Summary: This sermon looks at three benefits of Integrity. 1. A person of integrity lives above CORRUPTION. 2. A person of integrity lives in SECURITY. 3. A person of integrity leaves a lasting LEGACY.

Quality Characteristics – Integrity

I have heard it said;

It’s not what we eat that gives us strength – but what we digest.

It’s not what we earn that makes us rich – but what we save.

It’s not what we read that gives us knowledge – but what we remember.

It’s not what we preach that makes us Christians – but what we practice.

In Job chapter eight – the Bible says:

“Look, God does not reject a person of integrity, and He will not support evildoers.” Job 8:20 (HCSB)

God’s Word translation of the Bible interpreters this verse as:

“Certainly, God does not reject a person of integrity or give a helping hand to wicked people.” Job 8:20 (GW)

Today we are going to look at a quality characteristic that all of us should have – we are going to look at integrity.

The dictionary defines Integrity as: wholeness; purity; honesty; a genuine, unadulterated, unimpaired state.

For one to live in integrity means that one lives above reproach. It means that one lives a life of honesty. It means that one is not affected by living in a corrupt environment.

How many of you remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego? It is found in the book of Daniel chapter three.

The king of Babylon whose name was Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold. Then he passed a law saying: "To you it is commanded, O peoples, of nations and languages, that at any time you hear the sound of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that I, King Nebuchadnezzar have set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." Most of the people of the land obeyed the king.

But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did not obey the king’s law – for they knew the first commandment that God had given. "You shall worship the Lord your God and serve no others." Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego knew that God’s law was more important than any law that a man could make.

When Nebuchadnezzar heard that these three did not obey his law he became very angry. He flew into a rage and commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego be brought to him. So they brought these men before the king.

Nebuchadnezzar asked them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Because if you do not worship the golden image – you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego kept their integrity and answered the king saying, "We will not serve any golden image and if we are thrown into the fiery furnace our God will deliver us. But if He doesn’t spare our lives, let everyone know that we did not worship your image of gold.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar became angry. He was full of rage. He then commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than it was usually heated. When this was done - he commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego be cast into the burning fiery furnace. The Bible tells us that the furnace was so hot that the guards who took Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego to the place of execution all died because of the heat.

Well you know what happened – King Nebuchadnezzar came and looked into the fire and he was astonished because what he saw was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego walking around in the flames. But not only had he seen those three – the Bible tells us that there was a fourth man in the furnace and He was like – “the Son of God."

You see God did protect these men for “God does not reject a person of integrity.” Integrity is a quality that all of us should strive for.

Today I want us to look at three benefits of living a life of integrity.

Benefit number one:

1. A person of integrity lives above CORRUPTION.

Proverbs chapter eleven and verse three says:

“The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.” Proverbs 11:3 (NKJV)

God’s Word translation of the Bible interpreters this verse as:

“Integrity guides decent people, but hypocrisy leads treacherous people to ruin.” Proverbs 11:3 (GW)

When you decide to live a life of integrity – you know what to do when temptation comes. I have often heard it said:

There is never a wrong time to do the right thing!

I have also heard it said:

The pressure is off when your standard is not for sale!

In the book “The Day America Told the Truth” (1991), the authors (James Patterson & Peter Kim) relate the stunning results of a question, which was asked of Americans. The question was simply this: What are you willing to do for $10 million? One third of those poled said they would not do any of these things. However, 2/3 (75%) of those polled said they would do at least one of the following:

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