Mighty Men of God - Integrity

Mighty Men of God - Integrity

Scripture: Genesis 6:9
Date: 10/01/2016 
Mighty Men of God - Integrity
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[Music] Jean Ross: good morning, everyone, and welcome to this very special series entitled "Mighty Men of God." This is a series dealing with issues relating to Christian men, and we're just delighted that all of you are here today, and joining us as we study about some important principles for Godly living. We'd also like to welcome those joining us on the various television networks. Part of this series, we do have a free offer that goes along with our presentation today. It's a book written by Pastor Doug Batchelor entitled "who do you think you are?" And we'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks for it. The resource phone number is.

.. And you can ask for offer number 603. That number, again, is... And ask for offer number 603. We'll be happy to send this to you.

For those outside of North America, if you would also like to participate in our free offer, just go to the Amazing Facts website, amazingfacts.org, and you can download a copy of the book, and you can read it along with the rest of us. Well, we have a theme song that we like to sing that goes along with our series, "Mighty Men of God." It's a good, rousing song, "marching to Zion." I'd like to invite our song leaders to come join me onstage, and let's stand together as we sing this beautiful hymn, "marching to Zion." [Music] ♪ come we that love the Lord, and let our joys be known ♪ ♪ join in a song with sweet accord ♪ ♪ join in a song with sweet accord ♪ ♪ and thus surround the throne, and thus surround the throne ♪ ♪ we're Marching to Zion ♪ ♪ beautiful, beautiful Zion ♪ ♪ we're Marching upward to Zion, that beautiful city of God ♪ ♪ let those refuse to sing who never knew our God ♪ ♪ but children of the heavenly King ♪ ♪ but children of the heavenly king ♪ ♪ may speak their joys abroad ♪ ♪ may speak their joys abroad ♪ ♪ we're Marching to Zion ♪ ♪ beautiful, beautiful Zion ♪ ♪ we're Marching upward to heavenly Zion ♪ ♪ that beautiful city of God ♪ ♪ the hill of Zion yields ,000 sacred sweets ♪ ♪ before we reach the heavenly fields ♪ ♪ before we reach the heavenly fields ♪ ♪ or walk the golden streets, or walk the golden streets ♪ ♪ we're Marching to Zion ♪ ♪ beautiful, beautiful Zion ♪ ♪ we're Marching upward to heavenly Zion ♪ ♪ that beautiful city of God ♪ ♪ then let our songs abound and every tear be dry ♪ ♪ we're Marching through emmanuel's ground ♪ ♪ we're Marching through emmanuel's ground ♪ ♪ to fairer worlds on high, to fairer worlds on high ♪ ♪ we're Marching to Zion ♪ ♪ beautiful, beautiful Zion ♪ ♪ we're Marching upward to heavenly Zion ♪ ♪ that beautiful city of God ♪♪ jean: please be seated. Before we get to the study of God's Word, we always need to ask the Holy Spirit to come and guard our hearts and our minds, amen? Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, so right now, we want to ask God's special blessing upon our time together. I'd like to invite you to bow your heads. Dear Father, once again, as we open up Your Word, we ask for the Holy Spirit to come and guard our hearts and our minds.

Lord, it is our desire that we could be the kind of Christians that You want us to be, both men and women, giving glory to you in all that we do. So, bless our study today, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. We're very blessed to have some wonderfully talented men, part of this series this weekend, and so we're going to be having a special musical item, and we'll turn the time over to our team. [Music] [music] ♪ rise up, o man of God ♪ ♪ have done with lesser things ♪ ♪ give mind and heart and soul and strength ♪ ♪ to serve the King of Kings ♪ ♪ rise up, o man of God ♪ ♪ his kingdom tarries long ♪ ♪ give rise the day of brotherhood ♪ ♪ and end the night of wrong ♪ ♪ rise up, o man of God ♪ ♪ the church for you doth wait ♪ ♪ her strength unequal to her task ♪ ♪ rise up, and make her great ♪ ♪ rise up, o man of God, and gird your armor on ♪ ♪ stand in the strength of Christ alone ♪ ♪ rise up, o man of God ♪ ♪ lift high the cross of Christ ♪ ♪ tread where his feet have trod ♪ ♪ as brothers of The Son of man ♪ ♪ rise up, o man of God ♪ ♪ rise up as brothers of The Son of man ♪ ♪ rise up, o son of man ♪♪ jean: amen. Thank you, chuck.

Thank you, henderson, for playing for us today. Our sermon today is entitled, "walking in integrity." And we're delighted that the speaker, president of Amazing Facts, our own Pastor Doug Batchelor, is leading out in our study today. So Pastor Doug, I'd like to invite you to come join me on stage. Last night, we started a tradition with the men that they ought to say amen. You remember that, gentlemen, those of you who were here last night? So, throughout the sermon, Pastor Doug will prime the audience by saying a, and then what's the response? Men, amen, there we go, Pastor Doug, it's all yours.

