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The 10 Commandments #8 - Is Possession Really 9-10 the Law

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The 10 Commandments #8:

Is Possession Really 9/10 of the law?

Text: Exodus 20:15

Thesis: To note the sin of stealing.


(1)   Muggings, heists @ ATM’s, and other forms of theft occur over 1.2 million times a year.

(2)   Things have gotten so far out of hand that at a certain college, a sign was posted that mentioned that a student would need an ID card, a driver’s license, a Social Security card, a birth certificate, fingerprints, disclosure of identifying scars or tattoos, signature of the department head, and proof of citizenship in order to cash a check.


I.                   Why do people steal?

A.    People steal because they want instant happiness.

1.      Story – Stealing $20 from my mother

2.      Story – Achan (Joshua 6-7)

B.     People steal because they want security.

1.      Many people lay up for themselves treasures here upon earth (cf. Matt. 6:19-21).

2.      However, we must remember that “whoever loves money never has money enough” (Ecc. 5:10).

3.      “Be on guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

C.     People steal because they want to attract friends.

1.      “Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him” (Prov. 19:4).

2.      Story – My baseball cards were once stolen

D.    People steal because they’ve forgotten about God’s promise of care.

1.      His promise – Matt. 6:25-33

2.      We often attempt to provide for ourselves.

II.                How do people steal?

A.    Some people steal by taking money or property from others.     

B.     Some people steal by being dishonest in business dealings.

C.     Some people steal by cheating on their taxes.

D.    Some people steal by withholding from God (cf. Mal. 3:8).

E.     Some people steal by neglecting their families.

F.      Some people steal by taking intangible things from others (e.g., dreams, rights [sexism, racism, discrimination], a good name [slander, gossip]).

G.    Some people steal by living by the philosophy of “finders keepers, losers weepers.”

III.             What is wrong with stealing?

A.    Story – A father once decided to go into his neighbor’s filed to steal some grain. He brought along his daughter to keep watch. She said, “Father, someone sees you.” He looked around and saw no one and then asked, “Who sees me?” “Father,” said the little girl, “there is someone who sees you from above.”

B.     “Stealing another’s property is a violation of one’s fundamental obligation to love others and treat them as he would want to be treated” (Shelly 154).

1.      Golden Rule – Matt. 7:12

2.      “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands that he may have something to share with those in need” (Eph. 4:28).

C.     “The Bible teaches believers to view their relationship to property and wealth as a stewardship” (Shelly 156).

1.      The Parable of the Talents – Matt. 25:14-30

2.      Too often we allow things to own us rather than our owning things.

3.      According to 1 Tim. 6:17-19, “the only secure grounding of one’s hope for the future is in God, not in the gathering and investing of money” (Shelly 158).

D.    Overall, “it doesn’t matter how much or how little you take, stealing is wrong. You can’t be a person of character and be a thief” (Atchley 149).


(1)   Movie – Catch me if you can – You get caught

(2)   According to the law of restitution, one had to restore the stolen property and add 20% before he/she offered a guilt offering (cf. Exod. 22:1-15; Lev. 6:1-7).

(3)   Jesus will forgive if you will repent.

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