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Summary: THE TEN COMMANDMENTS – The Heart of a Thief in Me We can be guilty of stealing in three ways: We steal from God, ourselves and others.

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Exodus 20:3-17 (NIV)

[3] You shall have no other gods before me.

[4] You shall not make for yourself an idol. . .

[7] You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God. . .

[8] Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . .

[12] Honor your father and your mother. . .

[13] You shall not murder.

[14] You shall not commit adultery.

[15] You shall not steal.

[16] You shall not give false testimony . . .

[17] You shall not covet.

INTRODUCTION:

As we look today at the eighth commandment, “You shall not steal,” here are a couple of stories to remind us that crime does not pay.

A London taxi driver found an ingenious way to keep his cab clean. He would wrap up the leftovers from his lunch together with any other garbage he found in the cab in a newspaper each day and leave it in the backseat of his cab. By the end of the day, it was always gone. Someone stole it hoping for a treasure but ended up with a big surprise instead. -- Robert C. Shannon, 1000 Windows, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Standard Publishing Company, 1997).

Here is a true story from the dim-witted criminals department: A man walked into a convenience store, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register. In his hurry to get away the man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving his $20 bill on the counter. So how much did he steal from the drawer? Fifteen bucks. Go figure. -- "Strange World," Campus Life, Vol. 56, no. 2.

Looking around the sanctuary this morning, I don’t think we have any hardened criminals like bank robbers. I don’t think any of us are shoplifters or kleptomaniacs. None of us are likely to be labeled as a common thief, so maybe we should just skip over this eight commandment and go on to something else, right? Wrong! Some of us might like that because before we’re finished this morning we are liable to all discover that each of us is guilty of stealing in one way or another.

As we think about stealing today, we’re going to see that there are three ways we can steal:

1. We can steal from others,

2. We can steal from ourselves,

3. We can steal from God.

I. We can steal from others. The eighth commandment demands honesty in how we deal with other people. Stealing destroys relationships that are built on trust.

1. How did you get all the stuff that you have? When you think about it there are only three ways of getting anything. Paul alludes to all three ways of acquiring things in Ephesians 4:28.

Ephesians 4:28 NIV

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

a) You can get a lot of stuff by THEFT. Stealing is a way to take things and make them our own, but it too comes with a cost. Stealing does not create self respect. Stealing does not result in greater productivity but loss. Stealing does not produce trust but suspicion. Paul instructs those who were stealing to stop it.

b) Instead of stealing Paul tells us to acquire things through WORK. This is a way of getting things by earning it. When we work hard for the things we have it builds a sense of self respect because we know the cost. Furthermore work is productive. When you work hard it can result in an abundance that can be shared with others.


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