Living With Integrity

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In this message, we learn that we live with integrity in response to God’s goodness.

I am so glad you swam here today to come and hang out with us. And I believe in the midst of all that rainfall and the Lord has some refreshing that He wants to do for you. I’m proud of you for coming and saying, “I want to be here and be with Jesus.” And so if you’ve got your Bibles, turn with me to Genesis 39. Genesis 39, we’re going to jump right in. We’re going to get started. We’re in a series called the underrated, and we’re talking about valuing things that the world does not. And so we kind of talked about this last week. We saw there’s a whole lot of things in this world that the world doesn’t value at all, but that are significant in the kingdom of God. A whole lot of things that the world wants nothing to do of, but Jesus says are really important. In fact, that’s why Jesus says what man values God detests and what God values man detests. And so as people of the kingdom, we want to live with the values of the kingdom of God. And so we started it last week by talking about embracing change.

We said that change is a whole lot more important than comfort in the kingdom of God. And this week, I want to talk about living with integrity, okay. Living with integrity. I think we would all agree that that’s not a high value in the world. Anyone want to agree with that? Right, like you will hear people say things like this in the world, the end always justifies the means. Like so long as you get the results you were hoping for, who really cares what you had to do or how you got there along the way. Well, in the kingdom of God, it’s the exact opposite. We already know what the end is in Jesus so the means is now everything. How we live and what we do matters. And so here’s what we’re going to do. It’s going to get a little uncomfortable for the first half of the message, and then I’m going to resolve that tension for you at the end, okay? I figured I’ll just forewarn you right up front. You’re going to feel uncomfortable. We’re going to create some tension, but if you hang until the end, there’s a refreshing freedom for you in Jesus, okay? So Genesis 39. Here’s basically what’s happening in the story. This is the story of Joseph.

One of 12 sons of his father, Jacob and he was the favorite son. And because he was the favorite son, his brothers hated him. And so one day they decided to take Joseph and they threw him in a pit and they ultimately ended up selling him to slave traders. Then they told his father that he was dead and these slave traders take him to Egypt. And when he gets to Egypt, he’s bought by a man named Potiphar who was an Egyptian official and Potiphar buys him from these slave traders, brings him into his home and the favor of God is all over Joseph’s life. Like did you ever meet one of those people that no matter what they do, everything they touch, it turns to gold? Do you know somebody like that? I mean, it’s amazing. It’s like this favor of God is on him, no matter what they do, it turns to gold. That’s Joseph. And so Potiphar brings him home and everything Joseph does, it’s fruitful, it’s multiplying, it’s incredible. So ultimately, Potiphar makes Joseph the number two over his entire estate, his entire household. Joseph is a steward of all of Potiphar’s possessions in life. And so pick it up with me in verse 6.

It says, “Now, Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while, his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me.’ But he refused. ‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’ And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. One day, he went in the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, ‘Come to bed with me.’ But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house, she called her household servants, ‘Look,’ she said to them, ‘this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us. He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.’

Jump to verse 19. “When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, ‘This is how your slave treated me,’ he burned with anger. Joseph master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.” Okay. In this moment, we learn everything we need to know about Joseph. You see, it’s in moments like this when we discover the reality of who we really are because it’s who we are when no one is looking that reveals the depth of our character. I think a lot of times we believe that what other people think about us or how we behave when other people are around that reveals who we really are. No, that’s just called your reputation. Your reputation is who other people think you are. Integrity is who you are when no one is around. And when you and I think of integrity, we probably think of big words like adultery or embezzlement or politics. Like if you look in the news right now, there’s all kinds of lack of integrity issues all over the news.

But what about things like bending the truth. What about things like gossip? What about things like fudging on your taxes or on your tithe that belongs to the Lord? What about cheating on a test? You see, all that’s integrity. And integrity is doing the right thing even if it costs you everything. So it happens with Joseph in this moment. He does the right thing and it costs him everything. He gets thrown in prison. And while integrity is rarely noticed, lack of integrity certainly is. And I think there’s a four root issues, four causes that we all struggle with that cause us to comprise our integrity, really simple and really quick. The first one is this, self-satisfaction. Self-satisfaction will cause us to compromise our integrity. This is Potiphar’s wife. She sees what she wants and she goes for it. It’s the lust of the eyes, the cravings of the flesh. We know what we want. We’re going to get it. We don’t care what it costs or who it hurts. Self-satisfaction motivates us to compromise our integrity.

