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November 24, 2021 3:00 am
Bible teaches that stealing is wrong. Not only harms others it's a sin against God. Today on Truth for Life. Alastair begged outline some of the less obvious ways. We rob others. Then he looks to the New Testament to teach us how we can replace negative behavior something positive we continue in Exodus 20 verse 15 -5 other ways that are perhaps not so obvious, in which we break being number one. We steal when we steal the reputation of others by the sin of slander we steal when we steal another's reputation by slandering them to slander somebody essentially means to run them down to backbite them to speak in a derogatory fashion about them behind their backs and usually when they have no opportunity of responding to it. You steal another person's reputation or I steal another person's reputation that is far more harmful than what we would ever do in stealing something out of their home. You steal the reputation of another person in business and I may be far more harmful than ever having taken illicit funds out of there until because our reputation is of such significance. And yet, in the context of I in which many of us move whereby we would never take anything out of the plate all know what the offering plate comes not know Exodus 2015 thou shalt not steal. I couldn't do that we would probably not going to go in the store and take stuff away.
Although some of us may live without problem secretly many of them don't think very much about stealing the reputation of somebody else by stabbing them in the back when they're not present steal Steve 16th-century preacher addressing the shares issued speaks to a lady in his congregation who confess to being a slander. He said do you frequently fall into this fall is very often she said your father's grave at the mercy of God is still greater. He said go to the nearest market and purchase of chicken just killed and still covered with feathers.
You will then walk a certain distance, plucking the board as you go along. When you finish your work. Return to me here. She did that she been instructed and returned anxious for an explanation of said the menu been very faithful to the first part of my instructions. What I want you to do is to retrace your steps and gather all the feathers out one by one, but explain the woman I cast them carelessly on every side the wind carried them in every direction. How can I ever recover them. Well you replied.
So it is with your words of slander like the feathers they have been scattered call them back if you can than any stealing. This week stolen anybody's reputation this week so that you would get a business deal so that you would look better in front of your schoolteacher so that she wouldn't go out on a date with him, but might go out on a date with you. Secondly, not so obviously we steal from other people. When as a result of fornication we take away their moral purity syllabus and this last Sunday while in some ways his last Sunday is this Sunday is every Sunday. I want to say to you, and you can at least say afterwards when I'm long gone, you say well I remember old bag.
He used to tell us the I told you and telling you I tell myself and telling you I haven't forgotten what it was like to be a teenager but I tell you again this morning. You cannot play fast and loose with the moral life of the girl you're dating or the fellow you're doing. You cannot steal from them that which can never ever be repaid without being on manifest lawbreaker sin in your soul disrupting life and creating a pattern of heartache which will actually walk with you through your days even though you're forgiven.
So to those of you who have the opportunity to make wise decisions.
Ask God to help you not to go stealing in the realm of moral purity. Certainly we steal when we take work which was done by someone else and we make it appear as if it were our own. That's called plagiarism is particularly true in the academic world.
It's true to some degree in the business world. It's what many of the battles are fought over patents in the business and manufacturing world is about somebody says I did it.
They didn't do it they stole it from somebody else. They wanted to make it look like their own, and endeavoring to do so. They exalt himself that are not a few people walking around with a horrible guilty conscience. I'm sure because they have PhD after their name and if truth were told they never did. 80% of the work they filched it all for materials Dannon buried in long gone.
They plagiarized it there fiefs.
Fourthly, we steal from others when we cheat in the context of the classroom when we follow someone else's work. We cheat because we steal their time.
We steal their intellect.
We steal their endeavor and again we seek to exalt ourselves on the basis of the Harmon disregard and devaluation which we demonstrate towards them is not like cheating a golf cheating a golf is different.
I don't mean in competition I mean when you're by yourself. You cheated golf when you're by yourself, you give yourself parts that you miss and then you mark the card and you take it all and leave it on the vanity so your wife can see love sermon on that one day when on this morning. Fifthly, we steal by failing to give God what we owe him.
Turn to Malachi chapter 3 for just a moment. The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi chapter 3 in verse eight will a man rob God while can we rob God. He goes on to say, the way in which you robbed me as basically you're telling me one thing and you're doing another. You telling me you're committed to me and yet there's no apparent commitment on your part of the issue is that they were holding back what they may have given away to God, the one prepared to trust God to provide for them to throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out the blessing that they couldn't contain verse 10 they were depriving God of the opportunity to show himself strong in their respect as a nation. And while there is a theocratic nationalistic element in this promise to the principle remains the same, that when God's people are prepared to trust God and not seek to steal from God, recognizing that everything comes from God and the blessings which he will pour out upon his people are unimaginable. It has to do with money, surely it does.
