Summary: Integrity is becoming a lost art.
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?
When you look around you see something missing in our society.
Wall Street is reeking with corruption; Washington is full of politicians who are less than upright, the judicial system many times is compromised, and even athletics is loaded with people who are chemically enhanced.
Once again Jesus brings up a subject that is still an issue to this day. INTEGRITY.
The word “integrity” means: uprightness of character, honesty.
In our country today we have been suffering from a lack of integrity. It has gotten to the point where we expect the worst of people.
We just do not expect people to keep their word anymore. Politics has gotten to the point where we EXPECT our leaders to have a lack of integrity. If reminds me of the farmer who saw a busload of politicians crash.
A busload of politicians were driving down a country road when, all of a sudden, the bus ran off the road & crashed into a tree in an old farmer’s field.
The old farmer, after seeing what happened, went over to investigate. He then proceeded to dig a hole & bury the politicians. A few days later, the local sheriff came out, saw the crashed bus & asked the old farmer where all the politicians had gone. The old farmer said he had buried them. The sheriff asked the old farmer, "The coroner wasn’t here. Are you sure they were all dead?" The old farmer replied, "Well, some of them said they weren’t, but you know how them politicians lie."
Jesus says that if our righteousness is going to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, we must be people of integrity.
Today let us look at the issue of “Integrity.”
Matthew 5:33-36 ( ESV ) “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black.
Let’s begin by looking at the concept of the day as it pertained to integrity
I. READ THE FINE PRINT!
• What do I mean with this?
• Let’s look at what the Old Testament said concerning your word which is a BIG part of integrity.
• History of the Old Testament
In the Old Testament it was forbidden to make false vows. Here are a couple of the passages.
Leviticus 19:12 ( ESV ) You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.
Deuteronomy 23:23 ( ESV ) You shall be careful to do what has passed your lips, for you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God what you have promised with your mouth.
God’s premise in the Old Testament is if you made a vow before God, that you were obligated to keep that vow.
An oath or a vow is a serious statement or declaration, made with an appeal to God for truth of what is affirmed.
You took a vow if you wanted to be taken seriously. God said if you make one, you keep it. If you invoke God’s name in a vow and do not keep it you would bring dishonor upon God.
Now when you look at the verses projected and if you do a study of the subject in the Old Testament, it seems pretty simple. Make a vow and keep it, make a promise, keep it. Swear to do something, do it.
Well that is not quite how it worked in real life, you had to read the fine print of the promise, the vow, etc..