Ecc 12:13-14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”
Are you a man or a woman of moral excellence, an individual that wants to excel in everything he does? Even if nobody else knows, that’s all that matters.
God’s approval is more valuable to someone with moral excellence than man’s approval.
Excellence is often thought in light of academics or athletics or the corporate world. An excellent student has several degrees or awards or a good paying job. An excellent athlete has awards, medals, trophies, or a position on a major sports team. The world’s judgement of excellence is based primarily on reputation and recognition.
However, Christians and children of God do not measure by the same standards as the world. Moral excellence must first be born in the heart, convictions. Anyone who exhibits moral excellence will not seek praise for it. A man of moral excellence seeks only to give God glory. He or she wants Jesus to get the glory and honor and praise.
Humility is like a magnet to the Spirit of God.
Isa 66:1-2 “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
To ‘tremble at my word,’ you don’t have the audacity to talk back to God. Apostolic authority is how God flows. To challenge that authority is to repel God rather than attract Him.
Isa 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”
God is attracted to humility.
Psalms 34:18 “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
‘If you want to be chief, you must be servant of all.’
You’re not doing an excellent job if you’re only doing what is required of you, the bare minimum. Moral excellence is going beyond what is expected.
Excellence does not imply average, mediocrity, complacency, just ‘going through the motions.’ Someone who has moral excellence is someone who is exceeding in their morality. Someone with excellence can be trusted to do the job well, every time.
Excellence and integrity go hand in hand.
Prov 2:7 “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.”
A buckler is likened to the hide of a crocodile. If you walk uprightly, God will protect you. If you have integrity, God will take care of you.
If you want to be like Jesus, you should expect to be mistreated. What kind of Christian are you when you are treated poorly? When you are stepped on by somebody who matters to you, how do you respond? In a way that’s building the Kingdom of God? Or are there flaws in your integrity?
Psa 101:2 “I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.”
A perfect heart is the same as having integrity, incorruptibility, incapable of being bribed, condition of being without blemish, soundness, wholeness, honesty, an adherence to good works. Jesus is the perfect example of a man with integrity.
Jesus went into the desert and fasted 40 days and at His weakest moment, the devil came to tempt Him. Where is your integrity now in your weakness and vulnerability? Jesus was wholly man and wholly God. He was tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. That’s integrity. It doesn’t mean you aren’t weak. It means when you’re weak, you still maintain who you are in Christ.
You are not God. You have got to understand that there are flaws in your integrity.
If you are in Christ, you are a new person, the nature and character of Jesus Christ is now in you, but the old man is still there. There is a battle for integrity. It is impossible to have integrity without Jesus. Moral excellence is a commandment for a Christian. Truth, love, honesty is what a Christian’s daily life is made up of.
As people of faith, we must hold our integrity higher than our own personal goals. It matters to God.
In our nation and in our churches there has been a compromise of integrity. It does really matter. Integrity means to be complete or solid.
Psalms 78:72 “So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.”
Keeping your promises is having integrity. A person with integrity will do what he says. God does that. When God says it, it’s going to happen. If we’re going to be Christians, people of God, we need to reflect that kind of glory, and have that kind of behavior, and have that kind of character.
Integrity is rock-like and won’t crack under pressure. It is honesty at all costs. Those who go into the Lake of Fire in Revelation include liars. This is a lack of integrity. If you tell or live a lie, that is a lack of integrity.
A person with integrity does not hide his mistakes, but will admit them readily. You will fail, but if you act with integrity and repent, you’re forgiven.
1 Peter 5:5 “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
God is the Boss. We are to carry one another’s burdens. We are to submit ourselves one to another.
Arrogance can seep into your DNA and you will not have access to God. The moment you repent, you get instant access to God. Your character and your conduct matter to God. Moral excellence matters to God.
There are few jobs that don’t require moral excellence. In fact, there are no jobs that don’t require moral excellence. Doctors, lawyers, teachers, dentists, mechanics, builders, etc.
Christians should pay their taxes and their bills. Integrity says that your spouse and you have trust for each other. If you have moral excellence, you excel in integrity. People are drawn to you. It’s all about lifestyle—integrity across the board.
When you do things or have an attitude that repels God, you also repel peace and healing, etc.
Mat 7:16-20 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Jesus is not talking about sticks and rocks, He is talking about people.
By the fruit, you can tell what kind of tree it is. People will know that you are a Christian by your ‘fruit,’ your conduct, your speech. Jesus is the Fruit Inspector of our lives. If you plant the seed, you will have fruit.
Col 3:9-10 “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
Eph 4:22-24 “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
Put off the conversations of the old man and put on true holiness, Jesus Christ.
Gal 5:16-21 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
We have a dual nature going on and your integrity is on the line. There is the flesh and Spirit. You can’t have moral excellence if you allow the flesh to destroy what the Spirit is trying to do in your life.
Trust is like a bridge. It takes a long time to build. It can be destroyed in an instant through a lack of integrity.
Col 3:5 “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:”
Your moral excellence will draw a crowd and bring about revival, and draw you closer to God. If you have a desire to be morally excellent, you will automatically draw closer to God.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
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If you are in the Chicagoland area, come to The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!