Summary: Based on the 8th Commandment.
The Truth About Truth #9
Stealing; A Bad Problem
* Since September we have been slowly but surely making our way through a study covering the 10 Commandments. We have called the series- The Truth About Truth. We find ourselves on the 8th commandment and thus, almost through. Tonight is a commandment which, if we get honest before God is indeed a problem for many. Let’s read our TEXT.
* It was in a SS where the teacher asks the students to express the difference between right & wrong. To illustrate she asked, “If I were to go into a man’s pocket, take wallet & money, what would I be?” Little Johnny’s said, “I know, I know. His wife.”
* Candidly, today we seem to think about stealing in 2 dimensions; a) The bad people (I.E. the robbers, thieves, burglars, etc) and, b) no big deal.
* Not long ago, I returned money to a cashier who had given me the “wrong change”. She was noticeably shocked. What do we think of when we remove an item from office? Or maybe, what do we do “on the clock?” Maybe we are NOT so innocent after all. I submit that “stealing is a sin” which we almost come to wink at and say, “it’s okay.” This nonchalant attitude erodes our integrity.
1) ORIGIN - I offer 3 thoughts about how this all began.
* However, consider one truth. There is only one not hurt by stealing and it is Satan. Next, consider the first crime scene. And never forget, Sin is progressive. It’ll take you farther, keep you longer, & cost more than you think
a) Serpent Stole Eve’s Mind – The mind is still “the” battleground. Satan asked Eve, “Did God really say?” and at the moment she doubted God, Satan had her, just like he does us. We give him a place in our minds and He takes over. That’s why Rom 12 says we are transformed by the “renewing.”
* Satan wants and wills for us to have a Sinful mind. Because Rom 8:7 tells us that a “sinful mind is hostile toward God.”
* There is one more thing of interest here, and that is this; Satan used a friend to steal her mind. In the garden all of God’s creation walked in harmony, they enjoyed each other’s company. She wasn’t afraid of the serpent. In fact, the serpent sounds much different than the snake. Of all the ways and means Satan uses, he loves to use friends to gain access.
b) Eve Stole God’s Fruit
* There was only one thing God withheld from the 1st couple, it was His fruit. Some suggest it was poison. If it was poison fruit, the real poison was that it represented disobedience.
* Although Eve would have never thought of this without the prompting of Satan, she listened, she considered, and then decided to put herself & her own wants above God’s words.
* In the Church today, we can enjoy God’s working and His people enjoying His blessings, then Satan slips in over the lips of a “friend” comes the venom and bit of the serpent. You see, the fellowship of God’s people is God’s fruit. He says, “Don’t touch.”
c) Fruit Stole Eve’s immortality
* When Adam and Eve were caught they actually played the first round of “pass the buck.” Adam Blamed God, Eve blamed the Serpent, but God held everyone accountable.
* Again, it appears that nothing was innately wrong with fruit. There is no indication it was unhealthy, the issue was DISOBEDIENCE.
* TRANS: One act of disobedience changed the eternal destiny & destination for all of mankind. Make no mistake; stealing originates with Satan.
2) OPERATION – Come on, what’s the problem with stealing? The real problem not the religious stuff.
a) Violation of Law – The 8th command is clear. Every system of law in history recognizes to gain other people property by force is illegal. The two hanging by Jesus were thieves. Jesus described thieves as those who “steal, Kill, and destroy.” The word steal comes the the greek word “Kleptos” meaning to take something that is NOT ours. Every culture and society has a law against this.
b) Violation of Loyalty – Because of the culture the Bible speaks of these things in terms of “Master and Slave”. Today’s language would be “Employer and Employee.” To steal from your employer is to not give what is expected of you in effort, time, and the like. To steal from your employee is to not pay a fair wage. Years ago, I heard Grant Taft, football coach at Baylor; give a talk in which he said, “Very little will substitute for loyalty”. The old hymn says, “Loyalty to Christ”. The way to be disloyal is to be a thief.