Doug Batchelor: they did pretty good. A? There you go. See, ladies, what we were telling them is if men can't say amen, then who can, right? Want to welcome everybody. Thank you for joining us here at Granite Bay, as well as our friends who are watching on television and the internet. This is the second part in a four-part series.

And we have three parts and one session of questions and answers dealing with "Mighty Men of God." And our message today is talking about "walking with integrity," the Christian walk. Now, walking in the Bible is an analogy for your life, your direction. And you know, most of us are bipeds, we get around by walking. Matter of fact, our church here did a special health program where people wear those-- what do you call the devices where you measure how much you walk in a day? Fitbit, different things like that, yeah, a pedometer, whatever it is. It's counting how many steps you take during the day.

And I understand that during that 30-day period, our church walked from California, to New York, to florida, back to California, and to Alaska. That's a lot of walking. But that seems like a lot for one person, but we sort of divided it up among hundreds. But you know, there was one person who walked around the world. That's right, back in 1974, David kunst from waseca, Minnesota, he was a surveyor, which they already do a lot of walking when you do surveying.

They--he wanted to do something extraordinary. It was right after the moon landing in 1969. In 1970, he was thinking, "you know, I'd like to do something memorable." And in talking to a friend, he said, "why don't you walk around the world? No one's ever done that." He said, "well, there's oceans, how do you do that?" He said, "well, you walk till you get to the ocean, touch the water, go across the ocean, then begin walking again." And he thought, "I'll do that. But he thought, "I don't want to just walk for myself, I want to do it with a cause." And so, he worked together with-- any of you remember unicef? It's the united nations children's fund raising money for, you know, needy children around the world. And he said, "I'm going to walk around the world for unicef.

" And he began. Began there in waseca, Minnesota. Who would ever think that's where it would start? And he started walking. And he walked all the way to New York city, and he took a ship across the ocean and landed in spain or portugal, and then began to walk across spain, europe, through turkey. His brother joined him for a good part of the way, John, and made their way one step at a time.

He had a donkey with a cart, or it was actually a mule. The named the mule willy makeit. Willy, willy makeit was his name. And it would pull all his possessions. Had a dog for part of the way that lived in the back of the cart.

And they began to walk. Well, when they got to afghanistan, you know, that's some dicey country, as it is now and has been. And he and his brother were attacked by bandits, and they were shot, and John was killed. And dave needed to think, and he said, "what do I do now?" He was rescued. And as he was recovering, he said, "you know, I made a promise I'm going to walk around the world, and I'm a man of my word.

And so, I'm going to--especially for my brother, too, I'm going to finish." And he went back to the very spot where they were robbed, and he got the cart together again, got another mule, willie makeit the second, and commenced walking again. Said, "I'm not going to quit. I said I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it." His brother pete joined him for part of the way. He walked from afghanistan all through asia, down to india, and got to the indian ocean, touched the water, went from the indian ocean across to perth, australia. And at that point, his brother had to head back to commence his life, and he began to walk across australia.

Now, I don't know, I've flown across australia, and it took 5 hours. I know we've got some aussies here. Man, there's nothing but red dirt for hours and hours. They got some--they got one road in australia, it says 180 miles to the next turn. And he started walking.

And willie makeit iii died. And fortunately, he made friends with a schoolteacher named jenni, who took her little car and hooked his wagon to her car. She put it in idle first gear, and she would idle along as he walked across australia. Well, you know what happened, they fell in love. But he said, "you know, as much as I love you, I want to marry you, I can't quit walking because I've made a promise.

" So, he finished walking across australia, got to California, walked from California back to Minnesota, becoming the first person to walk around the world. You got to have a lot of determination to do that. But you know what's harder? Walking with God every day, having a walk of integrity. And that's a rare thing these days. You know, the Bible tells us about someone who walked with God about as close as you can.

In the book of Genesis, you read about Enoch. Genesis 5:21, "Enoch lived sixty-five years, and he begot methuselah. And Enoch walked with God after he begot methuselah." And some people think that after he had a son, and he understood how much God must love us, and that he was going to send his son, that it did something to his relationship, and he was especially close to God. After he found out about his love for his children, he realized how much God our father loves his children, and he walked with God. "And he walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years.

" That's one day for every-- one year for every day. And it says he walked with God, "and he was not, for God took him." And the Bible says that he had this testimony that he pleased God. He was the first one who was what you would say translated. God just caught him up. I heard one little girl explain it this way.

They used to walk together every day, and at the end of one walk, God said, "look, Enoch, we're closer to my house than your house. Why don't you just come home with me?" Now, through his example of walking with God, we can learn something. First of all, we want to do what Enoch did because Enoch is where we want to be. Where's Enoch now? You know, if I asked you who's the oldest man that ever lived, what would you say? Methuselah. That's a trick question.

Methuselah's the oldest man who ever died. The oldest man who ever lived is methuselah's father Enoch because he's still alive. He never died, right? He's where we want to be. How did he get there? He walked with God. We need to have that kind of walk.

