Building Integrity in Your Life Part 2

Pastor Mike will be speaking on Building Integrity in Your Life Part 2. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 5:11-17.

Keep your heart, guard your heart. Why? Because out of it flows your meaning, out of it flows your purpose, out of it flows your significance, out of it flows your values. Everything of who you are comes from your heart.

Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders from The Open Door Church with hope worth having. It is wonderful that you can be with us. Thank you for tuning in and today we’re going to be in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verses 11 through 17 and we’re going to be learning about building integrity in your life.

You know the context of this passage of scripture and that the Apostle Paul was facing a lot of criticism, but in his effort to defend his integrity, he does this so that he can prevent the gospel from losing credibility and through that we learn the steps we need to take that we can build integrity into our own life.

So let’s grab our pen and our pencil and our paper and let’s start studying together in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 11. I want us to follow along as we read our text this morning, 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 11 and I’m going to be reading through verse 17.

The scripture says, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we persuade men, but we are made manifest unto God and I trust also are made manifest in your conscience. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf that you may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance and not in heart.

For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God. and whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge that if one died for all, then we’re all dead, and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again.

Wherefore henceforth know we know man after the flesh. Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.

Old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new. Would you join me together as we pray this morning before we receive God’s word into our heart, Father? We pray that you would bless the reading of your word to the hearts and minds of your people.

I pray that as we come to your word this morning that you would help our hearts to be ready to receive your truth into our life. I pray that truth will sanctify us, shape us into the image of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

That you would help us to be more committed, more devoted than we’ve ever been in our life. We pray that if there’s one person here that does not know you, that today would be the day that they give their life fully to you, receive you as their Lord and Savior, and become a new creation in Jesus Christ.

And we pray all this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Now when we come to 2 Corinthians, which we have been studying for quite some time, it is very important for you and I to understand the context.

In the set of verses it is essential that if we are to understand what the Apostle was saying in these set of verses and not to misrepresent God’s word, we must know the context. So let me help you again.

The Apostle Paul has given so much to the Corinthians. He is the one who went into this city, a metropolitan city, a city that was known for its immorality, it was known for many gods that they worshiped, and he went in there and through the power of God’s grace scratched out a church, the Corinthian church, a church that Paul the Apostle led many of the individuals to Christ personally, witnessing to them house to house, witnessing to them one on one, and unfortunately he found himself the writing of this letter is that some of these members of the church began to turn on the Apostle.

They began to criticize him. His integrity had been called into question. His loyalty, his leadership, had been questioned. His love for believers had been doubted and denied. And this was probably one of the most single difficult barrage of attacks upon the Apostle that he had ever received in his life.

Though he had received much physical abuse where he was rocks were thrown at him and he was left for dead. He was beaten, smitten, almost drowned one time on a shipwreck. But yet I think that this challenge of the emotion of the betrayal of the people of God to his heart was probably the most difficult that the apostle had ever faced.

And this was being fueled by false teachers who had infiltrated the church at Corinth. The apostle had this dilemma that he always dealt with. That when he would plant a church which God had called him to do, the apostle would go from one city to the next and he would witness for Christ.

He would gather those that receive Christ and he would form a church. He would establish elders and leaders within the church and then he would move on to the next city and he would plant another church.

But unfortunately, that when he would move on, there were false teachers who would follow the apostle and then they would begin to creep into the church and they would begin to deceive the church and they would somehow start to discredit the apostle wanting to lead the people astray from the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is why the apostle said to the Galatians that he was so shocked and so amazed that they had so quickly turned away from the gospel that he had taught them. So the apostle is under attack. His integrity is being attacked and he sought to maintain his integrity and this was important to prevent the gospel from losing credibility to the Corinthians.

What was at stake for the apostle as under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he was writing these words. What was at stake is the advancement of the gospel of Christ. What was at stake was the development and the growth of God’s people.

What was at stake is the sustainability of a local congregation and fellowship of believers. So the Apostle sets out within this letter of 2 Corinthians to continue to defend the integrity that he has.

