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No Stealing

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No Stealing

(Ex 20:15 NIV) “You shall not steal.

I.        Introduction:   When I was a boy, I was walking along a street and happened to spy a cart full of watermelons. I was fond of watermelon, so I sneaked quietly up to the cart and snitched one. Then I ran into a nearby alley and sank my teeth into the melon. No sooner had I done so, however, than a strange feeling came over me. Without a moment's hesitation, I made my decision. I walked back to the cart, replaced the melon--and took a ripe one.  -----Mark Twain

   Because I am my church's financial secretary, my children are familiar with the weekly trip to the bank. But one day my 3-year-old opened the bank bag and looked in.

   "Where did all that money come from?" he asked.

   "From the collection plates at church."

   David looked at me wide-eyed. "Does God know you did that?"

   -- Linda J. Beck, Chicora, Penn. Christian Reader, "Kids of the Kingdom."

We laugh at these Anecdotes but with God, stealing is no laughing matter.

II.    Resist the Corruption of Inner Principles

(Mt 15:19 NIV) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

A.     Resist a Cheating Interior

*** If the deal isn't good for the other party, it isn't good for you.

   B. C. Forbes

- If you cheat another, you are cheating yourself.

***   A young lady was soaking up the sun's rays on a Florida beach when a little boy in his swimming trunks, carrying a towel, came up to her and asked her, "Do you believe in God?" She was surprised by the question but replied, "Why, yes, I do." Then he asked her: "Do you go to church every Sunday?" Again, her answer was "Yes!" Then he asked: "Do you read your Bible and pray every day?" Again she said, "Yes!" But by now her curiosity was very much aroused. At last the lad sighed and said, with obvious relief, "Will you hold my quarter while I go in swimming?"

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 285.

B.     Resist a Deceptive Interior

C.     Resist a Greedy interior

*** One of the weaknesses of our age is inability to distinguish needs from greeds.

   Don Robinson

III. Respect the Control of Individual Property

A.     Respect the Ownership of Property

***  He that will steal a pin will steal an ox.

B.     Respect the Distribution of Property

- Robin hood is not a good example to our youth. It is as wrong to steal from a poor man as it is a rich man.

***If a thief helps a poor man out of the spoils of his thieving, we must not call that charity.

   -- Dante Alighieri (1265-1321). "Money II," Christian History, Issue 19.

C.     Respect the Continuation of Property

***  The best gift for the man who has everything is a burglar alarm.

IV. Refuse the Compromise of Commercial Practices

A.     In work and wages

***   One day Sam Jones got fifty cents too much in his pay envelope, but he didn't say a word. During the week the paymaster found out his mistake, and on the next payday deducted fifty cents.

   Jones said, "Excuse me, sir, but I'm fifty cents short this week."

   "You didn't complain last week," replied the paymaster.

   Sam came back, "No, sir, I don't mind overlooking one mistake. But when it happens twice, then it's time to say something."

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 285.

B.     In Weights and Measures

***   The phrase "It's just good business" is often used to excuse an act or practice that, when examined critically, could scarcely be called Christian. The companion phrase "Sorry, it's just not good business" is also used by businessmen as a valid reason for refusing to act in a Christian manner to their suppliers, customers, competitors, or employees. ... In such matters, the Church continues to look upon itself and not out upon the world. A large percentage of its members, when they enter its portals, check an important part of their lives in the cloakroom.

   -- Pierre Berton in The Comfortable Pew. Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 13.

C.     In Withholding what’s owed

***  An honest letter was sent to the Internal Revenue Service. It stated: "Dear Sirs: I cannot sleep. Last year, when I filed my income tax return, I deliberately misrepresented my income. Now I cannot sleep. Enclosed is a check for $150 for taxes. If I still cannot sleep, I will send you the rest!"

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 285-286.

V.    Conclusion:

   Everybody looks for different things in the Ten Commandments. Some look for Divine guidance, some look for a code to live by, but most of us are looking for loopholes.

   --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 456.

Gos leaves no loopholes when it comes to stealing. If you steal, no matter how you justify it, rephrase it, excuse it, or try to conceal it, you place yourself in opposition to God. When you place yourself in opposition to God, you end up stealing from yourself, for in God’s will are the richest blessings found.

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