Exodus 20: The Eighth Command
Father, I ask that you’d fill us with your spirit. I pray that you would give us a great understanding of your word this morning. Help us to understand the promises. Help us to believe that what you say and your word is good. It’s good for us, and it is good to worship and glorify you through our lives, and so I pray that you would help us to commit more and more of our lives to you, Lord, and during the service that we would be humble and willing and moldable, willing to be shaped by you for your glory and your honor and for our good Lord.
So open eyes now, as we look into your word and as we sing later, I pray that we would sing from a pure and a right heart. And as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, that we would do so with a pure heart that remembers and cherishes what you’ve done for us on the cross, Lord, be glorified today in how we worship you together, we ask this in your precious name, Amen.
You can turn your Bibles with me, please, to Exodus Chapter 20. Exodus Chapter 20, We shifted, for at least the time being, our sermons to be at the beginning of the service, and the idea is that we would learn from God’s word and then we would respond to that word in worship later on after the sermon.
We are currently working our way through a series on Exodus, and we slowed down a lot when we got to Exodus 20, which is the famous 10 commandments passage. And so we will be here for a few more weeks, just so you know the plans of what’s gonna happen, I will be preaching this week on the eighth command, next week on the ninth command, and then my dad will fill in for two Sundays… Well, I’m on vacation, and then the week following that, I will finish the 10 Commandments on the tenth command…. Is the tentative plan right now.
So we were on the 8th command today. So this is Exodus Chapter 20, and it is Verse 15 this 20:15 says, You shall not steal.
That’s it. Not a long Bible passage, but it is one that I think would be good for us to consider carefully this morning, as with all of these commands that we found so far, the immediate command… We think, Well, I’ve never robbed a bank. So I must be doing okay. Right.
And then it just takes a little bit of time, a little bit of meditation, through the rest of the Scriptures, and we learned that the commands of God are actually… The standards are much higher than we initially thought, this one, You shall not steal, is kind of an interesting one for me because I can remember one of my early memories, my bedroom was right near my parents bedroom growing up in Cincinnatus, New York, old farm house that I had multiple kind of junky additions put on it, one of those, and so my bedroom was off, I had three feet of normal height and then it curved down quickly, so that whenever I put my shirt on in the morning and everything, I always scraped my knuckles any of you?
No one ever… Okay, enjoy that.
Anyway, I was always right near that parent’s house and my dad would come home, he had kind of a ritual, he would come on, we’d get changed, he emptied pockets, put his keys on his dresser, take out any change, he had it on his pocket, put that in like a change little plate or something, I guess you could call it.
And then put his wallet there, alright, I…
I was not a kid who thought it was okay to go into my dad’s wallet and bum a dollar or 5-10… I knew that was wrong. However, from an only time, my dad would occasionally give me a quarter or a dime or something like that, but he had just from change in his pocket, and so he would give me one of those and that was all really good until I wasn’t enough and I stopped asking my dad for that and my…
I started just going to my Dad’s dresser and there were the big silver coins, so I would be interested in ….not the nickels so much, you know what I mean?
Nickels, I don’t know, they’re big and annoying, but the dimes are so small, so they’re really cool and they’re worth 10 cents and then the quarters are obviously… But that’s where you make the money. So I would take those off of my dads, not all of them at first, and maybe would just take one quarter at first and hope you didn’t notice ….or one dime at first and hope you didn’t notice, and slowly it became all of the quarters that were there or all of the times that were there, I never did get into taking the nickels, so I must be okay, but that was me. I grew up in the pastor’s home, I had a standard in my mind of Don’t steal, so I shouldn’t be taking dollars, but I just… Only dimes and quarters, I probably…. and he already gave them to me, so probably wasn’t a big deal, I just took them.
Right, and some of you probably have had similar experiences with Sticky Fingers, I don’t know if any of you have ever shop lifted, I don’t know if any of you have ever taken money from someone else, for any of you have ever borrowed something from your neighbor, only to never return that item.
I want to work through this morning. What a good definition. Like we’ve done the last few weeks of what stealing is, because I don’t know that we all… We always had the right mindset of it, and then we’re gonna kinda work towards what God wants from us in this area because spare alert, it’s not just don’t steal.
Did you know that?
So the first thing that becomes really evident from this passage, just like You shall not murder, there’s a positive principle behind that… What is the positive principle?