The second thing is self-sustaining. Self-sustainability in the sense you could say — or self-sufficiency. Let me say it to you like that. That’s a better way of saying it because that’s what on the notes. That’s why it’s a better of saying it. Self-sufficiency, okay? This is when we think, man, we’re all by ourselves and we got to make it happen. That we’re responsible for our own life. No one is looking out for us. No one is going to help us. This is when we struggle with striving and performance and achievement. This is when we believe we have to build our own lives. So opportunities come along and we take them, even if we have to compromise our integrity because we think we’re by ourselves. In fact, this is the person that loves the Bible verse that says, “God helps those who help themselves.” You know that Bible verse, right? Do you have it memorized? Do you know where it is in the Bible? No. That’s not a Bible verse. Come on. That’s not in the Bible. It doesn’t say, “God helps those who help themselves.” There’s a whole lot of verses, though, that says, “God helps those who wait upon Him.” An example of this would be Abraham.

God comes to Abraham and He promises him he will have a son that will bless the world. And years go by and God hasn’t delivered on that promise. And so Abraham goes into self-sufficiency mode. He takes it into his own hands and he sleeps with his wife’s maidservant, Hagar. They have a son, Ishmael, who becomes a problem for the rest of his life and he really compromises his integrity for self-sufficiency. He doesn’t wait on the Lord, okay? The third one is fear of man. We can compromise our integrity for fear of men. When we’re concerned about what other people think about us more than what God thinks about us. And we can allow other people to dictate or determine the course or the direction of our lives. This is Proverbs 29:25. The fear of man will prove to be a snare. The fear of man will always be a snare that binds you and entangles you. It becomes a trap. And I think in particular, businessmen and students can really struggle with fear of man because we’re worried about our reputation. We’re worried about what other people will think about us so we’ll compromise our integrity.

A great example of this would be Aaron. Remember when Moses goes up on the mountain to meet with God and the presence of God is hanging in there in a cloud and Moses is meeting with him and Aaron is down with the people. And they come to Aaron and they say, “Aaron, we don’t know what’s happened to Moses, so build us a god that we can worship.” And Aaron is more concerned with what people think about him than what God thinks about him. So he builds the golden calf and the people begin to worship it. And what I think is amazing in that moment is even in the midst of the presence of God, Aaron is swayed by the fear of man. The presence of God is hanging right there in the cloud and he’s swayed by the fear of man. I wonder how many times even in the midst of the presence of God when we’re gathered together, we can be swayed by the fear of man and compromise our integrity. And the last one is this, the fear of condemnation. The fear of condemnation, we can be afraid of being condemned, of being exposed or found out, being guilty, ashamed, embarrassed, getting rejection or having some kind of punishment. And an example of this would be David, right? He takes Bathsheba, another man’s wife, and sleeps with her out of self-satisfaction. That’s how it starts.

But instead of stopping it there, he’s now afraid of condemnation. He’s afraid of being exposed. So he takes her husband. He gets him drunk. He ultimately has him killed. He becomes a deceiver and a liar. All because he’s afraid of being condemned, of being exposed. And while we all struggle with those four root issues, I bet you there’s one in your life that’s probably stronger than the others that you struggle with more than the other ones. And the problem with sin or lack of integrity is this, sin will always take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay. That’s sin. It’ll take you further than you ever thought you would go, it will keep you longer than you ever wanted to stay. It’ll cost you more than you ever wanted to pay. Sin always leads to more sin. And it’s really easy for you and I to justify lack of integrity or compromise. We say it’s no big deal. It’s just a small thing. Well, it may be a small thing but it’s like a small snowball on the top of a mountain.

