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Hi, church. Well, today, I’m going to be finishing the series that we started at the start of this term looking at the book of Proverbs. Those of you who’ve been with us would know that over the course of this year, we’ve been looking at different topics in the book of Proverbs to see how we can apply them to our lives. Each year in term 3, we look at a book of the Bible and this year, we’ve been looking at Proverbs but we’re doing it slightly different from how we’ve done other ones.

In the past, we’ve been looking at them line upon line, chapter by chapter in an expository way but what we’ve done with Proverbs is because it’s a group of different sayings we’ve just been looking that that the topic by topic.

Picking a topic and seeing what Proverbs has to say about it. And today I’m going to finish this series looking at the topic of integrity. Integrity. So before we do I just want to pray. Father I just thank you for your word.

I just ask and pray that today you would help us to have a conviction to live a life of integrity. Cuz your word tells us that it’s actually better to do so. I thank you for that Lord in Jesus name, amen. Now, I want to read you a couple of verses. Proverbs chapter nineteen verse one says this, it says, better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips and is a fool.

So, it’s basically saying, it’s better to be poor with integrity than otherwise. Now, notice this, Proverbs twenty-eight six also says, better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways though he be rich. Now, they’re most identical those verses but there’s a slight difference. In the first one, it says, better is that who walks in walks in integrity and it says that better than one who is perverse in his lips. Then, the second one actually says, better is he who walks in his integrity, better than one who is perverse in his ways.

So, we can see that integrity is actually talking about having integrity of speech and it’s also having integrity of action. So, a person with his with integrity is someone who has pure speech and someone who has pure actions. That our actions and our speech must actually be in alignment and must have integrity. Now notice this. He actually says better it is to have integrity.

So clearly then there’s benefits to living a life of integrity. Now, a definition of integrity is this, the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. So, if you’re honest and if you have moral principles. According to Proverbs, it’s better to be like that. It’s better for you.

And so I want to talk to you today about four benefits that Proverbs tells us about living a life of integrity. Someone who actually has is honest and actually has strong moral principles and actions. So that’s what I want to talk to you about today. The first benefit of integrity is actually provision. God promises provision for those who are in It tells us in Proverbs chapter twenty verse seven.

It says, the righteous man walks in his integrity. So, notice this, righteousness is aligned with integrity. It’s aligned with our words and it’s aligned with our behavior. So, righteousness is more than just what you believe. Righteousness is more than just what you know and what you think.

True righteousness is married with integrity and that’s talking about purity of words, purity of action, and purity of motives. Now, look at what it says here in Proverbs twenty verse seven about someone who is righteous with integrity. It says, his children are blessed after him. So, what does that mean? There is blessing for those that come after us. It also tells us in Proverbs chapter ten verse three.

The Lord will not allow the righteous soul to famish but he casts away the desire of the wicked Proverbs chapter ten verse six says this, blessings are on the head of the righteous. But violence covers the mouth of the wicked. Proverbs 1322 says this. A good man, an integrous man, leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

Proverbs 1325. The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul. But the stomach the wicked shall be in want. Proverbs fifteen verse six. In the house of the righteous, there is much treasure.

But in the revenue of the wicked is trouble. So watch this. These are all scriptures that basically saying that the righteous person, the person will integrity will actually receive provision from the Lord. So how what does that mean for us? Well, you know, we tend to compromise or have a desire to compromise our convictions. Very often because think we’re going to be better off financially.

I know myself the greatest temptation to compromise is in times where somehow you think you’re going to be better off financially. But the scripture tells us the exact opposite. It actually tells us that if you live a life of integrity in the long run you will actually be better off financially. Even in business there are times when we want to cut corners. Thinking that somehow it’s going to be better for the bottom line.

But actually the opposite is true. That if you have strong moral principles, if you have strong ethics, that over the long run, it’s actually better for your financially. I I watched a movie a couple of years ago called Deepwater Horizon and in the movie, it talks about an oil rig that actually caught on fire and it was actually run by BP British Petroleum and in the investigation, the investigators found that really the cause of the fire was because of compromise that was exhibited by BP. That they weren’t maintaining it properly. That they were making a number of decisions to try and increase income but at the same time they were compromising their standards.

