Summary: Living a life of integrity cannot conform to what the world believes to be right, but is transformed by God’s Word and led by the Holy Spirit!
Date Written: September 7, 2006
Date Preached: September 10, 2006
Where Preached: OZHBC (AM)
Sermon Series: Living a Life of Integrity
Sermon Title: Integrity Does NOT Conform to the World
Sermon Text: Daniel 3:16-18
16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter.
17 "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
18 "But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."
Dan 3:16-18 (NASB)
Over the past 2 weeks we have looked at Integrity as it pertains to the follower of Christ. We learned that Integrity is NOT something we have inside us… or something that we can produce on our own!
But we came to learn that integrity for the believer is directly related to the willingness of the believer to submit in obedience to God’s commandments. Christian integrity is obedience to God.
We also learned that integrity for the believer does not simply happen. WE cannot sit back and believe that God is going to bless us with integrity, but that integrity for the believer comes from an active participation in God’s Will through our active obedience to His purpose and plan!
Today I want us to look at another aspect of integrity for the believer in that Integrity for the believer does not conform to the way of the world!
In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior.” He goes on to say, “It is revival without … repentance.”
1. The World has its standard (v.1-15):
In these verses we find that King Nebuchadnezzar builds an image that he demands the people of his kingdom to worship. It is most likely an image of himself, since the kings of this period often believed themselves to be gods among men.
The image is built and the entire land bows down and worships except for Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Now I do not know why Daniel is NOT mentioned in this passage…
Perhaps it is because Daniel had already proved his great worth to the King and he was going to allow Daniel some slack, but Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego had not to this point had any direct dealings with the King…
There is no direct evidence either way, but for whatever reason we find that Daniel is NOT mentioned here. But we do know that later in Daniel’s life, he faces and deals with the same type of situation.
Now there were those who were jealous of the standing and position that had been given to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and they ran to the king and told on the Hebrew men.
The king is furious and wants these men to give homage to him… homage that he believes he is due and so Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego are summoned to the King’s side…
It is obvious that the people of the kingdom felt that integrity meant doing what the King wanted. Just as the world today believes that integrity is doing what the world sees as right!
But the trouble with that (other than the fact it is NOT biblical) is that the world cannot come to a consensus on what they believe is the right thing. In fact many people in this world don’t think integrity is something worth worrying about…
Noted author and avowed atheist Bertrand Russell once said this about life…
“…Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim…”
Russell believed that there was NOTHING about this life that was salvageable and that happiness was an illusion and that God and religion were a hoax!
Like Russell, there are many who see life as a ‘dog-eat-dog’ world and that only those who think for and about themselves will come out on top in life! Integrity to the world is doing what OTHERS believe to be the right thing… but the world does not know what is the right thing?
We have people in this world who are very sincere in their belief that abortion is NOT murder but ABORTION is actually merciful and loving.
• They look at this world and all the evil in it and say, how can you bring a new life into the cesspool we call earth…?
• They say things like a baby would ruin this woman’s life at this time, and that is simply NOT fair.