Summary: One of the first sermons i preached at a church i served in seminary on the topic of integrity.
Pursuit of Holiness: Integrity
TURN TO PROVERBS 10
Last week when Tim and i met to discuss a game plan for when we were done with the Hunting series, one of the issues that came up was doing a series on Holiness. So, in preparation for this, i decided to search the internet for what it really means to be “Holy”, and much to my surprise, this is what i found...SHOW SLIDE OF UK DEFENSE ON FOOTBALL FIELD.
This of course made me think, sure the UK Defense has plenty of holes in it, and many an offense found those holes through out the season, but that’s not really what i needed.
And actually, this takes me to the point i made to Tim. For various reasons, you don’t hear much talk about being holy in our Christian vocabulary. Lot’s of people want to be “spiritual”... “how’s your spiritual life doing?” or your “spiritual walk”. But, how often do you hear “How’s your pursuit of holiness going?”.
One reason for this goes right along with my opening slide; the term “Holy” seems to have been watered down over time. How many times have you heard “You have holes in the knees of your jeans, will you be wearing them to church, their ‘holy’ now?”. And everyone knows about the Batman and Robin TV series from the sixties, where “Holy” was the normal beginning of most of Robin’s remarks. This was even spoofed a couple of years ago in one of the recent Batman movies. When Batman and Robin arrive at the hideout of Two Face and Joker, Robin exclaims “Holy rusted metal Batman”, which perplexes Batman greatly until Robin explains, “The island, it’s made out of metal, and it’s rusted with holes.”
Let’s not forget he negative connotation that has also fallen upon our view of “Holy”. Comments such as “Holier than thou” or “Holy roller” doesn’t help.
But, the fact is, we are called to be Holy, God has given us that command. Beginning with Moses, God said in Leviticus 11:44 “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy”. And again in 20:7 it reads “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God.” And you may be saying, “But that’s the Old Testament, and the Law, i thought we were no longer under the law.” OK, lets look at the New Testament.
Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Tim 1:9, saying God “...saved us and called us to a holy life.” The Apostle Peter also reiterates the command given to Moses when he writes in 1 Peter 1:15-16 “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written; “Be holy, because I am holy.”
God has given a very real call to live holy lives, and because of this, over the next three weeks we are going to look at 3 aspects of holiness. This week, our focus is on integrity, next week Tim will look into purity and follow that up with taming the tongue. Let’s begin with integrity now and turn with me to our text:
Begin: So what is integrity?
Webster’s defines it as: 1. an unimpaired condition: soundness, 2. firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values: incorruptibility, 3. the quality or state of being complete or undivided: completeness.
Notice some of the words used there, “firm”, “adherence”, “incorruptibility”, and “completeness”
Scripture often defines integrity in terms of a “walk”, how you maintain and handle yourself day to day. Our text says that the “Man of integrity walks securely.”
Let’s look at scriptural examples of integrity:
In 1 Kings 10:4, God makes a promise to Solomon, the writer of Proverbs that “If you walk before me in integrity of heart and uprightness...” that He (being God) would uphold the throne of Israel. But if he or any of his son’s would not observe the “commands and decrees” given to them they would be cut off.
If you look at the life of Solomon, you can see how this promise unfolds. Solomon, the son of David was the builder of the Temple, the “House of the Lord”. Solomon was the one blessed beyond measure in that offered Solomon anything his heart desired. Solomon asked for wisdom, God in turn provided for him all types of blessings, physically also, in light of this; 1 Kings 10:23 says... “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom...”. But, Solomon did not uphold his part of the deal. He was given wisdom, but somehow along the way, he felt that 700 wives were needed (insert comment about one being enough). Along with this he also took 300 concubines. This caused Solomon to stray (missionary dating), in 1 Kings 11:4 we find that “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God...” it goes on to say in verses 9-10 “The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God if Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the Lord’s command.”