And as that snowball begins to roll down the hill, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And before you know it, it turns into an avalanche and destroys everyone and everything in its path. You see, the problem with sin is sin will always lead you to secrets. And when you have secrets in your life, your entire life, your entire life’s purpose is to protect those secrets, to cover and mask and hide and erase which is an exhausting way to live. I mean, Proverbs 10:9 says, “The man of integrity walks securely. But he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” If you walk with integrity, you’re secured. You have nothing to fear. You have nothing to be exposed or to be found out in your life. But if you take crooked paths, you will be exposed. Eventually, you’ll be found out. In fact, we all know that horrible feeling, right, when you’ve done something wrong and you’re afraid of being discovered, you know what that feels like? Come on. I know it’s raining today, but that’s okay. You could still talk to me. You know that feeling, right? If you did something wrong and you’re afraid of being exposed.

Like all of a sudden, your phone rings. You’re like, “Oh, why are they calling me? Did they know of — did they figure it out.” And you answer your phone. You’re like, “Hello.” The person is like, “Hey.” You’re like, “Why are you calling me?” Like, “Just to say happy birthday, man. Why are you so jittery? What’s going –” Oh, okay, you know. Or when you have eaten all of the cookies at home that you weren’t supposed to eat and you’re afraid of being discovered even though the chocolate is still on your mouth, or how about this one. Have you ever spent more money that you were supposed to spend? And you come back home and someone asks you, “Oh, how much money did you spend?” And you say, “Oh, around 50. Around 50.” You forget to add the 200 in front of the 50. But you know, it’s — don’t look in the bag. I don’t want you to look in the bag, you know. Or like you scratched the left side of the car and for the next six months, you want to open the door in the right side to let everybody in. We’re afraid of being exposed and we know that feeling. And while those are silly little examples, what about the more serious ones?

Like trying to delete our Internet history or hiding the substances that we’re addicted to or trying to cover our tracks? You see, the problem with secrets is secrets empower condemnation. Secrets empower condemnation. If you have a secret in your life, you are literally in alignment or in agreement with Satan. And when you’re in alignment and agreement with Satan, you empower him to bring guilt, shame and condemnation into your life. And you might sit there and say, “Well, no.” Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s absolutely true when we bring it into the light. But so long as it’s in the darkness, we’re empowering condemnation. Remember, Satan is the king of the kingdom of darkness. So his whole goal is to get you to keep even the smallest little of compromises in the darkness because as long as it’s in the dark, you’re empowering him. You’re empowering condemnation over your life. In fact, his name Satan, it literally means the accuser.

It’s what his name literally means, the accuser. And how many of you know, Satan is really good at accusing. He’s really good at telling you who you are and who you aren’t and what you did and what you should have done. And better not tell them this because they won’t love you anymore if they find out about that, and all those different kinds of things. I mean, think of Joseph for a moment. If he would have given into this compromise and slept with this woman, he would’ve had a secret he would’ve had kept. And the moment he would’ve had a secret, he would’ve empowered her and he would’ve empowered condemnation over his life. If he would’ve slept with her, she is now in an authoritative position over his life because she knows something that could expose him. So now, he is enslaved to her and he’s also enslaved to condemnation. Every time he’s in Potiphar’s house or sees her, the spirit of condemnation is going to be attacking him. And the same is true with you and I when we compromise our integrity, we literally enslave ourselves to someone or to something. And that weight of condemnation just starts to tear us apart. I mean, the whole reason God wants you and I to live with integrity is because He wants us to live free.

He’s not trying to make your life miserable. He wants you to live in freedom. I mean, did you ever see somebody that’s got a big secret in their life? Did you ever watch how it destroys them. I mean, this weight of condemnation is on their shoulders. In fact, the Bible says condemnation is death, so it starts to literally bring death. They literally age. They physically look different. They become haggard, all because of condemnation that they are empowering by keeping a secret. And if you hold on to a secret, what you’re doing is you’re choosing to remember sin, that in Jesus, God has already forgotten. If you hold on to a secret in your life, you are choosing to remember sin, that in Jesus, God has already forgotten, because Hebrews 8:12 tells us, “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” And so to have a secret, you are constantly protecting that secret, so you’re constantly reminding yourself of sin, that in Jesus, God has already forgotten, okay?

