Model integrity – live what you believe; don’t be a hypocrite

Ephesians 4:20-25

 

Don’t you hate when someone lies to you or when people say one thing and do another?

I am going to give you a solution to fix that the person who lies to you the most.

Who lies to you the most?

Who believes one thing and then does another and hurts you over and over?

I am going to name names today.      Me, Myself, and I

My guess, if you are honest, you are the one who hurts yourself most by your lack of integrity.

So today I am going to fix you and me.

 

We need to be people of integrity so we quit giving the world ammunition to call us hypocrites.

People can always accuse but our life will prove them wrong.

 

1 Peter 2:12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

 

I have been accused of many things over the years – of evil actions and impure motives. All I can do is live in an upright manner and let my life prove the accusations wrong. I rarely defend myself because that is just words and they don’t mean much if my life doesn’t bear it out.

When someone shares a personal story with me they often fear that I will view them differently. I tell them, “I won’t look at you any differently.” But I will have to prove that to them over time.

 

We also must be a person of integrity so we quit thinking that we are hypocrites.

Does sin make you a hypocrite?

“Everyone makes mistakes, but only a person with integrity owns up to them.”

When we sin do we confess to God? (1 John 1:8, 9)

Do you make amends to the people we hurt?

Being a sinner doesn’t make you a hypocrite.

Hypocrisy is pretending to be something you are not and condemning others for what you do.

“I am perfect, I never sin.” – You do sin

“You are a horrible sinner for doing that.” – You are doing the exact same thing.

 

Here is an example of hypocrisy.

Luke 13:14 Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.” 15 The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”

 

The religious rulers lived by different standards – that is hypocrisy. They could care for their animals on the Sabbath but Jesus couldn’t care for one of His children on the Sabbath.

“I can but you can’t” kind of attitude.

 

That is hypocrisy but that is not how hypocrisy is used today.

A politician promotes family values – believes our laws should be based on morality but that politician sins against his values. Hypocrisy is pretending not sinning.

 

You are not a hypocrite if you have sinned that way in the past and are pointing out someone else’s sin now. You are a hypocrite if you are condemning others for what you are doing and believe you are doing nothing wrong.

 

When we have integrity it is harder for someone to point out our inconsistences or accuse us of hypocrisy.

Kim Davis in Kentucky was accused of being a hypocrite because she had been divorced and now would not issue gay marriage licenses. She was divorced before she came to believe in Jesus.

 

There is a movement to pass anti-discrimination ordinances in cities around the country, even right here in Carmel, IN (I sent an email about how to let your voice be heard). Businesses have no right to their religious conscience, a photographer or baker can’t refuse to participate in a gay wedding ceremony.

These Christian owners around the country have not refused service to gay people, they have serve them and employed them but they refuse to participate in a wedding ceremony.

They are demonstrating their Christian integrity – they love everyone, they serve all sinners without judgment but they don’t want to promote a message that is against God’s word even if that means they have to close their business.

 

Would you stand up for God’s word even if you lost your job?

Are you standing up now?

 

1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

 

What good deeds are you showing to the world?

How are you living a life of integrity?

Tony Dungy wrote, “Integrity, The choice between what’s convenient and what’s right.”

Are you choosing what is right? Are you living like a Christian?

 

What values you are living by? God’s or yours

 

The Ten Commandments is a good place to start (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5)

ONE: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.’

TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image.’

THREE: ‘You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.’

FOUR: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’

FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

SIX: ‘You shall not murder.’

SEVEN: ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal.’

NINE: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’

TEN: ‘You shall not covet.’

 

The first four is worshiping God the last six is how to live and treat others.

To have integrity as a Christian we need to follow them all – understanding that our Sabbath worship is the Lord’s Day (Colossians 2:16, 17; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2).

 

Jesus listed five of the six in one passage. (Honor parents in Matthew 15:4)

Mark 7:20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice (covetousness), deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.'”

 

In Christian integrity are you honoring your parents?

Do you murder? Jesus said hate is murder (Matthew 5:22).

Do you commit adultery? Jesus said lust is adultery (Matthew 5:28).

Do you steal?

Do you lie?

Do you covet? Lust and desire what others have?

 

What if the IRS came to audit you – would they think that you lied and stole?

It was the cashier’s mistake. Would you have said something if the cashiers mistake cheated you?

 

What is your integrity worth?

