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Maintaining Integrity during a Crisis

Servant: Steadfast in the Pursuit of God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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It is possible to maintain integrity even when faced with great loss

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Open: It is good to see you this morning. Due to canceling our services last Sunday, and being in California this past week for the conference, it seems as if it has been a really long time since we have been together.

I hope many of you were able to watch the FB message last Sunday morning as I shared the first of a series of messages from the book of am grateful for technology that allows us to communicate in some manner, but watching on a phone or tablet is no substitute for being together in the house of God for the purpose of worship.
As you are turning to the second chapter of the Book of Job, I want to talk about another piece of technology: the Black Box. Even if we have never seen a black box, most of us know what it is - a recording device in planes, trains, and ships that is designed to survive a crash or explosion. By reviewing the contents of the Black Box, investigators are often able to piece together the cause of the crash or explosion.
In order to serve its purpose, the box has to survive the crash or explosion in one piece and in working condition. The box is therefore designed to withstand incredible amounts of pressure and stress. The Black Box is built to withstand high levels of heat, it can be submerged in hundreds of feet of water, and it has the strength to hold its form even in the forces of an explosion. In short, the box is designed to maintain integrity during times of great pressure
Have you ever considered yourself to be a Black Box? Do you think that you can endure incredibly tough situations and maintain your integrity? Well, as a Christ-Follower you CAN withstand the pressures and disappointments of life, and you CAN bring glory to God while you endure trials. Let’s take another look at the life of Job and discover the principles that allowed Job to withstand pressures for the glory of God.
READ Text:
Over the next few moments we are going to look at the steps Job took during his time of Crisis. We will see that Job:
had the proper foundation laid
had mentally prepared himself for the probability of negative circumstances
understood AND accepted the Sovereignty of God

The first step in Maintaining our Integrity during a Crisis is having the Proper Foundation in place ()

Explanation: Let’s take a quick review because not everyone was able to watch the message last Sunday, and because it will help all of us, even if we did watch. To start with, Job was an extremely wealth patriarch who lived outside the land of Israel. Though the events of the book are dateless, many commentators believed Job lived roughly the same time as Abraham. And, even though the book bears his name, Job did not write it himself, and it was possibly written hundreds of years later by an Israelite who did live in the land of Israel
While Job had tremendous wealth, what got him noticed in the heavenly council was his character and behavior. Job was a servant of God who lived a life of devotion such that God referred to Job as blameless and upright, a man who feared God and one who turned away from evil.
Satan responded by stating the only reason Job served God was because of the blessings that God had bestowed on him. The Accuser made the claim that Job’s faith would evaporate if God removed the blessings. God allowed the first test and as a result Job lost all of his material possessions and all 10 of his children. In the midst of a devastating blow, Job responded with worship, not cursing.
Now in Chapter Two we are
In the verses we just read, the reader is given insight to the second session of the heavenly council. Satan returns, and God declares that Job had maintained his integrity, in spite of the losses. Instead of acknowledging he was wrong, The Accuser doubles down and declares the test hadn’t gone far enough. The Accuser states that if God allowed Job’s health to be taken, then he would definitely curse God to his face. God allowed the Accuser to afflict Job with grievous ills and pain, yet Job remained steadfast in his trust in God
Argument: One important aspect to Job’s ability to maintain lay in his foundation. Job was already a blameless and upright man, one who feared God and turned away from evil. Job wasn’t selected because he had recently made a one-time great declaration of his faith; Job was selected because this was his continual manner of life ()
While this principle applies to all believers, it is of greatest importance to the men. Today is Father’s day, and if you are a father, or one day intend to be a Father, this need of the proper moral foundation is paramount in your life.
Let’s turn to and examine the specifics of what it means to be blameless and upright. Job is making a summary statement of his life before the catastrophe and he recounts how he had made a covenant with his eyes (v. 1); how he refrained from lying (v. 5); how he was not envious of others (v. 7); how he had never lusted after another woman (v. 9); how he had treated his servants fairly (v. 13); how he gave to the poor and needy (vv. 16-20); how he cared for the orphans (v. 21); how he avoided trusting in his wealth (v. 24); how he avoided worship of idols (v. 26); and how he even avoided being secretly pleased by the downfall of another (v. 29)
Application: Men, how are we doing in these areas? According to recent studies, 60-90% of males from age 16-40 struggle with, or are addicted to pornography. Have we made a covenant with your eyes? Do we tell the truth? Do our children know us to be men of our word? Do our children see us being compassionate to those in need? Do our children witness us holding their mothers in honor and esteem?
Wherever our condition, it is not too late. We CAN gain victory in these areas, We CAN achieve purity of thought and deed, and we CAN be compassionate and trustworthy. Repent of what needs to be repented of, and allow the Holy Spirit to control your life in these areas from now on.

