Conscience and Ministry

I Tim 1:5  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

·         Secondly is our conscience.  Watchman Nee tells us that the conscience is a component of or a barometer of the voice of the Holy Spirit.  Let us look at what the apostle Paul has to tell us about the conscience.

Romans 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;

·        Greek: Their consciences also bearing witness with their hearts, and between one another (in their conscience) their collective thoughts constantly accusing or defending. (Seems like the operation of the voice of the Holy Spirit!)

Romans 9:1  I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

·        My conscience bears witness to me in the realm or world that belongs to the Holy Spirit. (My conscience operates within the world that belongs to the Holy Spirit.)

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.

·        We use the testimony (of accusing or defending) that our conscience gives to conduct ourselves in this world.

2 Timothy 1:3  I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

·        I thank God whom I render religious service to in a world that belongs to a pure conscience.

I Tim 1:5  Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

·         Third and finally, “faith unfeigned” has to do with having an authentic walk with the Lord.  In other words is it mean to “walk the talk.”

1  Tim 1:6 From which some having swerved (have deviated from to miss the bull’s eye) have turned aside unto (into) vain jangling(fruitless talk)

·        The result of turning away from a genuine Spirit led walk of absolute purity.

7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

·        They not know what they say, or what is the reality concerning the things that they speak with so much confidence about.  They are confident in their errors.  My friends, this is the definition of being deceived!

10    According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Greek: According to the gospel of the glory of the happy God…

·        As I always teach, the glory of God is to make the invisible God, visible, to a lost and dying world. Church and ministry can never be about agendas, programs or the likes, but must always aim to make the invisible God visible through them.

11     And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

Greek: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who endued me with His power (only as He found me dependable.) The gift of His power was given to me as He found me worthy of trust. Once that the trust and power were there God placed me into my ministry.

·        We must never seek ministry on our own.  We must never seek to raise ourselves up. We only need to seek to be faithful and obedient to the Lord.

·        Our obedience develops the character of the Lord and allows us to become partakers of His liberty. The Lord entrusts us with His power as He sees that our godly character is being developed to the point that we will not abuse it or be puffed up by it. There comes a day when the Lord sees that we have enough of His character, liberty, and power to be placed into His calling for us. He then raises us up.

·        God’s ministry must always be executed in His power.  If we know little about God’s power we have no business being in ministry.

14  and the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Greek: And the grace of our Lord super abounded along with the faith and love, which reside inside Christ Jesus.

·        Verse fourteen is the result of Paul being placed into the ministry which he spoke about in verse twelve. As we have discussed before, the grace of God is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ laboring within us, and accomplishing all in us. Christianity can be defined wonderfully in one single verse, as first taught to me by Watchman Nee.

Philippians 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

·        The Lord “works in” you by His grace. Every work of grace is translated into a rhema word.  Every time we obey His rhema word we have “worked out.”  That is Christianity!

·        Every time the Lord works in His rhema word, it carries His measure of faith and power for us to work it out.   This is grace.

·        When we work out   without receiving the rhema word we fall away from grace.  This is the law.

Galatians 5:4  Christ is become of no effect (useless, broken down and non-operational) unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

·        Another way of seeing the grace of God can be found in the following verse.

Colossians 2:6  As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ( conduct your lives) ye in him:

·        The areas of our lives in which Christ has been revealed in us, to labor on our behalf and give us freedom, is the same areas that we are responsible to walk in and maintain our freedom and victory. A believer cannot quit smoking unless Christ has spotted that area, then revealed Himself to the believer in order to labor and set him or her free by His grace. Once the freedom has come through the superhuman labor of the Lord then the Christian has the responsibility not to fall back into the bondage of smoking but to conduct his or her life in the freedom of Christ

 I tim 1:18 This charge (as military orders) I commit (I entrust to you as a valuable deposit) unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

·        In accordance with the words of prophecy or in the sphere of God’s power found within them, you are to war to ultimate success (God’s) military campaigns and expeditions.

·        This is Paul’s definition of “faith unfeigned”.

·        It makes us wonder how the Lord’s battles can be successfully carried out if the prophet and prophecies are not welcomed with open arms in our churches and ministries today?

19  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away(repudiate andreject)concerning faith have made shipwreck:

·        Verse nineteen are the requirements for the soldier of the Lord as depicted in verse eighteen, if he or she are to carry out successfully the Lord’s military campaigns to utter completion.

·        Everything must be done by the faith of God, which is always resident within the voice of His Holy Spirit.

·        A good conscience is a barometer of the voice of the Holy Spirit.  It is good because the voice of the Holy Spirit within it bears constant witness that the believer is restricting his or her life to the voice of God within the conscience.

