We tend to think of our conscience as a thermometer that registers the moral temperature around us. In reality, the conscience is more like a thermostat, which can be "reprogrammed" by the influences around us.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR SHEPHERD GROUPS
- What was one thing you found particularly interesting, insightful, helpful or difficult to understand from this sermon?
- How would you describe the moral/religious environment in which you grew up?
- Read and discuss Acts 24:14-16. What do you observe about the conscience? Why would the author of Acts "take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man" (v. 16)?
- Have you ever felt the weight of trying to maintain something that is not found in Scripture? What was the source of that pressure?
- What is the distinction between viewing the conscience as a thermometer as opposed to seeing it as a thermostat? Why is this distinction important?
- Are we born with a built-in moral code? What initially forms and shapes our conscience? What examples come to mind?
- What influences/environments have shaped and reshaped your conscience over the years? Can you think of good and bad examples from your own life?
- Read and discuss Titus 1:15-16, Ephesians 4:17-20, Romans 1:18 and 1 Timothy 4:1-3. What warnings are here regarding the defilement of the conscience?
- How does the gospel redeem, inform, enable and shape our own conscience? What does the gospel require of us in regards to others' consciences?
- What areas of your life need to be readjusted to "true North"? Spend some time together in prayer for this.