It has to do with time. It has to do with intellect with our will and with our talent. It has to do if you like with living out the him that we often sing, take my life. Let it be consecrated, Lord, to the take my moments and my days and let them flow ceaseless praise. Every time I sing that and then steal it by I bring the command.
The third question you did well getting through that.
The third question is what then is the positive side of this command. If this is all the negative side of the command.
What is the positive side of the command.
Well, it's very clear if the essence of theft is getting. Then the essence of obedient Christian living is giving Ephesians chapter 4 may want to turn to Ephesians 4 in verse 28 he was based been stealing my steel no longer does not.
There, there's a, he was been stealing my steel no longer, instead, but must work doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. So the thief is not somebody who in coming to Christ simply stops being a thief by the thief is somebody whose hands have been used for taking his dad examines his hands transformed by the power of God for giving this a wonderful transformation where dishonesty once marked his life now honesty is to characterize his work. Where was that he would only take from people. Now he is to give to people first Corinthians 1024.
We should do everything in our powers to prosper. Others, nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Take that for a principal. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Imagine everybody going around seeking the good of others rather than our own good. It would radically transform things. Imagine all of your children thinking about the good of their siblings rather than the good in themselves, imagine our families being run on that principal imagine our charge operating on that principle. It is a transforming principle is the flipside of the eighth commandment. Also, we should strive after honesty and little things because it is in little things that we set the pattern for larger things. Luke chapter 16 verse 10 whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much and whoever is dishonest with little will also be dishonest with much fundamental principle of you can be trusted with pencils. If you can be trusted with an expense account the runs to $100 a month. Your employer is a crackpot. If he gives you an expense account. The runs the $2000 a month you can be trusted with that here you can be trusted with their why the problem is inside PCI gambler will gamble on anything said to a raindrops running down the when it was a bag and one on the left reaches the bottom, first, I bet you don't know what kind of coin I've got my pocket, is just endemic in the guy he just can thing without thinking, gambling, and when we think in terms of stealing cheat and steal all the sin. Finally, is there a good example of the transformation of a thief given is in the Bible. Yes, we read it and I like to turn back there because were going to finish up in Luke chapter 19 is a good example of a thief being transformed in the Bible. Luke chapter 19 Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. The two things were synonymous. Your chief tax collector.
Your wealthy your wealthy is a fair chance your chief tax collector. The reason for this was without going into all the details that had the responsibility for customs and for excise for levying taxes and for levying tolls and they had a measure of freedom because they worked for a guy who owned stuff in so much stuff that he could. He hadn't seen a bank statement in 100 years that he could pay any attention to because it was so astronomically large. Therefore, he trusted a number of these chief tax collectors to oversee areas of his territory. He told the chief tax collectors look out of this. What I need a month is ask. I don't care what happens before that or after that as long as I get asked chief tax collector said beautiful because now I know that he needs acts. I will go out and get X plus Y. Given his acts give me my why I will be in the gravy is exactly what happened. So I the wind and inside exercise these tolls and exercise the taxes and everything. The people at a sneaking suspicion that little Zacchaeus was screaming some off the top of the good put their hand on it because they couldn't say exactly what the man over here wanted on a monthly basis.
They knew that he was a cheat.
The user thief. They knew he was at the fiddling, so he was wealthy and they didn't like. He had prominence and yet people resented. He's a little man as well. A short man, I don't know if you're allowed to say that anymore today it says something theirs is. There's probably a clever phrase for that.
What is it you vertically challenge that said yes yes Zacchaeus was a vertically challenged individual on account of this peculiar vertical challenge. He did not figure that he would see Jesus when he came to town so seeking to respond to this unique challenge.
He claims over tree sycamore tree branches tend to hang down law which is sorrow. Somebody who is that small would have because you know I'm saying, hey, how come he got the tree in the first place that he is a ladder or something of the branches hung down, he got on got up. He's hoping to see who Jesus was. Since Jesus was coming that way when Jesus reached the spot spot these spots the spot that Jesus plan to. It was the spot under six Zacchaeus's tree.
Zacchaeus is up the tree and is going this is unbelief of all the spots at which he may have stopped. He stops at my spot while I was in his body was Jesus and he was the said to himself. What an amazing view of the talk of Jesus had been billed to tell my kids and then suddenly looking down and is looking straight into the eyes of Christ in the door of opportunity is about to swing open. Jesus said to him, Zacchaeus calmed down immediately. I must stay at your house today. I must sometime you're interested go through the New Testament and watch all the times that it says Jesus must do something. I must stay in your house today and you see Zacchaeus when he looked into the eyes of Christ and Herod that through his own ears, and he heard Jesus say I must stay at your house today.
