Sunday, October 4, 2015

The message transcript from the sermon today at NRN - Do Not Covet

Today we conclude the teaching series from the Ten Commandments:

"You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s."                                         Exodus 20:17

INTRO:  All he ever really wanted in life was more. He wanted more money, so he parlayed inherited wealth into a billion-dollar pile of assets. He wanted more fame, so he broke into the Hollywood scene and soon became a filmmaker and star. He wanted more sensual pleasures, so he paid handsome sums to indulge his every sexual urge. He wanted more thrills, so he designed, built, and piloted the fastest aircraft in the world. He wanted more power, so he secretly dealt political favors so skillfully that two U. S. presidents became his pawns. All he ever wanted was more. He was absolutely convinced that more would bring him true satisfaction. Unfortunately, history shows otherwise. [He] concluded his life … emaciated; colorless; sunken chest; fingernails in grotesque, inches-long corkscrews; rotting, black teeth; tumors, innumerable needle marks from drug addiction. Howard Hughes died, believing the myth of more. He died a billionaire junkie, insane by all reasonable standards[Bill Hybels, “Power: Preaching for Total Commitment,” Mastering Contemporary Preaching (Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1989), 120-121].                   
There is only one Commandment that prohibits a thought, and it is this:   "Do not covet." Why does the Bible, which is preoccupied with behavior, legislate a thought? Because to covet, to want what belongs to someone else, is the root of the preceding four commandments and often leads to evil. Before someone murders, steals, lies, or commits adultery, the desire to take what is rightly someone else's usually comes first.
Why does God have a law against coveting?
1. God forbids coveting because it puts my FOCUS IN THE WRONG PLACE.                                                                        
"You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s."                                     Exodus 20:17                   
The last few commands that we have looked at have been kind of short on details or further elaboration, but this command goes into a little more detail. It talks about different categories of things that we might be tempted to covet

House – To some people, having the right house in the right neighborhood is the ultimate in satisfaction.
Wife – “Why can’t you be more like that!?” (This could go for husbands too!”)

Ok, so maybe you don’t covet servants as much these days. But how about their dishwasher, or their microwave? Or their car? It’s the servant that gets them places – do you covet their Mercedes, or their BMW’s?

Ox, donkey
To the people of Moses’ day, an ox, donkey or some other beast of burden was essential if one was going to make a living. They were his source of income. Without them, he could not bring in his crop. It’s very easy to covet another man’s job – another man’s source of income.   “My next door neighbor makes twice as much as I do, and he spends most of his time out on the golf course with his clients. And I have to put up with a supervisor who cusses all day long and criticizes me even when I am not at fault!”
Anything – So far, we’ve seen that you can covet a house, personal relationships, possessions that make life easier and more prestigious, and a different kind of job. But there are a lot more things that you can covet, and rather than try and list them all out, God closes the verses with the catch-all of “anything”. That just about covers it all. It leaves you to investigate yourself and your own desires. Let’s see if we can’t come up with some other things that we might have a problem with. How about these; do you covet someone else’s sports ability, their marriage, their clothes, their bank account, their figure, their kids – “Why can’t you kids be more like the neighbor’s kids!?” Do you covet someone else’s teaching ability, or their singing ability or anything that you feel like they can do better than you can do?

All of the things that we have talked about so far have at least one thing in common. Each and every one of them is a part of this life. They are temporary. They are a part of the world that I will leave behind when I die.
The question is not “What am I building here?” but “What am I sending on ahead of me into eternity?” When he sends Jesus down to get us, He will not drag you to heaven. He doesn’t want us to hesitate when we hear the trumpet blow. He wants us to be in such an attitude that we are looking forward to His coming and that we anticipate it every day.
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”    Colossians 3:2 
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”                  Matt. 6:19-21
"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."                                                            Luke 12:15
2. God forbids coveting because it puts a BARRIER BETWEEN ME AND MY NEIGHBOR.                                                                                                   
The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself.                                                         Romans 13:9  
My attitude toward my neighbor is supposed to be love. It’s kind of hard to love someone who is standing in the way of me getting what I think I really need in order for me to be happy and satisfied in life. Love is characterized by self-sacrifice not by self-gratification. Love rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep.  A covetous spirit causes me to get envious when my neighbor gets a new car or new furniture or when he gets a raise at work. A covetous spirit causes me to laugh inside and secretly rejoice when that new car that he just bought gets banged up in a fender-bender. It puts within me a spirit of competition and comparison instead of cooperation. But a loving spirit allows me to be glad when someone else is able to purchase a 2015 BMW when I’m still driving a 2005 GMC Envoy.         
3. God forbids coveting because it leads to BREAKING ALL GOD’S COMMANDS.                                                                                                                        
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.                                                                       1 Timothy 6:10-11  
Here’s the worst example of this from the Bible:       KING DAVID!
* David broke the 10th commandment coveting his neighbor’s wife.
* That led to adultery, which broke the 7th commandment.
* Then, in order to steal Bathsheba (breaking the 8th commandment) he committed murder and broke the 6th commandment.
* He broke the 9th commandment by lying about it.
* This brought dishonor to his parents, breaking the 5th commandment.
* He didn’t put God first, breaking the 1st and 2nd commandments.
* This dishonored God’s name, breaking the 3rd commandment
                   -  J. Oswald Sanders, Bible Men of Faith (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), 13].            
4. God forbids coveting because it will DESTROY MY SPIRITUAL LIFE
Other people, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.                                                           Mark 4:18-19   
“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’”                                                                                    Luke 12:16-20       
He had plenty and could have assisted so many others, but he failed to see beyond his own consumptive greed. “I’ll tear down what I have and build bigger and better.” How American he sounds! We should hear the Lord’s evaluation carefully.  “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’”
This can even come into the church when we see God working in other’s lives and covet that for ourselves:                

How to Overcome a Coveting Attitude
1. Ask God to FORGIVE   YOU .
My friends, here is what I want you to know. I announce to you that your sins can be forgiven because of what Jesus has done.                                Acts 13:38

2. Realize that THINGS WILL NOT SATISFY.      
“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Riches... will surely sprout wings and fly off...”                        Proverbs 23: 4-5
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income...”                             Ecclesiastes 5:10-11

ILL: A successful businessman and his friends were talking and laughing together and enjoying success. The businessman told of his childhood of poverty. Someone had given him a big coin. To have a coin was rare for children then, and his little sister begged to hold it. He laughed over the memory of all the chores he could get her to do for him just to get to hold the coin. He told of a day when she minded the cows all day for the privilege of holding the coin, only to have to give it up at the end of the day. All of the men laughed again at the childishness of the sister. Just then, one man not laughing reminded the businessman that all he was doing now in labor and service was for the privilege of holding onto a few possessions. “The end of the day is coming, and you will have to give them up like your little sister did.”     
3. Think THANKFUL.                                         
I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing Your praise before the heavenly beings.                                                                                                   Psalm 38:1-2 ( HCSB)

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires   that   plunge men into ruin and destruction.”         1 Timothy 6:6-9

Your feelings come from your attitudes. Your attitudes come from your thoughts. You can’t control your feelings, but you can control your thoughts.  So think thankful. It will begin to reprogram your attitude. And that will change your feelings!   Here is an example:       


4. Start coveting the RIGHT THINGS
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ...                                              Phil 3:8, 10        
CONCLUSION: I encourage you to covet – the things that will last!
The gold that I want is to be able to stand before Jesus, the ultimate judge of the greatest race of all, have him place a crown on my head and hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”                       


No comments: