Gods positioning system
For the hearer to look to God for a realignment
ONE - GOD is ONE, there is NO OTHER. “You shall have no other gods before Me .” (Exodus 20:3)
TWO - TABOO. What is taboo? Idols. Images. False gods. “You shall not make for yourself an idol.” (Exodus 20:4)
THREE - VANITY. From “vain,” i.e., “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, .” (Exodus 20:7)
FOUR – CHURCH DOOR. It’s what you should enter through every Sunday. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy .” (Exodus 20:8)
FIVE - ALIVE. Only one commandment out of the ten has a promise connected to it. The Fifth Commandment promises “long life” to those who obey it. So, to stay alive longer, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” (Exodus 20:12)
SIX-FEET UNDER. Don’t put anybody six feet under, or in other words, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13)
SEVEN-YEAR-ITCH. The old movie by that title illustrated a statistical fact; that after seven years of marriage many develop a wandering eye and are tempted to play musical beds. “You shall not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14)
EIGHT - GO STRAIGHT! Picture yourself watching an old black-and-white Humphrey Bogart movie. He’s the convict about to be released from prison, standing before the wardens desk. The warden says, “Here are your release papers. Now, don’t get in any more trouble. No stealing. From now on, go straight.” Hence, Eight - Go Straight. “You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
NINE - MALIGN. What does it mean to malign someone? It means to falsely accuse them, to slander them, to do harm to their name, character, or reputation. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:16)
TEN - A PERFECT TEN! We often grade things on a scale of one to ten. One being the least, and ten being the very best. If a car is a 10 it is an amazing car. If a man or a woman is said to be a 10, they are a real knockout. We like and admire a 10. But be careful, because what you admire, you might begin to lust after.
Decades ago the famed poet Mick Jagger described our plight with these words:
I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no satisfaction
’Cause I try and I try and I try and I try...
When I’m drivin’ in my car, and the man come on the radio
He’s tellin’ me more and more about some useless information
Supposed to fire my imagination...
When I’m watchin’ my TV and a man comes on and tells me
How white my shirts can be
But, he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t smoke
The same cigarettes as me
I can’t get no satisfaction, no satisfaction...
Just as Mister Jagger recognized, we must come to understand that very few things in this life have a lasting ability to satisfy us.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
While breaking all the rest of the Commandments has its origin in the heart and mind of man,
they all find their ultimate expression in some type of physical activity.
This Commandment is different!
While there is evidence of lying, stealing, adultery, murder, disobedience to parents, taking God’s Name in vain, making idols and having other gods before God,
there is usually little or no evidence of covetousness.
As a result, this is a sin that is rarely, if ever confessed and owned up to. Of all the Commandments listed, this is probably the one most often broken and the one that will most readily cause you to break the other nine.
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!”
Servants – 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 Corvette?
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!”
Coveting is defective desiring.
Desiring things is not necessarily bad. But when our wants arise purely from a dissatisfaction with what God has given us and envy of the way he’s blessed others it is a violation of the Tenth Commandment.
A. The Consequences of Coveting
Covetousness is the first step to sin. (it is at the heart of most sin)
Think abut it this way: Why do people steal? We steal when we want something that someone else has. Adultery has its roots in coveting. You want someone that is not yours to have.
Covetousness cheapens life.
Covetous individuals place a higher value on things than people. They begin to view others as a means to an end, whether it’s the accumulation of more stuff or the fulfilling of some desire. In the mind of the covetous person people are regarded as things. Human life loses its value.
Notice how James addresses this issue to members of his own church:
What is causing quarrels and fights among you? Isn’t it the whole army of evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous for what others have, and you can’t possess it, so you fight and quarrel to take it away from them. James 4:1-2a (NLT)
These were church members who let their desires get the best of them. They would say anything, step on anybody to get what they wanted. Covetousness cheapens life.
It also cheapens the life of the coveting individual.
Don’t you think that God put you here for far more than accumulating more stuff? Weren’t you created for a nobler purpose that to run from pleasure to pleasure? Of course you were. The covetous person, however, can never get past cheap living.
Covetousness fails to bring contentment.
Like all sin, defective desire just doesn’t deliver. Instead we get caught up in the endless cycle of craving bigger and better things.
Our covetousness is causing us to look for life in all the wrong places. We fill ourselves us with more and more stuff only to find that it leaves us empty. We erroneously think that accumulation is the solution to our misery
“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Luke 12:15
That verse alone would totally alter the way we think and live if we truly believed it. If getting is not the way to experience real life what is?
Covetousness dethrones God’s leadership.
Coveting leads to idolatry. God is replaced by the acquisition of stuff. Who or what leads you life? If God told you to sell your dream home, pack up your family and move to Kenya Africa into the one-room hut he’d reserved for you would you do it? But let’s not be so drastic. What if he simply placed a burden on you to sell something you own and give the proceeds to a ministry in need? Would you do it? What if he prompted you to change your schedule to spend more time with your family? Would you give up TV time or a hobby or a sport or some other activity to serve God in His church?
Jesus encountered a young man who wanted to know how to have eternal life. Jesus said, “You know the commandments don’t you?” Then he named them all off, except for the prohibition against coveting. The guys said, “I’ve followed God’s commandments since my youth.
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Mark 10:21-22
His heart wasn’t right. He couldn’t follow Jesus because of his covetousness. Neither can you.
God forbids coveting because it puts a barrier between me and my neighbor
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.
God forbids coveting because it leads to breaking all of God’s commands.
Here’s the worst example of this from the Bible: KING DAVID!
* David broke the tenth commandment coveting his neighbor’s wife.
* That led to adultery, which broke the seventh commandment.
* Then, in order to steal Bathsheba (breaking the 8th commandment)
* he committed murder and broke the sixth commandment.
* He broke the ninth 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.
Overcoming A Coveting Spirit
1. Ask God to forgive you.
2. Realize that things won’t satsify.
“Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast only a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Proverbs 23: 4-5).
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. As goods increase, so do those who consume them.” Ecclesiastes 5:10-11
3. Think thankful.
(1 Tim 6:6-11 NIV) 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. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
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!
4. Start coveting the right things.
(Phil 3:8,10 NIV) 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 . . .
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,
I encourage you to covet – the things that will last!