of the blind the masses are heading for the ditch. Who will have the [b]BOLDNESS[/b] in our times to say ENOUGH! Who will have the holy jealousy of God for His name RISE up in them to proclaim that we must make difference between the holy and the profane?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/7 8:51Profile
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 Re:

[b]CULTIVATING A GOOD CONSCIENCE[/b]

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. (I Peter 3:16)


A good conscience is one that is working properly and utilizing the law of God written upon our hearts as it's guideline. To work properly it must make accurate judgments. To make accurate judgments the conscience must have accurate laws to work with. You will recall that we have said previously that the conscience does not legislate laws- it merely makes judgments based on what the individual believes to be the will of God (right and wrong).

A good conscience also requires a submissive will. The conscience has no real power to enforce its judgments other than the 'feeling' is presses upon the mind. This makes the conscience totally dependent on our submission. It speaks with total authority, but it does not exercise [i]total control[/i].

We are told in Romans 6 that we are servants to the things we yield our members to. The word ‘yield’ means [i]to present ourselves to. There is a readiness implied here- ready to do the will of the one we present ourselves to[/i]. It is the same word as is used in Romans 12:1 to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. We become slaves to the ‘one’ or ‘things’ we [u]indulge[/u]. When we submit ourselves to things we increase the ease with which we will submit in the future. In time submission becomes easy and resisting becomes difficult.

This is why some folk seem to be bound to certain sins after they were once saved. They yielded to some sin over and over until they are bent towards yielding. in other words, they became 're-entangled' in that sin. Likewise if a person resists over and over- one will be bent towards resisting. This is true for resisting our conscience or resisting sin.

A person who has chosen to resist their conscience and yield to sin has suffered a double effect. They have shut down the power of the conscience to control the actions and have given that control to the sin they are indulging. If a person is use to resisting the devil and submitting to conscience then the struggle against temptation is [i]minimized[/i]. Struggle begins when the conscience is resisted and the sin is yielded to.

Control of ones life can quickly shift from righteousness to sin if we were to [i]indulge[/i] in some besetting sin we have struggled with in the past. They key to control is determined by what we stand beside (yield to). The more we submit and indulge in something the greater the tendency to yield to the thing.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/7 13:04Profile
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 Re:

[b]CONSCIENCE AND CONTROL[/b]

A person who is used to yielding to their conscience and has given much control of their life to conscience is what we might call a [i]conscientious[/i] person. They pay great attention to their conscience. Other folks give little attention to conscience and it has almost no control. This can be illustrated by looking at the life of a child. A child may know his/her parents will and be totally absent minded about it to the place that one may wonder if they have a conscience at all. They can disregard the known will of their parents without feeling the pains of conscience. It speaks, but it is ignored.

The parents may well be in complete authority in the home, but the child does not readily [i]yield[/i] to that authority. A parent may use discipline to correct this as does also God Himself (Hebrews 12:1-11). Parents discipline their children among other reasons to cause them to regard their conscience. A parent that warns and warns and never follows through will likely cause the child to see no penalty for disobeying conscience.

The child disobeys, but are the parents in authority? Is God in absolute authority when people disobey Him? The answer is yes, ultimately. There may be a time of resistance to that authority, but in time it will be exercised. The conscience likewise can be ignored over and over until it is awakened or the person is lost in hell in eternity. Circumstances have a way of awakening the conscience. When a person is faced with the consequences of their actions they often hear a double affirmation from a freshly awakened and 'loosed' conscience.

What about those who end their lives in rebellion? What will the conscience do then? I think it reasonable that conscience is part of the human make up and will be with us for eternity. For those who are lost to the flames, the conscience will no doubt exercise itself with a volume of a thousand thunders and lashings. With no blood of Christ with which to purge a conscience (Hebrews 9:9), and it be loaded down with the enormity of its sins and the full knowledge of the extent of their own sinful actions; how shall one escape if they neglect so great salvation (Hebrews 2)? The torments of conscience have to be unthinkable in their horrors. Folk spent their lives ignoring their conscience as it warned them of the consequences of their sin until is resigned itself to just keep track of the offenses until judgment. Now it will stand as witness and open up as it were a battery of accusations against them from within. As if an army of Nathan the prophet’s had in unison pointed their finger at our chests and declared, “THOU ART THE MAN.” Who will stand in that day? What a wonder it will be for the unsaved when their own conscience will testify against them?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/7 14:38Profile
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 Re:

[b]A MISGUIDED CONSCIENCE[/b]


It is not always because the conscience is ignored that it does not function rightly. Sometimes it is due to a lack of knowledge. Other times it is due to wrong beliefs.

We must understand that the [i]law of love[/i] must be the supreme basis for all our actions because on it hangs all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:40). Some can justify their actions from scripture in one way or another; but do not take into account the law of love.

