Walking in Integrity

Scripture: Genesis 6:9, Colossians 2:6, Ephesians 5:8-9
Date: 10/01/2016 
Walking with God doesn't just mean that you occasionally think about God and you come to church once a week. It means having a life, a walk of integrity, a walk of honesty.

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Doug Batchelor: Enoch walked with God during a time when there was great wickedness in the world. 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.

I 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. 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" and that's a rare thing these days.

You know, the Bible tells us about someone who walked to 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 begat 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 365 years," that's one day for every-- or 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.

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 is Enoch now? You know, if I ask you who's the oldest man that ever lived, what would you say? Methuselah, that's a trick question. Methuselah 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 and 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 a time when there was great wickedness in the world, just read what it says about his grandson Noah. 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.

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 areas of integrity. When you think about the great patriarchs, what are their names? Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Abraham, a good man, loved the Lord, kept the Commandments, but not always. You can read in Genesis 20 verse 2: "Now Abraham said of Sarah his wife, 'She's 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 were 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 walk they were turning heads because 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. [laughing] 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, you're not 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's 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, oh, 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. 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, Rebecca, who is also beautiful, from the same country as Sarah. And the men of the place asked about his wife, Isaac said, Oh, she's my sister. And 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, and I expect to see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in heaven. Well, we gotta get to Jacob. Isaac wants to bless his boys. He says, Call Esau. Genesis 27: 12: Rachel, says, No, Jacob you go in and you pretend to be Esau, and you put on Esau his 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'm going to say my brother. And it just a 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.

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. 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, and it catches up with you. Joe the butcher at the end of his day, final customer came in his butcher shop, this was 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 and said that'll be a $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. She said, Can you get me a different one? He took that chicken he put it back in the freezer, fumbled around, and 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. She thought for a minute. She said, you know, I guess I better get them both. He got busted.

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. 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 wife. Is she your wife? Love her. Oh, 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—

Congregation: Men.

Doug: 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. 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.

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Doug Batchelor: 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 of wrath, but bring them up in the training and the admonition." 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 are a lot of 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, 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 be able to talk about spiritual things and things that you learn.

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'm going to be part of this 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're 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.

I 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 after 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 is man really live the things that he talks about? 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 that 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-- and they go up to strangers and they pretend they're blind, Sister, I hear you, can you please help me? I've got to get change because there was you've got to pay for a meter, whatever it is, can you take this $5 bill and give me 5 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 5, here's 5 and they walked away. They were pretty surprised and because then the guy would take his glasses off and run up to him and say, Hey, give me back my money. They got busted. But it's kind of scary to think that when they thought nobody was watching, they could take advantage of a blind person. They'd do it. I can't imagine that I would never do that, God's my witness that 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, nor 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," and that's tough when you're surrounded by a world that doesn't believe in truth, "nor sits in the path of seat-- 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--used to catch pigeons, we 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. It's something about their eyes that they have to stop their head and they're taking a step 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 it's sort of kind of how it is for 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.

I—kind of interesting, this year I was at a dinner back in New York City, and I sat down next to a man, and we're visiting, I said what's your name? And he said George Barna, and he's the one who has the fame of 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's 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 its truth for you, it's truth. And my truth is true for me, and so you got your truth, I've got my truth.

And he says doesn't that kind of permeate our society? They 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 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." 1 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 realize," they said ah, "they've been with Jesus." By the way they were acting, they could see that they'd 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.

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 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 beset us? It tells us there 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.

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 changes 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 was one of them -ites-- 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 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've 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 and 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?

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