And so as we look in this section, the Apostle opens his heart again to the believers and he lets them look into his heart and he reveals to them his integrity. And in so doing he teaches us how to build integrity in our life.

Integrity is an important part of the life of the believer. Because there is nothing that discredits the gospel and discredits the church like hypocritical Christians. There’s nothing that hurts the cause of the gospel in the world like Christians who live one way on Sunday but live a totally different way Monday through Saturday.

There’s nothing that hurts the heart of God than to watch Christians to live a duplicit life that is not fully devoted to Christ. It is to your benefit. It is to my benefit that all of us build integrity into our life.

And so we learn this morning how we can do that. Now, John Maxwell says that integrity is a decision to be relentlessly honest in all situations in our lives. I love what Zig Ziglar, the great motivational speaker who was a Sunday school teacher and a strong believer before Christ promoted him to heaven, said, with integrity, you have nothing to fear since you have nothing to hide.

And that’s really what integrity is, that who we are on the inside matches who we are on the outside and who we are on the outside matches who we are on the inside. And this is what we want to look at this morning.

How is it that we can build this kind of integrity? So I want us to start out learning, first of all, that we must be motivated for the Lord. I want you to back up to verse 11 of 2 Corinthians chapter 5.

And if we are going to build integrity, we first must have the motivation that all that we do and the why that we do of what we do is for Jesus Christ. Now, we start out in verse 11. He says, knowing therefore the tear of the Lord, we persuade men.

Now through the years, I’m certain, because I have as well heard people teach or maybe read this text saying that what the apostle was teaching us because of the tear of the Lord, we go out and witness for Christ.

We try to persuade people to come to Jesus. Now, yes, that truth is taught in the Bible, but it’s not taught in this verse. And let me help you to understand that. Remember, I’ve already given you the context.

I’ve already laid out to you of the understanding of what the apostle was trying to say. So as we look at these verses, we take it in light of its context. He says, knowing therefore the terror of the Lord.

Now some translations put it like this, knowing therefore the fear of the Lord. And certainly every believer should have a healthy and holy fear of God. Some people think that fear is wrong. We don’t have the fear of man, because that is a snare the Bible teaches us.

We don’t have the fear of the world, and we don’t operate in the fear of Satan because we have victory in Jesus Christ, but there should be a healthy, holy fear of God. When the apostle uses this word fear, he’s talking about being reverence.

He’s talking about having a sense of all before God. So I want you to look at it like that. Look at verse 11 again. He says, knowing how great God is, knowing that our God is awesome, knowing that our God is holy and righteous, we persuade men.

What is at the heart of what the apostle is saying is that because of my high view of God, I want to persuade you of why I do what I do. That is what this verse is teaching us. He is helping us to understand that because that he has such a high view of God, because he has such a healthy fear of God, he has such a reverence of God, he never wants to disappoint God.

He never wants to discredit God. He never wants in any way to misrepresent God. And because of that, he wants you to see his heart. He wants you to see his heart so that you can see that his heart is about pleasing God.

You say, where do you get that, Mike? Well, let’s keep reading. Look at verse 11 again. Knowing therefore the tear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest unto God. Underscore that phrase.

We are made manifest to God. The apostle was motivated for the Lord. and there were two reasons that motivated him that was revealed in his heart. And that is first of all, his daily accountability to God.

The apostle says, I am manifest unto God. Meaning this, that I am well known unto God. When he tells us this, he’s saying, God knows my heart. I’m an open book to God. He sees everything in my heart.

He sees everything in my mind. He knows why I do what I do. And he’s saying to the Corinthians, you’re trying to attack me. You’re trying to find fault with me. You’re coming after my integrity. But here’s my heart, Corinthians.

And I stand accountable to God. I stand before the Lord. And I am an open book to him. And here I am. And you can see why I do what I do. The apostle would teach the believers at Ephesus in Acts 23 .1.

