Integrity: Wholeness and Holiness

Integrity: Wholeness and Holiness

Scripture: Titus 2:7-8, Matthew 4:1-11, Ephesians 3:14-21
Date: 06/05/2010  Lesson: 10
Maintaining personal integrity is important, not only for our relationship with God but also to avoid the many consequences poor choices bring.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath. We're so glad that you are joining us this morning, whether you're listening on the radio, watching live on our website this morning at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks, we welcome you and we're so glad that you tune in every week and you sing along, because we like to sing songs here at central, and I know you do too and you've sent in many requests. And this morning, we're going to sing two of those as we usually do.

And the first one is "bringing in the sheaves," in your hymnals. Those of you here, you have your hymnals. Those of you at home, if you don't, the words are on the screen for you. Let's sing 369, "bringing in the sheaves." And we will be singing all three stanzas. This is a request from charMaine and kay in australia, raulie in California, cherise in england, birthnoon in florida, richard in Indiana, molly in Iowa, monique and thorland in jamaica, inka and Daniel in Massachusetts, victor and wayne in Minnesota, kathleen in New Jersey, joyanne in New York, gerald in south africa, jason in tennessee and anne marie in trinidad and tobago.

All three stanzas, 369. [Music] When I was little I thought that we were bringing in the sheep. I've since learned that well, no it's sheaves, but we are bringing in the sheep to the fold, aren't we? Jesus is the good shepherd. And we've been doing that here at central church with having evangelistic meetings. And it's exciting to see people coming night by night and giving their hearts to Jesus.

When--let's see, our opening song is 618, "stand up! Stand up for Jesus!" This is from kay, macka, peta, and linda in australia, barbara in California, raphael and raquel in costa rica, jim, dianne, jamie and buffy in florida, sharon in india, roy in indonesia-- ronny in indonesia, tina in Montana, John in Oklahoma, jung jung in the Philippines, chuckawemeka-- thank you jessica--in poland and frank in Texas and loc loc in thailand. And then little Samuel is years old. And he is in invercargill, new zealand, Samuel matsis. And his mommy and daddy let him stay up 'til 8:00 on Friday night so that he can watch the singing. And he loves to sing with us.

So Samuel, we're going to sing the request that your mom sent in for you, "stand up! Stand up for Jesus!" So stand up at home by your tv and sing along with us. Okay? We're going to do one, two and four. [Music] Father in Heaven, this morning we do, we want to stand up, stand up for Jesus. We want to lift high your royal banner and March through the gates of heaven to spend eternity with you. And we thank you so much for the promise, the assurance that we have as Christians, that no matter how bad things get in this world, we have you on our side.

And with you as our leader, nothing can go wrong that you haven't got the solution for. And father, we thank you so much for this beautiful Sabbath day that you have blessed us with. I pray you'll be with each person here and our extended Sabbath school family as we open up Your Word and we study together this morning. Thank you so much for bringing Pastor Doug safely back from argentina. And we thank you that he's bringing us our lesson study this morning.

In Jesus' Name, amen. That's right. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much jessica and debbie and jennifer and musicians for The Song service. And good to see each of you here.

Our Sabbath school class, as debbie mentioned, a few days ago I came back from argentina and well, it was a rich experience. I was down there at our university doing-- it's the university del plata doing a week of prayer. Beautiful campus, wonderful kids. There was about 3,500 young people down there. And I won't say too much, 'cause I'm gonna be sharing something with a few pictures during our worship service.

But just if I stumble and mumble a little bit more than usual, it's 'cause I'm still getting used to an all-night flight. And so, but I am glad to be home. For our friends who are watching and tuning in, our extended class, we do have a free offer connected with today's study. And it's called, "life in the Spirit." It's offer number 155. We'll send it to you for free.

You just gotta call and ask for it. That number is 866-study-more, -788-3966. And we'll be happy to send that to you. And what am I forgetting? I welcomed everybody, didn't i? Let me welcome you again. And I also want to say hi to our friends who are part of the extended class that studies with central each week.

By the way, we had some friends that approached me there in argentina, both in buenos aires and up by the university. And they said, "oh we're part of your class every week." A lot of bilingual people up there that study with us. And so that was good to meet them. We're going into our lesson now. We're on lesson number 10 in our study guide dealing with health and healing.

