Ephesians 4:28 reminds us of something concerning believers: " Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth." The Bible teaches that, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature-{or a new creation}, old things have passed away...all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). You would think that when people are saved, they would act differently than those that are in the world. Their conduct should be manifested in a sanctified and holy manner of life (1 Pet. 1:15,16). Although we had rather not admit it, there are some thieves scattered about in every local church. What kind of thieves are they?

I. Some Steal The Required.

By the required, I mean the tithe and the offering. Read Malachi 3:8-10. Tithing is not a suggestion by God it is a command. "Tithe" means "the tenth" and offering is "above and beyond the tithe." The Bible declares that, "The the Lord's"(Lev.27:30). When God says something is His and we keep it for ourselves, we have stolen from God that which is rightfully His. You may have worked for it, but think about it, He gave you the job and the strength to perform your duties. How would you have earned money otherwise?

A. It was required in the past.

Again, I stress Malachi 3:8-10.

B. It is required in the present. Jesus told a group of religious Pharisees concerning tithing of everything–"These things ought ye to have done"(Matt.23:23).

C. It will be rewarded in the future ( Heb.6:10). God will reward you for your investments materially in regard to the things of God. The storehouse is the church.

II. Some Steal The Reputations. The Bible says in Prov. 22:1, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." Eccl. 7:1 says, "A good name is better than precious ointment." There are those in the church that murder with the mouth. They would not kill someone with a knife, but it does not bother them to lash and destroy with the tongue. The tongue can be:

A. A poisoned tongue (Ja.3:8).

B. A perpetually flapping tongue (Jer.9:3)

C. A prompted tongue ("set on fire of hell"-Ja. 3:6).

III. Some Steal The Recognition. What recognition? That which God deserves for what He has done. In 2 Thess.1:12, we are told the "name of Jesus" is to be glorified.

A. When souls are saved.

B. When spiritual growth is evident.

C. When saints are blessed.

Let's not try to steal the glory that belongs to-- God for ourselves. We ought to say, "Unto Him be glory in the church"(Eph.3:21).

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