11-3-13 Sermon Notes

Sermon Notes, November 3, 2013
Fruit of the Spirit: Goodness and Faithfulness Pt. 2, 1 John 1:5-2:6, 3 John 1-4
We’re going to talk some more about truth and contradictions. About goodness and faithfulness
because they both have to do with integrity. They both have to do with living honestly, living by the
I finished the sermon last week by saying that if you doubt God’s integrity, it destroys your
integrity. That happens at the personal level. At the intellectual level, if you doubt God has given
absolute truth, then you lose the ability to have any truth at all. We live in a day when people claim
there is no such thing as absolute truth. When you destroy the possibility of absolute truth, you
destroy the possibility of any truth. You end up at a place where everybody’s opinion is all we have,
which is exactly where we’re at in our culture today.
When it comes to really being people of integrity, let’s break it down and take a look at it. First
John 1:6: “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by
the truth.” If we say one thing and do another… Remember we said what gives us a definition of
truth is God’s nature, and God’s nature is to be consistent with Himself. Goodness is being sincere
and genuine, the same in public as in private.
In Psalm 15, the psalmist says, “Who will dwell in your presence? He who speaks truth from the
heart.” He who is not one way on the outside and another way on the inside, but somebody who is
the same on the outside and the inside because his heart is true.
William Gurnall, who was a very wise Puritan, said sincerity is marked by newness, plainness,
and sameness. If you’re a sincere person, that means you’re not a hypocrite. What does he mean?
1. First of all, newness.
William Gurnall said the way you can tell you are developing integrity is you know that integrity is a
new thing for you. The only way to know you have any integrity at all is you recognize it’s new.
Real hypocrites have no idea that they are. There has never been an “Aha!” about their life. You
cannot move out of hypocrisy and dishonesty into integrity and honesty unless you can see the
hypocrisy in your life, and you struggle constantly with hypocrisy.
2. Secondly, plainness.
The Puritans used to talk about to be plain means to be open. This is what they meant. A person of
integrity is a person who is open with him or herself and with God and with man.
Openness with God means you’re willing to say, “I’m a sinner.”
Openness with man means you’re willing to take criticism.
Real sincerity and real integrity comes from being open with yourself, being honest with yourself,
looking inside and getting “truth in the inward parts,” the psalmist says. Truth in the inward parts.
It’s a frightening thing to me to see how many people with great knowledge of the Bible are still
guilty of so many of the things that anybody, even non-Christians, certainly can see.
There are Christians who are incredibly vain about not only how they look but who they’re seen
with. There are other Christians who are so abrasive that they cannot share a criticism without being
mean-spirited. There are other Christians who are so incredibly sensitive & get their feelings hurt all
the time so that after a while you just don’t want to come & tell them anything that’s wrong.
But if you are a person of integrity you are willing to let the truth of God’s Word search you and
you’re willing to get truth in the inward parts. Are you a person of integrity?
The reason you have to be open with yourself and open with God and open with man is because
they all happen together. You can’t be open with one without the other. They all have to happen
3. Finally, sameness.
Now what he means by that is a person of integrity is somebody who is the same in every area of
life, in every arena of life. By the same in every area of life it means that some people are really
pretty godly in one area, but in another area they’re terrible. Some people, for example, are one way
in public and in private another way, or vice versa.
The fact is, a Christian says,
“There’s a lack of integrity there. You shouldn’t be moral in one area and not another. You should
not be different with one crowd than another. If I’m going to have any integrity at all I can’t live like
A great illustration is right in the New Testament. It’s in Galatians 2:11ff. The Apostle Peter comes
to Antioch and the Apostle Paul opposes him to his face!
Let me read this.
“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before
certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to
draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to
the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even
Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I
said to Cephas in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew.
How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”
There’s a lack of integrity there. To be a person of integrity means that
You’re not different in different arenas,
Not different in different places,
Not different in different crowds.
You don’t say one thing and do another.
You don’t mean one thing and do another.
4. One last thing here. How do you cultivate truth? 1 John 2:8:
“… Its truth is seen in him & you, because the darkness is passing & the true light is already
1) First of all, honesty with yourself.
The best way to develop a lifestyle of truth is to have a lifestyle of repentance. Martin Luther said all
of life is repentance. That was the first of the 95 theses he nailed to the Wittenberg door to start the
Protestant Reformation. All of life is repentance. You can never get beyond repentance because
repentance is what brings you joy.
2) Secondly, remember that God is all-knowing, sovereign, and gracious.
“We have one who speaks to the Father in our defense.” The reason you can be honest is because
you shouldn’t have anything to hide. God has seen you. He knows everything about you. There are
all kinds of things in your heart that have not popped out yet. There are going to be all kinds of
selfish actions, cowardly actions, impure actions that are still in your heart that you don’t even know
are there.
But God sees them now, and God loves you, because we have an advocate with the Father, one
who speaks for us in our defense. God accepts you through Jesus. There is nothing to hide. You
can’t hide anyway.
It says in Hebrews, “All things are open and naked to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
What a great statement. “With him whom we have to do.” If you’re not hiding in Christ then you’re
going to have to be hiding everything else, but if you’re hiding in Christ, you don’t have to hide
anything else. If you know, that because you’re in Jesus Christ, God sees everything about you,
even the worst, and loves you completely, then there’s nothing you have to hide.
Who cares what anybody else thinks?
The only verdict that counts is His.