Summary: 33rd message in a series from Ephesians dealing with the admonition to stop stealing but work to give to others.
“A Radical Work Ethic: Grabbing or Giving”
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-3
II. Our Worthy Walk in Christ 4-6
A. Live in Unity 4:1-16
B. Live in Newness of life 4:17-24
C. Live in Love 4:17-24
Paul will specify some things that characterize a loving community.
He addressed both some things that bind a community tougher and some that tear it apart.
1. Speak truth not falsehood 4:25
2. Be angry without sinning 4:26-27
3. Stop stealing to get but work to give 4:28
This is not a complicated verse.
The instruction is abundantly clear.
Stop stealing from others but work hard to give to others.
From childhood we have heard instruction about stealing.
“Don’t take what doesn’t belong to you.”
Remember the embarrassment of being drug back into a store to return something you took?
It is one of the foundational commands for a healthy society.
“Thou shalt not STEAL!”
Do we really understand stealing?
“I’m a good person I don’t kill or steal.”
This morning we want to look at this sin called stealing.
We want to explore its foundation.
We want to examine its motive.
We want to see how God feels about it.
We want to discover it’s opposite.
Let the one stealing steal no longer; but rather let him continually work hard, working with his own hands what is good, so that he will always have something to share with one having need. Ephesians 4:28
In this verse we have another double-sided coin of genuine love.
Stop those actions which destroy the family.
Practice those actions which develop the family.
Immediately cease the hurtful thing – stealing to get.
Continually practice the helpful thing – working to give.
? First side of the Coin -- “Stop stealing!”
“Let the one stealing, stop stealing!”
Stealing seemed to be a problem even in the church.
It has been a problem from the time of the rebellion.
You might recognize the Greek word = klepto
To take or keep for yourself what rightfully belongs to someone else.
WE steal when we take something belonging to someone else.
We steal if we keep something intended for someone else.
The concept of stealing is addresses all through the Bible.
It was one of the Ten Commandments handed down by God to Moses.
Ten foundational commands necessary for a healthy society.
Lev 19:13 instructs not to let the “wages of a hired man remain with you all night until morning.”
Psa 62:1--12 exhorts not to “trust in oppression and do not vainly hope in robbery. If riches increase, do not set your heart upon them.”
God’s Feeling about stealing
Isa 61 “I hate robbery!”
The Bible links stealing with some pretty shady company -- Murder, adultery.
By no means let any of you suffer as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God. 1 Pet 4:15-16
"Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing, and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky; And also the fish of the sea disappear. Yet let no one find fault, and let none offer reproof; for your people are like those who contend with the priest." Hosea 4:1-4
Consequences of Stealing
Like all other sin, stealing brings damage to the soul.
All sin deadens and hardens the soul to righteousness.
The more it is practices the less sensitive we become to it and to truth.
In every case there is damage done to the soul every time I take or keep for myself what rightfully belongs to someone else.
Not only soul damage, but we come under the discipline of God.
"Do not rob the poor because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; for the LORD will plead their case, and take the life of those who rob them." Prov 22:22-23
"Woe to those who enact evil statutes, and to those who constantly record unjust decisions, so as to deprive the needy of justice, and rob the poor of My people of their rights, in order that widows may be their spoil, and that they may plunder the orphans. Now what will you do in the day of punishment, and in the devastation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your wealth?" Isa 10:1-3