And as a result of that eventually over time it caused this massive fire. Which cost them approximately a billion dollars. And it actually exposed them to billions of dollars of litigation. So what that means is this. They made a decision to compromise on the integrity of their organisation.

Thinking that they would be better off financially. But actually they were worse off financially. In the judgement at the time the a judge actually said that top management was too focused on delivering financial performance. And gave little authority to internal quality and safety departments. So what that means is this.

They’re compromising of their standards actually led to being worse off financially. But the reason why they compromise their standards because they thought they would be better off. Now here can see that actually in scripture that’s what the scriptures actually telling us. That in the long run, integrity will actually help us with provision. So, in those moments, we are tempted to compromise on things financially.

In those moments, which we all experience where we’re tempted to actually be unethical when it comes to handling money. Let’s keep the long view according to what scripture tells us. That in the long run, you’ll actually be better off if you handle your finances with integrity. The second benefit of integrity is direction. Direction.

Proverbs chapter eleven three to four says this. The integrity of the upright will guide them. But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. Proverbs eleven verse five says this. The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright.

But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. What is it saying? It’s saying integrity and righteousness will direct us What does that mean? Well, it means this, if you have two options and you don’t know which one to take, take the righteous option. Take the Godly option. The Bible tells us in Psalm thirty-seven verse twenty-three, the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. It doesn’t say the steps of an evil man.

It doesn’t say the steps of a compromised man. It doesn’t say the steps of a wicked man. It says the steps of a good man, a order of the Lord. So, in those moments where we’re tempted when we have two options. And one is a compromise way.

And why and one is a moral way. Which is the way we’re supposed to go. Well clearly we’re supposed to take the moral way. That is actually God’s guidance. We take the highway.

But why we then tempted to actually take the low way? Well it’s obvious. Because we think that the low way will actually get us to where we want to go. But actually according to scripture the highway is always the best way. That is why sometimes when we we we compromise because we have these options and sometimes the option is a compromise way. We’ve seen that happen many.

I’ve experienced that many times in my life. And I’m sure that you’ve experienced that in your life as well. I remember one time I was actually going to the movies with a friend of mine. And this was many years ago. It was about you know over 25 years ago now and and he hadn’t been to church in the morning.

And so I was at church in the morning and me and another friend thought you know what? We’re going to go over to our friend’s house. His name was Owen. We’re going to go to Owen’s house and take him out for lunch, go to the movies, and then we’ll take him to church that night. So, I went over to Owen’s house after the morning service and we said, Owen, would you like to come out with us for lunch and come to a movie? And he said, no worries. So, we went out and we went out for lunch and then afterwards, we went to see a movie.

Now, the movie we went to obviously, you know, you go to a Cineplex and there’s like eight ten cinemas there and the movie we went to see was at the cinema right down the very end and then, the movie finished and we were walking out and as we were walking out before we actually left, we walked past one of theatres there that had a movie that was about to start and it was actually going to and it was going to finish just in time for us to get to church. So me and the other guy went to church that morning. His name was Jamie. We looked at him with each other, each other and we said, well, praise the Lord. God’s created a way for us.

He’s blessing us and so, there was nothing going to stop us. We could just walk straight into the cinema and go in there and you know, we weren’t going to get hit by a lightning bolt from heaven and you know, technically, it was stealing. Uh but you know what? You know, the cinema has lots of money and so we just decided to mosey on in. As soon as we did that, we heard this voice behind us talking very loudly. Oh, come on guys.

Come on, guys. You can’t do that. We turn around and it’s Owen. Owen was the guy. He didn’t even go to church that morning and I said, Owen, be, would you be quiet? Stop drawing attention.

He said, oh, come on, guys. You can’t do that. He goes, not on a Sunday. And look, to be honest, he was right. He been the wrong thing to do.

