Summary: God demands that His children be people of integrity. People who are honest and reliable. This is the next-to-last test of faith that James gives us--the integrity test.
1. The importance of individual integrity
2. The implication of individual integrity
3. The intentionality of individual integrity
4. The incentive of individual integrity
This Wednesday night, American TV is hitting a new low. It’s almost hard to say that with all the trash that’s on TV these days, but it’s true. For years, Hollywood has played on our fallen, sinful tendencies. They have exploited our physical lusts with provocative, sexually charged images. They have fed our violent tendencies with increasingly brutal and graphic images. And they have profited from our covetous greed with a constant barrage of products that we “need”. But now, they’re going to tap into a sin they haven’t exploited as of yet. Now they’re going to glamorize something that nearly everyone claims to hate. Nearly everyone claims to hate a liar. But now good liars will have a chance to win a half-million dollars each week on TV. The show is called “The Moment of Truth.” Contestants will be asked a list of very personal, invasive questions before they come on the show. When they’re asked those questions, they will be hooked up to a lie detector. When they go on the show, they will be asked those same questions again—only this time in front of family and friends. It is possible for two kinds of people to be rewarded in that show. People who are completely honest—or people who are complete, unconscionable liars. Who do you think will be the contestants they’ll pick to be on the show? Which kind of person do you think will generate the highest ratings? Lying—a sin that was once repudiated by society is now going to be rewarded on TV. But is that really any surprise? A few years ago, the media was openly praising our President for how well he was able to lie. The thing that makes it so shocking is not that lying happens. Lying has always happened. It’s just that it is now becoming increasingly accepted as normal—even praiseworthy. Within a single generation, lying has gone from something that was universally scorned, to the White House, to a spectator sport. But just because acceptable lying is making it’s primetime debut on TV, doesn’t mean that it is acceptable. As a matter of fact, lying of any kind is completely unacceptable in God’s eyes. God demands that His children be people of integrity. People who are honest and reliable. This morning we’re looking at the next-to-last test of faith that James gives us. Remember that so far throughout this letter, he’s given us 7 tests that we can take to see if our faith is real or not. He’s given us the Bible test, the preference test, the works test, the tongue test, the wisdom test, the pride test and the patience test. This morning he gives us the integrity test. Like all the other tests we’ve looked at, this one is a pass / fail test. It’s not graded on the curve and it’s not multiple choice. But unlike the previous tests, this one is only one verse. It is short, sweet and to the point. And it is ever so convicting. This morning, I want each of us to be able to pass the integrity test. I want people to see us a people who are honest and reliable. In order to do that, we’re going to look at four issues involving individual integrity. The first issue is the importance of individual integrity.