Everyone has a right to life.
Right, you can’t just take somebody’s life away from them, that’s the positive principle, it’s similar with property in this command, you have a right to your property, you shouldn’t be concerned that somebody’s just gonna come and steal it from you. Now, in the Bible, there are different kinds of steel and there’s different words that are used a little differently, there’s a lot of overlap too, but generally speaking, the word here for steal is a word that is like sneaking. You sneak to go steel to the person that broke into a house when nobody’s home or is under the guise of darkness to steal that bicycle or whatever it might be, it sneaky. The first week, me and my wife moved to Michigan, we had moved into a little duplex and we didn’t have a place for some of our outdoor stuff, so we left our two bikes on the side of our garage, and the first week they were there like within a few days they were stolen and we found out later who it was….. actually, it’s funny ’cause we talked to a police officer about it and they right away, but probably was… And they went and got them back for us, so it’s that idea of like, nobody’s around, it’s not… It’s an agility, I’m gonna go under darkness, but there’s a second one to that is used a little bit in the same vein, and it has the idea of more like taking by force, like robbing somebody a gun point, knife point. The word that’s used in the Bible sometimes is spoiling someone, you’re taking their spoil from them because you’re stronger than they are, and so you can do that, it’s the idea you have taking by force. Okay, so here’s what I need to help her this morning, I… One of them needs to be maybe a little smaller of a kid, and one needs to be a bigger kid, and if you are an adult and you define yourself as a big kid, that’s great. Alright, Titus, you can be… I’ll have you be the smaller one, I need somebody bigger than Titus.
Okay, come on up, I’m blanking on your name… Remind me of your name again.
Nicki come on up? Nicki and Titus, come on up.
Right, so they’re gonna help us this morning, give a definition, a little definition of what the… You guys can stand right here in front of me of what these are… Yeah, I’m gonna have you over here Nicki.
What these ideas are, okay, so Titus, if you guys do a great job, by the way, I’ve got a couple of extra or dollar coins, and you guys can each have one… You gotta do a good job, right?
Tell you so I’m gonna put 10 coins in your hand. Actually, before we do that, hands out, hands out, great that way, we’re not passing any germs around of all the coins. Okay, so we got our 10 coins. Now they’re 12 ’cause I’m put it in the wrong pocket, 10 coins, I want you to hold out your hand, you’re gonna hold out your hand like this… Just like this, right?
You do that.
Okay, now close your eyes.
So the first way that somebody can steal something is sneaking when somebody is not looking, they can come and take a corn so, Nicki, come on, take a coin, and it’s got 9 and Titus, open your eyes…. how many coins? Nine for sure. You can open your eyes.
Count, I got him.
Nine, that’s right. Okay, so that’s the first way somebody can take… Right, the second way somebody can take is more by force. Okay, now, I don’t want you guys to wrestle around here to this morning, but I want you to just close your hand like this, Okay, Nicki, you gotta keep your hand out like this, Nicki, you want you go on and trying to take one will his hands closed can you get one out of there?
Yeah, you just gotta take it by force, come on.
You got one. Good job. Okay, so the second way that the Bible uses this idea of stealing is take by force. Okay, but there is a actually, a third way that the Bible talks about using… Are stealing from somebody else, we could use the term oppression, and I’ll read some verses to you about this in a second, but basically it’s where the straw, your legal means but not more means, take from the week, and so I want you to close your hand… Okay.
So that’s your stuff, Titus.
You got that stuff.
Right, and Nicki… You want that stuff. So here’s what you’re gonna do. You’re going to ask me to tell Titus to give you one of those. Can you do that?
Can you make Titus give me one of… Yeah, I think I can do that. Titus, you have to give her one now, kind of thinks, right, when there’s an authority figure and the force, that weak party to give one or more to a stronger party, and there was a fourth way that stealing is talked about in the Bible, and it is something a little difference to just hold out your hand like this… In the Bible, there is a 10th that is supposed to be given to the Levites or to the priest.
It is considered God’s money.
And so the way that this would be stealing is it’s God’s money, you might have it in your hand, Titus, but one of those coins is not yours, it is God, so the last way that somebody could steal is by deciding all 10 of those are mine, good and put them all in your pocket, all ten of them, he’s not given any like he should. Okay, so that’s the last way we’ll read that verse for you in just a moment, right.
