1. It seems that now days the problem of lack of integrity is increasing.
2. Definition of Integrity: "The condition or quality of being complete, undivided, or unbroken" or "Soundness" or "moral uprightness"
3. Integrity has the idea of being consistent, applied to Christians, it means that your practice is consistent with your profession and belief. While the Bible doesn't use this word, the idea is certainly there
4. Text: James 5:12
5. This discussion is parallel to Jesus' discussion in Matthew 5:33ff
6. Why is anything more than a simple yes or no bad?
I. Anything more includes Fine Print
A. Have you ever known anyone who signed a contract and was
cheated because he didn't read the "fine print"
B. The Jews became masters at fine print when it came to making oaths
1. Making oaths was not sinful in itself
a. Numbers 30:2 - When you make a vow, keep your word
b. Leviticus 19:12 - "You shall not swear falsely by my name, so
as to profane the name of your God;"
c. Heb 6:13-16 - God made an oath
d. Many people made "covenants" in the Old Testament,
which was the same as a vow
2. Formula for making a vow
a. First of all, they would call the Lord as a witness to the vow
- Gen.31:50 - "God is witness between you and me"
- I Sam. 20:13 - "The Lord do so to me and more also if ....."
b. Usually involved pronouncing a conditional curse on self
if they did not keep their word
c. They placed themselves under the power and judgement
of Yahweh since man cannot tell if someone is making a
false oath or not
3. In order to avoid swearing falsely by the name of the Lord,
they just didn't do it
a. Instead, they would swear by something else
b. Examples: Swear by the hair on my head, by the temple, etc.
4. What would you think if I swore this to you:
a. Please loan me 1000 dollars,
b. I swear by my shoes to pay you back 500% interest
c. Doesn't carry much weight does it?
d. That was what became a problem, oaths became less and less
impressive because of the "fine print" that was being added
e. The validity of an oath came to be measured by the thing
that was invoked
5. Swearing became so common, that many rabbis & Greek
philosophers tried to outlaw it
1. Philo: "Frequent swearing is bound to beget perjury
2. Rabbis said: "Accustom not thyself to vows, for sooner
or later thou wilt swear false oaths"
3. The Greeks said that the best guarantee of any statement
was a man's character, not an oath that he makes
C. Jesus condemned the fine print of the day: (Matt 23:16-17)
D. Have you ever included some "fine print" when making an assertion?
1. If someone hands you a contract, and there is a lot of fine
print, do you trust it?
2. If you have to swear in order to be believed, it implies a
problem with integrity
3. If you are a Person of Character, you don't need fine print
4. Your handshake would be just a good as any contract, even better
II. Anything more is evil & includes Judgement
A. As a result, many will not make an oath
1. Many oaths are taken today, Military, Hippocratic oath, Law
Courts, Weddings, Scouts honor
2. Does Jesus prohibit these?
3. Jesus made some solemn affirmations every time he said
"Truly truly" I say to you...
4. Paul did as well:
a. 2 Cor 1:23 - "I call God as witness to my soul, that to
spare you I came no more to Corinth"
b. Gal. 1:20 - "I assure you before God, I am not lying"
5. Do you have a problem with wedding "vows"? What if they
were wedding "affirmations?"
6. Does saying I do solemnly "affirm" instead of "swear" have
any less impact?
7. If it does, then there is a problem
8. Let's examine further what the Bible says about all of this:
B. Notice how more than a simple yes or no is described:
1. James 5:12 - Will bring judgement
2. Matthew 5:37 - anything beyond these is evil
3. Why is it evil and brings judgement (Matthew 23:17-22)
a. They had the attitude that if you swear by certain things, it
was not binding
b. Whatever you swear upon, God is the one who is Lord of
it and made it
c. You are still accountable to God if you make an oath even
if you did not invoke his name in the oath
4. As a teen I remember a Bible teacher saying we shouldn't
swear, because what would happen if we didn't go through with it?
5. Jesus did NOT mean that if you don't make an oath, that you
are not bound by your word
a. He did not lesson the requirements of a man's word, he
b. Every assertion you make should be as trustworthy as if
you were making an oath.
C. When I was "sworn" into the military, it was a very solemn
experience for me.
1. I did solemnly "affirm" that I would defined my country
and obey my superiors
2. The fact that I "affirmed" meant no less than swearing to me.
3. It should be that way no matter how small an affirmation
D. If you have to swear, it implies you can't be trusted on normal
1. I remember watching the new about the Hon River Bridge falling in Seoul Korea
a) Caught my interest because I used to live there and have been on that same bridge numerous times
b) The bridge's integrity had been compromised and due to faulty inspections was overlooked
c) Disaster was the result, some were killed.
d) One little flaw in the bridge caused a ripple effect (like holding a piece of paper with two and pulling. It won't rip, but put a microscopic tear in it, and it will then tear easily into two pieces.)
2. Likewise, A Christian with his integrity compromised will fall - IT'S INSPECTION TIME!
3. Do you have to swear to be believed? Can people trust you on a handshake?
4. Make assertions in all simplicity
5. Don't be like the boy who cried wolf "I'm really telling the truth this time"
6. Let you yes be yes and no be no because
a) Anything more includes fine print
b) Anything more is evil and includes judgement