"THE LEADER'S INTEGRITY."
Intro. One of the most important treasures that you possess is your integrity. You need to guard it as a precious jewel. The lack of integrity has put many a minister on the sidelines. It is the highest honor to be called by God and be used by God to bring the love and work of God to the people.
I. OUR OCCUPATION IS FRAUGHT WITH DANGERS.
A. The danger of taking glory for what the Lord has done.
1. God wants to work in the lives of people.
2. God has chosen to use human instruments to do His work.
3. People often have difficulty separating the work of God from the instrument that God used to do the work, and seek to give glory to the instrument.
4. There is a real danger of taking that glory.
5. The story of Peter at the house of Cornelius.
a. When Peter arrived, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshipped him.
b. People cannot see God, but they can see you, the one God used to touch them. The tendency is often to worship the instrument.
c. It is a very heady thing to have people worshipping you.
d. Our corrupt flesh gets quite a thrill from being worshipped.
e. We must take great care of not encouraging or receiving that worship.
f. Paul said that he beat his body to keep it under, lest having preached to others, he be cast aside, put on the shelf.
g. It is instinctive in man to worship. That is as innate as breathing.
h. Moses warned the people:
When you look up into the sky and see the sun, and moon and stars, the vast universe, and you are driven to worship them.
i. People have to worship something, it is built in. Dr. Drummend in his book "The Natural Universe" said that within the very protoplasm of man there are those little tentacles that are reaching out for Father God.
j. We see how modern man continues to worship the stars, movie stars, T.V. stars, football stars, basketball stars, rock stars.
k. Peter's response was to lift the man to his feet and say, "Stand up, I am a man."
6. When Satan promised Jesus that he would give to Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them if Jesus would just bow down and worship Him, Jesus replied with the scripture, "You shall worship the Lord thy God and Him only."
7. Paul spoke of the folly of man who professing himself to be wise yet he became a fool and it was manifested in the fact that he worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.
a. People do that today. We often refer to them as tree huggers.
b. Out in California we even have a fly now that is on the endangered list. So you have to be careful when you swat a fly, it might be protected by the government.
8. The Bible tells us that God remembers our frame that we are but dust. It is important that you remember that too. Because the way people treat us, we sometimes forget.
9. Paul asked:
For who made you different from anyone else? And what do you have that was not given to you, and if it was given to you, why do you glory as though it is something of you and not a gift?
a. Anything that you might have done for someone that brought them a blessing, was God's gift to them through you. Why do you act as though you had bestowed the gift on them.
b. I am just a man, how important to remember that.
c. Remember what happened to King Herod when he,as making an oration to the men of Tyre, and they began to cry out, "It is the the voice of God and not of man." And the angel of the Lord smote him and he died and was eaten of worms.
d. Do not be deceived because God is so patient.
1. Some mistake the patience of God as impotence, that God can't stop them.
2. Others mistake it as ignorance, that God doesn't know.
3. Still others as apathy, that God doesn't care.
4. Worst of all as approval, that God's approval is on their lives.
e. One day as they stand before Jesus and say, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name cast out devils, and did many wonderful works?"
f. They will hear His words, "I never knew you, depart from Me you workers of iniquity."
10. We all long for God to work through our lives, but are we able to resist the temptation to take the glory that people will seek to heap upon us?
11. Success can be one of the greatest dangers to your ministry and has destroyed many a once great minister.
12. History is replete with examples.
B. The danger of financially capitalizing on the ministry.
1. Nehemiah tells of his not using his position to his own financial advantage as did his predecessors.
2. People are often very moved with gratitude toward God because of some miracle of God in their life.
a. Back in the Hippy era, a wealthy businessman came to the office and laid his checkbook on the table, and asked how much do you want?
b. I do not like to see people give emotionally.
c. Some churches strategize as to the best time to take the offering in the service. They will often pick a time when the emotions of the people have been stirred. Or they will tell some emotional story emphasizing the need, then take the offering.
d. At our church we receive the offering, never take an offering, and it is done at the dullest part of the service, just after the announcements.
3. Nehemiah said the reason he was so careful about the finances is that he feared God.
a. This is the heart of the problem with many ministers, there is no fear of God in their hearts.
b. If that truly had the fear of God, they could not do the things they do.
4. It seems to me that we are always looking for some kind of monetary reward for our service for the Lord.
a. Some joker sent a letter to Rev. Ike saying that I wanted him to come and speak for me at Calvary Chapel.
b. I received a letter from him saying that he would be glad to come. He required fist-class airline tickets for himself and three aides, five-star hotel accommodations, and a $10,000 check to his ministry.
c. I have received letters from musicians which are almost that extreme.
d. The Lord spoke through Malachi the prophet saying: MAL 1:10
Who [is there] among you that would shut the doors without pay, neither do you kindle the fire on My altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
e. Whatever happened to the command of the Lord, "Freely you have received, freely give?"
5. In the early years of my ministry I moved to Corona, California. I was a little short on cash so I went to the bank for a $100 loan to cover my moving costs.
a. The bank manager was named Sedecor and I remember him telling me that ministers were the greatest loan risks, that they were unreliable in their repayments.
b. You can be sure that I made every payment early, and after that whenever I needed money, I only had to sign a note and he loaned me the money, no questions asked.
c. I believe that we have put much too much emphasis on money in the ministry. I believe that it is still true, when God guides God provides.
II. THE PASTOR SHOULD BE A MAN OF HIGHEST INTEGRITY.
A. I am a representative of my King.
B. People are going to judge my King by how I represent Him.
C. Paul told the Corinthians that he did not need letters of commendation, that his letters were known and read of all men.