The second step in the Process of Maintaining Integrity in a Crisis is to Mentally Prepare yourself for the Probability of Negative Experience ()

Explanation: Notice the further devastation that Job has experienced. The Accuser struck Job with sores from head to toe (v. 7). Whatever the type of problem, leprosy, boils, scabies, Elephantiasis, or something else, Job was in so much pain and suffering he used broken pieces of pottery to scrape his body (v. 8). Job was so disfigured by affliction that his friends failed to recognize him (2:12); he described his flesh as “clothed with worms and dirt” (7:5); and he later states his “skin was black and peels” and his “body burns with fever” (30:30). And in chapter 19:17-20 he gives the effect of his condition on others. Job was in bad shape.
Argument: As I said last week, no other believer has probably suffered on the scale that Jod did, but many believers experience real suffering. The reality of the Christian life does include suffering and loss, regardless of what the Health and Wealth Heretics say. While God has promised the Abundant Life, it will most likely not be realized in this life.
Job was aware of this. Possibly because he had been blessed by God with wealth and prosperity, he was also aware that it could be taken away. In Chapter 3 Job declares that the thing he feared had overtaken him (3:25). He was aware that not only did the LORD give blessings, the LORD also removed blessings (1:21)
The focus of the inward to the expense of the outward is developed further in the NT (cf ; ), and the believer is told to prepare for persecution (; ). No follower of Christ has ever been promised that God would shield him from the ravages of life in a fallen world. Instead, God has promised His presence during the trials () and He has promised an ultimate deliverance in the world to come ()
Application: Forewarned is forearmed. When we prepare ourselves for the possibility of suffering and loss, we are better positioned to grow through the crisis instead of folding or succumbing to bitterness. Instead of asking, “Why ME?” we will be asking, “Why NOT me?”
Being able to ask the second question leads us to realize that:

The Third Step in Maintaining Integrity during a Crisis is to Understand AND Accept the Sovereignty of God ()

Explanation: The OT Believers did not have the complete revelation of God, but most of them probably had a better understanding of the how God operates in the world than modern believers. The OT culture attributed the cause of everything to the Almighty. They did not believe in luck or random occurence. Their understanding of God was that He was All Powerful and involved in His creation.
Job was mature in his faith. While he was willing to be thankful and accept the blessings God had sent his way, Job also understood that God was also involved in the taking away of things as well. And, it is important to realize that Job’s wife also believed in the Sovereignty of God. A look at her bad advice to her husband (Curse God and die!) readily acknowledges her understanding of God’s involvement. She saw the losses as a result of God’s actions or inaction.
Illustrate: Trauma has a way of disorienting folks, and prolonged pain and suffering can alter a person’s personality. And for some of us, especially men, the time frame doesn’t have to be longer than a day
Argument: The Sovereignty of God is clearly taught throughout both the Old and New Testaments. The Psalmist declared that “our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.” (); Nebuchadnezzar found out that God “does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth” (); and the prophet declared “The Lord of Hosts has purposed, and who will annul it” ()
Application: How you respond to the Sovereignty of God is the issue. Both Job and his wife recognized God’s Sovereignty, but Job accepted it. Neither had all the information - they did not ever know about the decisions made in the Heavenly Council - but Job was able to trust without understanding
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