Faithlife Sermons

Be A Man of Integrity

In the book “The Day America Told the Truth” (1991), the authors (James Patterson & Peter Kim) relate the stunning results of a question which was asked of Americans. The question was simply this: What are you willing to do for $10 million? 2/3 of those polled said they would do at least one of the following ... some said they would do several of the following

25% would abandon their entire family

25% would abandon their church

23% would become prostitutes for a week or more

16% would give up their American Citizenship

16% would leave their spouses

10% would withhold their testimony and let a murder go free

7% would kill a stranger

3% would put their children up for adoption

Why would people do things like this? There are several obvious reasons.
#1 - The person could not love nor fear God.
#2 - greed would obviously be a factor in their decisions.
But I think the main reason people would do all these things is that they lack integrity.

There is a Lack of Integrity in our culture

Unfortunately, in our culture, there is a huge lack of integrity everywhere.
Years ago, Newsweek ran an article called, When Teachers are Cheaters. (June 19,2000) It revealed how many teachers around the country were encouraging their students to cheat… even helping them. The reason was because if their students grades were higher, they could get bonuses and raises. Some also did it because if their students test scores were not high enough they could and many did lose their jobs.
They lacked integrity. It’s sad today that so many people lack integrity today that when someone sees it in someone, it often becomes big news… like a rare sighting of Drew Breese or some other famous person.
Remember Tom Landry? He was the legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys who passed away in February 2000. He was one of those rare sightings. His legacy is far more than just being the NFL’s third-winningest coach of all time. It’s far more than his two Super Bowl victories.
He was a man whose priorities were in order: God first, family second, football third. One person said, “Tom Landry provided significant leadership ... through a strength of character and faith with his priorities in tact. He knew that football was just a game and that integrity mattered on the field and off.” As former Cowboy Drew Pearson said, “Landry was a teacher. He taught a lot more than football.”
There have been many great football coaches - but being a great football coach is not the reason the USA Today ran the headline “Landry’s death leaves Texas-size legacy.” No - his legacy is that his career was marked with outstanding integrity.

What is integrity? incorruptibility, soundness, and/or completeness

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary says it’s: “incorruptibility, soundness, and/or completeness.” It’s primary synonym is “honesty.”
Today, on Father’s Day, guys I want say this: the world needs men with integrity!
It needs men & women who are incorruptible, complete, and honest. There’s 3 verses of Scripture I want us to think read this morning.

1. Integrity means incorruptibility

Proverbs 10:9 NLT
9 People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will be exposed.
A person with integrity is incorruptible. And when you walk in integrity, you are walking on solid ground.
In Chicago, 1929, a 26 year-old government agent named Eliot Ness formed an elite team of 9 incorruptible men to bring down Al Capone’s $120 million mob empire. At the time, Ness was making $2,800 a year working for the government. One day a young man walked into his office and handed Ness an envelope with 2 one thousand dollar bills and promised this weekly if he would lay off Capone.
Ness sent the money and the messenger back. Desiring to make a point, Ness called a press conference. Newspapers and newsreels from various agencies were in attendance. Ness told the story of Capone’s attempted bribe and his response to it. The next day, headlines read “Ness and his men are UNTOUCHABLE.
That’s integrity! Golfer Ray Floyd was playing in a tournament and he was one of the leaders trying to win 108,000 dollars. On one hole he was preparing to make a routine putt… a tap in and he inadvertently touched the ball causing it to move. The rules say if the ball moves at all, the player must take a penalty stroke. He could have tried to get around that… maybe acting like a bee flew by him… rub his eye like some dust got in it… all the while looking to see if anyone noticed the ball move. Ray Floyd did none of those. He assessed himself a penalty stroke and took a bogey on the hole.

As Christians, our morals must remain untouchable by this corrupt culture.

We need to be people with integrity. For by doing so, we’ll not only please God - but we’ll also be among those rare sightings that people take notice of. And it’s when that happens - Jesus is lifted up for the world to see.

When our morals are untouchable, Jesus is lifted up for the world to see.

2. Integrity means completeness

Proverbs 2:7 NLT
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
Integrity is like a shield to us. You want your shield’s surface have integrity. With a ship, the integrity or strength of the hull is important.