And walking with God doesn't just mean that you occasionally think about God, you come to church once a week. It means having a life, a walk of integrity, a walk of honesty. It's interesting that he walked with God during the time when there was great wickedness in the world. Just read what it says about his grandson, Noah. You know, during the time of Enoch, it says that the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually, and violence was in the land.

We live with a lot of violence in the world today, a lot of bloodshed, a lot of dishonesty, a lot of corruption. But he was still able to walk with God, so you can't say, "Lord, I'd walk with you, but in this culture we're in today--" God needs men who are going to walk with him no matter what's happening around them, that they're going to stand for the right though the heavens fall. The Bible says, "Noah was a just man." Now, we're in Genesis 6, verse 9. Next chapter, "perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

" If Noah could walk with his God just before the end of the world--you know, Noah lived through the end of the world back then. We can walk with God before the end of the world now. He saw from the example of his grandfather methuselah and his father, because methuselah died just before the flood, and his great-grandfather Enoch what it meant to walk with God. And he followed that pattern. You know, if we're going to see more of our young people walking with God, then we need to set an example for them of walking with God now.

You know, I just read something this week, Washington post. Julia zousmer wrote, September 27, not that long ago, "two widely recognized trends in American society might have something to do with each other. Divorce rates climbed to their highest levels in the '80s, when about half of all marriages ended in divorce. And in the present day, Americans are rapidly becoming less religious. Since 1972, the share of Americans who say they do not adhere to any particular religion has increased from 5% percent, only 5% in '72, to 25%.

" That's not a good trend in one generation. "Could those two trends be related? A new study from the public religion research institute says yes, that children of divorced parents have grown up to be adults of no religion. People whose parents divorced when they were children are significantly more likely to grow up and not to be religious as adults, the study found. Thirty-five percent of the children of divorced parents told pollsters they're now non-religious, compared with only twenty percent of people whose parents reMained married." So, they've shown a Marked interest that if people don't have integrity to keep their vows, they begin to wonder if anything really matters. You know, one of my favorite Psalms is psalm 15.

And it's a great challenge for men to be Mighty Men of God and men of integrity. It starts by asking this question in verse 1, "Lord, who will abide in your tabernacle? Who will dwell in your holy hill?" Now, that's speaking about heaven, being in the temple of God, being in the holy hill of God. And it's asking the question, who's going to have that experience? Here's the answer, "he who walks uprightly, he who works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart." He does what? Speaks the truth, walks with integrity, walks with righteousness. "He does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend." He doesn't gossip or speak evil about anyone. "In whose eyes a vile person is despised.

" He honors those who love God. "He honors those who fear the Lord. He who swears to his own hurt and he does not change," he makes a promise, like, "I'm going to walk around the world," and doesn't let the death of his brother or falling in love keep him from finishing what he said he was going to start. "He swears to his own hurt and he does not change." He makes a promise, and even when it becomes difficult to keep the promise, he keeps it. He makes his vow, he makes a covenant, and he stands by what he says.

And the promise is, "he who--" oh, and it goes on to say he doesn't take a bribe against the innocent, doesn't put out his money for usury, and it closes by saying, "he that does these things shall never be moved." A? They got their cue. Who is going abide in your tabernacle? It's going to be people with integrity, people who live lives, they walk a walk of integrity. Now, it's so important, especially for men and fathers. You know, one of the last things it says in the Bible is the message of Elijah. You find this in Malachi chapter 4.

It says, "behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of The Fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to The Fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Now, there's a lot in that verse, and I'm not going to take it all out and unpack it right now, but I just want you to notice that just before the end, the last words in the old testament are talking about turning the hearts of fathers. You can't deny that. Something happens to the hearts of fathers. And Elijah was known for a message of revival.

He called people back to God. And I think this is a message that is involved in the Elijah message, a call for men to be men, for husbands to be good husbands, and fathers to be good fathers. Because it's like albert schweitzer said, "children learn three ways: example, example, and example." Now, I'm glad I can tell you that there were good examples like Enoch. And then Noah modeled his great-grandfather's example, and he walked with God. But you know, even some of the men of God failed in the areas of integrity.

When you think about the great patriarchs, what are their names? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Abraham, good man, loved the Lord, kept the commandments, but not always. We can read in Genesis 20, verse 2, "now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, 'she is my sister.'" You know the story? He went down to Egypt during the time of a famine, and Sarah was very good-looking. And she may have, you know, had a unique sparkle because Abraham had come from another country. And there, where the women in Egypt were a little more swarthy in their appearance, Sarah stood out.

It's like I remember when Karen and I and the boys went to tiananmen square, and I figured we'd see a lot of european tourists there in this big, famous chinese square. I was amazed at how many chinese tourists went there. And nathan and steven were walking around, and everywhere they walked, they were turning heads because, you know, when they were younger, they both had blue hair and blond eyes, and they just stood out. What did I say, blue hair? Well, that's now, that was before. I really didn't mean to say that.