So secrets empower condemnation, but on the other hand, transparency empowers freedom or confession empowers forgiveness. 1 John 1 says this, it says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. In other words, if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus forgives and frees and redeems any amount of brokenness in our lives. Satan’s whole goal is to keep you — to keep it in the dark, because in the dark, it breeds, it festers, it grows. It’s like mold. It becomes toxic. But the moment you bring it into the light, the light of Jesus neutralizes it and it loses power in your life. I remember a few weeks ago, somebody random, I was in conversation with them.

And they said to me, they said, “Hey, isn’t is it so hard to get up there and share like your brokenness and your failures and your mistakes with thousands of people every week? Like isn’t that so hard?” And the question kind of caught me off guard. So I had to think about it for a second and I was like, “Actually, no.” I said, “Because when I share my failures, what I’m doing is I’m bringing things out of the darkness into the light. And the moment I bring it into the light, I become free and it loses power over my life. Every bit of vulnerability and transparency and honesty of my own brokenness that I share with you, literally, I’m bringing it in to the light and it’s neutralized by the blood of Jesus. All of a sudden, I’m free and that thing has no more authority over my life. And you’ll hear people say things like this all the time, they’ll say, “Oh I’m just too embarrassed to share that of my life with anyone else.” Okay. Timeout. The fact that you just said I’m embarrassed proves that you’re empowering condemnation, because I’m not embarrassed of anything that Jesus has set me free from.

I’m not embarrassed to be free in Jesus. So if there’s a part of your story that you’re afraid to share, what that’s communicating to you is that’s a place of bondage in your own life. Some level of secret that you want to keep, that’s empowering condemnation over you. You see, the truth is, is that you can look like you have it all together or you can live in freedom but you can’t have both. And so the choice is yours. You want to look like you’re perfect and you got it all together or you want to be free. I think a lot of us, we prefer secret condemnation over transparent freedom. And the reality of integrity is this, integrity isn’t whether or not I have made a mistake, it’s what I do once I have. That’s integrity. It’s not whether or not you make a mistake, it’s what you do once you have. In fact, I’ll say it to you like this, it’s okay to struggle. It’s not okay to lie about it, okay? It’s okay to struggle. Proverbs 24:6, as though the righteous man falls seven times, he gets up again. The righteous man. The man in Jesus who is walking with God.

Though he falls seven times, you realize you will fall, right? Hello? You realize you will fall. Some of you are like, not me. Yes. I know. Shocking. You will fall. The question is, what do you do once you have fallen? It’s okay to struggle. It’s not okay to lie about it. I tell our staff and my kids that all the time, because to lie about it says you don’t want help. It’s a spirit of pride. You want to keep a secret and God’s grace can’t help the prideful heart. I mean, think of religion for a second. You know what religion tells you? Religion tells you it’s not okay to struggle so lie about it. That’s the message of religion. It’s not okay to struggle so you better lie about it. Like have you ever been in a church or grew up in a church that believe that? Like it’s not okay to struggle. So you better put some lipstick on that puppy. You better figure out how to smile. You better cover that thing up because we don’t want to see the junk in your trunk. I’m just telling you right now.

It’s back there. It’s not okay to struggle. You better lie about it. Listen to me, Valley Creek Church, look at me, it is okay to struggle. It is okay to struggle in this church. It is okay to come into this place with doubts and questions and fears and failures and mistakes and sins. It’s okay to struggle. Let’s just not lie about it. Let’s not keep it in the darkness. Let’s bring it into the light, because maybe if we would confess more temptation, we wouldn’t have to confess as much sin. Maybe if we could confess more temptation, we wouldn’t have to hide as many secrets. It’s okay to struggle. Let’s just not lie about it. I mean, that’s what Jesus says. He says, “It’s okay to struggle.” He says, “Come to me.” I mean, you’ll never find one person in the Bible that Jesus condemned that had an open struggle. The adulteresses, the tax collectors, the prostitute, those that were sinners. They had open struggles and Jesus went right into their life and it was his light that healed their darkness because they were honest about their struggles.

You know, who He challenged? The Pharisees, the religious people that acted like they didn’t have any struggles and lied about it, kept it in the dark. So Jesus challenged them hard because He was pushing on them to bring it out of the darkness into the light so He could set them free. Hebrews 4:16, therefore let us boldly approach the throne of grace in our time of need that we may have mercy. Let’s be honest about it. Or James 5:16, let us confess our sins to each other that we may be healed, not forgiven, that’s in Jesus. Healed, out of the darkness into the light, it’s neutralized. So the question I would ask you is, is there a secret sin or secrets or some level of compromise of integrity somewhere in the darkness in your life? Don’t let a little snowball turn into an avalanche that destroys everything. Let’s bring it out of the darkness into the light because His grace is greater than your secrets, okay?

Are you with me so far? I told you this was going to be a little uncomfortable and it is okay. We’re finding freedom in Jesus, okay? Now, look with me at verse 8. Verse 8, here is what Joseph says, I think this is just such the key of this passage. It says, “But he refused. ‘With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?'” Okay. Let me try to explain this to you. This is the key of Joseph’s victory in this passage, and here is what we learned. It’s basically, integrity is all about stewardship. Integrity is all about stewardship. Joseph’s response is to talk about his master. He says, “My master has entrusted everything into my care.”

He understands that he doesn’t own anything. He is a steward of everything. And in this moment when he’s confronted with his temptation, his response is not to talk about can I, can’t I, should I, shouldn’t I, is this right, is this wrong, will I get caught, will I not. No. His response is to talk about stewardship. You see, what Joseph understood is that he had been bought and paid for with a price by his master. That his master literally bought him from slave traders. That his master handpicked him and wanted him and brought him into his family and paid a great price for him and entrusted him with everything. And what Joseph understood is that everything he had, he didn’t deserve. It was a gift from his master and because he understood that, his desire to please his master was greater than his desire to please himself. That’s called grace. It was the trust of the master that empowered him to live with integrity. And the same is true for you and I. You see, you will never be able to live with integrity until you believe that everything in your life is a gift from God to be stewarded for his glory.

Never. It’s impossible to live with integrity until you believe that everything in your life is a gift from God given to you to be stewarded for his glory because if you don’t believe that, what you’re going to do is you’re going to evaluate everything as if it’s yours. Is this good for me, how will I gain, how will I benefit out of this moment, which will always lead to a compromise of integrity. But a steward thinks about the glory of their master. You see, like Joseph, you’ve been bought and paid for with a price. Your master has literally bought you from slave traders, handpicked you and chose you out of a lineup and paid a great price to bring you into his family, into his home and everything you have has been given to you by him. And when you start to understand that, your desire to please him becomes greater than your desire to please yourself. That’s the message of grace. That’s the gospel.

Titus 2:12 says, “Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and live upright and self-controlled and godly lives, full of integrity, in this age eager to do what is good.” That’s what grace does. You see, a steward doesn’t make a decision based on can I, can’t I, should I, shouldn’t I, is that right, is it wrong. That’s how slaves make decisions. Slaves make decisions, am I going to get caught or not. In fact, that’s why the Bible tells us that the strength of sin is the law. The more you try to keep the law in the Bible, the more you strive for that, the right or wrong, the more you find yourself failing and not doing the very thing that you want to do, that’s how a slave thinks. But a steward thinks of the glory of their master and realizes that the undeserved favor of grace is the very thing that supernaturally empowers them to live with integrity. To live with integrity is to be a good steward, to be a good steward is to live with integrity. It’s the trust of our master that empowers us to live for him.

Does that make sense to you? See, everything in your life has been given to you by God. Your job, your finances, your house, your car, your relationships, your marriage, your opportunities, your situations, your temptations. It’s all been given to you by Him to be stewarded for his glory, not your gain. And when you start to understand that he bought you from slave traders, all of the sudden when your hand reaches for what it’s not supposed to, when your mind is wrapped around what it’s not supposed to be thinking about, when your feet want to go somewhere they shouldn’t go, when your words want to say something they’re not supposed to say, you stop and remind yourself, I’m a steward and this is for his glory. Like that business deal, this relationship, my finances, those quiet moments, this is for his glory, not my gain and my master cares more about the means than he does about the end. So how I live in the situation matters. You see, this whole thing for Joseph was a test. It was a test.

