- Sermon Notes
The Ten Commandments - Part 3
This is our third and final study through the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments were about relationship to God Himself. In Exodus 19 God said, “I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to Myself that you might be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” He has also called us to be a kingdom of priests and holy people. He wants to show them what it means to walk in faith as the people of God.
Jesus said the Law and Prophets can be summed up by the two greatest commandments: love the Lord your God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.These two great commandments are also seen in the Ten Commandments.
Today we look at the last three of the Ten Commandments. There is an aspect of faith in applying these last three. It has to do with trusting God as the source of your life.
Where does life come from? God gives life, the ability to breath, to work, to live from day to day. But there is a deeper definition of life. Jesus said, “The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that you have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus is speaking of life that’s deeper than simply breathing and working and living day to day. There’s more to life than that. It’s life that comes when the soul is filled with the life of God and there is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
These last three commandments say, “Trust God as your source of life.”
- God gave these commandments to Israel for their benefit. They are given for our benefit as well.
- Though we are not under law, but under grace, these commandments give us God’s heart.
- Each of these reflects the heart of God’s holiness and righteousness and it’s to our benefit to understand what God is saying in each one of these commandments and how they should be applied to our lives.
I. Do Not Steal
- There is an assumption in this commandment that we have the right of ownership of things.
- In contrast, Karl Marx believed that private ownership was the root of many evils in society. In the Marxist doctrine, the answer to the ills of private
ownership was state ownership of everything. The result was communism.
- Any society that allows stealing will turn into chaos.
Illus – Several years ago Matthew traveled to the DRC. As he was going through the final inspection of his luggage at the airport, it turned into chaos when airport workers just helped themselves to whatever they wanted out of his luggage.
- This is the only commandment that is open-ended; there is no indication at all what we are prohibited from stealing. Which therefore suggests that
we are not to steal anything that belongs to someone else.
- There are two general categories of stealing.First, taking physical property which belongs to someone else, and second, taking anything that’s not tangible, like a person’s reputation, or trust, or dignity or intellectual property.
A. Stealing is selfish
- This commandment presupposes that after the fall of man, the condition of the heart would be that of selfishness, of placing our own wants and desires
above concern for others.
- The one who steals is favoring himself at others’ expense. It’s a shortcut to satisfy greed.
- Stealing of course hurts others, it also hurts the one who steals. You are robbing yourself of character and integrity - which are of great value.
Proverbs 22:1, A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches.
Illus – When I was in grade school, I stole a marshmallow orange peanut and got caught; which was a good thing. My career as a thief immediately ended. My mom made me work and then pay the manager in person.I learned that losing one’s integrity hurts deeply.
B. Deceiving the mind is the root of stealing
- In order to steal, a person must transform his mind into justifying it. He must find a way to make that which is bad sound good to himself.
- In other words, he must convince himself of his goodness. Who is he talking to? To himself. This person must neutralize the values that would otherwise keep him from doing wrong.
- There are many lies people tell themselves. They fall into several categories.
- Denial of responsibility – “My circumstances forced me, I had no choice.”
- Denial of injury – “They can afford it,” Or, “they’re not going to miss it.” “The store charges too much anyway.” “No one’s
going to get hurt, it’s just stuff.”
- Condemning the condemners - “God put me in this terrible environment.” “They’re picking on me.” “They’re judging me.”
- Appealing to higher loyalties - “I took the money because my grandma is sick.”
- Denial of responsibility – “My circumstances forced me, I had no choice.”
- There are many ways a person can steal.Of course, there’s the person who just pockets whatever he wants.
- Stealing can also be not giving your employer an honest day’s wage.Now that goes both ways; an employer must pay his employees honestly.
Illus – When I first started visiting Russia, I was surprised how many workers made minimal effort at their jobs.I asked someone about it, and he replied, “They pretend to pay us, so we pretend to work.”
C. Be renewed – by faith
- The person who steals must convince himself that that which is bad is good; he is transforming his own mind with lies. Therein lies the key.
- We need to transform our mind by speaking truth in the inner man.
Proverbs 23:7, As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.
Romans 12:2, Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Ephesians 4:22-24, Lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self which has been created in the likeness of God.
- It’s not enough to simply say, “Do not steal.” We need God’s truth in the inner man.
- Here’s the answer, live by faith and believe the promises of God. Trust that God is able to supply your needs.
