Summary: Talks about how to desicern between covetous desire and legitimate desire and how to overcome covetous desire and learn to be content.

You shall not covet

What is coveting?

Coveting is a desire for something that is excessive or prohibited and has no regard for the rights of others.

How do we determine the difference between legitimate desires and coveting?

Legitimate desire will not sacrifice people for the thing desired (1 Cor. 13)

Covetous desire will not sacrifice the thing desired for people

Legitimate desire trusts God to provide in His Time

Covetous desire is not content with God’s provision

Legitimate desire will not lead to other sins

Covetous desire will lead to other sins

How do you overcome covetousness?

We need to battle the Lies of Satan with the Truth of God

“Wall Street” – Greed is Good clip - Gordon Gekko Speech from the movie “Wall Street”

Slide after video clip

If you don’t recognize that speech, it is from the movie “Wall Street” from 1987.

I was in college during that time getting a degree in economics from the University of Illinois and I can tell you that the words from that speech, if they were not plastered on the bedroom walls of the aspiring young businessmen, they were plastered across the walls of their mind.

Greed is Good.

It was believed that the desire for more and more would help you to be

successful in business, successful in life.

Back in the 1980’s I was one who believed that.

I wanted more stuff. I wanted more money. I wanted power and success.

I wanted more. More of what I had and I wanted what I didn’t have.

I wanted it all.

I remember watching that movie and seeing Gordon Gekko on the beach talking on a one of those Motorola Cell phones that was the size of a brick.


Boy did I want one of those.

To me, at least then, that was an indicator of having it all, if you had that.

And even though the 80’s were classified as the decade of greed, and the conspicuous consumption of that decade has somewhat faded, there are still people today who want more and more and while they may not overtly say that greed is good, they believe that desire for more, a desire for the things you don’t have as well as a desire for more of the things you do have, isn’t so bad. That desire will help you get ahead in life


They believe that it will be in the things that you find your joy and when you see the things of other people or what other people have, you feel like you are lacking in the joy you could have if only you had what they did.

You covet what they have because by obtaining it, you believe you will have more joy.

But for Christians, while many of us may know this isn’t true in our heads, we still struggle greatly to live this out and at times we may have difficulty even believing it.

So God has given this 10th commandment to help us.

This morning, we are finishing up our series, God’s Top Ten and we are going to discuss the 10th commandment which is found in Exodus 20:17 and reads


Exodus 20:17 - "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor."

Different – Attitude vs. Action

Now, I want you to notice that this command is different from the other commands dealing with relations among people.

Commands 5 through 9 deal with actions, which we know stem from the heart, but they have actions at their core.

Coveting, however, is an attitude. It is something that is within us.

God is prohibiting an attitude of covetousness.

Why is that?

To understand that, I think it is important that we understand what coveting is.

What is coveting?


Coveting, according to is “to desire wrongfully” or “without due regard for the rights of others”

According to accessed 9/1/2009 at

A synonym of covetousness is

greed in terms of the desire for more and

envy in terms of the desire for what someone else has.

So to covet is

to desire wrongfully that which someone else has or

to desire something so greatly that it corrupts correct priorities.

Covetousness is certainly something that God does not want us to have and we see Paul reiterate this in the New Testament as well.

Colossians 3:5 - Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, (Covetousness) which is idolatry.

But what really is greed or covetousness?

Is it wrong to desire anything?

I think most of us realize that some desires are good, or at least not sinful.

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