If he could be faithful to be entrusted with his master’s wife, he could be entrusted with all of Egypt, which was ultimately his destiny, to be the number two in all of Egypt. But if he couldn’t be faithful with his master’s wife, how could he be entrusted with Egypt. And really, that’s a prophetic picture for us as the church. The word Egypt in the Bible, it literally is a reference to the world. And if we will be faithful with our master’s wife, the bride of Christ, the church, he will entrust us with the world. If we will be faithful with our master’s wife, the bride of Christ, love her, cherish her, honor her, protect her, provide for her, he will entrust us with the world. But if we can’t be faithful with our master’s wife and we abuse her, use her, see this is as our own gain, this thing to use it for our own glory, then He can’t entrust us with the world. You see, like Joseph, it’s a test for you, every opportunity, situation, temptation is an opportunity for you to glorify him where He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share in your master’s happiness. You have been faithful or had integrity, stewarded well little things. I will give you even greater things.”

And I’m convinced if we understood the great things that God had in store for us, we would never compromise integrity for short-term gain. Because all of Egypt is waiting for Joseph. What’s waiting for you? Are you with me? Can you feel the uncomfortableness? Because when we talk about integrity, what we start doing is starting to protect ourselves. The moment you feel exposed, the moment you feel like you’re about to be found out, all of the sudden, you go into shelter mode and you try to hide your heart, guard yourself, try to slump down behind the person in front of you, which is a bomber for the people in the risers because you can’t really get by in the chair that’s in front of you, you know, because we’re afraid of being exposed, but that’s not the point. I mean, I was thinking about this week. I was thinking about Judas. Do you remember Judas?

One of Jesus’s 12 disciples. It didn’t work out all that well for him in the end, Judas. And what it says about Judas is that, Judas was entrusted with the money bag. In other words, Jesus gave Judas the money bag. The money that they used for the ministry, for Jesus and the disciples. And it says, “Judas stole money from the money bag.” So catch it, Jesus has entrusted Judas with the money bag and He knows Judas is stealing money from the money bag, but He lets him keep it, which, can you imagine if Peter and John would’ve found out that Judas was taking money from the money bag? I’m just telling you, I wish that chapter was in the Bible because it would be awesome to read. They would’ve been furious. They would wanted him kicked out, pay it back, figure it out. All of these kinds of stuff, which is just a reminder to me. It’s amazing that when other people struggle with integrity, how we want justice for them, but when we struggle with integrity, we want mercy for us. It’s amazing how we’re a whole lot more concerned with people messing up than God is and it’s amazing that He’s a whole lot more interested in people being free than we are.

So He gives Judas the money bag and Judas is stealing from the money bag. And in my mind, I wonder if every time Jesus did something like multiplied the bread and loaves to feed 5,000 people or had the coin come out of the fish’s mouth to pay the temple tax or Zacchaeus gets saved and gives half of all of he has away to the poor. I wonder if every time if Jesus looked over and made eye contact with Judas to look at him to say like, “Judas, do you see? Are you getting it? Are you seeing my goodness that I will provide and take care of you?” I wonder if every time Jesus forgave the sinful woman, the adulterous, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the leper. I wonder if every time He looked at Judas to say, “Judas, do you see how gracious I am and how forgiving I am? Will you please bring that thing out of the darkness, into the light that I can forgive you the way I just forgave them?” You see, what I think God does is he entrusts us with things that expose realities in our hearts.

