Summary: A sermon about stealing and wholesome speech following Paul’s advice to "rather do good"
RATHER DO GOOD
Paul continues to stress to the Ephesians the importance of their walk with Christ. Paul does not just say, “follow Christ” and leaves it at that. Paul explains “how” to follow Christ. Paul explains that as we follow Christ, our lives will look different from those who do not know Christ. Paul explains that we are to be people committed to honesty and that we are to have honest relationships with one another. Paul does not stop there, but commands us to deal with our anger properly so that Satan does not have a place in our lives. We are different!
I. THEFT HAS NO PART IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
Exodus 20:15 = “You shall not steal”
1 Peter 4:15 = “but let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters”
Where does the desire to steal come from? Why do people steal? I am glad I am not a business owner because I know that stealing is a real problem for businesses. You want people to come to your store, but you have to watch them to make sure they don’t steal. Why do people steal? Walk into any bathroom in any Wal-Mart and you will see signs posted that they prosecute shoplifters. One of the first sentences on the signs is something, which I find very profound: Shoplifting is stealing. Why do people steal?
The desire to steal springs from the deep selfishness of the heart. Stealing is one of the supreme wrongs in this life. Stealing breaks the commandment to love one another because stealing from someone is the opposite of loving them. Stealing feeds the selfishness of the flesh and separates you from God. By stealing, you are taking someone’s life… by this I mean that when you steal an object someone has worked for, you are stealing away all that time they spent working for it. Stealing is intrusive and makes the victim feel violated and naked. Stealing destroys the security we have envisioned around our lives. Stealing is destructive in all its aspects. As Christians, we are to have no part of this unloving, destructive, violating, and selfish activity. Stealing is sin and we should not do it.
II. FOR THE CHRISTIAN: HONEST WORK
A. God is our employer = everything we have is a blessing from the Lord
B. Idleness is inconsistent with the Christian life
C. It must be honest work
1) The words that Paul uses signify strenuous work that produces fatigue.
2) The same words refer to Christian service in 1 & 2 Timothy
D. Work for the benefit of ourselves and for others
1) Economics for the Christian should be different, not selfish or self-serving
2) Giving becomes the motive for getting
III. NEGATIVE SPEECH HAS NO PART IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
Matthew 12:34 and Matthew 15:19 are quite clear when Jesus explains that corrupt speech comes from a corrupt heart. Angry speech comes from an angry heart. Sad speech comes from a sad heart. Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. James 3:6 tells us that when our tongue is out of control, we defile our whole body.
There is a good reason why it matters how you talk and what words you use, because it tells of what is in your heart. Your mouth tells what kind of person you are. Are you someone who loves others, then your mouth will tell. Are you someone who is unloving, your mouth will tell. Proverbs 18:21 explains to us that both life and death come from our mouths. Unfortunately, most of the time our mouths spit unkind words, curses, inflammatory remarks, and irreverent phrases. None of these types of corrupt speech belong in the Christian life. None of these types of corrupt speech should come from a Christian’s mouth.
IV. FOR THE CHRISTIAN: EDIFYING SPEECH
A. Edifying speech = building up faith, holiness, and wisdom
B. Speak to those needs around us (Proverbs 13:9)
C. The purpose of our words should be love and to help hearts
D. Colossians 4:6 = “let your speech always be seasoned with salt, that we may know how to answer every man.”