The Pharisees are said to be able to prove a false doctrine from scripture, so their conscience was totally untrustworthy. A conscience fitted with this kind of knowledge base could fall victim to the impenitent heart concocting persuasive arguments to justify it's own compromise while condemning others for the same thing (See Romans 2:3-11). This is why they could bring a woman taken in adultery and not recognize their own sins. Some apparently had the idea that so long as they 'taught' that the law did not apply to them. In reality the teachers are under a stricter judgment. That should be the rule of the teachers conscience- not that they are above the word they preach and teach.

Before the religious leaders brought the woman in adultery they felt no pain of conscience, but when Jesus started writing in the sand they went out [u]convicted[/u] by their own conscience (John 8:9). The word [i]convicted[/i] here could be translated rebuked.

Their own personal deception effected their attitude towards people, business practices, living habits and a host of other things. They could [i]stone a woman to death with sin in their own lives[/i] with no pain of conscience.

Paul the Apostle was persecuting Christians believing he was doing God a service (John 16:2, Acts 8, 24). Jesus said this would happen. As a dear brother in England once said, he was not crazy, he was a [u]fanatic[/u]. He was fanatical in his beliefs and those beliefs were terribly wrong. He could kill Christians with the praise of his conscience- believing he was doing God a favor.

This demonstrates how the conscience is [i]limited[/i] in its ability to lead a person. It is only a judgment seat and if the person has bad beliefs- ‘junk in’ will result in ‘junk out’ (as we say). It is akin to the saying “computers don’t make mistakes- people make mistakes.” The conscience can only go on what you and I believe to be God’s will. What Paul would soon find out is that love is the most important thing of all. If we have not love we are nothing. Love does not take advantage of people or their condition. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Romans 13:10).


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/8 10:57Profile
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 Re:

[b]THE LAW OF LOVE MUST BECOME THE LAW OF CONSCIENCE[/b]

A conscience that does not take into account the law of love is of the meanest sort. Imagine the strict requirements of perfection without the undergirding of the love of God. Some folk have consciences that make them perfectionists. This is noble only when balanced with God’s mercy.

The conscience must take into account the full counsel of God. This is the only way we will walk in the law of love. A person can actually do their neighbor wrong and yet be in compliance with much of the scriptures (and conscience). Notice I say ‘much’ and not ‘all’. Romans 13:10 tells us that whoever loves his fellow-man will never work ‘ill’ towards them (never do them wrong). The word for ‘ill’ is almost always translated as [i]evil[/i]. This means harm or injury.

Simply put, when we are walking in love we do not bring evil upon people. A conscience that takes into account the law of love asks the question, “Will this that I am about to do harm my fellow man?” Am I 'taking away' or 'adding to' their life by what I am about to do or say? Am I taking advantage of them in some way? Am I mistreating them and causing injury? Is what I am doing promoting good towards their well being? And perhaps the best question, "Is this how I would want to be treated?" If the answer is NO the conscience should reject the behavior. If it does not, the conscience is seared.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/8 12:33Profile
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 Re:

[b]UNCONSCIONABLE BEHAVIOR[/b]

Sometimes folk can act in the most unChristlike of ways and feel little or no pain of conscience whatsoever. Their conscience is seared when it comes to the golden rule.

Some folk have 'selective' conscience sensitivity. They treat their family and those they love one way and strangers and enemies another way. Some people come home from a hard days work and kick the dog and scream at the kids while treating everyone all day with the highest level of courtesy. Others come home and kiss the wife and kids after a day of having been unconscionably rude and harsh to those in their workplace. This is a 'selective' conscientiousness. In truth, our conscience should be pressing us into a consistent Christlike behavior.

Sometimes the setting dictates how the conscience reacts. Certain settings lend to sharp and even rude Christian behavior. This thing ought not so to be. An example of this in America is Sunday afternoons at the local diner or café. If Christians knew their reputation on that day in those settings they would be shamed to enter the place. I have known waitors and waitresses speak of Sunday as the worst day to work. The most demanding and rude folk they are and then leave the worst 'tips'. This is a consistent testimony from the many folk I know personally who work in this field. It is a horrible witness.

What caused this? I suppose we could say that people in public service are at their customers bidding. Nothing more easily demonstrates how a person really 'is' than how they handle [i]authority[/i]. Some people never get a chance to 'give orders' and when they do- they can't handle it. They talk [u]sharp[/u] and demanding at the check-out counter, to the waitor or waitress, or the bank teller. People who work in the public deal with this all the time. A Christian should never contribute to the woes and troubles of these people and their already difficult jobs.

You may ask, where is the conscience in all this? It had to have been seared at some point. That is all we can say. The people you come in contact with in society are still part of those whom we are to treat as we would want to be treated. They are not a seperate class of people or something. These are but a few examples of how a Christians actions can become [i]unconscionable[/i] in certain areas.

The conscience needs to be in effect 24/7/365. Not just 'here' or 'there', or with 'this' person [i]or[/i] 'that' person; but everywhere and with everyone. Our former text implies that if we are to be accused of being evil doers- it should be a false accusation. We ensure this by making sure we have a good conscience at all [i]times[/i] and at all [i]places[/i] (I Peter 3:16).


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/12/8 13:56Profile





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