Summary: Christ-followers need to be people of integrity who faithfully do what they say they will do.
(based on Southeast Christian Church’s series “Living a Life of Integrity”)
SERIES: “WORDS OF WISDOM FOR KINGDOM LIVING”
TEXT: MATTHEW 5:33-37
TITLE: “KEEP YOUR PROMISES”
INTRODUCTION: A. A wealthy businessman lay on his deathbed. His preacher came to visit and talked
about God’s healing power and prayed for his parishioner. When the preacher was
done, the businessman said, “Preacher, if God heals me, I’ll give the church a million
dollars.” Miraculously, the businessman got better and within a few short weeks was
out of the hospital.
Several months later, the preacher bumped into this businessman on the sidewalk
and said, “You know, when you were in the hospital dying, you promised to give the
church a million dollars if you got well. We haven’t received it as of yet.”
The businessman replied, “Did I say that? I guess that goes to show how sick I
1. A few years back two guys interviewed thousands of people, and they published
their findings in a book called The Day America Told the Truth.
a. Of those surveyed, 91% said that they lie on a regular basis.
b. 86% said they lie to their parents regularly,
c. 75% said they lie to their friends,
d. 69% said they lie to their spouses.
e. 50% said they regularly called in to work sick when they weren’t
2. Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, compared the ethics of Christian and non-
a. They found that almost as many Christians steal from work as non-Christians,
b. Almost as many Christians use company phones for personal long distance. As
c. And they found that Christians are just as likely to falsify our income taxes, and
commit plagiarism, and give bribes to obtain a building permit, and ignore
construction specs, and illegally copy computer programs, and steal time from
work, and exaggerate our products, and selectively obey the law.
B. Matthew 5:33-37 – “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago,
‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ But I tell
you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it
is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear
by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your
‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
--This passage reveals some important reasons why we must live truthfully:
1. First, dishonesty undermines our relationships
a. When we lie and don’t keep our promises it destroys trust and trust is what
healthy relationships are built upon
b. Honesty helps us grow in our relationships with Christ and with others
--Eph. 4:15 – Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up
into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
2. Second, dishonesty is contrary to the character of God
a. God is a commitment-keeper
--Num. 23:19 – God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he
should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and
b. Satan, however, is the father of lies
--Jn. 8:44b – He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for
there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a
liar and the father of lies.
3. My dad has a saying that has stayed with me through the years: “Don’t fudge
a. The slang term “fudge” in reference to stretching the truth comes from a sea
captain named Fudge
1). He became notorious for telling all kinds of lies, tall tales and exaggerations
about his improbable adventures at sea.
2). It was said of this Captain Fudge that he “always brought home his owners a
good cargo of lies.”
b. By the mid-1800’s the expression “no fudging” was being used in America by
children to dissuade friends from cheating at marbles.
--As a young man, my dad was a marbles champion in south
Georgia (with a big trophy to prove it.) I guess that’s where he learned the
e. One thing that both of my parents stressed when I was growing up: Always tell
--If I did something wrong and then lied about it, I was in “double trouble” but
if I told the truth, the discipline wasn’t as bad as when I ‘fessed up to what I’d
C. Being a follower of Christ means a commitment to truth
--We need to be people of our word
1. You want to be known as someone who keeps your promises no matter what