I’m gonna count them to make sure that they’re all there.
So I’ve said all 10. good job. Alright, you guys both did a good job. Give them a round of applause. Good job, guys. Let’s go have a seat.
Okay, so the first one was stealing or sneaking, you’re absconding with somebody’s property in a dark and mysterious way, the second one is to take by force, I’m stronger than you give me your milk money… Right, that’s kind of a… The thing, the third way though, is a little bit less clear, but the Bible uses the same word in multiple different places where the strong will take from the week through legal means normally the weak that we’re talking about in the Bible are orphans and widows. Have you ever heard… So what will happen is in the Bible, an orphan or a widow, they have property, but in that time, in that day and age, if you weren’t a man, then you really didn’t have the legal right to keep that property. And so what happened is the neighbors would come around once a patriarch died, and all that was left was a woman, a widow, and maybe her orphan children or whatever, and somebody strong and neighbor would come around and would legally take that property, but not ethically.
Okay, so here’s a few examples, Leviticus 19:13, You shall not a opress your neighbor or rob him.
So this is an example of a time when the regions of the hard worker shall not remain with you all night until morning, so it might be legal to not pay them until the next day, but it’s not ethical.
Or how about this?
Your principal, your princess, Isaiah 1, and rebels are companions of thieves, everyone loves a bride and runs after gifts, they do not bring justice to the fatherless, The widow’s case does not come to them, they turn aside the needy from Justice and rob the poor of my people of the right, the windows may be their spoil, that the father is, may be the price. What’s going on? There’s the story that I just told you about where maybe that’s strong neighbors says, Hey, I’ll give you… If you’re a judge or I’ll give you some money, if you… I’ll bribe you to rule in my favor..
I should be the one to get that property, and in that day and age, that is terrifying for anyone to be without land in an agrarian culture would mean they would be homeless.
Okay, they would not have a way to make money consistently, they would be relying on people around them, or Provervs 22, Do not Rob the poor because he is poor, a crushed, the afflicted at the gate, that was a place of judgment, the gate was where people would gather to decide small court cases, do not crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them, let’s think about that. God will rob you of life if you’re gonna rob them of their possessions, or how about this Micah 2:2 They covet fields and seize them and houses and take them away the oppress a man and his house, and a man and his inheritance.
Okay, so that was stealing through legal, but not ethical means it’s a category we need to have in our minds,
another one was that idea of tithing, here’s Malachi 3:8- Will man rob God, yet you are robbing me. You say, how have we robbed you? The answer, in your ties and contributions, you are cursed for the course for your robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house.
And everybody put me to the test as the Lord of God, and it goes on to talk about how he’ll give them blessing for their covenant faithfulness. And so it’s this idea that if there are 10 coins one of those 10 belongs to God, it does not belong to you.
Does not belong to the Israelites.
And so if there were 10 coins, they should put one of them in the store house, the food to supply the priests and the Levites with… And then they keep the other nine, but they weren’t… They were keeping all 10 and that was considered theft by Malachi.
The last one that I think you really have to point out is a desire, so here you have… In verse 15, You shall not steal. Go down a few verses to Verse 17, so you’re not supposed to steal your neighbor stuff, but you’re also not supposed to covet your neighbor’s house, cover your neighbor’s wife, or his mail servant or female servants, oxes, donkey or anything that is your neighbors. And so, you see, reallyc, that This is really connected closely to this idea of, you shall not steal, not even supposed to desire it… You know the story in Genesis Chapter Three, What’s the language that’s used?
So as the fruit, they desired it and they took it, and here it’s saying it’s not enough that you… You don’t just… You don’t take it, you also aren’t supposed to desire it, or that it it… With that kind of desire.
And I think Matthew five gives us this interpretive highway to go down as well, ’cause in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus is explaining the law and he says, You’ve heard that it was said, don’t murder, but I say to you, If you make fun of somebody or you get somebody with your mouth, you’re angry at somebody with your heart, then you’re already committing murder, it might be in your heart, but it’s still murder. And you’ve heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery, but I say to you, if anyone looks at a woman to lust after and his heart, they’ve already committed adultery in their heart, and so that gives us like a grid work to look at every single one of these commands and understand, Oh, it’s not just about the outward action, it’s about the inward desire, when you desire something that someone else has, its scary… It gets intense quick,…. the Word of God.
