Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

04/14/2019 A.M.

 

Written In Stone

“Thou Shall Not Steal”

 

Exodus 20.15  Proverbs 30.8 

 

Our Sunday series is on the Ten Commandments.

We’ve been learning to live by Heaven’s rules.

• Ten eternal principles…

• Relationary Principles…

That provide the basis for our having a correct relationship... With God… With one another.

 

Violate them… And life will be...

• Less than fulfilling…

• Less than happy….

• Life will be less than what God created it to be.

 

Today…We come to… Thou shall not steal!

 

This Eighth principle is absolutely necessary for functioning of society today.

• To steal is to violate the social trust that stabilizes any economy.

• Without such trust... There would be no confidence in one another…

• Nothing would keep us from stealing from one another...

• Without such trust... There would be no such thing as the right to hold personal property.

 

You see… There is a sense in which the very first sin was that of theft.

Adam and Eve took that which God told them not to take.

 

The very first recorded sin of Israel after they entered the Promise Land was the sin of theft… Achan stole that which God had strictly forbidden… The wedge of gold… The silver coins… And the Babylonian garment.

 

Perhaps nothing goes against the Spirit of Jesus... The Spirit of Christianity any more than the selfish act of taking from another that which rightly belongs to them.

 

Christianity is wrapped up in the concept of Giving and sharing…

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.

We are to be like God... Give… And it will be given to you… Good measure… Pressed down…Shaken together and running over… For with the measure you use it… It will be measured to you.

 

The early church was formed around the idea of giving.

 

From Acts chapter two and four... Luke writes... All the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but shared everything they had. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time they sold their possessions... And it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

 

Paul told the saints at Philippi… Each of you should look not only to your own interests… But also the interests of others.

 

You see church... Stealing violates the very intent of Christianity.

 

Let’s note Some ways we violate this Sinai principle…

 

By cheating in business.

This is nothing new… Amos 8.5 speaks of skimping the measure… boosting the price… and cheating with dishonest scales.

 

These people were fixing the scales in order to cheat the customers.

• When a repairman makes unnecessary repairs…

• When a doctor orders unnecessary tests…

• When a politician diverts public funds to his personal use…

• When a salesman skips over the fine print… When we sell a car… A calf… Or a couch… Without honestly representing the facts… This is stealing.

 

we can ignore it… we can Excuse it… Rationalize it… But whatever we do… It is still dishonest… It is stealing from another.

 

Some of us are guilty of defrauding our employers.

This is a biggie today…

• Padding expense accounts…

• Taking home supplies…

• Or diverting… funds… equipment… or power…To our personal use.

 

This includes wasting time on the job.

It may be coming in late… Quitting early… Taking too many coffee breaks…. Calling in sick when we’re not… Or just loafing on the job… Just not getting the work done.

 

If we are being paid to do a job… And we are not doing it… We are stealing.

 

Paul addresses this in Colossians chapter three... Slaves… Obey your earthly masters in everything… And do it… Not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor… But with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do… Work at it with all your heart… As working for the Lord… Not for men… Since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

The Holy Spirit says… Dishonest labor is stealing… So don’t do it.

The Holy Spirit says… God will reward us for honesty in our work.

 

We violate this principle when we Don’t pay our debts on time.

Now I know today’s strategy… OK? It goes like this… I will demand immediate cash from my customers… Or net in 30 days… While running my accounts payable out to120 days or more. This way… I’ll have someone else’s capital on which to run my business.

 

That’s stealing… That’s taking what rightfully belongs to someone else… And diverting to our own personal use.

 

This is not placing the interest of others before our own….

• Listen church... It doesn’t matter who is doing it… 

• Who is using this system to generate cash flow…

It is wrong… It’s cheating the laborer… The vendor… And should be stopped.

 

Hear Leviticus 19.13 … Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him. Listen now!!... Do not hold back wages of a hired man… Listen Now... Not even overnight.

 

Church…God stands against such modern day business practices… Because they are contrary to this Sinai Principle.

 

In a very similar way… We steal by defaulting on personal loans.

Here it is church… We must never borrow with the idea that we’re not going to pay back.

Psalms 37.21 says… The wicked man borrows and never pays back.

Romans13.8 readsLet no debt remain outstanding.

 

Borrowing and not returning is stealing… Whether it is a loan from the bank or a tool from our neighbor... or a book from the library.

 

How many of us ought to go home… Take some things out of the garage and return it to the rightful owner?... Anybody?

 

We violate this Sinai Principle by cheating on our taxes.

In Romans thirteen… Paul has just made the point that civil government is an instrument of God… And we are to be submissive to such… This is also why you pay taxes… For the authorities are God’s servants… Giving their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him… If you owe taxes… Pay taxes… If revenue… Then revenue… If respect… Then respect… If honor… Then honor.

 

Church…Are we listening… Stealing includes… Taxes… Respect... Honor.

 

We need to make the point here that it’s possible to steal from the lord.

In Malachi the question is asked… Will a man rob God?

Then God replies… Yes… You rob Me by withholding tithes and offerings.

 

Church…The Bible teaches that everything we have comes from God… It’s from Him that all good blessingS flow.

