INTEGRITY IN EVERYDAY LIFE
Job 27:2-5; 31:5-28
Most of us can recall scenes from old movies about World War II involving captured soldiers being interrogated by the enemy for days on end. They were denied food and water and were tortured day and night until many would faint under the pressure and make whatever confession was demanded. However, there was usually one who remained steadfast in his refusal to confess to untrue accusations. His honor was so important to him that he preferred torture and even death, rather than succumb to their wishes. Today, we will look at how Job, a man of tremendous righteousness, withstood the pressure from his three supposed comforters to admit to sin in his life. It was common for people in Job's day to equate troubles to God's punishment and Job's three friends were convinced that with all of Job's troubles, he surely must have sinned against God. They accused, but Job refused to agree with their accusations.
THE CHARGES WON'T STICK: "God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me" [Job 27:5]. Starting in chapter thirty-one, Job will answer all of the charges made by Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. They have insinuated that Job had committed transgressions that brought God's chastisement on him. However, Job knew his own life and mind. He knew that he had not done unjustly before the Almighty. His answer to the three visitors was very clear. He refused to admit that his integrity was compromised. In verses 5 and 6 of the thirty-first chapter, Job restates his stance by saying, "If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit; let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity." A couple of thoughts come to mind from that statement. First is that the knowledge of Job's intent of heart is known by two only? God and Job. Second, the person who has the authority to judge Job's actions and intents is God and God only.
In the following verses of this study Job responds to the charges made against him. He refutes the charges that he has been hypocritical and challenges anyone to specifically bring to remembrance a time when he has shown hypocrisy. He reminds the visitors that no one can recall a time when his actions didn't match his words. He was who he claimed to be and he lived as he said he would.
Starting in verse 9, Job disallows their charge of adultery. He even gives them a sobering challenge. If he has been unfaithful to his wife and it can be proved, then he would offer his wife to another man for punishment. Of course, Job knew that his integrity was such that no man could find evidence or substantiate the charge.
In verses 13 through 15, Job maintains that he cannot be charged with injustice towards others. He takes the defense to the most-likely place of accusation, his servants. He even teaches a strong message of scriptural principle when he said, "Did not he that made me in the womb make him, And did not one fashion us in the womb?" The best test of a person's commitment to being just is in how he treats those who work for him. He was just in his treatment of his servants and even acknowledged that they were equal in God?' eyes, since the Almighty created both.
Lastly, in verses 24 through 28, Job reminds his accusers that he had never been guilty of idolatry. A rich man can certainly be drawn to worship of his riches and possessions. Job mentioned that he had great wealth, but it never interfered with his love and devotion to God. He emphasized this when he said, "Thou art my confidence" [Job 31:24b].
"Do you believe this"
What do you know about the words of Jesus? Each one of us needs to be informed with regard to the importance of His words. The following points will help us:
Jesus teaches that His words must be kept. "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Many claim to love Jesus, but true love for Him is demonstrating by obedience. The obedient are blessed. Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
Jesus teaches that we must not be ashamed of His words. "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory..." (Luke 9:26). Some are guilty of speaking shameful things (cuss words, gossip, lies, etc.) but not Jesus. His words are righteousness and truth.
Jesus teaches that His words will not pass away. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Mark 13:31). Nearly two-thousand years have passed, but the words of Jesus are still as sure as when first spoken.
Jesus teaches that His words will judge us. In John 12:48, Jesus said, "...the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." This short lesson contains just five points about the words of Jesus. Jesus taught many other things, and we are "to observe all things" that He commanded (Matt. 28:20). Things commanded are not optional. We will be judged.
Jesus teaches that the dead will rise at His word. "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth..." (John 5:28-30). All things were created by the words of Jesus (Col. 1:16-17). It should not, then, be thought such as incredible thing that God raises the dead (Acts 26:8).
Let us keep the words of Jesus. They are found in the New Testament. Jesus teaches us to hear (Matt. 7:24-29), believe (Jn. 8:24), repent (Lk. 13:3), confess (Matt. 10:32-33), and be baptized (Mk. 16:16). Thereafter, we must continue to observe the rest His commands (Matt. 28:20). He is then with us "always"!
"Do you believe this? ...Yes, Lord, I believe"! (John 11:26-27)
A work of the Mill Street Church of Christ meeting at 733 Mill Street (across from the Middle School). Phone: 259-4968. Preacher: Joseph Cooper. Service times: Sunday 10 and 10:55 a.m. and 6: p.m. Wednesday at 7 p.m.
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For the living of these days
By: George W. Smith
The vast majority of people go through life not knowing that God loves them, that God has a plan for their lives, that Jesus died on the cross for them, and that they have a free ticket to heaven available to them. The have a hole in their heart that only God can fill. They may call it emptiness, loneliness, boredom, fears, guilt, worry or whatever, but the truth is they need God. We are all made for God and only God can satisfy the longing of our hearts.
As Christians we have an obligation to tell others about Christ once we come to know Him as our Savior. Paul says in Philippians 1:27, "Remember always to live as Christians so that you are standing side by side with one strong purpose to tell the Good News." Three things are noted in this verse. We are to live the Christian life. We are to tell the Good News. We are to do it with other people ("side by side"). We are not to live and tell the Good News alone, but we are to do it with other Christians. We are to help each other in our common mission. "We work together as partners who belong to God" (1 Corinthians 3:9). "Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one" (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
There is a story in the Bible that is recorded in three different books about four men who brought a paralyzed friend to Jesus (Matthew 9, Mark 2 and Luke 5). There are several lessons we can learn from these four men. First, we see their concern for their hurting friend. They had compassion. Whatever we do should flow out of love. "If I have not love I am as sounding brass and tinkling cymbal" (1 Corinthians 13). People need to know that we care. The reason many do not share their faith is because they do not care. Our Christian mission begins with love. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.
These four friends expressed faith that Jesus could help their hurting friend. It was their faith that brought help to the man. The scripture says that when Jesus saw "their faith". There many people that are hurting that don't have the faith. It is our faith that will bring them to Jesus and cause them to receive the help that is needed.
We see persistence in these four men. They did not give up until they got the man into the presence of Jesus. Don't get discouraged with failure in reaching someone the first time. The Bible says, "Let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't get discouraged and give up."
The certainly were innovative and willing to do things differently in order to get their friend to Jesus. They laid back the roof to get the man to Jesus. They showed cooperation. They also were willing to pay a price to get the man into the presence of Jesus. Have you ever thought about who paid for the roof repair?
William Temple said, "The church is the only society that exists for the benefit of non members." We do not exist for us. The church never has. Jesus said, "I didn't come to be served, but to serve." We in the church exist to bring those who do not know Jesus to Him that they may be healed. Let us be like these four men in the Bible and be busy bringing others to Jesus for healing.