Now, a couple of things I wanna point out here.
Okay, before we go on… First of all, I want you to notice what stealing is not… Let’s say that two people, you and the person sitting next to you are both trying to buy the same house here in Norwalk, you both have equal footing to do, so you both have equal ability to purchase it, whatever. And you get it and the other person doesn’t. Are you stealing the house from them?
No, no, that’s not stealing. It’s not stealing when both of you are working for the same thing in an ethical way, and one of you gets it and the other doesn’t because it was neither of your property, you don’t have the right to that property yet less… ’cause it’s not yours. Do you understand?
But if I take that a step further, I would point out like the Oppression thing, or… I don’t know if we’ve got a lot of these in our day and age, but certainly in Israel, it was possible for both of you to be working at the same thing, and yet through legal means, keep the other person from being able to purchase something and it’s worth us considering in our culture, if we have anything like that, the other thing that I would point out is the same way that the mindset in the Word of God was that one of those coins was God… If you had 10, one coin was God, and for you to keep it is stealing from God, in that same way, Jesus uses the same language about government and taxes, so I’m just gonna point this out to you real quick, Jesus said… Somebody asked him, Hey, should we pay taxes to Caesar or not? And Jesus says, well render to Cesar the things that are Caesar, to God, the things that are Gods. And the idea behind that is, if you have 10 coins, and I’m gonna say it, most of us are not paying this much taxes, but let’s say you’ve got to pay two of them in taxes, right?
Let’s say one of them has to go to God.
The idea is that, that those two coins are the governments wherever you live, they’re not yours and they never were… They are Caesars in this idea. Just like one of them is God’s.
Okay, and so for you, the rest is your… Certainly to steward, but it would be considered, I think, according to that passage, theft, for you to… In unethical ways to not pay taxes, so I just wanted to point that out, ’cause that might be an area too that kind of confronts us a little bit, I got a few interesting thoughts here on this, so the first was just trying to define what stealing is and what are some ways that stealing happens, that happen in many ways, legal or not, by strength or by sneakiness and certainly by just desire, we want something, and so we’re gonna take it, but let’s give some characteristics to it, let’s… Let’s let you see it and look at it from some different perspectives in the Word of God, the first one is, I want you to understand that stealing breaks two commandments, at least, steal with… Well, three commandments, it’s gonna break now, shalt not covet, to shall not steal. And it’s gonna break the third commandment of not get the exact… Taking the name of the Lord, your God in vain. If you’ll remember, we talked about, that means profaning God’s name through your actions, Proverbs 30 says two things I have asked of you, God, do not deny them before I die, remove from me falsehood and lying… Give me neither poverty nor riches.
Don’t let me be poor, don’t let me be too rich, feed me with the food that is needful, let to be full.
Because I’m too rich, and I say, Who is the Lord? And by the way, that’s terrifying for us, because it’s the wealthy that are in constant danger and under constant temptation, like you and me, being satisfied with our blessings and forgetting who God is,
and then the second one is, Lest I be poor and steal, and thereby profane the name of the Lord.
You see that? So stealing actually dishonors God’s name too… Not be obvious, but I thought I’d bring it up. The second thing that I really wanna point out to you is stealing is like every single sin out there, stealing can be a little bit fun with a lot of pain, every sin is like that.
Every single sin is a little bit fun with a lot of pain, I want you to hear me… The Bible is very clear on this. Sin has pleasure. Here’s the thing, the pleasures of sin are for a season. Or it says it like this in Proverbs Chapter 9, stolen water is sweet.
I love that, I love that poetry. When you steal water, it has a tendency to be sweeterbread eaten in secret, because you’ve stolen, it is pleasant. But the one who does those things, they do not know that the dead are there where they’re hiding, her guests are in the depths of sheol, in other words, it’s a path toward death and hell, and damnation, it is pleasurable. It’s sweet for a moment, followed by an eternity of pain… It is not worth it.
Okay, Augustine put it like this, Augustine, if you don’t know who he is, he’s got probably one of the most essential books as of all of church history.