Like why did Jesus give Judas the money bag and not to Thomas or Matthew? Because it was in a stronghold in Judas’s heart that Jesus wanted to free. And so He gives us things that expose brokenness inside of us and then He starts moving around our lives, providing and doing miracles and showing his goodness and his forgiveness and his grace all around us as if to say, “Are you seeing it yet? Do you trust me yet? Will you bring it out of the darkness and into the light? Do you see my goodness?” Because He wants to set us free. I mean, imagine if Jesus would’ve confessed to Jesus’s temptation. How different the story would have been, but he didn’t. But he didn’t. So a little snowball, taking a few coins out of a money bag turned into this mess of avalanche where Judas ultimately sells Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver and ends up hanging himself. He didn’t ever see the money bag as something to steward, he saw it to something to be used. He didn’t see it for God’s glory. He saw it as for his own gain.

And ultimately, Judas’s problem is our problem, he didn’t trust in the goodness of his master, which is our issue. And it’s almost laughable if you think about it, like Judas is stealing money from a money bag that Jesus gave him. You’re like, “Judas, you’re stealing from Jesus, man.” Like he knows people’s thoughts. Like you’re not going to hide a secret on Him. And then the better paradox is this, what did Judas need money for when he was hanging out with Jesus. Like was he trying to get an ice cream on the side, you know. Like, “I’ll catch up to you guys. It’s a hot day. I got to tie my shoe. Get an ice cream. Quick.” You know, like what does he need money for? He’s crazy. And yet you think about the things that you and I do to compromise our integrity with our master right there in front of us and you’re saying, “Really?” You have your master and he has everything that you will ever need. You see, the way the story ends is this. It’s Joseph ends up in prison. And he rises up to become the number two in all of prison, which just reminds us that you’re responsible to steward, that which you have been entrusted to, you’re not responsible for how people choose to respond.

And even if people put you down, God will raise you up somewhere else because no one can stop the favor of God on your life. So he’s raised up to a new place. And I realize talking about integrity, this thing — whole thing makes us uncomfortable. And I haven’t even told you the good part yet. So let me tell you the good part to release all of the tension and the balloon in the room, okay? Because here is the deal, if you hang out here for any period of time, you know I don’t spend a lot of time talking about sin. We spend a whole lot of time talking about grace, which is really what I’m talking about in this message. You just haven’t seen it that way yet, okay? At the end of Jesus’s life, He’s brought before a Pilate. And he’s brought before a Pilate and the Pilate examines Jesus. He looks over Jesus in every way, shape or form, trying to find something wrong with Jesus to accuse him of. But after examining Jesus, he probably makes the most prophetic declaration of all time.

He says, “I find no fault in him,” which is really a picture of the Old Testament. You see, in the Old Testament, sacrificial system, if you had sin in your life, you would bring a lamb and you would get it to the priest. And the priest would take it and look at it and examine it and turn it over and look for blemishes and wrinkles and spots. The priest didn’t spend any time looking at the person. He didn’t examine the person for their sin, big or small. That didn’t matter at this point. What mattered was, was the lamb spotless. And after the priest would examine it, if it was spotless, he would hold it up and say, I find no fault in it, which means it’s acceptable for sacrifices, for the forgiveness of the people’s sins. So when Pilate declares, “I find no fault in him.” He is saying this is an acceptable sacrifice for the forgiveness of the people’s sins. No lack of integrity in Jesus. So when they take Jesus and they hang Him on the cross, in that moment, Jesus was accused of your failures, so you could live in the freedom of his purity.

In that moment, He was accused of every failure you’ve ever had, every moment of adultery and lust and greed and lying and cheating and stealing and manipulation and deception. And when you go to a restaurant and you order a water, but then you fill it up with soda, anyways. If you’re laughing, it means you’ve done it. Thank goodness, Jesus was accused of our failures so we could live in the freedom of his purity. No longer am I defined by my lack of integrity. I’m defined by his integrity. That if integrity is doing the right thing, if it cost you everything, that Jesus was full of integrity because he did the right thing and it cost him everything. And now, in Jesus, we have everything so we can do the right things. You see, this whole message, this whole message is not about doing anything. This is not about trying harder, being better, acting different, figuring it out.

