2011-09-16 - Integrity
Originally Preached 2008-11-16
Leonard Sweet, in his Soul Cafe newsletter, included this list of "Top 10 Liars' Lies"
(Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4.)
What do you think of when you hear word integrity? When we begin looking at that word we can see that its root comes from integer which is a whole number, complete, with no fractions. So even though the dictionary may define integrity as some form of moral and ethical goodness we also see definitions that are not so much about being good as being consistent.
I also read in a devotional magazine about a poll to see what occupations were considered to have the highest amount of integrity. Nurses came in first. Preachers were 5th. Why wouldn't Christians be at the top of this list? Is it because we don't act one way all the time
I was thinking about integrity and seeing what the Bible had to say about it when I ran across this passage
Psalm 25:20-21 (NASB)
Integrity and uprightness preserve us as we wait on God. What does it mean to be preserved? It means to be protected. Being protected is pretty cool in my opinion so what two things does it require? Integrity which in Hebrew is tom (tome) meaning completeness or simplicity Uprightness, yosher in Hebrew, means right. That word is derived from another Hebrew word, yashar, which means to be pleasing, straight, or even.
How can I please God? I must be straight, even, complete, and simple. Completeness means completely dedicated to one thing. You can't get any simpler than having one purpose. There's a movie called City Slickers that reminds me of what it means to have integrity. Curly, played by Jack Palance, says the secret to life is one thing. He proceeds to tell Billy Crystal's character that you must figure out what the one thing is for yourself though.
What's our one thing as Christians? That one thing is pleasing God by being what he's always wanted. God doesn't change his mind. His one thing for us has always been the same.
Exodus 9:16 says his name to be known in all the earth.
2 Samuel 7:23 says Israel was called out to make his name known
Ezekiel 36:20 says Israel profaned his name rather than proclaiming it
And so Jesus came to raise up a people to proclaim God's name. His model prayer teaches us to pray, "Hallowed be your name." (Matthew 6:9)
There are countless times in scripture where we are told to ask in His name and do in his name (over 100 in fact).
John 17:6 contains a part of Jesus' final prayer. He says, "You sent me to make your name known and I've done that with these men." Jesus is light of the world light doesnt light up itself. It lights up something else. He lit up the disciples who lit up more men. We too are to be light in this world according to the Great commission in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Luke involves actions done in his name.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This passage contains Paul's prayer for the church at Thessalonica and for us.
It is that God's name be glorified in me and in you.
The true question shouldnt be "What's our one thing" but "What's God's one thing for us?"
I think it seems pretty clear in scripture that God's one thing for us is to glorify his name - to lift him up before all the world.
Psalm 115:1 - Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.
Being in his name we have completeness. Living in his name we find integrity. To act with integrity, to be young men and women of integrity, we must ask of everything, "Will this glorify God? Can this raise his name above others?" Consistently answering those questions will guarantee integrity and uprightness.
In the Facing the Giants movie, there is a scene that talks about playing football to glorify God. How I work must glorify God. How I raise my sons must glorify God. How I love my wife must glorify God. How I stand here and preach to you must glorify God. We must be deliberate about glorifying his name the name above all names
I closed the service by asking everyone to prayerfully sing "Not To Us". I think I'll go do that again now Not to us but to Your name be the glory ...
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted