• Today we are concluding our series on the Ten Commandments. I hope that each of these messages has touched you in some way.
• The Tenth Command is one that I wish I would have understood when I was a young person.
• When I was a kid, my parents did a great job providing for my needs, but being the typical young person, at times that was not enough.
• The town in which I was raised was very affluent. We were in the middle class. I remember when I was in High School looking around at all of the kids who had new cars out on the school parking lot. I remember being jealous and envious of all the kids who were able to seemingly buy news clothing instead of washing what they had on.
• I remember feeling so cheated at times because I was not one of the kids who had the newest clothing or the nicest sports car on the school parking lot. I still remember the names of many of those kids with whom my jealousy and envy was directed at.
• My feelings opened the door for me to do some things I should not have done when I was young.
• I remember when I was a young adult having some of those feelings towards others in the factory. I remember being a young Christian struggling with wanting what my close Christian friend had. He always had the neatest and newest car. I remember being a young minister feeling envious of the other preachers who had their college degrees when I did not have mine. It took me a long time to get over this sin.
• As you look at the Ten Commandments, most of them are action oriented. We are told to do something or not to do something. The Tenth Command is one that goes down to the deeper level of what goes on in the mind.
• In Exodus 20:17 the Tenth Commandment says, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor."
• We are going to look at what it means to “covet”. Then we will look at why it is bad for us to covet and then we will finish up with ways to keep us from becoming a covetous person.
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COVET?
• It is an inordinate desire to possess what belongs to another, usually tangible things. Coveting is not just wanting something, but it is wanting something at the expense of another.
• While the Hebrew word for “covet” can also be translated “to desire,” in the Tenth Commandment it means an ungoverned and selfish desire that threatens the basic rights of others. Coveting was sinful because it focused greedily on the property of a neighbor that was his share in the land God had promised His people. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
• It deals with trying to secure something illegitimately, something that is not yours. It also involves begrudging anther person for what they have.
• When you look at the command you do not see any prohibition against wanting to have a wife, or other possessions, but we are prohibited from wanting another person’s wife or property.
• It is not just wanting a house like your neighbors but it is wanting their house and harboring malice towards them because they have it.
• There is a subtle difference between coveting and greed. A greedy person just wants everything, they really hold no malice towards others; they just want it all for themselves.
• A woman said, “My daughter was ready to serve cake to the family when one of her children, Brian, said, "I want the biggest piece!" "Brian, it is not polite to ask for the biggest piece." Brian looked at the floor. "Well, then, how do you get it?"
• This sin manifests itself in the realm of the spousal relationships. A man or a woman sees a person who belongs to another person and they want them. If we desire something or someone who belongs to another, we are breaking this commandment. When we want something at the expense of another, we are guilty of coveting.
II. WHY IS IT BAD TO COVET?
A. Coveting shows my heart and life are focused in the wrong direction. 1 John 2:15-17, Matthew 6:19-21
• When I was younger, my focus was definitely not on God, it was on getting stuff and getting stuff that other people had. When we are focused on what other people have and being upset over the fact they have it, our focus is not on God. The direction of our life is wrong.
• READ 1 John 2:15-17
• Possessions are not inherently evil; it is when they become what we are all about. You are more than what kind of jeans you wear, what kind of car you drive or what part of town your house is located.
• In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus reminds us that where ever our treasure, there our heart will be also.
B. Coveting will keep me from loving God and my neighbor. Romans 13:8-10, James 4:1-4
• If we are focused on something another owns and we are consumed with getting it, we most likely will not love that neighbor.
• Think of the instance of desiring the spouse of another. What would your thoughts be toward that person’s husband or wife? Remember the story of David and Bathsheba? Did David care about her husband Uriah when he sent him out to the frontlines to die so David could possess his wife?
• READ ROMANS 13:8-10
• READ JAMES 4:1-4
C. Coveting will lead to break many more of God’s commandments. James 4:1-4
• In the passage we just read, look at what was happening. The sin of coveting leads to breaking many other of the commandments.
• How are we going to get what we are coveting? Remember David? He stole another man’s wife, he more or less committed murder to get her. He committed adultery. I am sure you could squeeze a few more broken commandments in there also.
• One bad thing leads to another.
D. Coveting will lead to my personal destruction. Ephesians 5:5, Joshua 7
• Ultimately being a covetous person will lead to your personal destruction.
• EPH 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
• We may think that what goes on in our minds just stays there, but that is not true. Our thoughts can betray us as much as our actions.
• In the Old Testament, in Joshua 6 and 7 we have the account of the Israelites taking the Promised Land. In chapter 6 we have the account of the taking of Jericho. In JOSHUA 6:18 God told the people concerning the spoils of Jericho, "But as for you, only keep yourselves from the things under the ban, so that you do not covet them and take some of the things under the ban, and make the camp of Israel accursed and bring trouble on it.
• Well the battle waged and a man named Achan (ache en) decided to take some of the things that belonged to God. When the Israelites went to take the city of Ai, (Aye Eye) they sent 3,000 who were slaughtered by the people of Ai. When Joshua went to God, God told Joshua that someone from the camp took some things from Jericho that was under the ban.
• To make a long story short, Achan was found out, and as a result of his covetousness look at what happened.
• JOSHUA 7:24-25 Then Joshua and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, (ZEE RAH) the silver, the mantle, the bar of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent and all that belonged to him; and they brought them up to the valley of Achor (A CAR). Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day." And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.
III. HOW CAN WE PROTECT OURSELVES FROM BEING A COVETOUS PERSON?
A. Learn to be content with what you have. Philippians 4:11-12, Eph 5:20, Hebrews 13:5
• In PHILIPPIANS 4:11-13 Paul tells us, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also 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 Him who strengthens me.”
• HEBREWS 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,"
• The key to being content with what you have is to be thankful for what you have. EPH 5:20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
• If you are content with what you have, getting more will not make you happy. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve you station in life, but if that is what you are banking on to make you happy, you are sadly mistaken.
B. Learn to have a proper perspective on material things. 1 Timothy 6:6-10
• I do a lot of funerals. I have yet to see a person being lowered into the ground with all there stuff. They leave it all behind.
• READ 1 Timothy 6:6-10
• Why should we get hung up on something that we cannot take with us? The only thing you can take with you is your faith. Why would we want to base our happiness on stuff that will not make us happy?
C. Learn to be happy for other people when they are blessed.
• The Ten Commandments were written a long time ago. The beauty of them is that they are still as applicable to us today as they were when they were first passed down to Moses.
• The Ten Commandments were never meant to be a means of salvation, but they were in part given to us so that we could see the need for a Savior. They were given also so that we could have some semblance of an orderly society.
• Coveting is something that can destroy you from the inside out. Remember that God will NEVER bless ill gotten gains. He will NEVER bless relationships that are hatched out of covetousness nor will He bless us materially.
• Place your faith and contentment in Jesus and you will experience joy beyond belief!