And today's lesson in particular is talking about "integrity, wholeness and holiness." And this really covers a broad spectrum of issues related to the Christian life talking about mental health, integrity, being whole and being holy, playing on that word "holy" and "wholeness." Based on a number of Scriptures all the way from new testament to the old testament. We have a memory verse. Memory verse is Titus 2:7-8. And it's from the n.i.v. Here in your lesson if you want to say it with me.

You ready? Titus 2:7-8. Here we go. "In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." One way that Christians are a witness is through, not only our wholeness and our physical health, but our holiness and our integrity. And the devil's gonna constantly try to break that down.

Jesus said, "you'll know them by their--?" "By their fruits." And the devil hearing that knows that if we say we're Christians and we label ourselves as Christians, but our fruits are the fruits of the flesh, then we don't have that spiritual integrity. So what does that mean, to be a genuine Christian? And what is--what is integrity? What is character? You know, one way that I understand this is that real Christian integrity and character means that you want to be consistent about following and obeying God whether or not anybody seems to be watching. That in the light and in the shadows, in public and in private, you want to follow God. You know, when Jesus rose from the dead and he appeared to the two disciples on the road to emmaus, and the two disciples didn't realize Jesus is standing there with them. And they began to rehearse.

"Oh, you know, Jesus was crucified this week and it was terrible what happened. And he was a prophet, mighty in deed before God and the people." Being consistent before God and the people. Now the religious leaders in Jesus' day were principally concerned with wanting to be praised of men. And you know, they would fast to be seen of men and give to be seen of men and pray to be seen of men. But the thing that Jesus said matters is living in a way, remembering what your Father in Heaven sees and he'll reward you openly.

Instead of just seeking after the praise of men. Integrity is wanting to live a holy life, holy before God, no matter what people see, remembering that he's watching all the time. And that I think is a principle difference between the genuine and the counterfeit. Alright, we're gonna look at one of the examples of course this is in the life of Christ. This is the great temptation of Jesus.

"Jesus in the wilderness," is under our first section for the first day. You'll find that in Matthew 4. In Matthew 4 and in verses 1 through 11, it outlines the great temptation of Christ. And in this and how Jesus dealt with temptation, we can find something as a pattern for ourselves. How do we respond to temptation? Now those of you who aren't tempted, you can just kind of zone out.

You don't have to pay attention to this part of the study today. Anyone here that's gonna take a nap? I think we're all--we all grapple with temptation. By the way, is it a sin to be tempted? Not necessarily. Sin often starts with temptation. Jesus was tempted, but he never sinned.

So obviously it's possible to be tempted and not sin. "Then Jesus was led up," immediately after his baptism, verse 1, chapter 4, "Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness. And he was tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted days and 40 nights, afterward he was hungry." Now the fast that Jesus made in the wilderness was probably a food fast. When the Lord led Moses up on the mountain, and he fasted 40 days and 40 nights, he did eat or drink, that was more of a supernatural fast.

Can a man live 40 days without water? No. Can a man live 40 days without food? Yes, yeah. There are--matter of fact, I can't remember his name, but in ireland, one of the rebels during the battle between the irish and the british government, he went on a hunger strike in prison. And he went 80 days without food. They finally let him die.

They did not force-feed him intravenously. And he went on a hunger strike. And after 80 days, he died. But he made it 80 days with no food. Gandhi once went over 40 days in a fast.

So yeah, a man can fast for 40 days. I don't recommend it. And I'm glad Jesus did it for us. It is good for us to fast. But can you go 40 days without water? Two individuals in the Bible did.

Elijah, when he got that supernatural food and water from an angel, he went on the strength of that food 40 days and 40 nights to Mount Sinai. Moses on Mount Sinai went days and 40 nights without food or water. Jesus just went without food. It says he was hungry. You notice it doesn't say he was thirsty.

So he really did fast. He probably had some water with him. He went out into the wilderness. But he was especially hungry after that time. "Now the tempter came to him.

" When does the tempter come to us? In our weakness. Low blood sugar, your resolve is weak. You're faint. You're physically weak. "And the tempter came to him, and said, 'if you are The Son of God, command that these stones become bread.

'" Now when the devil came to Jesus, did he plop down on the ground with his batwings and goatee and his horns and his pitchfork and his red leotards and his goat feet, and say, "hi, I'm the devil, and I've been sent to tempt you. Here's the first temptation. You ready?" Or did he appear, as it says in Corinthians 11, as an angel of light? Do not be deceived, satan himself can be transformed into an angel of light. And if the devil can be transformed into an angel of light, it shouldn't surprise us if his ministers can appear as ministers of righteousness. And so satan came, appearing as an angel of light for the purpose of deceiving Jesus.

