Summary: Discover the measure, motivation and movements toward responsible integrity
The mission of our church is "to bring English-speaking Asians in our community into a right and healthy relationship with God and with one another through Jesus Christ, and to multiply our effort by supporting missionaries, church planters and church plants who minister beyond our focus and community."
And in order to accomplish this mission, we need to develop certain personal as well as organizational characteristics. Who we are determines what we are able to accomplish. These personal and organizational characteristics are identified on the banner behind me.
This morning, we will look at the characteristic of Responsible Integrity. Each characteristic is positioned intentionally to give a visual reminder. Responsible Integrity is positioned on the backbone of the figure.
To be responsible is to have the ability to act without supervision. To have integrity is to have wholeness, uncompromising honesty, reliability and faithfulness. A person with responsible integrity has a strong moral backbone.
In James Patterson and Peter Kim’s book, The Day America Told the Truth, they polled the American public to ask, "What are you willing to do for $10,000,000? They found that:
25% would abandon their entire family
25% would abandon their church
23% would become prostitutes for a week or more
16 % would give up their American citizenships
16% would leave their spouses
10% would withhold testimony and let a murderer go free
7% would kill a stranger
3% would put their children up for adoption
Two-thirds of Americans polled would agree to at least one of the above, and some agreed to several.
We should not be surprised at Enron and WorldCom’s corruption and the crisis of confidence in the American business world. When money rather than integrity is the bottom line, people become puppets on the strings of greed.
While some suggest that a better accountability system would prevent future fraudulent activities, I believe only by possessing responsible integrity would people do what is right. Responsible integrity is an important characteristic for individuals in business, in government, in the family, in the church, in the school and in every relationship in society.
But how does one measure and develop responsible integrity? And what would motivate a person, whether yourself, your child, your pastor or the CEO of a large company to develop responsible integrity? We will answer these questions from this morning’s text in Psalm 15.
From this passage, we see the measure of responsible integrity, the motivation for responsible integrity and the movements toward responsible integrity.
First, the measure of responsible integrity is ultimately God’s companionship. We see this in verse 1.
The psalmist begins with an evaluation questions. He asks, "Who measures up to be in God’s company?" Or who is good enough to have God as a constant companion? And verses 2-5 give us the answer - those with responsible integrity.
In other words, responsible integrity is not measure by comparing ourselves with others. Responsible integrity is measured by whether God wants us in His company.
Before I go on, I want to distinguish between someone being in God’s family and being in God’s company. If you have teenagers or adult children, you know the difference between them being in your family and being in your company.
If you were here last week, you would know that only God’s sacrificial love through Jesus enables us to be forgiven and adopted into His family. Our forgiveness and membership in God’s family is a gift from God. All we have to do is receive this gift through trust in Jesus Christ.
Once we receive God’s gift, we have partial responsibility for maintaining a healthy relationship with God. We share with God the responsibility for maintaining our company with God.
Because God keeps His promises to us, because God is faithful to us, because God is honest with us, and because God is a God of integrity, we can only share in His companionship if we are people of integrity.
Isaiah 59:2 tells us, "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear." If we don’t have responsible integrity, we don’t have God’s companionship. The measure of our responsible integrity is the presence of God’s companionship in our lives.
Second, the motivation for responsible integrity is also ultimately God’s companionship. We see this in verses 1 and 5b.
Many people will point to the rewards of responsible integrity without ever pointing to God. They will point to the rewards of self-respect, credibility, and freedom from the fear of being found out. They would certainly experience better relationships, fewer lawsuits and fewer sleepless nights.
But to point to these rewards without pointing to God is like pointing to great food without pointing to the chef. Or to point to the rewards for responsible integrity without pointing to God is like my daughter, Esther, pointing to her own goodness as the reason for receiving ice cream or a hug. Her goodness has something to do with having ice cream and a hug, but without me, she can be good and not receive any reward.