·        Those believers that thrust away, repudiate and reject the walk of faith, which administers God’s affairs, as well as the voice of the Holy Spirit within the conscience become like a ship that wrecks and destroys itself.

·        Finally the person that rejects God and considers Him as worthless becomes Romans one and twenty eight.
Romans 1:28  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;

Greek (paraphrase): Because they did not like to acknowledge God in their thinking as someone that is more precious and valuable than the finest of metals after having an opportunity to do so, God decreed their thinking as failing the test given to a fine metal, rendering their thinking unfit, and worthy only to be rejected and cast away to do those things which are unbecoming.

1 Tim 4:2  Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

·        There comes a point when the person reject God long enough to have their conscience becomes cauterized, numbing its spiritual senses, removing the discernment of God’s voice, and losing the personal consciousness of what is right and what is wrong.  Hence all the aberrant form of human behaviors found today.

2 Thess 2:11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

·        Go will send them an energizing work of error so that they believe what is false.

1 Tim 4:1  Now the Spirit speaketh expressly (“speaking plainly”; probably through the mouths of prophets), that in the latter times( not specific times) some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

  •  Shall depart- The word is to “apostatize.”
  • Seducing spirits.  The same word for that of “error.”  The word for error in scriptures is from where our word “planet” comes.  A planet is defined as a “wonderer”, and error means to wonder from the truth.
  • Doctrines of devils are promoted through teachers that have fallen into error wondering from the truth through their own sins and the influence of demons.  Please observe Paul’s order. Seducing spirits, which cause to wander, allow us to pay heed to doctrines of devils.

2   Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

·        Speaking lies in hypocrisy; should read – Through the hypocrisy of those that speak lies.

·        Conscience seared with a hot iron; should read- Branded in their conscience.

·        Let us look at the progression of deception;

·        When Christians do not know and live by the truth of the gospel that is molded as a pattern of “sound words” (healthy words) they will pay heed to doctrines of devils.

·        We are brought to believe the doctrines of devils when seducing spirits, which cause the believer to wander from the truth or fall into error, deceive us.

·      These doctrines are brought about through the hypocrisy of teachers that speak lies.  These teachers can so comfortably bring these lies because their consciences have been cauterized through their disobedience to God, so that they can no longer discern right from wrong.

Rom 1:18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold(suppress) the truth in unrighteousness;

·        The wrath of God is constantly revealed upon all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men and women who hold down or suppress the truth of God in the realm of unrighteousness.

·        Unrighteous living automatically holds back, down, or suppresses the truth concerning God. With every act of unrighteousness there is an automatic suppression of truth.  As believers we must be very carefully not to willfully disobey. Every willful act of disobedience on our part suppresses God’s truth to the same measure as that of our disobedience.

Ephesians 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh(that is energized or activated) in the children of disobedience(that will not be persuaded to obey God)

·        There are believers that draw a line in the spiritual sand to the Lord and will not be persuaded to go further with Him. Christians that conduct their lives in such a way become “children of disobedience.”

·        Every willful act of disobedience activates or energizes the working of the devil.

Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

·         Greek: All that humanity can know about God right now is at our disposal because God already made sure that it is all manifested, and prepared for us. (There is no excuse for the existence of agnostics and atheists!

20  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

·        Greek: The things that cannot be seen of Him from the creation of the world are perceived clearly, and are likewise thoroughly seen and understood, by the things that God made…. so that they are defenseless (in their agnosticism and atheism) 

21  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.

·        Greek: Having known God, they absolutely refused to glorify Him as God or were thankful to Him.  The end result of pushing God away is that their reflections and reasonings about life became futile and pointless, allowing them to fall into deception and make wrong decisions. The end result is that their heart, now void of understanding, became darkened.

22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

·        Greek- Professing to be wise, they became morons.

23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

·        Greek:  And exchanged the glory of the undecaying and sinless God for the likeness of the image of decaying and sinful….

24  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

·        Greek:  Wherefore God handed them over by the cravings and lusts of their hearts into uncleanness so that they would dishonor their own bodies between themselves.

25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

·         Greek: Who exchanged the truth about God for falsehood, thus religiously reverencing and serving the created thing more than Him who created it.

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;

·        Greek:  In regards to things of this life that these people make it their goal to have an accurate and full knowledge about, they found God to have failed their test and not worthy of holding the place of one these things. Therefore God handed them over to a rejected mind, which failed His test, to now do these inappropriate and unfitting things.