And he probably--i mean sometimes the dialogue in the Bible is giving us just a few points. I'm not sure every word spoken in the whole 40 days is there. And the devil may have said, "Son of God, I've been sent from The Father. And now of course you're hungry. And here's this one test and I can provide food for you now.

In the same way that God fed the children of Israel in the wilderness, I've been sent to feed you. But because you're The Son of God, you need to take the first step, if you're The Son of God. And he betrayed himself with that "if." If. Right away. How did Jesus meet that temptation? He said, "it is written--" "it is written, 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

'" So Christ met temptation with the word. And how do we fight temptation today? Same thing, by the Word of God. Now you'll notice there's three principle temptations that come to Jesus here. And if you read--matter of fact, I have this in my lesson notes. And I think we've given out some Scriptures on this.

Who will read for me John 2:16? We gave that to somebody. Got a hand right back here. I think that's duane. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, is not of The Father but is of the world." Alright, so you've got three principles areas of sin. You got the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

And now we're gonna talk about where eve fell. And that's our next verse, which is Genesis 3:6. "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate." Alright, thank you. You notice we had three areas where it says that men are tempted, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Then you've got, of course, Jesus is tempted how many times in the wilderness? Three.

We only talked about one. We'll get to the other two in just a minute. In Genesis, eve fell and three principle areas. It says, "good for food," lust of the flesh, "pleasant to the eyes," lust of the eyes, "desirable to make one wise." You will be as God: pride of life. Those same areas where man fell are the same three areas where Jesus overcame, as an example for you and i.

Now when Christ was tempted to be hungry in the wilderness, he might have thought, "hey, you know, I do have the power. Nobody's looking now. I'm gonna turn these loaves of bread--these stones into loaves of bread and satisfy my need. And after all, I'm really hungry. And so I think the Lord will wink this one time.

" Does God say, "well, because you've got a strong physical desire, that sin is okay?" Now Jesus does recognize, "the Spirit may be willing," and what is weak? "The flesh is weak." And if you read in Romans 7, Paul describes the sinner going through that battle between, you know, with the mind craving to do what's right and spiritual, but with the flesh, you're craving to do what's carnal and wrong. And there's this tension between the Spirit and the flesh. Jesus felt that. Did he cave in to the flesh, or did he go with the Spirit? He denied his flesh in order to obey what was right. You know, there are some people who have been in situations where they were starving, and their only option was, to survive, cannibalism.

I won't go into the details, but there have been a number of cases. There was a plane crash up in chile in the mountains. A soccer team was stranded up there. And there was nothing to eat but some of those who had frozen and died that didn't survive the crash. And some said, "I just can't do that.

" And others said, "but, you know, if you're going to live, that's all you can do. And that's one of those moral dilemmas you ask yourself, "what would you do?" I mean not only is-- not only is it cannibalism, it's unclean too. It's unclean food. So, you know, you'd have a double challenge there. What do you do when you're faced like something like that? Well, I'm not here to condemn those that made that choice, but what would Jesus have done? I think Jesus would have starved first before he did something like that.

What did Daniel say when tempted with the lust of the flesh, and he was hungry? And they said, "look, if you don't eat the Babylonian food, you don't eat anything." And they had purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves with the King's food. Did God bless them? That's a tough decision. I mean he wasn't only gonna get hungry, but he was going to be facing a possible death. You know, he says, "it might cost you your head to insult the King this way. And so you'll see examples in the Bible where God's people have been faced with those issues.

And Jesus overcame the lust of the flesh. So he sets us that example if we're faced with those kinds of dilemmas. Temptation number 2, and this is Matthew 4. We're back in Matthew again, verse 5 and 6. Matter of fact, I'll get someone to read that for me, Matthew 4:5-6.

"Then the devil taketh him up into the holy--" my Bible doesn't open enough here-- "then the devil taketh him up unto the holy city, and setteth him on the pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, 'if thou be The Son of God, cast thyself down. For it is written: he shall give his angels charge concerning thee, and, in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.'" Isn't that interesting? That after Jesus meets the first temptation with Scripture, on spiritual grounds, when the devil brings the next temptation, he takes Jesus to church. He brings him to the temple, and he reads the Bible. Does the devil have any success in tempting people in church with religion, with the Bible? In the last days, how many people in the world will be religious? Everybody. It tells us that he, the beast power, compels all to worship.