But everybody was turning, it was such a spectacle. And Sarah was very attractive. Even though she was older at this point, she still stood out. And Abraham thought, "boy, I'm going to go down to Egypt. Got to go, we're out of food, they got food there.

But you know, I don't know about the ethics of the people down there, and they're going to look at Sarah." And you know, it was pretty barbaric. It was the wild wild west back then. They didn't have police force and laws. And it was sort of like every man had his own security team. And he thought, "they're going to kill me and take my wife, so just to play it safe, she is actually my half-sister.

I'll leave out the wife part, and I'll just say, 'yeah, she's my sister.'" Well, you know, that didn't go very well because pharaoh thought, "oh good, she's your sister? I'll take her over to my harem." And then word about that ended up getting to his son Isaac. And you can read in the Bible in Isaac--in the book of Isaac, in Genesis chapter 26, verse 7. There's another famine, and Isaac has to go dwell in the land of the philistines because that's the only place there's bread, and he's married to his cousin now, Rebekah, who is also beautiful, from the same country as Sarah. "And the men of the place asked about his wife." Isaac said, "oh, she is my sister." Now again, later he was discovered, and he was rebuked by the pagans. So, where do you think Isaac learned that? And then it doesn't stop there.

You know, the Bible says unto the third and fourth generation. Our example of integrity or our lack of integrity will be reproduced in the lives of those around us. You get that? Our lives of integrity or our lack of integrity-- now, I expect to see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in heaven. Oh, we got to get to Jacob. Isaac wants to bless his boys, he says, "call esau.

" Genesis 27:12. And rachel says, "no, Jacob, you go in, and you pretend to be esau. Now, you put on esau's clothes, and say that you're esau, and you'll get the blessing of esau." And you notice how it's progressing. First, he says, "well, she's actually my sister." Now, "she's my cousin. Well, dad did it.

I'll say she's my sister." And now, "I'll just say I'm my brother." And just little by little, that's a pretty far stretch from calling your half-sister your wife, to calling your brother-- saying you're your brother. But that's kind of how compromise happens, little by little, in degrees. We need to keep our word. And ended up he says, "perhaps my father will feel me, and I'll seem to be a deceiver to him, and I'll bring a curse on myself and not a blessing." You ever heard the expression white lies, or half truths? A half truth is a whole lie. And Christians ought to be consistently honest all the time.

I remember reading the story of "the hiding place." Any of you ever read that book by corrie ten boom? Great book. And at one point there in nazi germany, especially as the war deteriorated and the german forces were losing, they became desperate to get new soldiers. And corrie tells the story of how the nazi troops would go up and down the streets in amsterdam, and they'd charge into houses, and they'd search for any young men they could find, and just take them by force, and press them into military service. And some of these bands of nazi recruiters were making their way up the street. And when the family saw it, this dutch family saw it, they pushed aside the dining table, and they-- under the table, they had a hidden compartment.

And they told the two boys in the house to quickly get in there. They had some teenage boys. They put them in the compartment, they covered it with the floor, they put a carpet over that, they put a table over that, and they put a tablecloth over the table. And just as they did that, the nazi soldiers came in and began to search the house, and said, "we've heard you have young men here. Are there any young men here?" And they were asking one young lady, and she had been raised a Christian, and her parents had told her, "you never lie.

There is never an excuse to lie. Under no conditions do you lie. Lying is a sin." And she had never lied. She grew up with a pure heart, and she had never lied. And they began to press her and press her, and they could see she was struggling with an answer.

And finally, she broke down, almost crying hysterically, and she said, "yes, yes." "Where are they?" She said, "under the table." And they thought that she meant they were hiding under the table, like under the tablecloth. And they lifted up the tablecloth. At this point, she had a breakdown, she's laughing and crying because she's had a nervous breakdown. And they saw there was nobody under the tablecloth, and they got mad, and they stormed out. She told the truth, and God still protected her.

It's like she thought, "what's going to happen to my brothers if I tell the truth?" God said, "I will honor you." And they went away. God will bless integrity. "He swears to his own hurt and he changes not. That man will be blessed in what he does." What is integrity? It's the quality of being honest, and having strong moral principles and uprightness. Honesty, rectitude, honor, good character, principles, ethics, morals, righteous morality, virtue, decency, fairness, scrupulousness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthy.

You know the old expression, make a deal with a handshake, Your Word is your bond? That's that old generation. My father used to make million dollar deals with a handshake. And he was dealing with other people, they had gone through that great war. And someone said, you know, after a battle, a man is unable to lie? If you interview a man right after he comes out of a battle, a war battle, they are unable to lie for some reason? You know lying is unnatural? Lying is unnatural. Why do you think they can put electrodes on a person with a lie detector, and their body reacts to lying differently than telling the truth? God made us for truth.

Lying actually, physiologically, it does something unnatural to you. And I know there are people that specialize, they go through classes in the cia, and they can learn how to fool lie detector tests. And some people are pathological liars, and they can lie and really believe it themselves, and they can fool the test. But most of the time, people can't because normal people have a conscience. And we react differently, it actually emits unnatural impulses from our body when we lie.

