Summary: Jesus says that we are to be people of our word, or people of integrity.
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?
Today we are going to explore a subject that touches each and every one of us. Today as we get back with Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount, we are going to see what Jesus has to say about 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. It is like the traffic office who pulled a motorist over to the curb and demanded to see his driver’s license. The driver produced a license, which the officer studied suspiciously for several minutes before waving him on. The officer explained, "You were driving so carefully, I thought for sure you had an invalid license."
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."
You look around and you see the Enron situation where the leaders of the company were not truthful about the condition of the company and were encouraging people to buy stock in the failing company while they were dumping their own.
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? Do you readily back out of promises made?
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 “Jesus on Integrity.”
I. THE COMMON PRACTICE VERSES 33-36
READ MATTHEW 5:33-37
A. History of the Old Testament
In the Old Testament it was forbidden to make false vows. Here are a couple of the passages.
LEV 19:12 ’You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.
NUM 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.
DEU 23:23 "You shall be careful to perform what goes out from your lips, just as you have voluntarily vowed to the Lord your God, what you have promised.
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.