I read of a study done years ago that Americans would go against their beliefs for 2 million dollars.

What is your price? To many times we go against our Christian beliefs for free.

We are often put to the test of what we will do.

I have had a conviction since I was young not to read the fortune in a fortune cookie. I see it as a horoscope and just stay away from it.

Several years ago I was at a ministers meeting in a Chinese restaurant and they began to share their fortunes and laughing or putting on a Theological spin.

Everyone had read there’s except me and they said what does yours say Jim.

What was I to do? Go against my long standing conviction or just read it so I did not look “goody too shoes” in front of other ministers.

I said “I do not read them.” And the conversation moved on. I do not know what they thought and it really does not matter. I kept my integrity.

That is not to say I do not sometimes blow it, but that time I did not.

 

Is there enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian or would you qualify for a Presidential pardon?

What are some points for your defense attorney to prove you are a Christian? Then make a list of points that the prosecution would bring up to prove you were not a Christian.

(Do not let anyone see that list, take it home and confess those sins and then burn up the paper.)

 

Are you living a holy life – a life of integrity or are you selling out because you are afraid of what other people will think?

Paul writes the Colossian Christians and tells them how to live a holy life. In Colossians 3:5-11 he tells them what not to do. But I want us to live Christian integrity by what we do.

 

Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

How are you living out your Christian integrity?

Not by what you don’t do but by what you do.

Are you compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, patient?

Do you forgive? Do you love? Are you thankful?

Are you speaking and acting for the glory of Jesus?

 

When you live this way you will stand out because most people, even most Christians don’t have integrity.

 

 

David Yi was out of work he found a bag full of money and checks. The Bride and Groom had left the bag on top of their car as they drove away. David found the bag and went searching for the couple. He could have kept the cash and paid his bills. Instead he kept his integrity.

What would you have done?

 

There is the story of an aging king woke up one day to the realization that he had no heir.

He decided that he would adopt a son who then could take his place but he insisted that such an adopted son must be extraordinary in every sense of the word. So he launched a competition in his kingdom, open to all boys, no matter what their background. Ten boys made it to the very top.

There was little to separate these boys in terms of intelligence and physical attributes and capabilities. The king said to them, ‘I have one last test and whoever wins will become my adopted son and heir to my throne.’

Then he said, ‘This kingdom depends solely on agriculture. So the king must know how to cultivate plants. So here is a seed of corn for each of you. Take it home and plant and nurture it for three weeks.

In one home, the boy and his parents were almost heartbroken when after days of intense care, the seed failed to sprout. He did not know what had gone wrong with his. He had selected the soil carefully, he had applied the right quantity and type of fertilizer, he had been very dutiful in watering it at the right intervals, he had even prayed over it day and night and yet his seed had turned out to be unproductive.

Some of his friends advised him to go and buy a seed from the market and plant that. ‘After all,’ they said, ‘how can anyone tell one seed of corn from another?’

But his parents had always taught him the value of integrity.

The day came for the boys to return to the palace. Each of them proudly exhibiting a very fine corn seedling. It was obvious that the other nine boys had had great success with their seeds. The king began making his way down the line of eager boys and asked each of them, ‘Is this what came out of the seed I gave you?‘ And each boy responded, ‘Yes, your majesty.’ And the king would nod and move down the line.

The king finally got to the last boy. The boy was shaking with fear. ‘What did you do with the seed I gave you?’ the king asked. ‘I planted it and cared for it diligently, your majesty, but alas it failed to sprout.’ the boy said tearfully as the crowd booed him.

But the king raised his hands and signaled for silence. Then he said, ‘My people behold your next king.’ The king took his place on his throne with the boy by his side and said, ‘I gave these boys boiled seeds. This test was not for cultivating corn. It was the test of character; a test of integrity.’

If a king must have one quality, it must be that he should be above dishonesty. Only this boy passed the test.

 

The story sounds like Willie Wonka and the Chocolate factory – only Charlie didn’t misbehave and he inherited the chocolate factory.

 

There is great benefit for keeping your integrity.

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

 

The good news is that our good name comes from God.

Revelation 3:12 Him who overcomes … I will write on him the name of my God … and I will also write on him my new name.

 

Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

 

As a Christian keep God’s good name – live with integrity.

If you want God’s good name then come today – believing, repenting, and ready to be immersed into Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and the indwelling gift of God the Holy Spirit.