July 26, 2020
Made For More Week 2
- Trinity, you guys are amazing. Thank you. As a young pastor, this is beyond a privilege to serve here.
Theme - Made for More… Made for more than anything this world has to offer
- Last week: Marcus, Christian freedom
- This week: Living a life of Integrity. (Proverbs 2)
Proverbs 2 Context
- Wisdom literature
- Writer of this passage
- He had more wives, more fame, and more money than anyone could ever want from a worldly standpoint, and he still came to the conclusion that God was the only thing that could satisfy.
- He writes these proverbs as wisdom in hindsight of what he has learned throughout his life.
Read Proverbs 2:1-11
- Come back to the text: verse 7
- Blameless is translated as - "INTEGRITY"
- “Tom” (pronounced Tome) in Hebrew… (in other translations it’s to be "above reproach")
- Worldly integrity:
- Be true to yourself. Have decent morals. As long as your image you portray points to success, happiness, and uniqueness of your own personality and style of leadership, you are a man/woman of integrity.
- Christian integrity:
- This is not perfection, not to be without without error, and it’s not a legalistic approach. Rather, this is a life of complete honesty with clean hands and a renewed, pure heart set on a radical pursuit of God and His righteousness
- “Righteousness is a matter of the heart. It is about who we are at the core of our beings—before God. Integrity (Character), then, is what we are when no one sees but God”
- - Os Guiness
- Grandparents generation - high integrity, do the right thing, obey the law
- Parents generation - this is too legalistic, we need more grace, I mean were all sinners, come as you are
- My generation - we need to increase the integrity, we need to increase the morality
- our kids will probably say we were legalistic.
- "The solution of one generation becomes the problem for the next generation”
- - Mike Colaw
- Regardless of where you are at, I think we can all agree: the standards have been lowered.
- God wants to raise those standards today. AMEN?
- Story of man on the plane
- Book of John
- I remember leaning over to the man next to me and he said, oh, I have already read those like all like a hundred times.
- 1) God does not just want to cover up sin, He wants to transform the heart.
- First thing first: God wants you to know, living a life of integrity is POSSIBLE.
- God does not just want to atone for our sin, but He wants to change the desire of our hearts. He wants to rewire our brain to want to do the right thing.
- So you don’t just say the prayer to accept Christ into your heart, but you actually begin to want what Christ wants. You begin to like what Christ likes.
- This is in our WESLEYAN DNA, our roots of holiness and sanctification.
- But we live in a North American church culture that predominantly believes that we are always just going to keep sinning over and over and we will never conquer it because well, we're just “born sinners”.
- We have reduced the Gospel message to a "get out of hell free card", when the Gospel is was meant to transform our entire being everyday on our way to heaven.
(This is going to step on toes… can we go there this morning?)
- Knowledge & Wisdom
- Knowledge = learning of information
- Wisdom = understanding leading to transformation
- We don’t need more information this morning. I’m not gonna give you 12 steps to a life of integrity and happiness. What we need is a heart check.
- Come back to the text: Proverbs 2:3-5
- Scripture says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of (wisdom)
- Currently we live in a culture where fear is higher than ever, there’s a global pandemic, there’s rioting in the streets, but where’s the fear of the Lord at? The reverence and the awe of God No where to be found.
- Our culture says “you need to work so hard to get to the top so that you no longer have to learn from anyone or be told how to do anything"
- The absence of a teachable spirit is the first barrier to a life of integrity. A spirit of pride.
- It’s the attitude of: I don’t need anyone telling me how to live my life.
- It's the attitude of: I have already arrived. I have already read that Scripture a thousand times.
(Let me speak to our current context today)
- 1) To the elderly in the Lord: Let’s address the elephant in the room. You probably think us young people don’t want to hear from you. As a representative of the younger generation, that is not true!!! We want to GROW!
- Maybe you have so much wisdom and life experience, but you’re not sharing it with anyone, it’s just sitting on the shelf! You need to hear this: your journey, is not over. Your life of influence in the Kingdom is not over.
- On top of that, maybe God wants to use someone younger than you to mentor you? Maybe there is a young person that’s so on fire in this church that you need to fan your flame?...
