Summary: 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. (Part One)

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Dakota Community Church

Ephesians 54, Grace at Work 24

June 2, 2013

Steal No More

We are given six behaviors we are to discontinue - because they destroy unity.

We are given six replacement behaviors which will foster and protect unity.

Instead of lying; speak truth

...having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)

Instead of outbursts of wrath; righteous anger

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

Instead of stealing; working and contributing

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. (Ephesians 4:28)

A.) The Eighth Commandment - Let the thief no longer steal

First we need to go to the root of this problem, and like all others we find it in Genesis 3

Genesis 3:17-19

“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread! - There is no such thing as a free lunch!

God has ordained work, not stealing, as the way of getting what we need. Work is not a curse. Adam was put in the garden to tend it before the fall. Boredom and frustration and futility in work—these are the curse of our fallen age. But work itself is a good gift of God.

At the fall work became cursed, work became hard, survival became unpleasant.

Even the best jobs that are held by people who love their work; have aspects of the curse woven in to them.

The teacher may love the teaching but hate dealing with parents, or grading, or discipline.

The pro athlete may love the game but hate the gym or the road trips, or the media invasions.

The electrician may love the wiring but hate the inter-trade dealings or estimating or billing.

The artist may love the artistic expression but hate the lack of recognition or low pay.

Work is hard - even if you love what you do.

King Solomon in his great wisdom recognized this, he was exhausted from his own pursuits and the responsibilities (and opportunities to sin) of leadership.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-19

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. 19 Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.

Still work is hard and many of us would very much like to avoid it if at all possible; but, how to survive, to eat and play, and live ...without working?

You may find this offensive but it is true none the less.

If you are receiving money that you did not earn, it belongs to someone who did earn it, whether you took it directly - or you had help from a government official, {I am not suggesting that it is wrong to pay taxes} you are living on the fruit of someone else’s labour.

It is wrong to TAKE the fruit of someone else’s labour without paying for it.

There is really only one way to survive without working and for the Christian, that one option is ruled out:

Exodus 20:15

“You shall not steal.

1 Corinthians 6:7-11

To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

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