Okay, he wrote several centuries, four or five centuries after the time of Jesus and the apostles, he wrote a book called The Confessions, and it is one of the most raw books… Books I’ve ever read, it is so the and honest about every single little thing you think that you have a tendency to over-criticize yourself and what you do, you have no idea, and so you read this book, Augustine criticize everything about himself and spent hours here in fact, the story goes that he would spend so many hours in the confessional Chambers at that time that they would kick him out, he would… And this was later on in his life, he would confess over and over and over to God, while he’s got this interesting confession from early in his boyhood, he says, Surely, Lord, your law punishes theft, as does that law written on the hearts of men, what he puts up with another thief, with a calm mind, not even a rich, the full part in one who steals from him because of wants, but I will… It is to commit that. And I did so that because I was driven to it by need, but by a glut of evil doing, I stole the thing of which I had plenty of my own and a much better quality, in a garden nearby to our vineyard, there was a party loaded with fruit that was desirable, neither an appearance nor taste late one night, to which according to our… Well, we kept our street games, a group of very bad youngsters set out to shake down and Rob this tree, we took great loads of fruit from it now for all needing, but rather to throw it to the pigs, even if we did eat a little of it, we did this to do what pleased us for the reason that it was forbidden, not because they needed it, and he goes on and he says to God to hold my heart.
I did a thing. Just because it was bad. This is the idea here. Stolen waters. Sweet.
There’s something about sin when you commit it that’s electrifying because it’s bad and wrong… And I know I shouldn’t, so I’m going to do it. And it’s sweet to the taste, and it always is, the pleasures of sin, however are for a season, and they followed by years and years, and an eternity of pain and judgment from God, both in this life and the next. And the pleasures that God’s right hand. If instead you choose obedience, what… For ever more.
I have a question for you, an ethical question you can debate around your kitchen table later, parents, this would be a good way to get your kids thinking, is it worse? Is it worse to steal from the poor and give to the rich, or steal from the rich and give to the poor… Robin Hood style.
Is it worse to steal from the poor to give to the rich and make them richer, or to steal from the rich and give to the poor? Robin Hood style.
It’s interesting, the Bible notes that at least at the very least, our sense of justice is not as bad when somebody is stealing from the poor or stealing from the rich to give to the poor. It goes like this, Proverbs 6, Verse 30, people do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his appetite when he’s hungry, a poor person stealing to feed themselves, don’t despise him, but if he is caught, he will pay seven-fold.
We’ll give all the goods of his house, if there’s a sense in us that it’s not quite as well, still sin stuff in in God’s eyes, but not quite as wrong. Interestingly, just a, I thought real quick, this gives us really helpful interpretive studies from the Old Testament law, it says you’re gonna pay back seven folds, so what if you take 10, how much you have to pay back? If you get caught …70, I have a question for you.
Well, you don’t have to look this up now, but I’ll just tell you this, did you know that nowhere in the Old Testament law was he supposed to pay back seven fold, depending if somebody was intentionally taking property, would stealing property in the law in Leviticus or in Exodus, you would have to pay back two fold, so you pay back 20 for every 10, you still… Now, if you accidentally broke somebody’s property that was worth 10, well, then you just pay back to 10, you make full restitution, not double restitution.
Why is that? Problems, seven fold, if you steal. Why is that?
And the answer to that question is that the Old Testament is not this case study for people to go back to and see exactly what judgment should be dealt out.
It’s wisdom principles. It depends on the case. We know that people have a right to their property, that’s what the Old Testament law brings out, and yet in some cases, a thief should perhaps have to pay back sevenfold other times one full, other times… Two-fold, it depends. I just think that’s interesting and it’s a helpful interpretive question, and it’s frankly one will deal with in a handful of weeks here when we get into the next section of Exodus.
Okay, all of that being said, let’s bring this together to land this plane, what is the opposite of stealing? Anybody? Giving…. very good. That’s exactly right. I want you to turn with me please to Ephesians Chapter 4: 17, Ephesians 4, Verse 17. Now, this I say and testify in the Lord that you must no longer walk as the gentiles do in the futility of their minds.
What you do just know, how Paul describes people who live however they want, live like sinners, untethered from Christ in the Word of God, He calls them the fuel in their minds. He says, They’re darkened in their understanding, verse 18, they’re alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.
Because of their hardness of heart, They have become callous and given themselves to sensuality, greed and practice, and every impurity… Stop right there. Full stop. Think about that for a second.
