Summary: We visit scripture to see and example of Integrity in the person of Daniel. Within the first chapter alone we three aspects of integrity looks like in our lifes and in Daniel's life.
A minister told his congregation, "Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17. The following Sunday, the minister asked for a show of hands from those who read Mark 17. Every hand went up. The minister smiled and said, "Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying."
Were talking about integrity today. We’ll attempt to understand a biblical example of integrity from Daniel and his friends in the first chapter of Daniel. If you have a bible, open it to the first chapter in the book of Daniel. Keep it open because we will dig into it this morning.
b. Proposition/Thesis: What is integrity? What does it look like?
i. Point #1: Faithful- Faithful to the Law
Acknowledging God’s law and plan for our life and its righteous bearing. Being obedient to his law to the fullest.
ii. Point #2: Firm- Stands up under pressure:
Continuing to remain obedient when situations would suggest not to.
iii. Point #3: Fruitful- Resulting in God’s faithfulness.
Seeing how God will remain behind those who honor him with their thought, word, and deed.
Point #1: Integrity is Faithful- Faithfulness to the law.
a. As we look into Daniel’s life in the book of Daniel we see a person of integrity. Someone who is faithful to a conduct no matter the circumstances. Someone who appreciates the value of God’s law and sees its good purpose in things. Daniel is motivated by his love for God to be a man of integrity. In Daniel 1 we read that Judah has been raided by the Babylonians. Allowed by God preceding his judgment on Israel for their sinful nature, King Nebuchadnezzar took Judah for all that it was worth and this included royal family of Judah and peoples associated with them in order to use them as servants. Among those taken were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah as mentioned in this chapter. The king had planned for them to be trained for service in his courts. This meant specific diets and education for Daniel and his friends. But there was something that Daniel became increasingly uncomfortable with. Daniel wanted no part of the King’s portions. What was wrong with the King’s food that Daniel and his friends did not want to consume it? The king obviously wanted them to be healthy. He wanted Daniel to be well taken care of. But on Babylonian terms. See back in those days, meat and wine were fed as part of the King’s portions. Babylonians probably served and ate unclean meats such as pork according to Jewish standards. Maybe Jewish dietary laws didn’t prohibit the consumption of wine, but the Babylonians could have had dedicated that food to their God’s. Daniel would know this and was hesitant eat it. In an attempt to maintain integrity in the sight of God He refused to eat it, instead negotiating with the Chief of Staff to eat vegetables and water. Daniel sought integrity, remaining faithful to God’s expectations. He was seeking to do what was right. In a culture that did not care for integrity and offered things that were impure. Daniel carried himself so that wherever he went, he was pure in God’s sight. We can do this, just like Daniel. We can maintain integrity, keeping ourselves from impurities that come our way in life.
b. Illustration: Sneakers.
It’s like having a new pair of sneakers, today. I know how we critical we can with fresh sneakers! You just paid 60 bucks for the sickest shoes in the store and you’re gonna wear ‘em out. Now how do you go through the next week? Avoiding grass yards and mud holes, trying not to scuff them on the curb or on a desk in class. And if one of your friends get’s to close…”Yo back up, man, these are new shoes!” You try keeping them clean and shiny as long as you can, right?” And if this isn’t you, you still gotta listen to me now and understand.
c. Application: Being Active
It’s not random that God saw Daniel as prospective. He was proactive about keeping pure and remaining faithful to God expectations! What if you cared about your body like you care about those shoes? What if you cared about your reputation like you care about those shoes? Or other people? How would you be different? God inspires these words in Titus 2:6-7; “In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself be an example to them by doing good works of every kind.” He is challenging us here to live by that example similar to what Daniel has set in his life. Having enough love and respect for God’s laws to abide by them and seeing the good purpose in them. Having enough respect for yourself to not put yourself in situations where your integrity may be compromised. You gotta keep your self fresh as much as you can. In a world that offers ways to lie your way out of things, be faithful; ways to destroy the sacredness of sex, be faithful. In a world that sees no meaning in God or in prayer, be faithful. Even when the world is stepping on your feet about it…Avoid areas of untruth. Don’t roam in conversations that hurt others. And when the world gets to close say, “Yo! This is a new life”