Integrity by Bryan Gibson
The Internet, Good or Evil? by Bryan Gibson
Jesus Was Tempted Too by Bryan Gibson
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by Bryan Gibson
Various passages in the Bible admonish us to walk with integrity (Proverbs 28:6; 19:1; 11:3). What is integrity? A dictionary definition reads something like this: “Integrity is moral soundness, especially as it is revealed in dealings that test steadfastness of purpose, responsibility, or trust.” In other words, integrity is sticking to principles of right even when it might be easier to do otherwise; maintaining character, even under the severest of tests. The root meaning of this word suggests the idea of being whole, undivided, or complete. When under pressure we begin to compromise principles of right, our integrity is no longer intact. It is no longer whole. Let’s look at a few situations where our integrity would be tested in that there would be a heavy temptation to abandon our principles.
- Suppose your boss asks you to tell a lie that he believes will benefit the company you work for. You realize that your job may be on the line. What are you going to do? Will you maintain your integrity?
- Suppose you’re in charge of the money for some organization, and no careful accounting of the funds is required. In other words, it would be real easy for you to take some money without anyone finding out. Will you maintain your integrity?
- Suppose you’re planning to sell a car and this car has some “hidden” defects—some which might not be noticed by the average buyer. When he asks you if anything is wrong with it, what are you going to say? If you tell the truth, you may not make as much on the sale. Will you maintain your integrity?
- Suppose you’re asked by the girl you’re dating to go the dance with her. You really like her a lot, and you don’t want to risk losing her; but you know what the Bible says about lasciviousness, about lusting and causing others to lust. What are you going to do? Will you maintain your integrity?
- Suppose you’re asked to quit teaching on a particular Bible subject, because some people are offended. You know your responsibility to God, but you hate to disturb the peace in a local church. If you’re supported by this church to preach the gospel, you may even lose your job. Will you maintain your integrity?
Maintaining our integrity may not be easy, but the rewards are great. Consider just a few blessings that come from keeping our integrity.
- We can walk securely, confidently. “He who walks with integrity walks securely…” (Proverbs 10:9). When we consistently do the right thing, we don’t have to worry about our conscience “nagging” at us.
- We can keep our good name (Proverbs 22:1; 3:3-4). When we lose our integrity, we lose the respect of others.
- We set a great example for our children. “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” (Proverbs 20:7).
- We please God, and shouldn’t that mean more to us than anything else?
The Internet: Good or Evil?
by Bryan Gibson
Many people now own personal computers, and through these computers they have access to the Internet. What we want to do in this article is first look at some of the dangers posed by the Internet, and then look at some of the positive uses of it.
- Pornography. Unfortunately, many web sites feature nudity, fornication, homosexuality, etc. Obviously, these sites must be completely avoided (see Matt. 5:27-28; Heb. 13:4; Eph. 5:11-12).
- Improper companionships. “Chat rooms” have become an increasingly popular feature of the Internet. These allow you to “talk” with people from really every part of the world. Obviously, this can be a good thing, but in some cases, it fosters some dangerous relationships. There have actually been some cases where someone left their spouse and children for someone they met in a “chat room.” Many people use these “chat rooms” to talk dirty with some complete strangers. Remember the statement made in 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Evil companionships corrupts good morals.”
- Wasted time. There is a great temptation to spend far too much time “surfing the net.” The Internet has put a tremendous amount of information right at our fingertips, and while that can be good, it can also become an obsession with us. Remember the admonition given in Eph. 5:15-16: “…walk carefully…redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” It’s awfully hard to be “ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1) when so much of our time is spent on the Internet.
- Bible Study. The Internet has a wealth of information that can aid us in our study of the Bible. You can find sermons, Bible class material, articles, etc., many by our own brethren. These can be very helpful, as long as we remember to “search the Scriptures to make sure these things are so” (Acts 17:11).
- Teaching the Lost. While nothing can replace personal contact in teaching the lost, it is nice to know that you can put something on the World Wide Web and it can read by people all over the world. Obviously, the site you are on now has as its objective to teach the world the will of God.
- Encouraging and edifying others. This can be facilitated most often by e-mail or texting, which give us another way to encourage, comfort, and edify others. Use your e-mail to send notes of encouragement to someone every day.
The Internet has great potential for both good and for evil. Let’s make sure we make the right choices and do all we can to avoid the temptations that it brings to us.
Jesus Was Tempted Too
by Bryan Gibson
Early in His ministry, Jesus was put through a series of temptations by Satan. Two passages give full accounts: Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13. A very brief account is given in Mark 1:12-13. Let’s see what we can learn from what happened:
- The word of God gives us strength against temptation. Jesus responded to each temptation the same way. He used the words, “it is written,” and then cited a passage from God’s word. With the word of God as His armor, He was able to “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11; see also 1 John 2:14; Psalms 119:9-11).
- The devil looks for an opportune time to tempt us. Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread, when He appeared most vulnerable—after He had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. When Satan left Jesus, it says “he departed from Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). We should expect nothing different when He goes after us.
- Resist the devil, and he will flee. That promise is made in James 4:7, but it is illustrated in the temptations of Jesus. Jesus resisted Satan at every turn, and Satan left him—maybe not for good, but he did leave.
- We do not live by bread alone. This, of course, was how Jesus responded to the temptation to turn stones into bread. There is much more to life than just what sustains us physically. “Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25). Jesus then tells us what is really important: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (6:33). So instead of living by bread alone, we need to learn to live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
- We must use what God has given us for the purposes God intends. Jesus had the power to turn those stones into bread, but using that power strictly for his own benefit would be a misuse of it. In principle, we face this same temptation every day—to use what God has given us for a different purpose than He intends. Consider this one example: God has given us our bodies, but not to do with as we please (“the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord”—1 Corinthians 6:13).
- We must never tempt the Lord, or put the Lord on trial. This is the point Jesus made to the devil, after the devil had tried to get Jesus to thrown Himself down off the pinnacle of the temple. God has forever proved his care for us by sending His Son to die on the cross (Romans 8:31-32). We don’t have to do things to see whether or not He cares for us. We don’t have to ask as the Israelites once did, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7). Let’s keep in mind that we are the ones on trial here, not God.
- No offer from Satan is worth losing our soul over. Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, if Jesus would fall down and worship him. This was a particularly sly approach, because Jesus would ultimately be given dominion over all these kingdoms, just not by the means Satan proposed. He would first have to go the cross. He may offer us power, the praise of men, the pleasures of sin, great riches, etc., but none of these are as valuable as our soul. He may even offer us a legitimate end to get us to use the wrong means. We must not be talked into doing wrong, no matter what Satan may promise us.
What are the conditions of salvation given by Jesus?
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