The scripture would say that looking intently at the counsel, Paul said, brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day. You see, the apostle’s desire is that he would live in a good and clear conscience before God, that there would be nothing that God could say, hey, this is wrong in your life, that he would be so close to God, that he would be so open to God, so transparent to God, that he would be such an open book to God, that if God saw anything in his life, he would immediately make it right with God, confess that God, and he would live in clear conscience to God.

He not only desired to live in clear conscience to God, but clear conscience to others in his life. And so the apostle says to them, I live my life before God, and that’s the way we do. Every one of us, whether we recognize our daily accountability of God or not, we are all accountable to him.

We learn back in verse 10, just go back there again, we learned last week, we must all appear before the Bema seat, the judgment seat of Christ, that everyone may receive the things done in his body according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad.

Remember, I told you that when he talks about good and bad, he’s talking about what is worthwhile, what is of value, and what is worth less, what is of no value. It’s not about our morality, it’s not about our salvation, but what we will be judged as believers because our sin was already judged on the cross.

Our sin is under the blood of Christ, past, present, and future sin. It’s all under the blood of Christ. What I will be judged by, is what did I invest my life into? Would I stand before the Bema seat of God?

Did I give everything? Everything for God, was it worthwhile to God? Was it for the advancement of the cause of Jesus Christ? Or was it for selfish things? Those things that are selfish will be burned up like wood, hay, and stubble.

Those things that are honoring and glorifying and worthwhile to God. Oh they, they will come forth through the test of the fire and they will come forth as gold, silver, and precious stones. So we, here we are, we are believers who are striving to have integrity before God and before others and our hearts are open to God.

We are an open book to God. And this should be our desire that we have no secret things that we are trying to hide from others, no secret things that we are trying to. hide from God, but we recognize that we represent the Lord to others and that there must be integrity in our life and the way that we can build that integrity is to be motivated for the Lord by recognizing we are daily accountable to God on what we do, whether it’s worthwhile or not.

You remember in Samuel, 1 Samuel 16, seven, that the Bible said that the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance or on the height of his stature because I have refused him. For the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

You see, God looks on all of our hearts. He knows our heart. Though others may misunderstand us, they may mischaracterize us. And they may find things in our lives that maybe they want to try to twist and turn to something that is wrong or evil or maybe judge our motives.

God knows our hearts and he measures each one of us by what is in the heart. That’s why the heart, the Bible says guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life. What he’s saying is protect your heart.

Keep your heart, guard your heart, why? Because out of it flows your meaning. Out of it flows your purpose. Out of it flows your significance. Out of it flows your values. Everything of who you are comes from your heart.

The Bible says from the abundance of the heart, the mouth, what? Speaketh. And so that’s why we guard our hearts. But we know that God is looking at our hearts. God sees the heart. And that is so different than what the Corinthians had been doing because they had been glorying in appearance.

on the outside. Look at verse 12 of 2 Corinthians chapter 5. For we commend not ourselves again unto you. The apostle does not want them to think that he is up bragging about himself. He is just trying to help them to see his heart for we commend ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf that you may have somewhat to answer or defend them which glory in appearance.

These false teachers were all about the outside. They were all about the razzle dazzle. They were all about the entertainment. They were all about the outward man, not the heart of a man, not the heart of a person, but what was on the outside.

And Paul says, I wanna give you something to help you to be able to defend our ministry to those false teachers who are trying to discredit us but before you, and so he says to them that these are the kind of people, look again, who glory in appearance, and not in what church?

The heart. The big problem you have with Pastor Mike is we stay in the Bible. Keep your Bible open. Stay there with me. We’re in the Bible. They glory in appearance, not in the heart. And see, God looks just the opposite.

He looks in the heart. We spend so much time on the outside, but God wants us to focus on the heart. In 1 Corinthians 4, 4, the apostle would go on to say, I know of nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord.

The apostle lived so close to God, and he recognized his daily accountability to God that he could stand before the Corinthians and say, I know nothing against myself. I know nothing that is, I need to deal with.

As far as I know, my heart is clear before God. It is transparent before God, and whatever needs to be dealt with has been dealt with, and will continue to be dealt with. I stand before you, and how you judge me based upon my appearance has nothing to do with my heart before God.

