Saturday, August 22, 2009

Put Your Hand in Your Own Pocket

Luke 6:38

I. God Condemns Sharp Dealing

A. Covering up theft with a clever alternate term does not fool God; theft is theft. “Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found.” (Leviticus 6:4)

B. Truth and integrity are the only options for Christians; do not offend God to His face and expect Him to treat it as a simple misunderstanding. Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.” (Leviticus 19:11) Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 7:9-11)

C. As the Redeemer of God’s Christ elect has purchased the right to set the rules for His people. “Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:36-37)

D. Some forms of theft are multiple crimes which cannot be excused by decent societies; not all sin is strictly personal. If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.” (Deuteronomy 24:7) “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.” (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

II. Theft Mocks Providence

A. Real gain is possible but the path to that gain is different from the ways of the world. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. (Proverbs 3:13-14)

B. What is the value of something which is ephemeral; the world and its trinkets are ultimately temporary. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:7) As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand. And this also is a sore evil, that in all points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind? (Ecclesiastes 5:15-16)

C. Enough resources to function are all that anyone needs. “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:8)

D. “Riches” and “temptation” are interchangeable terms; avoid temptation. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (1 Timothy 6:9)

III. Carelessness with Resources Is Subtle Theft

A. Resources disappear when they are not accorded proper attention; consider the process as self-spoilage. Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?” (Proverbs 27:23-24)

B. Take Providence seriously; God plants trees where they will prosper and accomplish His objectives. There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2:24)

C. God makes work rewarding; remain clear about how life functions. “I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13)

D. Concentrate on the right things. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. (Psalm 37:3)

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