The only ones who do not worship the beast and its image are worshipping God and they receive the seal of God. And the other group gets the Mark of the beast. So you've got two groups, % are religious. Are the people who worship the beast in his image going to be using Scripture, or are they going to be misquoting it? They'll be using Scripture, or they're misquoting it. Did the devil know the Bible? And he still does.

Does he know how to misquote the Bible? And so that's a very interesting issue here. So Jesus does not fall for this. Christ again responds, Matthew 4:7, "it is written again," he says, "not only are you gonna quote the Scripture; I'm gonna quote the Scripture. But I'm gonna use Scripture to expose your misapplication." By the way, the devil misquoted the Scripture. He only partially quoted from psalm 91.

He left out the part about, "keeping you in all of your ways." And he said, "it is written, 'ye shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" Now when you dividing Scripture, and when you're wanting to use principles of Christian integrity. Let's suppose there's a Scripture that says, "honor your father and mother." Well, let's not suppose; there is. But then let's suppose your father and mother encouraged you to steal. And you're underage, and they said, "look, in order to feed the family, you need to steal." You get two Scriptures. Your father and mother open the Bible and they say, here, you gotta read the Scripture and you gotta follow the Scripture.

And then you've got your conscience that says, "well, thou shall not steal." There you've got a moral dilemma. You've got to deal with integrity. What do you do? What principle do you apply? Well, you're using the Bible both ways. Your parents are saying, "honor your father and mother. Go rob the store.

We're hungry. You're not responsible, just obey us." And you say, "but the Bible says don't steal." The jews used to spend a lot of times, the rabbi, going through these moral dilemmas. And they came up with a formula. It's not bad. They said your first obligation is going to be to God, and to obey him.

And so if you have to disobey a command of God and your obligation of God to deal with your relationship with man, God comes first. When you list the Ten Commandments, which are the first four commandments: relationship to God or relationship to your fellow man? It's first a relationship to God. And again, Christ said, "you shall not tempt the Lord your God," quotes again from Deuteronomy. Temptation number three--by the way, where was adam living when these three temptations came? In a garden. Where was Jesus, the second adam, when he faced temptation? In a desert.

Adam fell in a garden with every food around him and every advantage and no inclination, no nature towards sin. Jesus overcame with our fallen natures in a desert to show us that God, through God how much is possible, all things. Alright, read this third temptation, Matthew 4:8-9. "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showeth him all the Kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. And said unto him, 'all these things will I give thee if thou will fall down and worship me.

'" Now the devil doesn't even pretend. He pulls aside the veil. He says, "alright, you know who you are, and you know who I am. You've come to save the world. Let's strike a deal.

Let's stop fooling around here. You want the world, I have the world. You know I've got the world--" because even Jesus said, 'the prince of this world comes.' He said, "I'll give it to you. I just want one simple thing." He said, "you don't have to die. You don't have to suffer.

Just fall down and worship me. And then I will give you everything that you're looking for." And it says here that Jesus responded again, now the third time with Scripture from Deuteronomy 6:13. And he said, "away with you, satan! For it is written, 'you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'" Now as we talk about wholeness and holiness, there's a principle here. And that principle is the Word of God is our best defense against temptation and sin. If you want to have a life of integrity, you got to make decisions.

What do you do? You say, "Lord, what does Your Word say?" And you make your decisions based on what the Word of God says. Alright, so Jesus was tempted through his senses. Jesus was tempted to test the supernatural. He was tempted to take shortcuts. And in all these things he showed that he had integrity.

Nobody was watching. He did what he knew the right thing was. Alright, "maintaining integrity." We've got another verse here. This is under our next section. It's in Genesis 39:6-12.

It says, "thus he left--" and this is talking about potiphar and Joseph when Joseph was tempted-- "thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate." Then it goes on to say, "now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance." Joseph is a great example of moral integrity, because he was willing to do the right thing even though he had reasons to be bitter, even though he had reasons to feel like God had abandoned him, he still did what the right thing was. I wasn't sure whether or not to take this verse and put it over in the other section where it's gonna be talking about sexual integrity, because that comes into play in this story too. So if you're in your Bibles and you turn to Genesis 39, most of us know the story, but let's look at it again quickly. Verses 6-- oh, I read verse 6, let's go to verse 7. "Now it came to pass after these things that his master's wife cast longing eyes on Joseph, and said, 'lie with me.

