The world around us is adrift in a sea of moral confusion. Everywhere I look, I see people apparently cut loose from any vestige of objective standards of right and wrong. Every time I read the news, it's another scandal and more corruption. More discouraging is the news from churches throughout the land. Stories of sexual misconduct, financial impropriety, and abuses of power have the world pointing at God's people saying, "See! They're no better than anyone else!"
None of this should surprise any of us though. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick," the prophet Jeremiah reminds us. "who can understand it?" Surely there is untapped potential for evil lurking in every human heart and the news stories that we read should cause us to reflect on the state of our own hearts. They should remind us that apart from the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and his Spirit at work within us that we too would be lost in a sea of ethical confusion.
Here at GCC, we value ethical integrity because God values ethical integrity. God has given us his Holy Spirit who is at work in his children to sanctify them and conform them into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. There can be no true ethical integrity without the genuine work of the Holy Spirit. Ethical integrity begins with genuine heart change, a work that God alone can accomplish. Personal ethical integrity or corporate ethical integrity can never be conjured up by sheer force of moral will.
God has given us his Spirit within the context of the community of faith. In this community of believers we find mutual support, accountability, and spiritual encouragement. We are not isolated islands. The writer to the Hebrews challenges us to "exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin," (Hebrews 3:13). There is simply no substitute for robust body life in Christ's church to defend against the isolation that is the breeding ground for moral failure. All of us are connected with each other. We need each other to speak into our lives. We need each other to uplift us in prayer. We need each other to challenge us in the things of the Lord.
We as a body need to have integrity because God calls us to be holy. We need integrity because the world is watching. Let's all be engaging in the body life at GCC. The Discipleship Groups are a great place to start for it is there that we can develop the relationships of mutual accountability and encouragement as we all move toward Christlikeness. It is in that context that we can give one another words of refreshment and encouragement. It is there that we can challenge each other when our steps would falter.
Do we value ethical integrity? We say we do. If we mean it, let's be engaged in the body life at GCC, remembering that we all belong to each other and we collectively belong to God. We are his bride! And by God's grace we can be a shining example of what ethical integrity in the church should look like.