Summary: Integrity. Various passages
Paul Harvey told a story of some young men who were late to class.
Four high school boys were late to their morning classes one day. They entered the classroom and solemnly told their teacher they were detained due to a flat tire. The sympathetic teacher smiled and told them it was too bad they were late because they had missed a test that morning. But she was willing to let them make it up. She gave them each a piece of paper and a pencil and sent them to four corners of the room. Then she told them they would pass if they could answer just one question:
Which tire was flat???
Talk about the lack of integrity in the country.
Integrity Uprightness of Character, honesty.
Looking for people of integrity in our generation perhaps could be compared to searching for a needle in a haystack. Indeed it may be easier to identify a grain of salt in a snowstorm.
True men and women of integrity or rare indeed. Are you one of them. Is your life characterized by integrity? The Bible clearly indicates that our lives should be. In this part of the Sermon on The Mount, Jesus tells us that we should be as good as our word. Are you as good as your word?
We used to teach our children that our reputation was extremely important. Parents would exhort children by telling them that they had worked hard o create a good name for themselves and that the children should work hard to maintain it.
Abraham Lincoln said that for a man to train up a child in the way he/she should go, he must walk that way himself.
Have you ever wondered what people associate with your name? Do people say that you can be trusted, that you are reliable, that you can be counted on, that you are a man or woman of integrity? These things should be important to us because our lives speak volumes to those around us.
READ MATTHEW 5:33-37. Talk about what the religious leaders would do.
EXODUS 20:7 "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
LEV 19:12 ’You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord. Explain that they took this to mean that they could with other things.
Jesus is saying that for our righteousness to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, our word must be good enough.
Jesus is saying that we are not to swear as the religious leaders had been doing.
READ MATTHEW 23:16-18
As Christians, as people whose citizenship is in heaven, we must show integrity in our words and deeds. The keeping of our word depends on the actions that we take.
I. INTEGRITY IN OUR WORDS.
1. Read verse 37.
2. JAMES 5:12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
3. 1 TIMOTHY 4:12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
4. NUMBERS 30:2 "If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.
5. Ted Engstrom gives a succinct definition of integrity: Simply put, integrity is doing what you said you would do. It means you keep your promises. When you promised to be faithful to your mate, integrity says you’ll stay with that person no matter what -- for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. If you promised the Lord that you would give Him the glory, integrity means you keep on doing that whether you’re reduced to nothing or exalted to the highest pinnacle on earth. If you promised a friend that you would return a call, integrity means you return it. If you promised your child that you would spend Saturday together, integrity means you keep that appointment. A promise is a holy thing, whether made to a chairman of the board -- or to a child.
II. INTEGRITY IN YOUR ACTIONS.
A. IN YOUR ACTIONS TOWARD MAN.
1. At the age of twenty-four, Abraham Lincoln served as the postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, for which he was paid an annual salary of $55.70. Even then, twenty-four years before he entered the White House, the rail splitter was showing the character that earned him the title of "Honest Abe." The New Salem post office was closed in 1836, but it was several years before an agent arrived from Shington to settle accounts with ex-postmaster Lincoln, who was a struggling lawyer not doing very well. The agent informed him that $17 was due the government. Lincoln crossed the room, opened an old trunk and took out a yellow cotton rag, bound with a string. Untying it, he spread out the cloth and there was the $17. He had been holding it untouched for all these years. "I never use any man’s money but my own," he said.