Faithlife Sermons

Be Content

The Covenant  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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We must control our desires to have what belongs to others.

Griefshare - ABA is starting a grief recovery support group this Thursday at 10am at the ABA office. You can call the office or email Pam Hasseltine for info and to get signed up.
OCC - Nicole
Revival Series - In two weeks we are starting a short series about the topic of revival. I’m asking you to join me in praying that God would revive our hearts. Our world needs Jesus, and revival starts in God’s house first. So pray with me that God will pour out his Spirit on us.
Reading: Deuteronomy 5:21
Deuteronomy 5:21 ESV
21 “ ‘And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

What Does God Do?

God Graciously Provides All Our Needs

What Does Covetousness Do?

Covetousness Entices You

James 1:13–14 ESV
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
Joshua 7:20–21 ESV
20 And Achan answered Joshua, “Truly I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I did: 21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
Genesis 3:6 - desire leads to sin (cf. James 1:13-15)

Covetousness Enslaves You

Joshua 7:21 ESV
21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful cloak from Shinar, and 200 shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing 50 shekels, then I coveted them and took them. And see, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”
Deuteronomy 7:25 ESV
25 The carved images of their gods you shall burn with fire. You shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them or take it for yourselves, lest you be ensnared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.
Coveting false gods is a snare, a trap!
Numbers 11:4 - the people cry out because they want

Covetousness Empties You

Joshua 7:23–24 ESV
23 And they took them out of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel. And they laid them down before the Lord. 24 And Joshua and all Israel with him took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver and the cloak and the bar of gold, and his sons and daughters and his oxen and donkeys and sheep and his tent and all that he had. And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor.
The story of the Prodigal shows this really well. Here is a young man who wants his part of the inheritance early. He craves fleshly passions. He takes his property and squanders it away.
Luke 15:16 ESV
16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
His coveting worldly things brings him to the end of himself - he is so hungry that pig food seems appealing. That’s what coveting will do - it empties you of the blessings you have as your try to obtain what you don’t have. Proverbs 13:4 says:
Proverbs 13:4 ESV
4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
He craves but is unsatisfied. Why? Because enough is never enough with covetousness - there’s always more to want. Eventually:

Covetousness Executes You

You can see it happen in Achan’s case:
Joshua 7:25 ESV
25 And Joshua said, “Why did you bring trouble on us? The Lord brings trouble on you today.” And all Israel stoned him with stones. They burned them with fire and stoned them with stones.
It happens that way every time: coveting eventually kills its prey:
Proverbs 21:25–26 ESV
25 The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. 26 All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

What Should We Do?

We Must Desire the Right Things

Psalm 19:7–11 ESV
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
God’s law should be desired and kept. Why?
God’s Law is Valuable (more than gold)
God’s Law is Enjoyable (sweeter than honey)
God’s Law is Beneficial (servant warned)
God’s Law is Rewarding (great reward)
Psalm 119:36 ESV
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!
Prayer to God to incline our hearts to his word
Isaiah 26:9 ESV
9 My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
We should yearn for God (cf. Psalm 42:1ff)

We Must Be Content with God’s Provision

Luke 12:13–15 ESV
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Life is more than what you have. Provisions can not be the measure of the man, or else the man will be found lacking. “Mene mene tekel parsin” was addressed to one of the richest men in the entire world - and that very night all his wealth and possessions were stripped from him and he was dead.
Colossians 3:5–6 ESV
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
Did you catch that? In that list of dastardly deeds and awful attitudes was covetousness. But what did Paul say about covetousness? It’s idolatry. This is why this commandment is number 10 - it brings us full circle back to number 1: when we desire something other than God, that becomes our god. We must put those desires to death, because they will be the death of us. John Owen put it well:
Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you. (On the Mortification of Sin, in Works of John Owen, Vol. 6, 9).
1 Timothy 6:6–9 ESV
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
Godliness with contentment is great gain because we don’t look for more. We recognize God’s gracious provision and we are content. He is enough. Be content with what God has given you.
Hebrews 13:5 - God’s promise to never forsake us bids us to be content

We Must Love Our Neighbor, Not His Stuff

James 4:1–4 ESV
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
The problem according to James is that we desire our neighbor’s stuff more than we love our neighbor! So we commit all sorts of atrocities just to get what he has that we want. And it only empties our lives of the purpose God has for us and leaves us destitute. But there is a better way to live:
Romans 13:9–10 ESV
9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
God calls us to live lives of love - loving him supremely and with exclusive loyalty, and loving neighbors out of the overflow of his Spirit in us. Nothing satisfies the hungry soul like the Bread of Life, and no way of living makes us content than living out his love.
Bow your heads with me. I’m going to ask that no one get up right now or shuffle things around. This is what Billy Graham used to call the “Holy Moment.” This is the moment that we listen intently to the voice of God. God is pointing to something in each of us that we covet. Maybe for you it’s one thing, but for your spouse it’s another. Maybe you’re the only one in this room that covets after something, or maybe the object of your affection is the most common. But God’s Spirit is pointing it right out to you. You hear him, don’t you? It’s time to give that up. It’s time to repent and ask God to take away those desires. We’re not going to play or sing and invitation this morning - I want every one of us to listen and obey the voice of God. Repent of your covetousness - right now.
Close in prayer after a few minutes.
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