Summary: There is a difference however, between a THIEF and a ROBBER. This text for examination identifies the actions of a thief whereas MALACHI identifies the actions of a robber.
TITLE: THE DEVIL WROTE A CHECK FOR YOUR LIFE, BUT IT BOUNCED
SCRIPTURE: ST. JOHN 10:10
I realize this is a very familiar text, it is a well-known verse to millions of believers around the world, but today I want to see if I can provide us with some fresh insight into this powerful scripture. Rather than simply read it as you’ve read it a thousand times before, let’s dig a little deeper into the Greek words behind this verse to see what we can learn from the treasures of the GREEK NEW TESTAMENT!
On the Surface, or the Basics of the text, we know what a THIEF is -- A thief is one that takes that which does not belong to them. They will often try to acquire that which does not belong to them without being noticed; however, they will destroy things in order to get what they want and will even take a life to get that which doesn’t belong to them.
There is a difference however, between a THIEF and a ROBBER. This text for examination identifies the actions of a thief whereas MALACHI identifies the actions of a robber. You remember the text – “WILL A MAN ROB GOD? Theft and robbery are crimes that are interrelated which makes people use these terms almost interchangeably. However, there are major differences in the two types of crimes.
• A thief conducts his operation in stealth when no one is around as he does not want to attract any attention – come home from work and discover your stuff is gone
• Robbery is also a form of theft as the robber has the intention to take away the property of someone else but in addition here he makes use of violence or intimidation
• So when the Lord asks “Will a Man Rob God” He is saying we don’t tithe and give to the Church blatantly - we in essence strong arm God out of our giving – it is not done quietly and unnoticed
Now let me give the identity of the thief. I PETER 5:8 says “BE SOBER, BE VIGILANT; BECAUSE YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, AS A ROARING LION, WALKETH ABOUT, SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR.”
• Your adversary is not the person that made you upset
• It is not the person that cut in front of you on your way to church
• It is not your spouse that got on your last nerve
• It is not the choir that didn’t sing your favorite song
• It is not the Pastor that preached the message that ended up whipping you up one side and down the other
• Your adversary is the devil – it’s right there in the text
• Stop fighting with one another
• Stop getting angry with one another
• Your adversary is the devil, not one another!
The word “Thief” comes from the Greek word “KLEPTO” - which means to steal. It gives a picture of a BANDIT – PICKPOCKET - THIEF who is so artful in the way he steals that his exploits of thievery are nearly undetectable. This reminds me of the pickpockets who work the streets in certain areas of our major cities. They can slip their hands into a person’s pockets, take what they want, and be long gone before that person discovers they were even there, that their pocket had ever been picked!
++++Jesus uses this word to let us know the devil is very cunning in the way he steals from people. He knows that if he does it outright, his actions will be recognized; therefore, he steals from people in such a deceptive way that he often accomplishes his evil goal before they even know he has stolen from them!
Often the devil injects thoughts into a person’s mind to steal his peace - joy - beliefs. The Greek word KLEPTO describes a thief’s uncontrollable urge to get his hands into someone’s pockets so he can take that which doesn’t rightfully belong to him. I find it very interesting that this is where we get the word KLEPTOMANIAC, which describes a person with a persistent, neurotic impulse to steal.
• Just as a kleptomaniac can’t help but steal
• The devil can’t stop stealing because it is his impulse and his very nature to steal
• This is precisely the nature and behavior of the thief Jesus told us about!
So, understanding who the devil is, we need to understand his purpose as well. The text says the devil comes to “KILL.” Let’s make sure we understand what this means. At first glance, it appears that this means to kill, as to take someone’s life. But the Greek word is “THUO” which means to sacrifice. It originally referred to the sacrificial giving of animals on the altar. It could mean to sacrifice; to surrender; or to give up something that is precious and dear. It was particularly used in a religious connotation to denote the sacrifice of animals, and it had nothing to do with killing in terms of murder.