Integrity dictates that we shouldn’t do that. Now, here’s the interesting thing. If we had of done it, I am sure that we wouldn’t have been struck down by lightning. I am sure that we wouldn’t have lost our salvation. and quite possibly, there would not have been any immediate negative consequence in our life.

I am sure that we probably would have gotten away with it. But one of the things I’ve learnt over the years is this, that even if we got away with it, there is one consequence. And the consequence is this, there would have been an erosion in our character. We would have started establishing a habit that maybe right there and then wouldn’t have been negative but down the track would probably have caused us to actually miss out on something. It would have affected our character.

I’ve seen that happen many many times. When people have actually a habit of compromise, have a habit of a lack of integrity. At some point down the road, it actually negatively affect them. Because in the short term they may not have actually experienced some negative consequence. But there’s always an erosion to their character.

That’s why the Proverbs actually tells us that integrity will guide us. If you don’t know the direction that you’re supposed to take. If there’s two options and one is an integras way. And the other way is a way of compromise. My encouragement to you is this and the scripture’s encouragement to us is this.

Take the weight of integrity. Even if it doesn’t look like it’s going to get you to where you go. In one to go in the long run it will actually be better. And the third thing that integrity. The third benefit of integrity is actually protection.

Protection. Integrity actually protects us. Proverbs ten verse nine says this. He who walks with integrity walks securely. But he who perverts his way will become known.

Proverbs 1612 says this. It’s an abomination for kings to commit wickedness wickedness. For a own is established, strengthened by righteousness. Proverbs eleven verse six says this, the righteousness of the upright will deliver them. But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.

Proverbs eleven verse eight says this. The righteous is delivered from trouble. And it comes to the wicked instead. So all those scriptures in Proverbs indicate to us this. That integrity and righteousness in the long will preserve and actually protect us.

You know the word integrity is actually used in other forums. There’s a phrase called structural integrity. And so what that means is this that a lot of structures it’s like integrity that helps them to stand like the strength of it. And if the integrity is compromised eventually the structure will eventually fall. And you can see that I’ve seen documentaries about how some buildings have actually fallen.

And because there wasn’t any care taken to their maintenance. Because there wasn’t any caretaker to their upkeep. Eventually, there was an erosion and and there was a lack of integrity and it caused that thing to fall. In the same way, as we guard our integrity, as we guard our hearts, as we guard our ways, and as we guard our speech, it will help maintain the integrity in our lives. And it will cause us to actually remain strong and it will cause us to be able to do that.

You know, a classic example of this is actually in the Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You may know of the story in the book of Daniel, Daniel chapter three. And it talks about how the king had decreed that everybody that he there was a idol created of his image. And then when the trumpets trumpet sounded everybody in the nation would need to bow down and worship that image. And when they did that, when they blew the trumpet, everyone bowed down except for three people.

News came back to the king and he found out that there were three men that did not bow down to that image. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And so the punishment for them was this. They were going to be thrown into the fiery furnace. When they were confronted by the king, they said, king, we we can’t do that.

Um, and you know, we know our God is able to save us. Uh, and even if he doesn’t, we’re still not going to bow down to that our idol. It outraged the king. So the king caused the furnace to turned seven times hotter. And so then they were actually thrown into the furnace.

The people who threw them into the furnace were burnt. But inside the furnace they were protected. And actually a fourth man appeared. And Theologians say that it was actually Christ himself. That actually before he was even revealed to the world Christ himself actually came and actually protected them.

And we can see in that passage of scripture that they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. I am sure that they would have been tempted to bow down. I’m sure there were plenty of other believers that just thought, you know, we’re just going to bow down to this idol and you know, and we’ll just, you know, God will forgive us and we’ll just make it through because they thought that the option was bow down and live or don’t bow down and burn. Little did they know that when they chose not to compromise, God will actually come through the for them and would actually protect them but the scripture actually tells us that that we are protected when we actually walk in our integrity. The Bible tells us in Proverbs chapter twenty verse twenty-one.