Integrity refers to soundness or completeness

But as a Christian, I think integrity can mean completeness in another sense. The Scripture said, “He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” Now let me substitute the word “completeness” there and read it again. “He is a shield to those who walk in completeness.”
How is it that a person can walk in completeness? And why is God a shield to those individuals who do?
Colossians 2:10 NLT
10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

You and I are complete when we are united with Jesus.

Without him, we are incomplete. If Jesus is missing from your life, your level of integrity is always compromised.
Star Trek… yes, I am a trekkie.
When the U.S.S. Enterprise gets into a battle with the bad guys, the first thing the captain yells is “shield’s up.” Now if that invisible forcefield shield ever gets compromised and goes down - then the hull is in danger next time they get hit.

In Christ, our hull is sound - complete.

And we never have to fear that it’s integrity will be compromised, because our heavenly Father is our defense shield that surrounds it. See, God is a shield (an impenetrable shield) to those who follow after His Son.
See, Christians can walk in integrity - integrity that comes from following Jesus Christ.

3. Integrity can be modeled and transmitted

Proverbs 20:7 NLT
7 The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.
Integrity can be modelled and given away or transmitted. lack of integrity can be as well.
A pastor named Jerry Steen tells of an experience he had at the first church he ministered at. He had a job of mixing feed to supplement his income. He says this: “For a period of about two weeks, each day that I came home from work, my two boys, ages 2 and 3 would look at me, smile, and would say, ‘Boy, dad, you sure are dusty!’ I would reply, ‘Yes, I sure am dusty.’ Then I would get cleaned up.
I didn’t think too much of this until I was washing my car and saw my oldest son doing something very strange. He was picking up the gravel and stones that were in our drive and rubbing them into his pants. I asked him, ‘Want are you doing?’ He replied, ‘I want to be dusty like you dad!’
It was then that I realized that if a child would look up to his father for being dusty and want to copy his father, a child could look up to his father and follow him for anything.”
My mother used to say she could hardly tell the difference between the sound of my walking and my dads… I was following him around.

What are you passing on to your children?

Are you a good model or a poor model to those coming behind you?

Several decades ago actor Charles Coburn told that when he was a teenager his dad always tried to dissuade him from ever going to see a burlesque show. He would say, “Don’t go there son, you’d see things you shouldn’t see.” But some time later he went anyway.
Coburn said, “My dad was right, I saw things I shouldn’t see, I saw my dad there!”
Father’s need to be good examples and model integrity. Let me tell you of one who was.
Gayle Erwin tells of his father in his book “The Jesus Style.” This is what he said:
“When I was six years old, my father was severely injured in an airplane accident and was left partially paralyzed and brain damaged. My mother then became the breadwinner of the house. Since my mother was often ‘not there’ as she attempted to make a living and my dad was ‘not there’ physically or mentally, the stage was set for family failure. But our family did not fail!
Through difficult times, both parents stayed faithful to God and to us. Prayer, belief, steadfastness and love surrounded us -- money and fine homes didn’t. When my father died, my two brothers and I stood in front of his casket and made the following statement to the friends who had gathered for the funeral service:
‘Our father did not leave a financial empire for us to carry on. Many things that a dad normally does with his sons, our was unable to do. He was unable to teach us many things that a dad normally teaches. But he did leave us something that he had. He left us with a love of God, a love for the Bible, a love for people, an understanding of worship and an inability to hate. We feel that he has left us only those things that will last. So we stand here before you as his sons and declare publicly that we will follow his God.’”
I don’t know about you, but that’s the integrity we need to model.
Wrap Up
In his book, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, Chuck Swindoll says this:
The world needs men ...
who cannot be bought;
whose word is their bond;
who put character above wealth;
who possess opinions and a will;
who are larger than their vocations;
who do not hesitate to take chances;
who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
who will make no compromise with wrong;
whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
who will not say they do it because everybody else does it;
who are true to their friends through good report and evil report, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and hardheadedness are the best qualities for winning success;
who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpopular;
who can say “no” with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says “yes.”
Let me add… the world needs men, and women with integrity… the integrity found in Jesus Christ.
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