'" Why three words. She didn't beat around the bush, did she? I don't think I need to extrapolate on what she meant by that. "But he refused and said to his master's wife, 'look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has into my hand.'" He trusts me. "There is none greater in his house than i, nor has he kept back anything from me," he's given me total trust and freedom, "but you--" in other words, the master said to Joseph, "you're hungry, go to the pantry. If you're thirsty, he says you can go to the cellar there.

Whatever you want, it's yours. You've made everything prosper and grow. You take what you need personally. It's all in your hand." One thing Joseph wasn't supposed to take was his master's wife. That was understood.

He says, "he trusts you." And so Joseph had integrity. He said, "there's no one greater in his house than i. He hasn't kept anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How can I do this great wickedness?" "What if someone finds out. We might get caught.

" Is that what he said? Was Joseph's concern about, "what if we get caught?" He said, "no. I'm worried about what God sees." And you notice when David sinned with bathsheba and he finally repented, in psalm 51 is David's confessing his sin, he said, "against thee and thee only have I sinned and done this great transgression." He was concerned about what God saw. And he said, "how can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" "So as she spoke to Joseph day by day--" is integrity something that happens with a moment in one time, or is it something we need day by day? Are we gonna be faced with challenges to our integrity every day? When you're tempted, the devil's wanting us to make little compromises, little erosions of what's right. And by the way, if you set a pattern when you're young of making little compromises with your integrity, the concrete starts to set and you develop habits and it develops ruts and groves in your life. And it's a lot harder when you're older to break out of those patterns.

And things that may convict you when your first converted, and you're young, if you do not listen to that voice of conviction as time goes by, the radio volume gets lower. And it's like you don't hear the alarm clock. And it just, you get where you're comfortable with your sin. And it becomes harder. And that's why today if you hear his voice, you want to follow.

Joseph said he would not even be with her. He didn't want to expose himself. I heard a pastor say one time that often what happens when we're tempted, instead of fleeing from temptation, as the Bible commands, we crawl away and hope it catches us. We sort of look over our shoulder and say, "no-no, no-no. But I'm still within reach if you want to catch me.

" It's like we want to be caught, 'cause there's some attraction to sin. Now when you think about just the specific sin of Joseph and potiphar's wife, the Bible says Joseph was a handsome young man. It never comments on what potiphar's wife looked like. But I think it's safe to say that since he was a wealthy, successful, powerful general, and there were probably millions of people living in Egypt at that time, and they were building the pyramids back then, that he probably could have had any fish in the sea. And he picked a pretty one.

And so here she says, "look, my husband's gone. All he's just work, work, work. He's a general. He's always gone. He's neglecting me.

I'm a young beautiful woman. You're a young man. We'll tell everyone to leave the house. Nobody will know. And you know what? I'll give you special favors.

And I might even poison my husband, and you can have everything he has. I mean who knows what kind of power she was offering him. And I'm sure there was a lot of allure to thinking about the temptation. And the idea that nobody will know. You know, since it's in our study here and I know I'm mixing up days here, but they're all sort of lumped together in the lesson.

A new epidemic of sin and temptation that has come into the world and into the church because of the internet. And I gotta be careful how I say this because the internet in some ways, it is simply a medium of communication. It's very powerful. It's a way to communicate information visually in reading form, auditory. We've got people who are streaming these studies right now.

It's wonderful that that technology is available. But it's like a tree of good and evil. And there is an evil side. With any medium, whether it's a book, you can read a good book, or you can read some trashy romance novel. With television, you can watch sermons and evangelism or you can watch garbage.

And with the internet, it's a very powerful medium and in the same way it's very effective on an international basis for good; it can be very insidious and powerful for bad. And what's made it unique is because it sort of opens the portals. It's like pandora's box for whatever a person wants, from all over the world, in any language, the sounds and the images, everything from violence to sex is available. And a person goes in their room and they close their door and they turn on their computer or their laptop and they feel like nobody will know. And what's happening is people are getting involved in relationships.