- 2) To the young in the Lord: you don’t know everything. Your perspective is not the only perspective. You have not “arrived”.
- Maybe what’s keeping you back from a life of integrity and transformation is a lack of mentorship…You need to be humble enough to seek that out and take initiative.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23
- May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- In essence, we will never fully “arrive” as a follower of Christ till we step through heaven's gates. And even then, we will spend all of eternity on a forever, ongoing walk of becoming more like Christ. The true believer never stops growing.
- Re-state: God does not just want to cover up sin, He wants to transform the heart.
- 2) The danger of concealing outweighs the cost of transparency
- 1 Timothy 4:16
- "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers"
- You need to know: there is a lot on the line.
- Come back to the text: verses 12-17
(Some of you might be thinking, woah, Andy that’s too extreme… an affair? I would never do that.
- But the enemy starts with the small things...
- Talking behind others back, being nice to their face, gossiping
- Fudging numbers on your business report
- Lying on your taxes
- Chatting with that old friend when your husband is not around
- Somewhat flirting with a co-worker here and there.
- You can blow through 100 stop signs and not give a thought to it before getting into a head on collision with detrimental sin.
- The enemy starts with small things.
- Your sin is not just destroying yourself - it’s destroying those around you.
- You choosing to look at pornography doesn’t just hurt you, it is tearing apart your marriage
- You choosing to have that extra drink consistently is not just hurting your liver, it’s blowing your opportunity to be present with your kids.
- There is a lot on the line.
- Living a life of integrity is never convenient.
- You don’t want to have the awkward conversation with your wife about that one woman
- You don’t want to have the hard conversation with your accountability group
- Integrity costs you comfort.
- Living a life of Christian integrity gives a peace that this world could never offer. You don’t have to worry about “what if someone were to find ____ out about me”.
- Living a life integrity is living a life where nothing is hidden! There is a joy in not having to hide ANYTHING in your life!
- Being able to say, look through my texts, look through my pictures, look through my social media.
- There is a freedom in Christian integrity that this world could never buy.
- Re-state: The danger of concealing outweighs the cost of transparency
- 3) You can do the right thing in the wrong way
- Christians often use the word “integrity" as a 1) weapon or an 2) excuse
- 1) Weapon
- Many Christians spend so much time calling others out
- They’re the first ones to cast the first stone.
- They do it out of a hypocritical, judgmental attitude that demeans others
- They do it without a spirit of gentleness and love, using the “integrity” card.
- They talk A LOT about what it means to be a Godly man or woman, but they sure don’t put it into practice.
- They’re a lot of talk, but they're not a lot of walk
(As I was praying for this sermon…)
- In your family, you are that person...you are ruining your witness
- You’re saying all the right things, but your body language, your tone, your attitude is so negating that they can’t hear a word you’re saying.
- Your actions speak louder than your words
- “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.”
- - Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor
- Please don’t use Christian integrity as a weapon, you’re ruining your witness.
- 2) Excuse
- Many Christians use the word “integrity” as an excuse to withdraw themselves from the world
- Oh, I can’t ever be in the same room as someone drinking alcohol
- Oh, I could never be at a place where that kind of language is being used, or where that movie is being played.
- Let me be clear: there is wisdom to remove yourself from an environment if you are no longer the influencer, but you are being influenced. I totally get that.
- But often times, you know where Jesus was? He was eating dinner with sinners, he was with the tax collectors having conversations, meeting the people where they are at.
- Don’t use “having integrity” as an excuse to withdraw and protect yourself from the world. You’re wasting your God given gifts and abilities!
- Don’t let the fear of the world take your fear of the Lord
- Re-state: You can do the right thing in the wrong way.
- YOU WERE MADE FOR MORE!!!
- You were made for more than just saying the prayer and reading the stories of the Bible
- You were made for more than the hidden addiction and sin that is destroying your family.
- You were made for more than using integrity as a weapon or as an excuse to hide from the world.
- You were made to be an on fire, Kingdom witness, Kingdom rock, Kingdom leader, Kingdom example.
- You were made for more.