An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end. So, what that means is this, that sometimes, God withholds things for us, from us. Things that will be a blessing, things that will help us in our future. He withholds them from us because we don’t yet have the character or integrity to actually handle it. Sometimes, that’s the goodness of God manifesting in our life.

Look at the prodigal son in Luke chapter fifteen. The prodigal son received his inheritance hastily. But because he received it hastily and he received it early beyond it was time. He actually fritted it away and completely wasted it. And I firmly believe that God loves us so much.

That sometimes he will actually withhold things that he’s promised for us. Withhold good things that he’s got for us. Until our integrity is able to handle that blessing. The older I get the more I realise. That there’s been many times God has given me a blessing or an inheritance or some kind of breakthrough.

Well beyond when wanted to actually have it. But in hindsight realised he gave it to me right when my integrity was able to handle it. And that was actually God’s protection. And so I want to encourage some of you that have got some dreams and some aspirations and some goals that God has put on your heart and hasn’t had come about yet. I want to let you know that God is protecting you until you have the character and the integrity to handle what God actually has for your life.

Because integrity will actually protect us. And the last thing that I believe that the last blessing or benefit as the Bible says it’s better to walk in integrity. The last benefit is actually reputation. Reputation. We have a good reputation as a result of our integrity.

Proverbs ten verse seven says this. The memory of the righteous is blessed. But the name of the wicked will rot. What does that mean? Well it actually means that says the memory of the righteous is blessed. Your legacy the way people think about you.

The way that ah the way that remembered is actually going to be blessed. But if you don’t have integrity your name will rot. So your reputation is directly affected by integrity. Proverbs ten verse nine says this. He who walks with integrity walks securely.

So that’s talking about the protection point we said before. But he who perverts his way will become known. Known not in a good way. Known in a bad way. That you will actually be known by your bad actions.

Proverbs twenty-two verse one says this. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. Loving favour rather than silver and gold. So it says it’s better to have a good name than silver and riches. That it’s actually so important.

Notice this. He says a good name is to be chosen. You can choose to have a good name. You can to have a good reputation. How do you do that? Through integrity.

God wants us to live our lives with names that are untarnished. With names that actually bring glory to God. You know even in the business world there have been some businesses that have actually changed their names because the standards that they had before were bad. And so they actually had to disassociate themselves if they wanted to have a new future. I know of one particular building company.

A very large building company that actually changed its name from one to another. Because it’s was so bad they actually had to change their name. Our integrity actually affects our name. And one of the greatest things that we can do. One of the greatest legacies we can leave behind is actually to leave behind a good name.

I’ve mentioned to you before that a couple of months ago I went to a funeral down in Adelaide. And the funeral was for a man by the name of Pastor Andrew Evans. And Pastor Andrew Evans was our national president of our movement for 20 years from 1977 to 1997. And was a man who had great success and favour. But also he was a man of unimpeachable integrity.

His integrity was paramount. There was no scandals associated with his name. He wasn’t actually accused of anything that was negative. He was a man who did well in life but he had great character and integrity. And I was deeply moved when I went down to his funeral.

Because his funeral was one that was just a great celebration of his life. There was no elephants in the room. There was no skele in the closet about his behavior. You know, occasionally, you can go to a funeral and you can kind of tell that the person that has died has left maybe some a bad mark in people’s lives and and people kind of skirt around it but you could feel it in the atmosphere but when I went down to that funeral, it was nothing but celebration. It was nothing but honoring a life that was well lived and I was deeply impacted by it.

And when I came back home, I thought that’s the legacy I want to leave. Want to leave a legacy that when my name is mentioned that my children are actually proud of it. That when my name is mentioned, the people around are proud of it. It’s especially important for me because my name is very unique. There’s only like three of us in the whole of Australia that have my name.