I heard about a man that is very sick, a wealthy businessman was in the hospital, and a pastor went to visit him. It looked like his condition was critical. Pastor says, "look, I'd like to pray for you. And we're going to pray that God's going to heal you." And the man was so desperate, he took ahold of the pastor's hand, he said, "please pray for me." He says, "I'll tell you what, you pray for me, and I just promise if God will heal me, I will give a million dollars to the church." The pastor prayed for him, you know, prayed a beautiful prayer, and left. A few days later, his situation began to turn, he started to recover.

In a week or two, he was out of the hospital. Two months later, the pastor ran into him on the street, and said, "brother, it is so good to see you up and around. And remember you promised that if God would heal you, you would give a million dollars to the church. We just haven't gotten that in the mail yet." And he said, "well, pastor, that just goes to show you how sick I really was." Swears to his own hurt and changes not. God wants us to keep our word, amen? Christians should be honest.

You know, sin entered our world through a lie. God said something, the devil said, "no he didn't." The devil lied. Genesis 3, "the serpent said, 'you will not surely die.'" You jump to the end of the Bible, in case you're wonder how God feels, Revelation 21:8, "and all liars will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Revelation 22:15, "but outside," the city of God, "is whoever loves and practices a lie." Who's going to abide in the holy hill? He that speaks the truth in his heart. Proverbs 6:16 and 17, "these six things the Lord hates," strong language, "seven are an abomination to him." I won't read them all. Begins with a proud look and a lying tongue.

Proverbs 12:19, "the truthful lips shall be established forever." We're talking about eternity here. What lips? TRuthful, honest. "But the lying tongue is but for a moment." Proverbs 19:5, "a false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies will not escape." You know, you've heard that expression, it's not an expression. It's actually from Numbers 32, verse 23, "your sin will find you out." You never really get away with any lies. Your sin will find you.

It catches up with you. Joe the butcher, at the end of his day, final customer came in his butcher shop. This is years ago. And she said, "I'd like a chicken, whole chicken." So, he reached into the freezer, he had one chicken left. He pulled it out, he put it on the scale, he said, "that'll be $1.

79." And she looked at it and scrutinized it, and she said, "you know, it's not quite big enough. I think I need a little bigger chicken." And she said, "can you get me a different one?" He took that chicken, he put it back in the freezer, fumbled around, pulled it back out again. This time, he just put his hand on the scale a little bit, and said, "okay, that one's going to be $2.00." She thought for a minute, she said, "you know, I guess I'd better get them both." He got busted. I remember one time, I went to the office. This is at central church several years ago, and I got to the office, there on my desk is this beautiful, big bouquet of flowers.

And I thought, "who is sending me flowers?" And I looked, and it was a card from a business associate that was congratulating Amazing Facts for our new program that had just launched on a major network, and they sent me flowers. And you know, after I finished my stuff at the office, I thought, "well, I'm going to get some mileage out of this." And so, I brought the flowers home to Karen, and I said, "look, dear, I brought you some flowers," which was true. I did bring her some flowers. And she said, "those are really nice flowers. You bought those?" I said, "well, not exactly.

" I said, "someone sent them to me." She says, "who's sending you flowers?" I said, "no, no, it's not like that." I said, "a man sent them to me." She said, "a man sent you flowers?" It just got worse and worse. From there, I was just trying to, you know, get a little bit of credit for bringing her flowers from the office to the house, even though I didn't buy them. But how often do we utter little half truths? "How are you doing?" "I'm fine." You're not fine, but you'll say you're fine. "Oh sure, I'd love to have you come over for lunch." You may not want them over for lunch at all. "You look great today.

" There's a lot of little half-truths we sometimes tell. Christians should be perfectly honest. Moses said, Deuteronomy 25:15, "you will have a perfect and a just weight, a perfect and a just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land that your Lord-- the Lord your God is giving you." One of the criteria for their staying in the land and not being carried off captive was honesty, faithfulness in their business, faithfulness in their dealings with each other. And he said, "I'll bless you." Because the Lord is looking for truth, the Bible says, in the inward parts. He wants us to walk a walk of truth.

He wants integrity in the family. One of the ways you become a mighty man of God is by keeping your vows, and that would include your marriage vows. And that doesn't just mean faithfulness, though certainly we mean that. We're going to talk a little bit on that in our meeting later, when the women won't be here to intimidate us. But I want you to notice Peter 3:7, "husbands, likewise, dwell with them," speaking of your wives, "dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel," speaking of, you know, physically men are typically bigger.

"And as being heirs together of the grace of life." We're heirs together. Why? "That your prayers may not be hindered." It says that we're to honor our wives. Now, that doesn't mean that if they're easy to get along with, honor them. God doesn't give you that out. He says you're to honor them.

"But my wife, gah, my wife. You don't know all the circumstances, Lord, of my wife." Ephesians 5:22, "husbands, love your wives," how? "As Christ loved the church." He doesn't say if your wife cooks well, love her. You're supposed to love her no matter what. It doesn't matter whether she's being easy to get along with or difficult. He doesn't give that out here.

