Summary: We are admonished in God’s word to put away envy. Let us study how envy can destroy our lives if we do not take authority in Christ to put it away.
ENVY (Heb. qin’â; Gk. phthonos).
(1) That discontented feeling that arises in the selfish heart in view of the superiority of another (real or imagined), nearly tantamount to jealousy (Psalm 37:1; Psalm 73:3; Proverbs 24:1, 19; Phil. 1:15; etc.).
Envying is ill will, malice, spite (James 3:14, NASB, “jealousy”). It is accompanied by every “evil thing” (James 3:16). It always desires and often strives to degrade others, not so much because it aspires after elevation as because it delights in obscuring those who are more deserving. It is one of the most odious and detestable of vices.
Envy goes beyond jealousy.
It is the spirit...
·that wants not only the things that another person has, but begrudges the fact that the person has them.
·that wants not only the things to be taken away from the person, but wants him to suffer through the loss of them.
Every thought expresses grief that another person has something, whether honor, recognition, or position.
Let’s look at some areas where envy is used in the New Testament…
Matthew 27:18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
Pilate knew that they had given him Jesus because the Pharisee’s and Sadduccee’s were envious of him because the people were drawn to him and thought higher of Jesus than of themselves so…
1. Pilate was seeking a compromise. He was trying to declare Christ innocent and to please the worldlings who were accusing Christ. Christ was innocent, yet he still lacked the courage and decisiveness to take a stand for Christ.
2. Pilate expected the people to release Christ. He thought his compromise had worked, who would not choose a great teacher over a notorious criminal?
“He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).
“All men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:23-24).
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:11-12).
Mark 15:10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.
Acts 7:9 And the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him,
The first rejection and deliverance. The forefathers rejected God’s choice servant, Joseph. Jospeh had been chosen by God to save His people, Israel. From Isaac came the other patriarchs, the first forefathers of the Jewish nation. Eventually Jospeh was born, and as stated, Joseph was to be God’s choice servant to save His people, Israel.
His brothers disliked the fact that he was favored (envied) and sold Joseph into slavery…
· their blindness to God’s purpose and plans.
· that they were sinful men, willing to stand against God’s will. Stephen was saying that the present generation was just as guilty as the fathers had been. The same spirit of envy was in their hearts against God’s plan, His Messiah and servants (the church). Are ours???
Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
Some rejected and opposed Paul just as we are rejected and opposed today. There were three primary reasons for their rejection and opposition (Acts 13:45).
a.They were filled with envy toward the people who were coming to seek Christ. The place was filling up with people...
·who were different.
·who were thought unclean and dirty.
·who were sinful and unjust and derelict.
·who were outsiders to the regular congregation.
·who usually did not attend or show interest in attending and therefore did not support the permanent priests and their ministry.
b.They were filled with envy toward the preachers, Paul and Barnabas. They were preaching a message that was meeting the needs of the people and the people were flocking to them. The teachers (rabbis) were jealous of their success, for the people didn’t support them like they supported Paul and Barnabas.
c.They opposed “those things,” what Paul was doing and teaching. The doctrine and teachings of Paul. They spoke against the truth, contradicting what Scripture proclaimed. In doing so they blasphemed the name of Christ.
Know that we to can expect rejection and opposition just as we can expect openness and reception to the gospel.