He’s about to say in verse 28, That the thief is one of those feeling and stealing is one of those ways that you could live, so in other words, stealing is wasting your life doing things that hurt you, hurt others, alienate you from God, it’s foolish, it’s alienation from God’s like, That’s ignorance.
It’s hard, hard at, it’s giving yourself over to something to be enslaved to it.
I’m gonna let these seeping desires in my heart put their hands on the steering wheel of my life and just take over. I’m giving myself over to them… That’s what stealing is. But that is not how you learned Christ, and that’s… Verse 20, that is not the way you learned Christ. What do you mean all… When you say That’s not the way you learn Christ, what do you mean? And I think at the very least, he means that Jesus was not a feat.
Instead, he gave John 10, is it like this? Jesus says, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. Oh, who came before me? Of thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
I’m the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved. And go out. And in and find pasture. The thief comes only to kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I’m the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Who was Jesus?
You do it the… It’s not selfish, he’s got out there for himself, no, instead, He sacrifices and he works hard and he gives even to the point of laying down his own life for the benefit of others.
That’s who Jesus is.
And who does it benefit?
Well, it benefits murderers and adulterers, and thieves and liars benefits people like you and me who break these commands a thousand ways in the heart, in many ways in the hands.
Jesus came to sacrifice and give us generously his life, so that we will go in and out and find pasture. So that we can be saved. And have life and have it Abundantly.
If you’re a thief here today, maybe literally with your hands, if not literally, then in your heart, you’re a thief here today, you’ve committed theft by force, you’ve committed theft by sneakery, you’ve committed theft by oppression, you’ve committed theft in any number of ways, if that’s you today, I want you to hear this.
God can forgive you for that, God can make your life new, you don’t have to live that way, you don’t have to live in ignorance and alienation from God in his life, and hard-hearted ness and calluses and enslaved to feeding greed and desires.
You don’t have to be like that. You can be free.
The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep, and he extends the gift of life and abundance to you today, if you will turn from the thievery and turn to Him and receive that gift. receive Jesus Christ.
Jesus did the opposite of a thief, he gave to free us from taking… Is sacrificed to free us from selfish hoarding, He laid down His life to help us understand the true life is found in love, not in that, not in robbery, not in greed. That is how you’ve learned Christ, you’ve learned about His goodness and received His grace.
So the call in Ephesians is gonna be turned and reflect that to others, and he’s gonna give you some specific paths.
First 21, Assuming that you have heard about him, were taught in him as the truth is in Jesus.
Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt. Through deceitful desires. Be renewed in the spirit of your minds. put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in Christ Jesus. The put off there is about radical repentance. What is repentance? You turn away from what you’ve done, you have to severate… You have to cut it off. What have you done that in that… And what do you need to do to make it right?
Zacchaeus was taking too much taxes in the Gospels, and when Jesus saved him what the aches do, He restores abundantly what he had taken from those around him, even more than what he had taken.
You might need to do some radical repentance and restitution to make up for the bad that you’ve done, that’s what God calls you to do, you put off the old self, you turn from the wickedness effect, and then you put on the new self… What is putting on the new self? It’s created in Christ Jesus for true righteousness and holiness. The idea there is that you are actively daily pursuing righteousness, just let it happen to you, you don’t just stop doing the bad thing and then kind of flounder in apathy and passive-ness, passivity, I… You put out and then you… That with action, pursue what good things would look like, we’re gonna learn in a minute what that is, how you do these two things, How do you put off and put on… This is a principle for your whole life, so you better be listening, every sin you struggle with will follow the same pattern, you put it off, you put on something that corresponds and is the positive obedience, and you do this by renewing your mind. What is renewing your mind? We make it to be some like a super… Like I like high… Like meditation or something like that, thing that we do know, we’re now in your mind is really simple, it’s letting your mind be formed by the Word of God, that’s all it is, is letting the way you think about life and how things should work to be formed by the Word of God, what does this look like? You meditate on the scripture, you think about Jesus, you read about him in the gospels, you meditate on God’s promises. And through those things, you start to see that are sins are fuel, foolish ignorance separated from God’s life, from that, their calls that they’re hard-hearted, the cruel to ourselves and to others, it reveals that our lives are worth nothing when we are inflamed to something other than God, the word of God teaches you this and you need to get this in your heart.