It's a command, love your wives. Is she your wife? Love her. "But sometimes, she's so unlovable." How? Love her like Christ loves the church. Does God love us when we're unlovable? Did God wait for you to be good before he loved you, or does he love you even when you're bad? You know that song, "Jesus loves me"? There's that one verse, "Jesus loves me when I'm good, when I do the things I should. Jesus loves me when I'm bad, even though it makes him sad.

" And our love for our wives should be like God's love for us, which is a consistent, unconditional love. A? If I were to ask all the men here, "how many love your wives, raise your hand," don't do it, but I bet all the hands would go up. But then if I were to ask, "how many of the wives feel loved?" If there was an honest response, you might find it's different. Now, men often think, "well, I provide a good house. I make sure that there's food in the refrigerator.

I protect you, I do the yard work. Of course I love you." I mean, for us, that's the evidence of love. That's not always the way the wives view it, though. It says, "husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her, that he might sanctify her and cleanse her with the washing of the water by the word, that he might present her to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy, without blemish. So husbands ought to love their wives.

" It's talking there about Christ loves the church so that he can have a sanctifying influence on the church. Husbands ought to love their wives so that we have a sanctifying influence on them. Because you would think that--you know, one of the big challenges that makes Christianity unusual is the Lord says you need to love your enemies, turning the other cheek, being nice to those that are mean to you, overcoming evil with good, loving your enemies. We're to love our enemies, right? I think some of us think, "well, if you ask me to love my enemy, I might be able to do that." But why don't we start with loving our families? And we think, "I'm a Christian. I'm ready to love my enemy.

" Well, isn't it interesting it says love your neighbor and love your enemy? It's often because your enemy can be those that are nigh to you. It says both. And it would start right at home. And he goes on, not quite done with this yet. So, it's with a sanctifying influence.

He goes on, he says, "for nobody. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies." Men, do you take care of your body? A? We do. I mean, some of you go to the gym, and you work out. And if your body's hungry, do you take care of it? And if you've got an itch, you scratch it. You take care of your bodies.

You care a great deal about how your body feels. So, you ought to love your wife like your own body. Actually, it's a very practical truth. You've heard the expression, "happy wife, happy life." You know that? You treat her like a queen, she will treat you like a king. And so, you're really doing yourself your own good.

"For no one ever hated his own flesh, but he nourished and cherished it, just as the Lord does the church." Colossians 3:19, "husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter towards them." Now, sometimes there's bitterness. Harsh words are spoken, or needs aren't met, and it turns into anger, and people can live in the same house for years and act like strangers. God says you need to love, show affection, cherish. And then not only being Mighty Men of God means examples in the family with the wife or the spouse, but with the children. "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and the admonition.

" You don't just shout at them and tell them what they're doing wrong, but be an example and admonish them in the Lord. Do you have worship in your families? There's a lot of the husbands and wives that haven't held hands and prayed together. It's something that ought to happen every day in a Christian home, where families have worship. You've heard the expression, "families that pray together stay together." And when you pray, the closer you come to one object, the closer you come to each other. And if you're both coming closer to God in your devotions, you'll be coming closer to each other.

And being able to talk about spiritual things and things that you learn. Every night before Karen and I go to bed, we reach over, we hold hands, and we pray, unless she goes to sleep first. I stayed up last night studying for this message. I came up, and I heard her snoring. I distinctly heard her snoring, I wish I had a tape player.

And as soon as I walk in, and she sleeps very lightly, she says, "I'm not asleep." I said, "yes, you were, you were snoring." And then by the time I brush my teeth, got back in bed, she was snoring again. So, we didn't do it last night. I want to just go on record, be honest, you know? They're under the table. I just want to tell you the truth. But typically, every night, we hold hands, we pray.

In the morning, we pray. When the Sabbath begins, you ought to open the Sabbath with prayer. Spend that sacred time together. And we should be honest to God not only in our families, but if you're a Christian, you probably have taken some baptismal vows. You said, "by God's grace, I am going to stand for Christ.

I am going to be part of these people. I am going to support the work of God. I am going to share the good news about Jesus." And have you sworn to your own hurt and changed? Are you willing to keep Your Word, and stand for the promises that you've made? Now, being a Christian means a consistent walk. Colossians 2:6, "as you there have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him." You know, some people lose their first love. We need to consistently continue to walk in the Lord.

Ephesians 5:8 and 9, "for you were once darkness, but now you are children of the Lord. Walk as children of light." Our neighbors and the people around us, if we are men of integrity, ought to see that we're different in the way that we walk. Heard about a missionary in india that was teaching a roomful of people. And he saw one lady about halfway through his presentation got up and went out. And he looked through the window, and he thought he saw her talking to his driver that was taking him from one appointment to another.