 

God has ask that we return to Him in thanksgiving... the first fruits… The best…As an offering to Him.

 

In the Old Testament economy it began at ten percent and went on to…

• Free will offerings

• Festival sacrifices

• And gifts to the poor.

 

In the New Testament… Our giving is... regulated… Determined… By such concepts as…

• Give as God has prospered… In proportion to how He has blessed us…

• Give… As we have purposed in our heart…As we have promised…

• Give generously…

• And sacrificially.

The question is… Using these concepts as a basis for our giving. Are any of us robbing God?... Stealing from the Lord?

 

OK now let us notice… Reasons for Being Honest...

 

We need to be honest because we are being watched.

People steal because they think they’re doing it in secret and nobody is going to know about it.... WRONG!!

 

The two most important people in the world will know… God and us!

 

God knows… Job 34 says… His eyes are on the ways of men… He sees every step. There is no dark place… No deep shadow… Where evildoers can hide.

 

We may fool one another… Our employer… The government… An insurance company…But folk… We have never fooled God… Not even once.

And we are not fooling ourselves.

 

Church…Guilt is a heavy burden… We’re only fooling ourselves… When we think we can violate our conscience and it not take its toll on us.

 

Let me mention another who is watching… That’s our children.

Church…One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is integrity.

Both David and Solomon indicate… It’s a great heritage to have an honest father…A good name versus great riches.

 

We’re also being watched by unbelievers.

I wonder how many are not in church today... Because they’ve witnessed our dishonesty?

 

First Peter 2.12 admonishes... Live such good lives among those of the world that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God.

 

Because we will reap what we sow.

There’s a spiritual law that we all must ACCEPT… Because God says it is there… It’s at work 24/7... Do not be deceived… God cannot be mocked... A man reaps what he sows.

Is this Bible verse true most of the time…

• Some of the time…

• Or ALL of the time?

This eternal law from God is at work in nature... And... AND... It’s at work in my life and yours... Always.

Whatsoever a man sows… That shall he also reapALWAYS.

 

Dishonesty damages our character.

Listen to these verses…

1 Timothy 6.9-10…People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

 

Matthew 16.26… What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

Scripture tells us that Satan is a thief… And when we steal we become like him… Rather than like God… Whose children are we?

 

God will reward our honesty.

Listen to Solomon…

Proverbs 28.20… Wealth obtained by dishonesty will do us no good… But honesty will be rewarded. A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him. A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will Prosper.

 

Church…Why does an honest life lead to happiness?...

• Because we don’t have any skeletons in the closet…

• Guilt for this sin has no effect upon us…

• There are no burdens for being honest.

• Of course our greatest rewards will be in heaven.

 

We finish the lesson by noting some things we should do…

To properly deal with this sin of stealing...

 

Admit our faults.

Have any of us… Here this morning… Lived above stealing?

Look back over this list of… How we steal… And see if any of us are guilty.

How many of us are willing to confess our faults?

 

Ask for God’s help.

You see… He will give us strength to say NO to Satan and temptation regarding this sin… If we ask Him too!!

 

We need to trust in the scriptures which say…

Pray like this… Deliver us from the evil one.

God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

 

Return to God His full amount.

Think about this… We are not likely to be honest in our dealings with one anotherUntil we become honest with God.

 

Show me a man that deals honestly with his God in his giving… In laying up treasures in heaven… And I’ll show you a man that will not cheat or steal from others.

 

Make restitution where possible.

Remember Zacchaeus?... When he came to know Jesus he said… If I have cheated anybody… I will make it right!

 

No…There were some things that Zacchaeus couldn’t make right… But listen as he says… I’ll give half what I owe to the poor.

 

Don’t be fooled church… Repentance demands restitution where restitution is possible. We can’t repent of stealing and keep what we’ve stolen… Not if it is possible to return it.

Is there something we need to do here?... Will we?

 

We must make an effort at an honest living.

Ephesians 4.28 tells us… He who has been stealing must steal no longer… But must work… Doing something useful with his own hands… That he may have something to share with those in need.

 

Share with others.

New Testament Christianity is about sharing.

Submitting to this Ancient Principle gives us a different view of our world… Things are to be used to help people... Not people used to help us gain MORE things

 

We must place our trust in God… Not in earthly treasures.

Jesus gives us this insight… Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… Where moth and rust destroy… And where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… Where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is… There your heart will be also.

 

Well…I hope the lesson has laid the groundwork for future thoughts on this

Sinai Principle for our culture.

 

I hope these words from Solomon will be our prayer… Father… Give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs! For if I grow rich… I may become content without You… And If I am too poor… I may steal and thus insult Your Holy Name.

 

If you are here this morning… And not a child of God… Come to Jesus by Faith…Repentance… Confession… and New Testament Baptism… Immersion in water for the forgiveness of sins.

 

If we’re here as a Christian in need of forgiveness... John said forgiveness is ours if we will... acknowledge… Confess… Our faults.

 

Listen...Not one of us has to go home with Guilt… Any guilt… We can have His forgiveness this very moment… As we stand and sing together.