Summary: Satan seeks to steal our spiritual blessings--the intangibles. Be alert.
7 Therefore Jesus said again, "I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.
8 All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I bought a book some time back called, Dumb Crooks. It was full of stories about thieves who were not too bright¨Chumorous incidents. For example, one guy was siphoning gasoline from a someone¡¯s motor-home. If you¡¯ve ever done it, you know that sometimes you get a little gas in your mouth. Well, this poor guy got the wrong hose. He got the sewer hose!
Right here in Ionia, Michigan and intoxicated robber called the police because a service station attendant refused to hand over the cash.
The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti at 7:50 a.m., flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn¡¯t open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren¡¯t available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.
We laugh about these. But if you¡¯ve ever been the victim of a robbery or attempted robbery, it isn¡¯t funny. Lady in Gas City didn¡¯t think it was funny when an armed robber asked her for cash.
Did you ever have something stolen from you? I would imagine that most of us would say yes to that. You can¡¯t live in this world for very long without encountering a thief of some sort.
I remember having my favorite jacket stolen form me while I was in high school. Just a short time ago, I bought my wife a beautiful pin, shaped like a butterfly. She left it in a motel room while we went out somewhere and it was gone when we got back.
Someone broke into our church in Cedar Rapids and stole a VCR, TV set and CD player.
Book thieves: They take from 200-500 books a year from the average library¨Cnational loss is well over $25 million a year!
In a recent year, 4,600 Bibles were stolen from NYC hotel rooms.
From a new hotel in NYC, in the first 10 months, 38,000 spoons were taken; 18,000 towels, 355 silver coffee pots and 1500 silver finger bowls were snatched.
AD IN NEWSPAPER: TO WHOEVER STOLE THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER FROM MY 1970 FORD STATION WAGON: WHERE YOU¡¯RE HEADED, YOU¡¯LL NEED IT!
Said the FBI to the bank teller after the same bank was robbed for the 3rd time: ¡°Did you notice anything special about the robber?¡± ¡°Yes,¡± was the reply. ¡°He seemed to be better dressed each time.¡±
In the spiritual realm, a kind of stealing is going on in many lives that is much more serious. Satan is in the business of ripping off things that are far more important that jackets or jewelry. But then, this is his nature, isn¡¯t it? As Jesus said in verse 10 of our scripture, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
Obviously Satan isn¡¯t interested in things like cars or clothes. He doesn¡¯t need these things. But he is interested in stealing spiritual treasurers¨Cthings that have value with God and are of eternal significance.
Notice the progression in John 10:10. The devil begins with petty larceny¨Cthen he moves on the actual killing and finally, mass destruction. ¡°Steal¨Ckill¨Cdestroy.¡± That¡¯s his goal. But is all started with stealing.
DEVIL¡¯S STRATEGY OF THEFT
1. Our First Love
¡ö We were on fire
¡ö Our appetite for God¡¯s Word was voracious
¡ö Our eagerness to witness was strong
¡ö Our love for God¡¯s house was enthusiastic
¡ö Our burden for prayer was intense
What happened? We allowed Satan to steal our first love. We have become members in good standing of the church at Ephesus that Rev. 2:2-5 talks about.
Satan steals the hot embers of devotion and consecration. Our zeal for the things of God is gone. We¡¯ve been ripped off!
2. Our Joy
¡ö Our song of praise
¡ö The spring in our step
¡ö Positive outlook on life
¡ö Smiles have turned to frowns
According to Nehemiah, joy is the source of our strength. If the joy of the Lord is gone out of your life, you will be left weak and ineffective.
¡°There is more joy in Jesus in twenty four hours than there is in the world in 365 days. I have tried them both¡± R.A.Torrey
3. Our Unique Calling