Integrity:  an unimpaired condition; soundness; the quality or state of being complete or undivided — honest.  Integrity is a word that should always be associated with one that is truly a child of God.  I say this because we who have genuinely believed in Christ have been made free by the truth given to us by Him (John 8:31-32). The believer is to be a reflection of God and we know that God is love, hope, joy, truth, and honest.

That being said, I feel we need to take a look at integrity in this week’s study.  The reason why I say this is because there are a lot of duplicitous people moving about in the world and some proclaim to be a child of God.  I feel that we need to remember the time of the day in which we live; the day calls for us to be genuinely honest people rather than be dishonest.  So, in other words, the day calls for us to be people of integrity.

The Day of Dishonesty

In the past, you have heard me teach and preach about the Great Apostasy so, I do not want to confuse the day we live in as the day of the Great Apostasy.  As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in his second letter (2 Thess. 2:1-11), the Great Apostasy speaks to the world’s total departure from faith in the Lord.  We have not reached a total departure from faith in the Lord in the world because the Church – all of those that genuinely believe in the only begotten Son – is still present in the world.

The twilight hours

Yet, with that said, scripture shows us that we certainly live in a day where darkness is indeed growing in our world.  Just a few months ago, I preached a series of sermons where I focused on how we live in a world where twilight has settled in and the light is slowly fading away.

Now, this is a thought that may sound bleak to some but this is a thought that scripture certainly confirms to be true.  So, let me start off this study by sharing where scripture speaks of the day in which you and I live.

Jesus, when He taught the disciples on the mount at the start of His earthly ministry, warned them to be wary of false prophets (teachers).  Jesus warned that false teachers would come and had already came to them in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly were as ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15).

Note:  a wolf wearing sheep’s clothing would be trying to trick the sheep into thinking that the wolf was of its kind for the sole purpose of snatching up the sheep and consuming it.  So, Jesus was saying that there were wolves already present in the world deceiving the people as if they were good but their intentions were all but good; the wolf was a liar.  This warning, we should understand, spoke to the schemes, deceptions, and duplicitous actions of the adversary of God that have, and still are, being used today.

Jesus then spoke about how He was the light of the world in John 8.  John 8:1-12 is a good indicator of how the light was already beginning to set on the world as the wolves in sheep’s clothing were trying to get Jesus to stone a woman for her sin.  After failing to get Jesus to move against the woman, Jesus then said to the religious leaders, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

In John 12, another chapter that is a good indicator for how the light was already beginning to set on the world like the setting sun.  Jesus expressed to the people that they ought to walk while they had the light (John 12:35).  Jesus said, “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going (John 12:36).”

Note:  In his gospel, John referred to Jesus as the “true Light” (John 1:6-9).  Jesus, as the true Light, revealed the truth in God’s forgiveness and how we can obtain the Lord’s mercy and salvation.  After His death, resurrection, and ascension, we could say His great light left our world and that was when twilight truly began to come upon the world.

Shining lights during twilight

Again, I want you to know and understand that we are not yet in total darkness and the reason for this being the case is because the Church is still present in the world.  Taking a look back at Jesus’ teachings on the mount, we will see that Jesus spoke of how the believer ought to be lights in the world during these days and hours.

Jesus, we will see, called for the believers to be shining examples on a hill in this scripture from Matthew’s gospel:

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-15 NKJV

Let us pay close attention to what Jesus said because He confirms the day and hour we live in and how the believer is carry him or herself.  Jesus said the believer is to be a light of the world; our light should be that of a city that is set on a hill – it cannot be hidden during those hours.

Where did our light come from?  The light that Jesus was speaking of is certainly not a light that we created ourselves.  No, the source of the light that emanates from us comes from our faith in Christ!  This trust we can see in what Jesus said when He said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness (John 12:46).”

To abide in the light of Christ is to speak of one dwelling in His light and then being guided by that light of Christ as well.  The light of Christ, we should understand, abides in us – in our spirit. So, those that abide in the light of Christ are enjoy a very close relationship with the light!

John backs this thought up in his first epistle.

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 1:5-7 NKJV

Note:  So, to shine as a light of Christ, you have to be in fellowship (a close relationship) with Him.  When you are in fellowship with Christ, then you ought to move in the same like-minded manner as Him.  Therefore, we should move with a love for God and a with love for our neighbor as well; we know that this this is exactly what Jesus commanded of those that would follow Him (Matt. 22:36-40).

How do we let our light shine  

Being in fellowship with Christ is what helps us in being a person of integrity. I believe it is pretty clear how we ought to carry ourselves as a person of integrity but for more insight, I want to share a couple of verses with from one of Paul’s letters.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds 

Colossians 3:8-9 NKJV

So, the believer ought to walk in uprightness, shouldn’t we?  In other words, the believer should walk in the true integrity of the faith in Christ.  As the proverb says, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them (Prov. 11:3).”   

The integrity of the believer is of the utmost importance especially during this day and hour.  Why is that the case?  It is because in this hour, there are many people that are still seeking for the truth; they are seeking for the true light!  We carry with us that true light that can show others the way in which they should go – the way that is right is the way according to God.  I want you to understand that this is something that cannot be said enough.

Failed by workers of dishonesty

God, as you have probably heard before, is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).  Those that work to confuse are those that work to deceive; there is no integrity, there is no honesty, and there is no truth in them.  What is it that is inside of them if there is no integrity, no honesty, and no light?  The answer would be nothingness; emptiness — darkness.

Behind this darkness are nothing but lies and I tell you that this is most frightening.  Let’s take a look at what John wrote about those who live in this darkness and out of fellowship with Christ.

