Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sermon preview--The Eighth Commandment

What is integrity? The American Heritage Dictionary contains three definitions: The first is, “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.” That’s what we’ve been talking about these past eight weeks. But the other two definitions are rather interesting: “The state of being unimpaired; soundness.” “The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.” Many of you have bought a house before. It’s not like buying a pair of pants or a bicycle. There’s a painstaking process that goes along with it. You pay out of your own pocket to have inspections done because you want to make sure the house has integrity before you put money into it. It has to be sound: Is the foundation cracked? Does the roof leak? Do all the locks work? It also has to be complete: if any of the appliances have quit working, you need to know that. The inspectors then present you with a list of problems they found, areas of the house where the integrity was compromised. If you’re wise, you then take that list and give it to the seller, saying, “Here is what you need to repair or replace before we will buy this house.” And that is how God deals with us. He expects us to have integrity. Please understand. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Just like we don’t expect our house to be just like a mansion in River Oaks. We just want it to be the best, soundest and most complete house it can be. In the same way, God doesn’t expect the impossible of us either. He just wants us to be complete; to have integrity. That is why He gave us these last four commandments. A person with integrity is faithful sexually, is forthright when it comes to money, is truthful at all times, and is free from greed and covetousness. Just like with that house, He often presents us with a list of things we need to repair. This Sunday the Holy Spirit will provide us with a list of changes we need to make, because the eighth commandment goes a lot further than we think. There is something in this commandment to challenge every one of us. I hope you'll be there.

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