1 Tim 4: 6 ¶ If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,whereunto thou hast attained.

·        Being continuously fed on the words, which are made up of faith and find their expression and life by a walk of faith.

·         Also the “words of faith and of good teaching” are the words, which are in accordance with God’s truth and through which the gospel finds its expression and life. This is our defense against seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.

·        Whereunto thou hast attained   Should read, “which you have closely followed.”

1Tim4:7  But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

·        Exercise thyself; Comes from the word for gymnastic which in turn comes from the word gymnos, which is defined as “being naked.”

·         The practice in the days of Paul was for athletes to exercise almost naked so as to be unhindered as possible for vigorous training.

·        Godliness is our manner of life, which makes us pleasing unto God. For us to attain to all that the Lord has for us, we must vigorously train in His will, spiritually naked, as to be untangled from distractions, idols, and worldly affairs.

1 Timothy 6:19  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

·        There is big difference between getting saved, going to church and performing religious activities versus that of “laying a hold on eternal life.” To lay hold on, is to grab on to, pull in, and make it our own possession   The Lord is never satisfied with our simple conversion and even our faithful attendance in church.  He wants us to experience as much of the fullness of eternal life as possible while in our earthly tent, which is to know God through the fullness of the revelation of His Son within our lives.

John 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
1 Tim 4:8  For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

·        Literally: “For a little (useful in a few things) is bodily exercise profitable”.  Exercising in godliness is useful for everything because it has an eternal impact on the next life and this one.

10  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

·        Of the three Greek versions that are used in our English translations the Byzantine and Textus Receptus say “labor and suffer reproach” while the Wescott Hort says “labor and struggle”.

·        Our word for struggle is “to  agonize.”  This is the same word that our New Testament uses for the agonizing efforts exerted in athletic competition.

·         Labor always implies painful toil with wearisome effort, which sometimes ends up in exhaustion.  The bottom line is that in any great work done for the Lord, or with any believer that desires to be greatly used of the Lord, he or she must become aware that this dual satisfaction can only be attained through wearisome spiritual labor and an exhilarating agony in following the Lord comparable to those exerted by Olympic athletes.

·        One of the greatest onslaughts that Christians face in Western societies is that of complacency, comfort, and prosperity.  These three things many times oppose and wage war against the spiritual toil and athletic struggle, which makes Christians into great men and women of God.  Christianity in western societies in great part tends to be mediocre at best.

·        Godliness likewise is only developed in the confines of a spiritual gymnasium.

Some Athletic Agonizing(s) in the NT

Luke 13:24  Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

1 Corinthians 9:25  And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.

Colossians 1:29  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Colossians 4:12  Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
1 Tim 4:11 These things command and teach.

·        These things transmit to others and teach.

12     Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

·        Despise –To think down

·        Example- This comes from the word that means to “strike a blow which leaves a mark.”

·         Paul here commands us to become believers who can leave a mark for other Christians to follow. God desires every one of us to live in such a way that we become a pattern for, or create a mold that others can imitate.

·        Word – Different things can be inferred from this.

The words that come out of our mouths must be wholesome to the building up of others.

As Moses was mighty in “word and deed,” we must learn to hear, operate by, and restrict our lives to the rhema word of God.

Our doctrine and teaching must follow the healthy words, which make up the gospel, and our life must conform to that doctrine.

Conversation – Behavior

Charity- Divine, self-sacrificial love.

Spirit – Some translations omit “spirit” in this verse.

Faith – Restrict our lives to the voice of the Lord, which is the faith of God.

Purity -This word in reality means “sinlessness”.  It talks not only about purity in our actions but also in our motives. We realize that it is humanly impossible to be sinless in this life, but our goal should always be to attain this as we labor and athletically strive in the Lord’s calling.

14  Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

Greek: Do not become careless about the spiritual gift, which was given to you by (the Holy Spirit) through prophecy and the laying of hands.

15  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

Meditate- Care for, attend to, and keep practicing “the things that we have discussed”

Give thyself wholly to them – Literally “to become one with them”.

Paul tell us throw ourselves fully, or become submerged and consumed with the things that lead to godliness, purity, charity, spiritual gifts, and so forth.

That thy profiting   Literally “pioneers cutting a way for an army”

Every Christian is called to a blaze a new pioneer trail, through which the Lord can effectively travel, in accordance with their unique calling. There are now pew sitters, and no room for mediocrity in God’s kingdom.

May appear to all  – Will become evident to all.

16  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine: Fasten your attentions to, observe, and attend to yourself first, and to your doctrine second. This doctrine is what you teach. It must be in accordance with the truth of the scriptures and your life must line up with it.

Continue in them – Be sure to remain in these things!

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