There's pornography on the internet. People are chatting and cheating on their husband or their wife by developing romances on the internet. And it's shocking some of the stories that you hear when you're in ministry of all of the sudden you get a phone call and someone says, "my wife's gone." "What happened?" "She run off to this other town to marry somebody." What!" "I didn't even know she was dating anybody. She had this relationship on the internet that'd been going on for months." And I mean it's amazing. Or you get these phone calls: "pastor, my husband and I are thinking of splitting up.

" "What's wrong?" "Our daughter walked into the office and didn't-- he didn't know she was looking over his shoulder. He didn't know she had come home early from school. And there he was looking at pictures of naked women on the internet. And she told me. And it's been going on.

And I can't risk the children being exposed to this anymore, so we're separating." And friends, I think everyone here knows, this is an epidemic in our country and even among professed Christians. What's the only solution for something like this? You've got to be a Christian when you don't think anyone's watching. You've got to have an attitude that, "I am more concerned with what God thinks of me than will I get caught?" Joseph's attitude was how can I do this before God? You know, there is a psalm I want you to read. Go to--go to psalm 15. This isn't in your lesson, but it's a great psalm on integrity.

Psalm 15:1, I'm gonna read the whole psalm. "Who may abide in your tabernacle?" We all want to dwell in the temple of God, right? Someday be in his presence. "Who may dwell in your holy hill?" Who is gonna abide with God? That's that mountain the new Jerusalem comes down upon. Here it answers the question. "He who walks uprightly," those who have that moral holiness and wholeness, "who works righteousness, and he speaks the truth in his heart.

" They're not just not cursing, they're being honest in their communications. Jesus said, "swear neither by heaven above or the earth beneath. Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay." Be sincere and be honest with people. That doesn't mean to be harsh or to be hurtful, but we need to speak with integrity in our words. "He does not backbite with his tongue," now right there a lot of us fall short.

Gossip, talking about others where there's no redeeming value in talking about these people other than this tantalizing salacious news that you might be sharing or to make yourself to feel better, 'cause you're talking about the weakness of someone else. Let's face it. A lot of people engage in that. It's like we want to be the first to say, "you know what I heard about so and so, this terrible scandal and--" no, that's not integrity. "Does not evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend," doesn't backbite with his tongue.

"In whose eyes a vile person is despised." You know, sometimes secretly, we envy the wicked. And you know there are programs and movies that just extol the virtues of thieves and the evil and the violent. And they become the heroes. But not among the Christians. The Bible says job not only loved what was right, he hated what was wrong.

"In whose eyes a vile person is despised, but he honors those who fear the Lord." They crave, they yearn, they gravitate towards those who love God. "He who swears to his own hurt and does not change." You make a promise. You say you're gonna do something. And maybe you find out after you made that promise, that was a difficult promise. I've got an appointment that I made.

I made it a long time ago, and I said I would go. And then I found out that it's gonna conflict with a vacation. And I said, "you know, I promised these people and they planned their program around it." Well, we've had to reschedule our vacation. I'm not trying to say I'm a great person, but I just said you gotta live by integrity. If you give someone Your Word and you're always breaking Your Word, and then--and if you do, and if you fall down like that as a Christian, then you need to repent and confess and ask God to forgive you.

And try to live a life of integrity. "He swears to his own hurt and does not change." Makes a promise and he keeps His Word. "He who does not put out his money at usury," you know the Bible has very specific claims about that. In Christ's time, even though God said, "you shall not extract usury of your brother," it was rampant. They still did it.

And there is a lot of the laws of God that Moses had declared that the people said, "well, yeah, that's sort of extremism." That would be like, you know, "everybody speeds." Back then it was like, "well, you know, everybody-- who's gonna do that? You won't make any money if you don't take usury, if you don't get interest on your money when you loan it to a member." God says, "that's what the word says." You do what the word says. "Or he doesn't take a bribe against the innocent." He does what's right even though it's very unpopular. "He who does these things will never be moved." They have eternal security. This is a great psalm. It'd be good for us to memorize this psalm, that just talks about internal integrity where you're living a life before God, regardless of what people may see.

Go now to 1 Samuel. I think I said enough about the story of Joseph. Did Joseph suffer because of his integrity? Did he abandon his integrity even though he suffered? He clung to it. Even after job lost everything the first time, and then the devil came with round two and he lost, not only everybody, he lost everything. His wife said, "look, I can understand once, but now you've lost everything.

Curse God and die." She said, "do you still retain your integrity?" Job held on all the way through, even the reproaches of his friends. He still managed to maintain his integrity. Samuel 8:14-15. You know it contrasts two Kings here. There's a king that is chosen by the people really.

