Summary: #10 in 10 Commandment Series
TEXT: Ex. 20:17; Rom. 7:7-8; I Kings 21:1-16; Philip. 4:4-19
INTRO: The last commandment is the lynch pin of the 10, the previous 9 commandments all have a strong overt element to them, they are actions observed, but, this final commandment strikes at the heart and mind!
In a sense this last commandment is the basis of all the other 9! Even if all your overt actions showed faithfulness to the commandments this last one would condemn you for it reaches down inside the person’s heart and desires and motives.
In fact, it was Paul in Romans 7:7-8 that stated that this was the one commandment of the 10 that made him realize his sinfulness and brought him to realize his need of Christ. (read passage: “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet." But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.”) Until he hit the 10th commandment he could judge himself “good” by overt actions, but with the 10th his mind and motives were revealed to him and it opened to him the understanding of how much he was a sinner!
ILLUS: In Hank Ketcham’s comic strip "Dennis the Menace," Dennis is looking through a catalog saying, "This catalog’s got a lot of toys I didn’t even know I wanted." -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
It is therefore this commandment that destroys the idea that good works can save a man or woman, for it condemns the heart which is so wicked and reveals the extent of our motives in any action we take.
ILLUS: In Parker and Hart’s "The Wizard of Id" comic strip, one monk is putting up a sign on the bulletin board in front of the church while another monk watches. The sign reads "Thou Shalt Not Covet" and the visiting monk says, "Boy, I wish we had a signboard like that at our church." -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that we are to live a life that is content and trusts God for all our needs, to covet what others have is the root of all sin and takes our trust away from God and puts us in charge of getting what we think we need.
I. THE COVETING HEART I Kings 21:1-16
A. Corrupt 21:1-14
1. The literal meaning of the word “coveting” is “to pant after” – like my dog used to do when I ate ice cream and potato chips or buttered popcorn!
a. It indicates an intense desire that will not leave.
b. Usually becomes consuming to the point that it will demand fulfillment.
2. Coveting is not just something that happens to the poor, coveting is a problem for all humans.
a. Take King Ahab for example, though much richer than his neighbor Naboth, he covets Naboth’s vineyard, he had to have it.
b. His coveting was so powerful that he couldn’t feel happy unless he got what he wanted, it didn’t matter that he already had enough or more than Naboth.
c. This is the nature of coveting, it is never satisfied … and it is the basis for breaking the other commandments – King Ahab’s wife proceeds to kill Naboth, steal his field, bear false witness against Naboth, dishonor God’s name, it become the foundation of breaking many of the other commandments.
3. The fuel of coveting is DISCONTENT.
a. When we allow discontent to enter our spirit it is only a short time before we find ourselves coveting what others have, and coveting leads to all kinds of sins and broken commandments.
b. In the end coveting not only destroys others, but it destroys our own happiness as well since we keep looking for happines to come by getting something we feel we should have but don’t.
ILLUS: Covetous men must be the sport of Satan, for their grasping avarice neither lets them enjoy life nor escape from the second death. They are held by their own greed as surely as beasts with cords, or fish with nets, or men with chains. They may be likened to those foolish apes which in some countries are caught by narrow-necked vessels. Into these corn is placed, the creatures thrust in their hands, and when they have filled them they cannot draw out their fists unless they let go the grain. Sooner than let go they submit to be captured. Are covetous men then so like to animals? Let them ponder and be ashamed. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)