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 2:18,22-23 NKJV

Note:  Pay very close attention to the fact that John states that those who work with no integrity, are of the same spirit as the Antichrist!  Do not take these statements lightly!  The person named Antichrist will rise during the days of the Great Apostasy; he will deceive the world with power, signs, and lying wonders.  Those living during those days will believe him to be Christ when in actuality, he’d be nothing but a liar.

Where the Antichrist will mislead many to their doom during the days of the Great Apostasy, those who move today in the spirit of antichrist can cause others to fail by deceiving them.  The workers of dishonesty put causes of stumbling in the path of others rather than to help uplift (1 Cor. 8:8-10).  By doing such work, these workers are causing others to not only sin but to choose to live in sin.

Choosing to live in sin puts a barrier between one and the Lord.  In the book of Isaiah, we will see that the Lord said through the prophet Isaiah to the children of Israel:  “But your iniquities have separated you from your God;  And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear (Is. 59:2).”

Note:  What did God say separated Him from Israel?  It was their iniquities – their sin.  Choosing to live in sin and not repent, will cause God to choose not to listen.  This is the biggest travesty to one choosing to live in sin.  Not only is it a travesty for one that is choosing to live in sin but it is also a travesty for one that deceives and causes another to live in sin.

Working to Be an Honest Person

Do you now understand why integrity is so valuable in our world today? The believer’s integrity is so valuable in our world because, as James said, we have the ability to save a soul from death and to cover a multitude of sins (Jas. 5:20).

Be aware of sin

In order for us to walk with integrity, we, again, must be aware of what stands in opposition against the Lord so that we do not betray His way.  Thankfully, scripture is filled with instructions as to what is the way of God and also speaks to what is considered to stand in opposition.

In Proverbs 6, scripture speaks about the wicked man.  Solomon wrote that a worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth because perversity is in his heart (Prov. 6:12,14).  We are going to touch on what lies within in a moment, but first, I want to show you the seven ways that the Lord is opposed to.

16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV

Note:  These are all actions that are of the world.  Let us remember that the believer is supposed to love the Lord and their neighbors.  One that is of a “proud look” cannot be of love because there is no humility there to love.  As Paul stated, love is not puffed up, does not parade itself, nor does it behave rudely or think evil.  Love, Paul said, suffers long and is kind; it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things (1 Cor. 13:4-7).

Let us also note:  From that same passage of scripture in 1 Corinthians, Paul spoke about how love rejoices in the truth.  The last thing that a person of integrity should be doing is speaking with a lying tongue.  The integrity of the believer should most definitely not cause one to be out and about sharing gossip and spreading false reports – conspiracies.  The only thing that comes from lies is confusion, and as we have already seen, God is not the author of lies and confusion.

Have faith and let the Holy Spirit work within

We must put away these ways of wickedness in order to become one that walks in true integrity.  So, how does one go about putting away these ways of wickedness?  Is it a matter of never doing these actions again or is there more to it?  I would suggest to you that there is actually more to it that would help us in walking in true integrity.

In order to be a more honest person, we, again, must truly believe in the only begotten Son.  To truly believe in the only begotten Son, you must love Him in your heart.  It is when you truly believe and accept Christ, that you will receive the one that can help you be a more honest person that is full of integrity.  Jesus stated that if we love Him and keep His commandments, the Holy Spirit will be poured out onto us (John 14:15-17).

The work of the Holy Spirit is a transformative work.  Jesus stated that the “Spirit of truth” – the Holy Spirit – will guide us into all truth.  What the Spirit of truth speaks, we should adhere to because it is a truth that is meant to uplift us unto righteousness and glory (John 16:13-14).  In his letter to the Romans, Paul said to us not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12:2).

The work of the Holy Spirit, again, takes place in our inner person – that is to say that this work is happening in our heart.  This is truly important because as Solomon said, the worthless and wicked people are the way they are because of the perversity that lies in their heart.  This is not a statement based on theory but a statement made based on sound doctrine.

Be committed in your heart

In Mark 7:1-23, Jesus spoke to the fact that what happens within a person is what comes out of someone.  What led Jesus to speaking on this subject was the fact that the religious leaders were upset that the disciples had been eating bread without washing their hands.  Because the disciples had eaten with unwashed hands, the Pharisees were saying that the disciples had defiled themselves.  The Pharisees were essentially trying to say that the disciples would become what they physically ate.

How did Jesus respond to this thought and accusation?  Since the Pharisees accused the disciples of breaking tradition, Jesus brought up the law and the commandment of God.

Take a look at this statement from Jesus:

10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

Mark 7:10-13 NKJV

Note:  The Pharisees, Jesus had said, had rejected the commandment of God in doing just this thing; they were misleading the people through false teaching of the law for some man made tradition they had come up with.  They had perverted the word of God because dishonesty was what was in their heart.  In order for us to be a person of integrity, we must actually commit ourselves to the way to the Lord in our hearts and not to some other ideal or principle.

Jesus then called the people in close to them so that He could make another poignant statement.  Jesus, we will see stated:

15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.

Mark 7:15 NKJV

Jesus then made this statement to the disciples when they were confused to what He was saying:

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Mark 7:21-23 NKJV

Note:  You cannot be a person of integrity if what lies within are these evil and wicked thoughts.  In order to be a person of integrity you must have faith, let the Holy Spirit have His work, and then you must be committed to the way of honesty and truth.

To the Ephesians, Paul wrote that we should put off, concerning our former conduct, our old man.  Again, he encouraged that we should be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:22-24). 

Note:  Paul was simply saying that in order for us to truly be a righteous person – a person of integrity – we must be fully committed to our walking in the way of God.

This is the kind of person that we must aim to be in this day and hour that we live in.  We must aim to genuinely be that person of integrity that others can turn to and trust to never mislead them.  Alright, that is our study for this week, I hope you enjoyed this week’s study and share it with someone.

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