Let the Thief No Longer Steal
Let the Thief No Longer Steal
Living the New Life - Part IX
September 29, 2007
“Let the 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.” Eph 4:28
1. The eighth commandment says, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:15), and as we see, this is the same command here. “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.”
2. There are many different ways that we can steal, of course and Christians participate in some very common but unspoken ways.
3. We steal from God when we fail to worship him as we ought or when we set our own interests before his legitimate interests.
4. We steal from him when we fail to honor him by our lives or fail to tell others of his love.
5. We steal from an employer when we do not give the best work of which we are capable or when we waste time or consistently leave work early.
6. If we are in business, we can steal by overcharging for what we make or for the service we render. We steal if we sell an inferior product, pretending it is better than it is.
7. We steal by borrowing and not repaying. We steal by damaging another’s reputation.
8. We steal from ourselves when we waste the time, talents, or resources God has entrusted to us.
“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts.“ Malachi 3:8-11
9. Even the Christian’s goal for his or her labor differs from the world’s. We work not to enrich ourselves, but so that we can give generously to others in need. Giving is at the heart of Christianity. The Lord blesses us not so we can raise our standard of living but instead, we can raise our standard of giving. We hold lightly to our possessions because we have our treasure in heaven. (Matthew 6:19–21; Romans 12:13; 2 Corinthians 8–9).
10. What’s our motivation then? The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian outlook is seen very clearly. Paul does not say, as many secular thinkers might say, “Work hard, because that will build self-esteem or because you will be able to buy things you want and enjoy the good life.” He says rather, “[because you will then] have something to share with those in need.” But as a Christian family there should be no lack among us.
11. We need to also recognize that there are people who have nothing because they will not work for it; they do not deserve handouts. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-14)
12. Stealing and idleness go together; thus, our charge is not only to stop stealing but also to begin honest work. All believers should work hard, do their part in the community, hold their own, and not expect anyone else to support them.
13. As we close today lets look one more time at this passage. Let us recognize that Christians are not exempt as this passage speaks of “taking things or money that does not belong to us, or doing nothing so that others have to take care of us when we are capable of caring for ourselves.” The contrast to such a dishonest or indolent attitude is work—“doing something useful” with our own hands.
Law of God
The law sends us to the gospel, that we may be justified, and the gospel sends us to the law again to enquire what is our duty, being justified. - Samuel Bolton
Father, I wait thy daily will, Thou shalt divide my portion still, Grant me on earth what seems thee best, Till death and heaven reveal the rest. - Isaac Watts
GracePointe Baptist Church
2209 N Post Road
Oklahoma City, OK 73141
Phone: (405) 769-5050