And then by renewing your mind by meditating on scripture, by thinking about Jesus and reading the Gospels and reading His word, you start to see that his way, his way of obedience and righteousness is the way of peace and love and joy and life.
We ask you, what else can you get? Where else can you go? Jesus has the words of eternal life. You’re gonna try to get life anywhere else, you’re gonna be miserable.
We come alive when we obey, we find true joy and true satisfaction, and we also know that the promises support us while we’re trying to pursue righteousness, so we need to have those promises in our mind, we need to be believing them and thinking about them, the promise is help us.
Well, first of all, the promise that Jesus came to deliver us from sin, He didn’t just come to forgive you from sin, but to deliver you from sin, and his work is accomplished and by faith in that work, you can have victory over the sin. A second, the command that Don’t sin, but if you do, you have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ rises. 1 John Chapter 2, first 2, it is one of my favorite verses in all the Bible.
My little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you will not sin… The, the Bible could fall under that.
It could be saying, writing these things to you so that you will stop sinning, but… But if you do, you have an advocate, Jesus will forgive you for that sin, so you can stand holy and pure before the Father, that can be you, that’s the life that Jesus gives in abundance. So day after day, and your struggle against sin, remember that even if you do sin, you can be forgiven, and by the way, John Piper says it like this, he says, The only sin that you can defeat in your life is a forgiven sin.
What it means by that, it means you’re only gonna feel like you can have victory over sin, if you know in your mind that if you committed that sin again, you’d be forgiven for it, it’s the sweetness of God’s love and forgiveness that ultimately gives you the strength that you need to fight sin in your life, when you taste and see that the Lord is good and gracious and forgiving, you don’t wanna taste anything else, you don’t wanna taste the bitterness of sin anymore.
Finally, another thing that you should know and remember, God has not left you alone in this battle is given you two team mates, well, one super star teammate and a bunch of other teammates… I know this is a bad illustration, but… Oh, I’ll say like this, the first teammate is the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit leads us into righteousness. And if you have believed in Jesus Christ and His salvation from your sins, then you have been given the Holy Spirit that will help you in your battle against sent… The second thing he gave you as a church family, we’re not super stars like the Holy Spirit were… No, were close.
We’re the water boys, I don’t… This is a bad illustration, but you get what I’m saying, you and I, we still play an important part in one another’s life, to help each other in our battle against sin, that’s Hebrews the stuff really basic, encourage one another every day while it’s still today.
So that none of you will be deceived by the deceitfulness of sin, he’s given us one another to help us in a fight against sin, so if you are struggling with any sin, but particularly with theft, talk to a trusted Christian brother or sister, come talk to me. Will work this out together. So if we are to put off theft, put on something. What is it that we’re supposed to put on? Ephesians 4:28, Let a thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Stealing is the lazy way. Giving is the industrious way.
Where as stealing is focusing on yourself, giving is focused on others, whereas a thief uses their strength or sneakery to plunder the vulnerable, a believer uses their strength to provide for the vulnerable, do you see… Given that many of the passages like this about stealing in the Word of God are about the strong stealing from the weak sometimes through legal, but a moral actions. This passage is a radical reversal, it’s saying instead the strong should work hard, work with their own hands, but not so that they can be wealthy, so that they can retire early, but instead that they can give… The opposite of theft is giving….. sacrifice to give abundantly to those who are in need, and we do all of this with the supported promises of God, because that’s how we’ve learned Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ gave… He didn’t come to thieve or steel, he came to sacrifice and give to us thieves like You and me, little thieves that steal their dimes and their quarters from their dads, he came to us to forgive us for that sin, to deliver us from that on to cleanse us, and to set us on a different path, a path of righteousness, so that we can sacrifice for those who are in need, just like our savior has for us
Lets pray, am and invite the musicians to come forward.
Go on, quiet your hearts… bow your head, so just take a moment to quietly… Consider these words quietly. Consider whether you need to confess any sins to God, receive his forgiveness.
Please forgive us. We’ve sinned against you. And our hearts with our hands with her eyes desired what was not ours, taken. It was not ours.
You came to sacrifice to give us forgiveness and give it abundant.
We embrace that day. We want that for us, I’m gonna invite you today, if this is you, I wanna invite you to respond, and once you respond even now in these moments and prayer, a confession of your sins and receiving the gift of Jesus is given to a forgiveness from those sins…. of His love.