Text: Philippians 2:14-18
I. It was not long ago that people admired men of integrity. People whom you could count on to act honestly, even if it was to their disadvantage.
A. In 1999, a prisoner escaped and the papers were tracking his movements through the state. He had robbed people, killed policemen, and still managed to escape. Until he came to Wyoming where a man and his son found him on their ranch. The man managed to keep the man distracted while his son went to another building to call the police.
1. What stuck me was the man’s concern that he was perhaps dishonest when he told the man to come in, but then had the police called without his knowing it.
2. He knew he was dealing with a escaped murderer, but he still wanted to be honest in his dealings.
B. Romans 12:17 - It doesn’t matter how others treat you, you are to do the right things, the honorable things, for others.
C. As Paul said in Philippians 2:15, we are to stand out in the world like lights on a dark night. We do this by being blameless and without reproach.
II. Dishonest gain
A. So many are tempted to lie when money is involved. - Proverbs 20:14
B. But gain by lying is fleeting - Proverbs 21:6
C. Jezebel wanted Naboth’s land for her husband, so she had men lie about Naboth - I Kings 21:5-13
1. Notice what kind of men Jezebel hired to do her dirty work - worthless men, men without integrity.
D. Judas dishonest question and actions - John 12:4-6
E. Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5:1-11
1. There was nothing wrong with selling land or giving a portion of the proceeds to the church, but Ananias and Sapphira wanted the glory of their brethren for doing what they did not.
2. They stated that the money they gave was the entire price of the land.
F. The world is engaged in dishonesty and sometimes we pick up practices we shouldn’t do.
1. Are we honest on our tax returns?
2. If the store clerk hands you too much change do you return the extra?
3. Do you call in sick when you really weren’t, but you wanted a day off?
III. Servants of the church were selected for their good reputation - Acts 6:3
A. When funds were sent to Jerusalem, steps were taken to make sure that everything was and appeared to be honestly done - II Corinthians 8:18-21
B. We not only do the right thing, but we do it in such a way that others will see that we are doing right.
C. Elders are to be above reproach - I Timothy 3:2
1. Notice that it is the very first qualification
2. Not something a man starts when he becomes an elder, but the way he has lived his life.
IV. We need to be people of integrity
A. God is the God of Truth - Psalm 31:5
B. Jesus said he is the Truth - John 14:6
C. His teachings are truth - John 17:17
D. At times we must make difficult decisions. If we follow the path of integrity, the choices are more limited and right path is selected - Proverbs 11:3
E. Judas, caught up in his sins, practiced deception - Matthew 26:21-25
1. Judas knew what he had planned. Imagine the audacity to lie to the Son of God!
2. Evil men increasing in deception of others and being deceived by their own sins - II Timothy 3:13-14
F. When we stand by integrity, God will uphold us - Psalm 41:12
G. Sure, we might not make as much, but it is better to be poor than to be dishonest - Proverbs 28:6
V. We need honesty to influence the world
A. Corruption and lying do not disappear by continuing the practice. Someone not only must say it is wrong, but show that you can live without lying.
B. Our lives influences the lives of our children - Proverbs 20:7
C. Proverbs 12:26 - The righteous are guides to their neighbors
D. Deborah prayed that those who love God appear like the rising sun - Judges 5:31
1. We are supposed to shine out.
2. Matthew 5:14 - We are the light of the world
E. Will you not join the ranks of those who desire to live for the Truth?