Summary: Part two on our look at livig a life of integrity where our inside matches our outside.
8-5-07 Albion Church
Series: The ABC’s of Christian Living
Lesson: Integrity- The Ability to live right (b)
We are continuing our series on The ABC’s of Christian Living.
Last week we begin talking about a topic which is very hard to listen to and even harder to preach.
Integrity is not just ethics or morality. It does involve both.
Integrity is having what’s inside of us (belief’s and convictions) match what’s on the outside (our actions).
Let’s say I tell you I will lie, cheat, and steal= low ethics. If I live that way in business and in life= low morality. So I would then be unethical and immoral but since my beliefs match my life I would have integrity.
Now if I said I would lie, cheat, and steal but then I do not do any of those things I am unethical but I am moral= no integrity. (although normally it is the opposite-we have the right ethics but are not morality)
Such is the condition of man- we are completely and totally depraved. (Outside of Christ we are together worthless and evil).
Here is where integrity lies- our beliefs matching our actions.
Now as Christians we can take it a step further as well. If we claim to be Christians we are claiming we believe God’s Word. (Jesus is the Living Word)
God’s Word teaches high ethics and holy morality.
Therefore you and I are committed then if we claim to be Christians to live out what God’s Word says!
I often wonder about Christians who hide behind knowledge. They push knowing God’s Word as though that is the same as living it-it is not.
Understand that knowledge convicts you. Once you know you are responsible to carry out what you have learned into your life (that’s integrity).
Last week we looked at Samuel as an example of integrity. After leading God’s people for decades, he stands before the people and promises to right any wrongs he may have committed. That takes integrity-to own up to any mistakes you have made. The people though found no fault in him or his actions (1 Sam.12:1-4)
Today we talk about commitment but when life changes or becomes hard, we change the rules and allow commitments and promises to be broken.
Biblical Integrity is not just about doing right-it’s about having the right heart and then matching that on the outside by living right!
You could put it this way- “Doing the right thing, the right way, and for the right reasons.”
A good word to think of is “consistency”. There must be consistency between the inside and outside. (Beliefs and actions)
God is completely consistent. What He does always matches His character and nature.
Our goal should be the same. Christ desires His disciples to be disciplined- doing the right thing, the right way, and for the right reason.
IV. THE PROBLEM IS HYPOCRISY
Many people will say “That church is full of hypocrites! Why should I go there?”
Now unfortunately, that statement is more right than wrong in churches today.
Again I want to make this clear. Holy ethics is not the problem in churches today. (God’s Word is of the highest ethics)
Morality becomes the problem-not because we always choose to do what is wrong but because our lives do not match God’s Word.
THIS IS SERIOUS STUFF!!!
If you and I fail to live up to our inadequacies, we are hypocrites-which is the opposite of integrity.
If our walk doesn’t match our talk then Jesus’ statement is for us, “Why do you call me, Lord, Lord and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)
So what’s your answer?
So now we know how important it is to believe what is right and to live right. But how easy is that for us?
Some might say they already are. (Remember the rich young ruler?) I believe it is extremely hard for us today.
Let me show you the area I believe causes Christians to be hypocrites (opposite of integrity) more than any other.
(Rom. 2:1-4) Paul sounds just like Jesus…This is where many of us disqualify ourselves…many congregations will be condemned by their own judgments.
As a Christian you cannot have integrity and judge others!
V. HOW TO INTEGRATE BELIEF & ACTION
It is clear that a hypocrite cannot lead people to righteousness and holiness. If we talk a good game but fail to play by the rules-we will get no respect!
(1Tim. 4:15-16) “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
In this life, we will never achieve perfection-but we should strive for progress!