So, if I do something that mess up our name, everybody’s going to know about it and that’s something that’s something that’s always in the back of my mind as well but I want to encourage you that we compromise integrity because we want to live life for the moment. We have some moment decisions that we make that that later on we can actually regret. I want to encourage you to keep the long view. And the long view is this that at the end we want to leave behind a good reputation. The long view is that in the long run God will actually provide provision for us.

That long the long run it will actually financially better off. That in the long run God will actually protect us. And that in the long run God will guide us and direct us as we stay true to integrity and make integrous decisions. And I want to encourage you at the end of this series in Proverbs, we’ve learnt a lot about how to live this life. But of all the things we’ve learned, I believe what this I’m talking about today is the most countercultural.

That in our society, there’s always a temptation to compromise. There’s always a temptation to be slippery but Proverbs actually tells us that in the long run, in the long view, you will actually live a life that is well lived if we maintain our integrity. And I want to pray for some people right now. Because I believe some people right now that you are having some challenges. You’ve got some ethical dilemmas that you’re facing.

That you’ll be feeling pulled in a direction that you know isn’t right. And that you should go in another direction but the temptation is to go this way. I want to pray for you that today you’ll have the courage of your convictions. That regardless of what you’re facing you will make a decision that is integris. That in the short term it might look like a sacrifice.

But in the long run you’re actually going to win. So if that is you right now I just want to pray for you. I don’t want to embarrass I’m not going to ask you to come out the front. But I want to pray for you those of you right now that are facing some ethical decisions and some ethical dilemmas that you are facing. That God will give you the courage of your convictions.

That you will actually follow the way of integrity and not the way of compromise. Let’s pray. Father I pray for everybody right now who is feeling challenged in this area. I want to pray for those that are feeling drawn in a direction that they know in their heart of hearts is one that is compro eyes are not right. I ask and pray father in Jesus name that you would put in them today the courage of their convictions.

That today that you would put steel in their backbone Lord. That they would no matter what happens that they will stay true to the convictions that you put in their heart. And that they would they would choose the way of integrity and the way of moral principle Lord God. That in the long run if they do that they will win. So I pray for them right now.

I thank you that today is a pivot point. I thank you for some. This a change of behaviour and I thank you for that Lord God and I know that in the long run, it is better to walk in integrity as Proverbs tells us. I thank you and praise you for that Lord in Jesus name. Amen.

Flames roaring, sirens sounding. Oasis Church raised to the ground. Devastating to us but also to the to the community I feel. Police say the blaze was deliberately lit. They found a 33 year old man nearby.

He was taken into custody and has been charged with arson. You may have heard in the news that two weeks ago a church in Rockhampton was the victim of an arson attack and was burnt to the ground. What you may not laws is that church actually has quite a strong connection with us here at Kings. One of our chaplains and one of our worship leaders, Riley Jones, is actually the son of the parents of that church, Nathan and Rachel Jones. They are great friends of mine.

I work together closely with them as they are the leaders of our ACC region in the Capricorn region. I went there the Monday after, it got burnt to the ground and I was completely taken aback at the devastation in the that was caused. It was completely burnt to the ground. And so now that church is entering into a challenging season where they will have to have church without currently actually having any of things needed to actually put church on. Now gratefully they are probably going to be insured and they will eventually be able to put together a new premises which is awesome.

But in the meantime they have a lot of expenses that they weren’t budgeting for. Where they need to actually keep church going. So church Today, we’re going to receive an offering to go towards that church to help them in this current season to get through and to actually continue to function as a church community. Thankfully, when I went up there, there are people that are still full of faith and they’ve got an eye to the future and I believe in the long term, they’re going to be actually even more blessed than ever before but in the short term, I would like us to receive this offering to actually help them navigate this next season. So, you will see that there will be a details on how you can give.

You’ll be able to see on the Tithely app as well that there will be a drop down which actually tells you how to give. But I want to encourage you to pray and consider how we can help our fellow brothers and sisters in Rockhampton to help them in their time of need. Thank you church for your generosity. You’ve always been an incredibly generous church. And I know that even now you will continue to do so.

God bless.

Ps Ben Naitoko