Protecting Your Conscience

What REALLY Goes On Inside Our Heads?

1 Timothy 1:5, 19

Audio MP3

February 3, 2013 PM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (1Tim 1:5,6,19; John 8:9)


A.    You know when you have “arrived” and are spiritually mature – when you have a “pure heart,… and a good conscience” – some rare things indeed today!

B.     Some people do NOT value their conscience, but have put it aside, and without fail, have “made shipwreck!” That’s the end result!

C.     Define “conscience”


1.      The conscience is one of those things psychiatrists and doctors have been studying for a long, time. God wrote the Bible to tell us all about this thing inside us that says, “No, no!”

2.      Our conscience is what separates us from animals

3.      Not the fact that we know we are alive – self-awareness

4.      But that we know “instinctively” what is right and wrong

5.      What feels sorrow and remorse in us

6.      Your conscience is how you see yourself before God!

7.      It is the moral centre of our being – sometimes the Bible calls it our “heart”


D.    It is a good thing to have!


1.      We do well to learn the basics about our conscience, because it is what we must use to get saved, and to follow Christ (Rom 10:9,10), “for with the HEART (the conscience) man believeth unto righteousness!”


E.     There are four types of consciences in the Bible


1.      The unregenerate conscience – the one we are were born with

2.      The quickened conscience – saved, born again, spiritually responsive to the word of God, and the will of God

3.      The burned-out conscience – this is the person hardened by sin, and no longer any guilt, or shame – no more blushing or embarrassment at filth

4.      The good conscience – sleeps well at night – guilt has been washed away, hopes are alive and growing, thoughts are clean and pure


F.      Most people are in one of two conditions


1.      Unregenerate and burned-out

2.      Saved and burned out


G.    My job this message is to make you yearn for a clean and pure conscience


II.    Message – Protecting Your Conscience ( 1 Timothy 1:5, 19)


A.    An Unregenerate Conscience – What’s it Like?


1.      It is aware of sin and guilt. It has the Law of God written in it (Rom 2:14,15)

2.      It is ruined/defiled by sin (Tit 1:15) – no innocence since childhood – only lots and lots of guilt that just keeps building up and building up! It is dead towards God.

3.      It is Seared over time (1Tim 4:2) burned-out like a well used clutch on a car

4.      It is BLIND/NUMB to the work of the Holy Spirit – doesn’t feel the work of the Holy Spirit


a.       Yes, it knows it is being pricked, convicted, pushed, prodded

b.      But never knows that it is the work of the gentle Holy Spirit out of love for the sinner!

c.       Only sees guilt as a bother – something to ignore!


5.      It is the only thing that most people have (John 8:9; Rom 2:15) – without it, there would be no way for ANYBODY to respond to the preaching of the Gospel!

6.      Is in need of CONVERSION – REGENERATION – not just patching-up, pep-talks, counselling, holidays, etc! But regeneration (Titus 3:5)


B.     The Process of Conversion Begins in the Conscience (Gen 6:5)


1.      All your life, God has been working to convince you that you are separated from Him by sin – and your conscience must feel guilty. God designed it to motivate us to drive us to mercy – to cause us to humble ourselves for self-preservation

2.      You have to know that you have a need on the inside – usually takes a crisis of a need on the outside to make that apparent – we try and hide how we feel until it finally shows (alcoholism, drug addiction)

3.      Contrary to how things work in a Christian’s life


a.       A Christian submits

b.      A sinner surrenders! Conversion ONLY happens with surrender – that’s why God had to destroy the world of Noah’s day – because they had no more conscience


4.      Conversion works by faith, when following God’s instructions EXACTLY


a.       Come AS a sinner by faith, and stand before GOD – no good at all

b.      Accept the BLOODLY DEATH of Christ on the cross as payment in your place

c.       The Gospel must be BELIEVED with the conscience (Isa 1:18)

d.      Apply the blood to your conscience (Heb 9:8-10,14; 10:2-10,22) – this is the part people miss. Apply it to your guilt and shame


5.      Conversion only takes place when your conscience comes under the authority and work of the words of God.

6.      When religions mess with God’s instructions, or with the Gospel itself, they are actually messing with people’s ability to get guilt removed (Gal 1:6-9; 3:1)!


C.     What is a Regenerated Conscience Like?


1.      It is PURE (Heb 13:18; 1Pet 3:16,21) – Blessed eternal salvation – it washes not only the record in heaven clear, but also my own conscience


a.       No Jew EVER had this feeling!

b.      No Christian can survive without knowing its truth and reality!


2.      It is SOFT, and quiet – easy to be entreated by God’s Holy Spirit, and by people (Jam 3:17)

3.      It is SENSATIVE/Worried about other people’s consciences – their feelings (1Cor 10:28-32; Rom 14:21; Philp 2:1-5)

4.      It is FILLED with the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is BETTER than our own conscience – our own heart (Jer 17:9)

5.      It is POWERFUL! It is our MOTIVATION. It is the only reason that we do anything for Christ


a.       Whatever we do, we must do it from the heart from now on


1)      Giving (2Cor 9:7)

2)      Everything (Col 3:23)


b.      No forced actions – otherwise, no blessing/reward (1Tim 1:5)


D.    So, What Do Christians Have to Do? Protect It!


1.      The conscience, remember, is connected with your heart. It must be protected, or it will be defiled: trampled on, bruised, scarred, and ruined by the world, the flesh, and the devil!

2.      Can a Christian’s conscience become so cold, and indifferent that they do not sense God’s will, nor even desire it? Yes (Titus 1:15)

3.      How to protect your conscience


a.       Keep its contents simple (Psalm 131:1; Rom 16:17-19).


1)      Keep what you put in, simple, and true (Philp 4:8; 1Cor 14:20)

2)      Keep your thoughts simple, and your faith strong (Heb 13:9)

3)      Don’t let your heart entertain evil surmisings (1Tim 6:4)

4)      The world, TV, news… all comes at us and we don’t know how to make sense of it all, so it just backs up, and clogs up our hearts (Lk 21:34)


b.      Keep it TENDER, touchable, soft (2Kgs 22:19; Heb 4:7; 3:13,15).


1)      By instantly forgiving

2)      By doing the opposite of what your nature demands

3)      By NOT protecting yourself and your feelings (2Cor 12:15)


c.       Constantly, keep it clean (John 15:3)


1)      Reading God’s word, line by line, chapter by chapter

2)      Praying, and being sensitive to wrongdoing, and repenting – quick to humble yourself and repent

3)      Pleading the blood instantly when under attack, and under temptation, and after yielding to sin!

4)      Burying past sins, failures, and sorrows so that they do not cause bitterness


d.      Fortify it – by memorising/meditating on the truths of the Word of God (Psalm 119:92)


4.      Otherwise, we will be like Hymanaeus (1Tim 1:19) – shipwrecked, and defeated. THAT’S not God’s design – you were made to follow Jesus!