And then a few minutes later, she came back in, and she sat down, and she looked very interested. And he was curious. And so, after the study, he went up to her, he says, "you know, I noticed you got up and you went out partway through the program, and I was wondering if it was something I said." And she said, "well, yes." She said, "what you said really touched my heart. What you told me about Jesus was very interesting. And I thought, 'I wonder if this man really lives like this.

' So, I went out and I asked your driver, 'does this man really live the things that he talks about?' And the driver said yes, so I came back in to hear the rest of what you had to say." So, what would your driver say? Are we the same--you know what integrity is? Integrity means you're the same person when no one's watching as when everybody's watching. That's what integrity is. God is calling for mighty men who are going to be consistently followers of Jesus, whether the crowd is watching or not. You know, I heard the--somebody did a study on the street, and they pretended they were blind. And they would go up to strangers and cameras were rolling.

You can actually see this on youtube, okay? And they go up to strangers, and they pretend they're blind. They say, "sir, i--could you please help me? I've got to get change because there was-- I've got to pay for a meter," whatever it is. "Can you take this $5 bill and give me five ones and some change?" And he'd ask these strangers on the street, but he would hand them a $50. And fortunately, 70% of the people said, "oh, brother, that's not a 5, that's a 50, be careful." But it was shocking, and you could see it, some people said, "oh, yeah, $5? Sure, let me have your five, here's five," and they walked away. They were pretty surprised then because the guy would take his glasses off and run up to him and say, "hey, give me back my money.

" They got busted. That's kind of scary to think that when they thought nobody was watching, they could take advantage of a blind person. They do it. I can't imagine that. I would never do that.

God's my witness. I couldn't live with myself doing something like that. But a person of integrity realizes that God always has the camera running, and you are the same on camera as you are off-camera. That's what it means to walk with the Lord. It's something that's happening consistently.

Psalm 1, verse 1 and 2, "blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the unGodly, or stands in the path of sinners, or sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night." This is the man who's blessed. This is what it means to walk with God. We talked about Joshua, where God said last night, "if you want to be courageous, then walk in the laws that I gave Moses." Here, the very first psalm, king David, who is certainly a mighty man, he said, "the man who does not walk in the counsel of the unGodly," that's tough when you're surrounded by a world that doesn't believe in truth. "Nor sits in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night.

" Being a man of God means that you spend time in God's Word day and night, amen? You need to be spending time in prayer as well. Heard about these pigeons. You ever seen how a pigeon walks? A pigeon walks where it takes a step, and then it moves its head, and it goes like this. And I know they--i grew up in New York city, we had a lot of pigeons. We used to catch pigeons, we'd bring them home, my mother would get disgusted, make us take them back out again.

And it's because--someone explained to me that a pigeon cannot focus its eyes while it's moving. There's something about their eyes that they have to stop their head. And they're taking a step, they focus, focus, focus, focus. You know, ours, God made us where our focus can continue to move while we're moving, and a lot of other birds, but not a pigeon. But we sort of--that's kind of how it is for a Christian.

As you're walking, you need to continually adjust your focus based on the Word of God because the society that we're living in can't see straight. You know, interesting, this year, I was at a dinner back in New York city. And I sat down next to a man, and we visited, and I said, "what's your name?" And he said, "george barna." And he's the one who has the famous barna study group, delightful Christian man. I was very impressed. He did a study a number of years ago, actually it was a 1992 study that confirmed Americans are in danger of becoming a nation of relativists.

The survey asked the Americans, "is there such a thing as absolute truth?" Amazingly, 66% of Americans, it's worse today I'm sure, 66% of American adults responded, they believe there is no such thing as an absolute truth. "You got your truth, and I've got my truth. And if you believe something, you'll get to heaven, and all rivers lead to the ocean. And you're--you know, we all kind of have our truth. And if it's true for you, it's truth.

And my truth is true for me. And so, you've got your truth, I've got my truth." And he says, "doesn't that kind of permeate our society, thinking you can sort of invent your own truth?" And you know, it sounds good philosophically, but in reality, that doesn't work. Do you want a brain surgeon to start working on you that says, "well, I think today, I really believe that I'm going to find your brain somewhere in your ankle because I believe it"? Do you want to get on an airplane and have the pilot say, "you know, I've had an epiphany about the laws of aerodynamic design. And today, I'm almost sure that this plane will work just as well as a submarine, so as we're going across the ocean, I believe it, and so it'll work"? Would you believe that, or would you think he should be arrested? Because there are certain laws of flight, and people's lives depend upon those absolutes being unchanging. So, this idea in our society that, you know, if you believe that baal is God, well, he is God for you.

And I believe jehovah's God, well, he's God for me. And you believe you can pray to mary, and that's just as good for you. And there's only one truth. There is one Lord, one faith, one truth. And only the truth will set you free, and anything other than the truth will enslave you.

And you know, the most creative, the greatest adventure that anybody could be on would be to know God because God is the truth. And when you know the truth, then living in the truth would be the most important thing, amen? So, what's the key? We become like who we walk with. As you spend time walking with Jesus-- and the Bible says he is the truth. Christ said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." John 1:7, "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all sin." Acts 4:13, when the disciples were being tried for their faith, "when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and they perceived they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized," they said, "ah, they had been with Jesus.