So the apostle had a passion that he would be motivated for the Lord, and he did this by being daily accountable to God, but also he did this by his daily responsibility to God’s people. So we come again to verse 12.

And we note that the apostle has already recognized his knowledge of the day of judgment. And it was this accountability to God that prevented him from slacking in his work towards God and making sure that his heart was pure before God.

But it also provided the motivation to persuade people to the truth of the integrity of the ministry that God had entrusted him. The Apostle had a sense of responsibility that was expressed with such authority and exercised with such enthusiasm that the Corinthians began to believe that somehow the Apostle was mad, that he was crazy, that he had lost his mind.

This was the accusation of the false teachers. Now look at verse 13. Stay with me. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to who? God, thank you. Whether we be sober, it is for your cause. If they interpreted the passion and the zeal and the devotion and the commitment of the Apostle as being fanatical, as being someone who was…

mad and crazy, the apostle says my zeal for God, my passion is for Christ. If you misinterpret this passion and this devotion, it know that it is in my heart for God. And though the passion may be sometimes overwhelming and the zeal may come across as maddening to you, it is all because of Christ.

But here he goes on, did you see that? Verse 13, he said also it is for your cause. Paul was accountable to God but responsible to the church. Why was it that the apostle rose up early and stayed up late?

Why is it that he would say to the Corinthians in first Corinthians that he labored more abundantly than they all? Why is it that he worked so diligently? Why did he work so hard? Because he felt a great responsibility to God’s people.

He felt like it was his job to do everything within his might in the grace of God to accomplish the work of God and the spiritual formation of God’s people that they would be true disciples of Christ, that they would follow Jesus with total commitment for Christ.

And so he tirelessly and he worked with great effort to bring about the maturation, the maturity of God’s people that they might have a closer relationship. This is the heart of the apostle. It is not that he’s doing it for himself.

He is not laboring hard. He is not rising early and staying up late because of himself. He is not out there promoting himself. He has no marketing plan. He has no self -promotion man. He has no one. to build him up, but all he strives to do is to build the church up.

This is his heart. And what does he get in return? What does he get in return? He is maddening. He is criticized for his excessive emotion, his lunacy. He is criticized because his zeal is over the top.

This is no different than Jesus. For you remember in the Gospel of Mark chapter three that Jesus was speaking to the crowd. And as he was eloquently sharing the word of God to the people as they were listening to him, the Bible tells us in Mark chapter three, verse 21, that his own people heard about this.

Now stop right there, because when it talks about his own people is talking about his family, his brothers, his mother. His own people, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said He is out of His mind.

Imagine that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into this world sinless, who lived a flawless, perfect life before man, who only ministered with a heart to fulfill the mission of God, who only lived that He might bring salvation to others, intervened in funerals, raised the dead, and brought healing to many hearts and many lives.

His own family said He’s crazy. He’s out of His mind. And so it is to each of us that when we serve for Christ, remember that our zeal for God, that many times we’ll be misinterpreted. It will be misrepresented.

And our passion to stand up for God, and our passion to help the people of God will sometimes, even by the people, will be criticized. The Apostle Paul’s loyalty and leadership was questioned. His love for the believers had been doubted.

But the one thing that they could not take away from the Apostle was his integrity. And it was his integrity in the ministry that helped bring the credibility to the message of the Lord that God has sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, and that He rose again the third day.

And for all who believe in Christ, they can have eternal life. And it is this message that the Apostle defended as he was building integrity. I hope what you have learned has been a blessing and an example.

encouragement, and remember that it’s more than just our character, our integrity. It is about the ministry God has entrusted to us. It is about bringing credibility to the gospel as we continue to promote His name and lift up His cause.

Well, I want to encourage you to make sure you check us out on Facebook. If you go to Facebook and you type in, Hope Worth Having, you’ll see our page, a lot of neat things, a lot of resources for you to be involved in.

So take advantage of that and make sure you like us on Facebook and don’t be afraid to send us a message. You can send us prayer requests. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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