The people wanted a king that was tall, dark and handsome. They wanted a king that was strong, a king that, you know, would be like the Kings of the other nations, instead of wanting the Lord. And so God chose Saul. He said, "I'm gonna give you the kind of king you would elect. But he was proud, and he was selfish.

He started out--God gave him every advantage, but he went bad because he trusted in himself. And he ended up being demon-possessed. And then you had David, who was a man after God's own heart. And it contrasts the two of these. Saul was preoccupied with what people thought of him.

You remember when Samuel the prophet condemned Saul. He says, "you're not even gonna get to keep the Kingdom anymore, because you don't obey the Lord." And Samuel turned away and Saul tore part of his garment from him. Samuel said, "God has torn the Kingdom from you." And Saul said, "at least stay here and do a sacrifice in front of the people. Honor me in front of the people. What will the people think?" And the reason he wouldn't kill all of the flocks of the amalekites, he said, "because the people said," and he was so concerned with what the people thought.

And yet David, his principle concern was when he went against Goliath, he's defying the God of heaven. How can we ignore that? And so you see this big contrast. Now there's this verse here in Samuel 18:14-15. And it says, "and David behaved wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him. Therefore when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him.

" What does it mean when it says, "David behaved wisely?" Was David a wise man? Sure. Who is The Son of David? Wisest king that ever lived. He must have got at least a few genes from his father, right? And so yeah, David was a wise man. But I think it's also saying he behaved with integrity. He behaved with prudence.

But on the other hand, look at Saul. Samuel 24:1. "When Saul returned from following the philistines, it was told him, 'take note! David is in the wilderness of engedi.'" And that just--that ate him up that David had escaped. And he went chasing after him. Saul was sort of consumed with who was better.

When did Saul turn on David? Saul and David had been fighting the philistines together. David had been the armor-bearer of Saul. And they came back from battle. And the women came out to greet them. And they used to play the tambourine and do these folk dances of victory.

And the women kind of developed a song, you know, pep talk. And they said, "Saul has slain his thousands." And Saul, when he heard this, he took a chest full of air and he wanted to make sure his armor was glowing for everybody. And then he heard verse 2. And verse 2 was, "and David his ten thousands." "What? My armor-bearer? You're gonna give him more virtue than me, more credit than me? And he began to look narrowly at David. What was bothering him? Pride.

Why did the devil fall? Pride. And so he didn't have personal integrity to say, "you know, praise the Lord. It's wonderful how God is lifting him up." You know, when the devil can't get people through a lot of different things--does it ever say Saul cheated on his wife? Saul was a better man than David when it came to family. Never says Saul cheated on his wife. But he had pride in his heart.

He just could not stand that somebody else would get superior credit. And he fell because of that. You know, there's another story that is I think a great example. It's in Daniel 6. You know, the story of Daniel and the lions' den.

And I especially like verse 10. Turn in your Bibles to Daniel 6:10. In fact, maybe I'll get someone to read this for me. Got a volunteer? Daniel 6, let's-- "now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he into his house. And his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he knelled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

" Daniel is such a wonderful example of integrity. He just had rock solid principles and morals that he lived by. And when he knew that he was risking death if he was caught publically praying, he said, "look, I have been praying to my God for the last 70 years in Babylon." And now you make a law that for days I'm supposed to change my custom and show more preference for the King than for God. I'm not going to close my windows. I'm not going to just stand in front of the window so you won't know for sure I'm praying.

I am going to do what I've always done, because God is first in my life." And he left his windows open. He got on his knees, so he would stay in a posture of prayer. And everybody could see that he was genuinely praying. That takes real integrity to do that. You know, when they followed Daniel around to see if they could find some fault with him, what did they discover? Matter of fact, that was one of the verses i--verse 4, "so the governors and the princes sought to find some occasion--" I'm in Daniel 6:4-- they "sought to find some occasion," some incident, some inconsistency, some failure.

They put little lipstick cameras all around his house and watched him on video. They put microphones on his telephone. When he left for work they went pilfering through his file cabinet to see if there were receipts in his taxes that he just wasn't giving credit for, anything in his life. You know, and I start to get nervous when I think what if they did that to me? There have been times when government agencies maybe wanted to bring somebody down. I'm not even talking about what government.