That’s why I’m telling you, I — like all weekend as I’ve preached it, I just watched people slump lower and lower in their chairs as you’re going. And it’s like you’re waiting for the sledge hammer of condemnation to come down upon you, but that’s not the gospel. The gospel creates tension and reminds us of our failures and then brings us to this moment of freedom, of who we are in Jesus. It’s not about doing things. It’s about believing the right things. It’s about believing that in Jesus, I have been crucified with Christ, dead and buried. My integrity issues are buried with the death of Jesus and I’ve been raised to a new life in Him. It’s about believing. For as John 4:17, that as He is so we are and He is full of integrity, which means that now I am full of integrity. It’s about believing. 2 Corinthians 5:21, that God made Jesus, who knew no lack of integrity, to be lack of integrity for us so that in Him, we could become people of integrity. You see, when you’re in Jesus, the Father looks at you and He says, “I find no fault in you,” which means we’re not trying to become people of integrity. It means we already are people of integrity in Jesus.

And because that’s who we are, that’s how we can now live. When you, by faith, believe, every moment of lack of integrity, past, present and future in your life was satisfied at the cross with the perfect, spotless lamb, then by faith, you start to live that way. But if you constantly live with secrets and condemnation and you believe in your mind that you are not a person of integrity, then by faith, you will keep being a person that’s living without integrity, because who you believe you are will always determine what you do. And in Jesus, the Father says, “I find no fault in you.”

You already are a person of integrity in Jesus. It’s that grace that empowers us to live that way, that our master has bought and paid for us with a price. He’s taken us out of the life of slavery, brought us into his home, into his family and given us everything to steward for his glory. And when we get that, we don’t desire that stuff for us anymore. We desire it for Him. It changes everything. That’s the good news. So we–

Close your eyes with me for a second. It’s so good it’s hard to believe, and that’s the gospel. That’s why Joseph was able to walk away from Potiphar’s wife because what Potiphar did for him is an example of what Jesus did for us, undeserved favor, grace, supernatural empowerment.

And it all starts by putting our faith in Jesus. And so maybe you’re here today and you would look at the train of your life and you would say it’s full of thousands of moments without integrity. Okay. Well, here is what I would say to you, and today, choose to put your faith in Jesus. That Jesus, I receive you in to my life, your finished work and what You did and I give You my life. I’ll let you take all of the failures of my life and I take all of the purity of yours. Give me a revelation of that truth and I will follow you from this day forward. You see, if you have secrets or dark things in your life, it’s time to bring them out of the darkness and into the light. The blood of Jesus neutralizes it when you bring it into the light. He heals you. He frees you. He redeems you.

And some of you are saying, “Yeah, but there’s going to be consequences and rejection and pain.” And while there may be some consequences and relational dynamics, while there may be some pain involved, remember, God will work all things together for the good of those who love Him. And living in freedom is always better than living under the umbrella of condemnation. He will be with you and He will honor you and He will walk with you as you bring it out of the darkness into the light. In fact, Holy Spirit, I just pray that you would put something in our hearts right now. Show us where we’ve been living in the condemnation or falling in temptation or lack of integrity. And then Holy Spirit, may we hear the Father’s voice say, “I find no fault in you.”

You are forgiven and redeemed. And when you understand that, you never want to go back to the old way of life. You want to live in the light and in the love of Jesus. So Lord Jesus, I just pray that you would teach us to be good stewards, that we’d understand that we’ve been bought and paid for with a great prize brought into your family and empowered and entrusted with everything that’s meant to give you glory. That’s our purpose. Our purpose is to steward things for your glory, not to hide and protect secrets. And so may we find that freedom in you. May we believe in the finished work of the cross of Jesus, that because there was nothing wrong with Jesus. Now in Him, you say there is nothing wrong with us, that we are free and redeemed. May we believe this gospel of grace as it watches us over our hearts and we would understand our identity and that would change the way we live.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that when we gather in church, we don’t have to pretend like there is nothing wrong, like we have no struggles and we don’t have to fear the sledgehammer of condemnation because the sledgehammer of condemnation was used on the spikes that were driven into the nails of the hands and the feet of Jesus. And now, what we get is the loving embrace of the Father. Can you receive that church? Can you believe the church is a place not to feel guilty and ashamed? It’s a place to find freedom and love in Jesus.

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