" By the way they were acting, they could see that they had been with Jesus. Have you ever met somebody before, and you just watch them for a few minutes and talk to them, and you say, "I think they're a Christian"? Karen and I are moving to a new neighborhood. Or not yet, we got some work to do before we can move in, but we've been there, we met some of the neighbors. And one neighbor next door came out and visited with us this week. We just chatted for a few minutes in the driveway, and then Karen and I got in the car.

And driving back, I said, "I think she's a Christian." Karen says, "I think she's a Christian too." She never said, "I'm a Christian." But there was--there was an aura that she exuded, and a kindness, and a politeness, and a peace that, if you know the Lord, you know that only those that know the Lord have that. You ever met people like that before? And I've--sometimes, I've come right out and I said, "I think you're a Christian." They say, "well, how did you know?" I said, "I don't know, you've just got that light about you." You become like who you walk with. That's very important. If you're going to be a man of God, who is influencing you, the Word of God or the views of the world? Do you spend more time in the word, or watching videos, television? What's going to define your values of truth? Is it going to be Christ? We are changed by beholding. And as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus--how do we lay aside the sin and the weight that so easily besets us? It tells us that in Hebrews chapter 12, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

It's through keeping our eyes fixed on him, we become like him so that we are transformed from glory to glory into the same image, the image of the Lord. And you know, the whole purpose of the plan of salvation is to restore in man the image of God. We need to be spending time in God--in Christ's word, and being people of integrity, being somebody who swears to their own hurt and changeth not. You know how hard it must have been for hannah when she said, "Lord, I'm going to make a vow if you give me a son, I promise I'll give him back to you"? And she had Samuel, it was her only boy. And it wasn't until she gave Samuel back to God, God then blessed her with several other children.

You can read in the book of Judges chapter 11 about one of the Judges. He's mentioned in Hebrews. He's going to be in heaven, jephthah. He said, "Lord, if you give me victory in this battle against the ammonites," it might have been the moabites, I don't remember. It's one of them -ites.

"If you give me victory, it'll come to pass that when I come back, whatever comes forth from my house to greet me, I will offer to you as a burnt offering." Well, he thought--you know, he had a small ranch. He thought coming home, you know, the family cow, goat, sheep, would come out. And it was his daughter that came out first. And he said, "oh, my daughter, you've brought me very low." He says, "I've opened my mouth to the Lord, and I can't go back." And it was different from hannah. And he didn't sacrifice her, he gave her to serve at the temple, and she could never marry.

And that's why it says that the daughters of Israel went up yearly to visit her. And he would never have a son, it was his only daughter. She went on the mountains to bewail her virginity. She said, "father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord. You need to keep your promise to God.

" Boy, those people are pretty rare today, huh? And if we say, "Lord, I'm accepting you. I want you to be my Lord and Savior. I'm going to live for you. I'm not going to live for you when it's easy, I'm not going to live for you when it's convenient, I'm not going to just live for you when I feel like it. I'm going to live for you consistently.

I'm going to walk a walk of integrity." Is that what you want to have, friends? And you know, there's no limit to what the Lord can do. You know, I love that quote we started with before from that book, "education." "The greatest want of the world is the want of men. Men who will not be bought or sold. Men who in their inmost souls are true and honest. Men who do not fear to call sin by its right name.

Men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle is to the pole. Men who will stand for the right, though the heavens fall." The world has yet to see what could happen if we had an army of mighty men that would have that kind of resolve. I want to be one of those, don't you? A? If that's your prayer, would you bow your heads with me? Let's ask him now. Dear Father in Heaven, we're so thankful for the lessons we see in Your Word, and the promises that if we will take a stand for truth, if we'll walk with you day by day, that we can reach that temple, we can reach your sanctuary, your holy hill, and bring our families with us. And Lord, I pray that we can be faithful, Mighty Men of God, men of courage, men of integrity, men of purity.

Bless each person that is here, those who may be watching. And Lord, I pray you'll work in our lives so that is our experience. We thank you and we pray this in Jesus' Name, amen. Doug: you know, friends, one of the fastest-growing forms of crime out there right now is identity theft. That's where these unscrupulous people will capture a person's social security number, their driver's license number, personal information, and with that they're able to take over their bank account, loot all of their assets, and sometimes just take over their lives.

Well, you know, the devil is a master of identity theft. And this is so important to understand because Jesus said it's crucial that we have faith to be saved. Without faith, you can't please God. The just will live by faith. And the devil has been stealing the identity of God's people for 6,000 years.

Well, that's why I wrote this recent book called "who do you think you are?" We think it's so important for people to understand who they are in Christ, how to have saving faith and peace, knowing that you belong to God. If you'd like a free copy, we'll send it to you. All you have to do is contact the number on your screen, and then promise when you read it, you'll share it with someone else. [Music]

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