There have been times when government agencies was threatened by a certain citizen. And they thought, "we got to bring this person down." And you know what their first thing is they don't just get a hit man to shoot them. They say, "start watching them. Expose something they're doing wrong and let them bring themselves down, so it doesn't look like anybody went after them. There's got to be something they're doing.

They've got to have a skeleton in the closet somewhere, I mean after all," right? And when they followed Daniel around, did they find a skeleton in his closet? No. They couldn't find any fault in him. Why? 'Cause he had that integrity. He had that moral wholeness and holiness in his life. They sought to find some occasion.

They couldn't find anything. Alright, now we're talking about integrity in our spiritual lives. Ephesians 3:14-16. "For this reason I bow my knees to The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through his spirit in the inner man." Here you can see Paul has a life of living in bowing before God. His life was one of submission to God.

And he talks about the whole family in heaven and earth. Paul realized that--you know, there is a stadium--when I was down in argentina. You know, the world cup in south America is a little bigger than the world cup is here in North America. And they're building, or I guess they've completed now a stadium in south africa, specifically for the world cup. And I don't know, they spent billions on it.

And it seats 68,000 people. It's one of the biggest stadiums in the world, beautiful, beautiful facility. And then they're gonna put up another 13,000 seats. And I thought if you were in a stadium like that and you had to sing the national anthem, and you knew not only do you have 68,000 people watching you in the stadium, but the cameras are going. And how many people in the world do you think are gonna watch the world cup.

How many nations are gonna be tuned into that? It's a global event. And here you've got all the cameras of all the world tuned in on ya, and you've got to sing. Would any of you have a quiver in your voice. But you know, really, if you're a Christian and you believe what the Bible says, how many people are watching? How many in the universe, how many angels? Innumerable company of angels, the Bible says, that are watching what's happening here on earth. And we're living our lives before this-- these cheering angels.

And we want to live in a way that honors God. You know, when I think about in the Bible this kind of internal integrity, some of you remember the story of king uzziah. You find this in Chronicles 26:15, king uzziah. It says--was he a good king or a bad king? The record of king uzziah was good. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord.

He obeyed, God blessed him, God was with him. But it says, "when he was strong, his heart became lifted up." And he said, "you know, I really am something. Everybody's telling me something, they must be right." Don't believe everyone's compliments. And he went into the temple of God, he said, "I ought to be able to do what the priests do. I'm as good as they are.

" And he went in to burn incense. And the priest said, "uzziah, this is not your job. It's not for the King. It's for The Sons of levi. It's for The Sons of aaron.

This won't be for your honor." And he got mad. "How dare you tell me what to do!" And he lost his integrity because of pride. And while he was having a tantrum, leprosy broke out in his forehead. And he was chased out, and he died a leper, because he was believing the earthly praise that he was getting. Oh, I've got a couple more moments.

I want to go back to the section on--it talks about sexual integrity. We gave somebody Jude 1:7. Who has that? Right up front here. "Even as sodom and gomorrah, and the cities about them like manner, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." You know I was talking to somebody yesterday. And of course Paul says, it's in our lesson, it talks about Romans 1:26, the, you know, rampant homosexuality that God describes as a lack of integrity, because obviously you know the Bible tells us what God's plan is for man and woman.

And if a person has a perverted desire, or if they've got some tendency, just because they've got a tendency doesn't mean it's right. Some peoples have these tendencies for adultery. That doesn't justify it. A person might have a tendency for kleptomania or to be a pedophile; because a person has a tendency, a life of integrity is following God's Word no matter what your tendency might be, and to live holy lives. And I was talking with a friend yesterday, and it's-- it's not just in our country.

Jesus said as it was in the days of lot, it's global. Even when I was in buenos aires, the people there that live out in the country are just flabbergasted because in the city where--it's a city of you know 14 million people, they're now passing legislation for same-sex marriage, conservative south America. The world is becoming like sodom and gomorrah. And it's just a lack of integrity. That's what you see in Genesis, "the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually.

" And that's when the end came, "as it was back in the days of Noah." I've run out of time. I got a little more lesson than I have time left. I hope you'll read all the lesson, friends. And for those who are watching, I remind you about our free offer, "life in the Spirit," great book by Joe Crews. And we'll send this to you for free.

Ask for offer number 155 when you call. And that number again is 866-- toll-free number--866-788-3966. And we'll send this to you. And an acronym for that is 1-866-study-more. God bless you.

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