February 5, 2017
Stetson Memorial UMC
Adapted from Marcia McPhee’
“Who Are You?” Sermon Series
Psalm 1:1-3 CEB
Isaiah 58:6-11 TLB
Jeremiah 17:7-8 TLB
Matthew 5:13-16 TLB
“Who are you” by The Who
“Springs of Salt Water…”
Prayer that God’s Word is heard through me or in-spite of me…
Please stand for the reading of the Gospel St. Matthew, chapter 5, verses 13 through 16. Listen to the Word of God, His Love Letter to His beloved, you and I…Read Matthew from the Living Bible.
“Who are you” theme song…
- Moral or ethical strength:
character, fiber, honesty, principle.
- The quality of being honest:
honesty, honor, honorableness, incorruptibility, upstandingness.
- The condition of being free from defects or flaws:
durability, firmness, solidity, soundness, stability, strength, wholeness.
- The state of being entirely whole:
completeness, entirety, oneness, totality, wholeness.
Who in your life embodies integrity to you? I know when I think of someone, I don’t think of the word integrity. I may think of someone’s honesty or if they are true to their word. I also know with myself when someone doesn’t act with integrity with me I just don’t trust them. We all want to be trust worthy but how do we really do on that scale. How trust worthy are you and I even in the small thigs…let alone the big things in life? Does God consider us trustworthy? Speak from the Spirit…
God’s promises and truths, can be very hard to understand if we don’t realize who we are in Christ Jesus. Who are we really…how does God equip us…what are we supposed to do…? We have begun to look at who we are in Christ…we have begun a deep journey into these questions and more. I truly believe that we all want to become the “you” God wants us to be. Let’s see what transformation happens as we become who God says we are and not who the world thinks we are.
On our journey, we have discovered one fact…you and I are God’s beloved. You and I are cherished, favored, and loved by God. Even in this world of rejection and exclusiveness, there is One who never reject us…flaws and all…no matter how far we may fall. We have gone to the river with Jesus and remembered our baptism and the promise found there. We are striving to live that life of acceptance and grace so that we can extend that same grace to others.
We talked about the different names that we go by, how we are identified.
We are the beloved of God…if we choose to accept and believe… We are also honored by bearing Jesus Christ’s name when we call ourselves “Christ”ians…what a thought that is… God has called us to an extraordinary purpose that only you or I can fulfill. As we find our niche…we become an example for those who are looking for a better way…
But my question is how is our integrity with the things of God and man? How do we become the trustworthy person we want to be if we are lacking in that part of our Christ like character? We cannot be called trustworthy if we don’t act with integrity…to be honorable with those around us. We need to be that light of integrity on a world full of selfishness and greed. I think it is kind of ironic that this is scouting Sunday. Their organization is all about integrity and honor…and a child shall lead them.
The Matthew I read this morning is all about being honorable and acting with honor. You can’t be salt or light for the world if you are untrustworthy. Who would want to listen to you and I if we don’t act with integrity? Would you and I want to listen to someone talk about God and how we are to act if the person was not honorable?
The scripture I read this morning is one that can guide us to be honorable. As we are salt…seasoning…and light to the world we bring honor to God. I think that goes for everything we do. If we are not acting Godly…we are not giving honor to God or the name we have been given…Christian. If we lose our salt…if we are not seasoning the bland world with God…giving it a taste so they will want to see…what would happen to the world?
In Isaiah 58:6-11, we hear that the trouble with being honorable has been around for a long time. The people were thinking that they just had to bring their offering to the temple and fast to please God…how many people who are called Christians feel that all they need to give their offering and come to church and then they are all set. They have “fulfilled” their “obligation” to and for God? But God was and is asking for something completely different…listen to what God really wants…heard some of it in Micah 6:8 – He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God…Read the Isaiah 58:
6 No, the kind of fast I want is that you stop oppressing those who work for you and treat them fairly and give them what they earn. 7 I want you to share your food with the hungry and bring right into your own homes those who are helpless, poor, and destitute. Clothe those who are cold, and don’t hide from relatives who need your help.
8 If you do these things, God will shed his own glorious light upon you. He will heal you; your godliness will lead you forward, goodness will be a shield before you, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind. 9 Then, when you call, the Lord will answer. “Yes, I am here,” he will quickly reply. All you need to do is to stop oppressing the weak and stop making false accusations and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry! Help those in trouble! Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you shall be as bright as day. 11 And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy you with all good things, and keep you healthy too; and you will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
We are guided, in all things good, by God’s Spirit and we will also be well watered…our lives will be well watered…from and by the river of grace. This is what happens when we walk in integrity to and with the world around us that is depraved and oh so very dark. As we trust in God and walk humbly with integrity we will be that tree that has those long, strong, roots that are buried deep in the river of God that doesn’t worry. We will produce the fruit of a life of integrity. (Jeremiah 17:1-8)
Need more proof of that life of integrity and it’s fruit?
Proverbs 2:6-8New International Version (NIV)
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.
Man’s Plea and God’s defense because of having integrity:
Job 2:3New International Version (NIV)
3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”
Walking with integrity:
Titus 2:7-8Common English Bible (CEB)
7 in every way. Offer yourself as a role model of good actions. Show integrity, seriousness, 8 and a sound message that is above criticism when you teach, so that any opponent will be ashamed because they won’t find anything bad to say about us.
Chuck Swindoll once said about integrity…and I love this quote…“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.”
We can live this life if we so choose. As we ground ourselves deep by the streams of living waters we will bear the fruit of integrity. How can we not? Beloved, we need more people of integrity in this world and you and I need to model it to a world that is so needing a role model…we need to be Springs of Salt water…speak from the Spirit…
Who are you? Are we living a life of integrity or one of worldly pleasures? Are we considered honorable or…not so much…? Are you and I being watered by the living, clear water of God or the cesspool of the world? We are called to be the mirror image of our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. How are we doing with that? Are we acting in honorable ways showing our integrity even in the little things or have we let the world’s dishonesty, wickedness and immorality invade our space? It is hard to hold on to our integrity in a world that has gone numb from its acceptance and approval of the “shadiness” of the culture. But what will become of this world if we…if you and I…embrace its way of immorality?
I would like to thank the scouts who came today. I would like a show of hands of those who were scout at one time in their lives…oh by the way…I believe once a scout, always a scout. These kids are our future. How are we going to be examples for them and they are for us? On our honor…we must do our duty…to be honorable not only for our sake but for the future of mankind. What is the Lord requiring from you and I…what is He asking us to do…how will you and I answer the call? How salty are you?
I would like to end my sermon with Psalm 2 verses 1-3. Are you and I living up to who we truly are?
Psalm 1:1-3Common English Bible (CEB)
1 The truly happy person
doesn’t follow wicked advice,
doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.
2 Instead of doing those things,
these persons love the Lord’s Instruction,
and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!
3 They are like a tree replanted by streams of water,
which bears fruit at just the right time
and whose leaves don’t fade.
Whatever they do succeeds.