Zacchaeus must've said you're right we don't know we will know to we get to heaven just exactly what it been going on in his mind, but we do know this. What would it profit a man if he gain the whole world lost his own soul what advantage is there to be driving around in a wonderful car and have a stash of money in stocks and bonds and yet to be sick in the very heart of your life to know that some of it is well maintained and well achieved another's audit has just been pillaged and filled from all over the place and when somebody like Christ who is the Savior of sinners looks into your eyes and says I must stay in your house. The answer of your heart is going to be your rights lasts then that what anybody else thought all these only thing was, why would you guys house.
After a week trip where the one with the procession together. We landed in the front so that everybody would clear away, we have been coming to guys the Burger King after the service and whose ego, ego score is means in all ways. Jericho know you say Zacchaeus is safety.
Why would he go with him the answers in the verse because the Son of Man came seeking to save that which is lost and when he went into Zacchaeus's eyes when you think he did. I think he went through the 10 Commandments with Zacchaeus. I think he went through the law of God with Zacchaeus to Zacchaeus, how you doing Zacchaeus's title, no civil why don't we just wanted up against the standard. Why don't we just lay out the plan of the father and see how were doing, how you know with love me with all your heart, all your soul know you're my know your strength.
Good going good on that one you doing here on the any idols in here, nothing, nothing more. No idols, no, no, and that are you how you doing as you want your wife you yeah oh yes cool I will my wife and I great or what a girl lovely lovely yeah and I bought a watch history, you should see her watch. It's unbelievable. Yeah hey how about stealing sick I Jesus have you come home to my house if you want to start put your finger on stuff that he walks out of the door presume will the people hang around and see what happens when what I'm Zacchaeus. Jesus was in the house. He comes back out comes by And informs the people hate him and you can the law required that he doubled it, or give 1/5 back. He comes out he says I want to go four times back everything I too am going to take half of my total resources given to the poor, and there's probably somebody out there saying why get it now. The way you become a Christian is you you pay back four times.
Everything you ever stole from anybody and you you reduce your net worth by 50% and as a result of that you get credit that you keep with you and then you go to the gates of heaven. Ego hate. I did that deal did Zacchaeus deal with a four times plus the 50% of my network. Therefore, on the base of this scares me know you got it completely, absolutely, totally foundational. He wrong Jesus would have told Zacchaeus, Zacchaeus, if you were to work for the rest of your life and give money to everybody to walk the streets of Jericho. If you were never to steal again if you were to become Mr. nice guy.
If you were to labor with your hands if you were to be zealous with your mind. You could never Zacchaeus. We pay the debt that you all to Almighty God for breaking is law. Zacchaeus had.
Then he would've told Zacchaeus, if you would acknowledge who you are and what you are and look to me. Zacchaeus, then you will become my new and as a result of becoming a new man from the inside.
You will live a new life on the outside and then he announces to the crowd today salvation has come to this house has Jesus ever stood outside your door and made such an announcement, why not tell me is because you don't need salvation. So why not. And why not allow today to be today. None of us can ever repay the debt we owe. That's what Jesus came listing the Truth for Life with Alastair Bragg. Alister returns in just a minute to close with prayer so please keep listing.
If you've not yet requested your copy of Alister's brand-new devotional. Make sure you do so. The devotional titled Truth for Life 365 daily devotions. Alister's clear faithful daily commentary will encourage you to live for Christ in every area of your life. Most importantly it will help you start each day with God's word.
So plan now to make 2022 a year of intentional time with God in his word requester copy of Alister's devotional when you donate to support the teaching you hear on this program, tap the book image in the app or call us at 888-588-7884. Now here's Alister with the closing prayer.
Gracious God, we thank you for your word. It's such a wonderful thing shines out into the darkness of our days with such clarity and purity. It pierces to the very quick of our being and shows as our need of you, and then brings this wonderful new that upon our life.
We didn't live up on a death we didn't die upon another's life and death.
We may state our whole eternity reminding is the not the labor of our hands could fulfill your laws, demands, could our tears forever flow could our zeal, no race by no all for our sins could not a total. Only Jesus alone can save and change some of us this morning our painfully aware of the theft in which we've been involved.
We want to recognize we want to repent of. We want as we are enabled to make restitution for so we pray for your grace, that we might be granted faith that we might cast ourselves upon your mercy. You may announce for some of us today salvation has come to this house now unto him who is able to keep you from falling to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy to the only wise God our Savior be glory and majesty, dominion, and both now and forevermore a bubble team. The ninth commandment calls for honesty. So why does lying seem to come so naturally tomorrow.
Alister gets to the source of the problem. I hope you can join us. The Bible teaching of Alister big is furnished by Truth for Life where the wording is for living