Philippians 4:19, My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
- Learn to trust and wait on God’s timing. Some people believe that they must have what they want right now rather than wait on God’s timing or God’s
purpose. The result of not waiting on God’s timing and God’s purpose is often financial stresses God didn’t intend.
- Work for your wages with honesty and integrity and become godly in your ways, and you will have the character of God within you.
Ephesians 4:28, He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.
I. Be Renewed in the Spirit of Truth
- The ninth commandment is that we are not to bear false witness against our neighbor.
- There are many scriptures that tell us that we should not have lying lips, but this scripture specifically refers to what we say about other people.
- Words spring forth from that which fills the heart.
Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good… for the mouth speaks from that which fills the heart.”
A. Treasure the truth
- How valuable is the truth? Virtually all societal evils were based on lies – African slavery, communism, Nazism, anti-Semitism.
- The Soviet newspaper was called Pravda. It means ‘truth’ in Russian. The point was clear, the Soviet state must be the source of so-called truth to
continue controlling the people.
- Nazis had to convince tens of millions of people that Jews were less than human. In medieval Europe, Jews were falsely accused of stealing Christian
children to use their blood to make Passover matzos. Thousands of Jews were killed as a result.
- Many have been hurt because the truth was not treasured.
- This commandment speaks of the character of God.God is truth and there is no lie in Him. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the Spirit of Truth.
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
- Truth is not just something to know, it is something to live - to become true; because God is the Truth, and Satan is a liar and the father
B. Let your speech always be with grace
- Words are like seeds you plant when you speak about others. It comes back to you.
Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Illus – Many years ago we had a garden. At first it was wild with thistles six feet high. I watched with chagrin as little thistle seeds blew across our neighbors’ yards. What a picture of how words travel and carry the seeds of either truth or lies on the wind.
I cut down the thistles and chose carefully what to plant. I had visions of sweet tomatoes, luscious corn, and juicy cucumbers. I planted what I wanted to reap.
- May the words we speak be the truth and said in the spirit of edification, of building others up.
Galatians 6:7, Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for that which a man sows, this he will also reap.
James 1:26, If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless.
I. You Shall Not Covet
- The tenth commandment presupposes that fallen man will be unsatisfied and discontent, and that being unsatisfied, he will look to the things that belong
to his neighbor to fill the emptiness.
- This commandment is the only one that addresses the motive of the heart. God knows that many other problems in life, many sins, begin with coveting.
A.There is a spiritual secret
- What’s behind coveting is the false assumption that if you just had this or that thing, you would be content. Being content is what is lacking in many
people’s lives. They do not know the key; Paul, however, did know… I call it Paul’s spiritual secret.
Philippians 4:11-13, I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- To covet is much more than “to desire.” It’s not saying in one’s heart, “What a nice house, I wish I had such a house.” It’s more. It’s taking steps
to get that house, or that spouse, or the property or whatever that belongs to your neighbor.
Illus – One of the classic examples from scripture has to be when King Ahab in northern Israel coveted a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth. The vineyard was near to the Ahab’s house and Ahab wanted it. Badly. He offered to pay Naboth for it, but he refused. Ahab was dejected and depressed. He couldn’t get what he coveted.
His wicked wife, Jezebel, however, took matters into her own hands. She arranged for witnesses to falsely accuse Naboth of cursing God and the King. The punishment for cursing God and the King was death and the confiscation of his property. It was a tragic day in Israel.
As Ahab went to enjoy his new vineyard, the prophet Elijah appeared...
1 Kings 21:20, Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” Elijah answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord.”
- How much is enough? Will the flesh be satisfied? Many people long for what they don’t have and believe that if they had it, they would be satisfied.
The problem is that the flesh will never be satisfied.
Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “Not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”
B. Have a heart that’s thankful
Illus – We need to thank God for what we have. Solomon in all his glory did not own a microwave. We are a very blessed people.
Illus – The blessing of a getting a boat, but was it enough? Soon I was thinking of what it would take to get a better one.
- Who are we looking to satisfy our needs? Are we looking to God or to the things of this world?
- No man can serve two masters, Jesus said. We cannot serve both God and mammon.
- If we are satisfied in God, then He is enough; for He is the only One who is truly infinite.
- If you want to be truly happy, then take God at His Word and bless those around you.