July 11, 1999 - LESSON: Ephesians 4:28, NRSV

SERMON TITLE: The Eighth Commandment

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  1. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy, (Ephesians 4:28, NRSV).
    1. This does not apply to us so than we can eat the Lord's Supper (this was a Communion Sunday), sing the closing hymn and go home.
    2. But wait a minute.
      1. The eighth commandment is (Exodus 20:15 NRSV) You shall not steal. Prohibits not only the secret or open removal of another persons's property, but injury done to it, or fraudulent retention of it, through carelessness or indifference.
      2. You may understand STEAL as, (Jeremiah 23:30 NRSV) See, therefore, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who steal my words from one another.
      3. You may understand STEAL as, (Romans 13:9-10 NRSV) 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, "Love your neighbor as yourself." [10] Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
  2. Thieves must give up stealing.
    1. This you would expect.
      1. This would be the result of observing the eighth commandment, "You shall not steal."
      2. This would be in harmony with the will and purposes of God as revealed by Jesus and the Apostles.

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    2. How would you define in a practical way stealing?
      1. In 1984 Helga and I were at the Elk Grove Inn for a rehearsal dinner.
        1. When we arrived home the parsonage had been broken into and many items of value had been stolen.
        2. This would clearly be stealing.
      2. The driver of a Mayflower moving van full of someone's household goods side swiped a parked truck, then swerved into another semi
        1. There was an explosion and fire.
        2. Two people died, three vehicles were totally destroyed, traffic was tied up for about 12 hours.
        3. Is the driver a thief?
      3. If you assume to live life apart from God, being your own god, are you a thief?
        1. Adam and Eve sought to become like God.
        2. They were thieves.
      4. Is the individual who seeks to undermine another's truthfulness a thief?
      5. Is the individual who attempts to weaken another's reputation a thief?
      6. If you participate in any action, activity, or process which does harm are you a thief?
        1. Can you be an accomplice in the theft
        2. Theft can take many forms, many guises.
        3. We need to be alert to them all.
  3. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands.
    1. To work honestly with their own hands.
      1. The emphasis is on work honestly
      2. With one's own hands.

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    2. In the days of Paul this meant to be productive in the ways that were available to you.
      1. I coveted no one's silver or gold or clothing. [34] You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. [35] In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive,'" (Acts 20:33-35, NRSV).
      2. He was believed to be a tent-maker.
      3. He knows what he is talking about.
    3. To work with our own hands means to use whatever skills and abilities that we have for the good of the Christian Community.
  4. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy.
    1. What are we going to share?
    2. The theme for the forth-fifth annual meeting of the NACCC came from Micah 6:8, What does the LORD require of you?
      1. The whole passage reads:
        1. He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NRSV).
  5. There are three parts.
    1. To do justice
      1. JUSTICE, 4941. mishpat, mish-pawt'; from H8199; prop. a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, espec. a sentence or formal decree (human or [partic.] divine law, individual or collect.), includ. the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstr. justice, includ. a partic. right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style:-- + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just (-ice, -ly), (manner of) law (-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.
      2. This is not justice as we understand it.
        1. Zero-sum tolerance
        2. Three strikes and your out.

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      3. This is making sure that the needs of all people are provided for, especially the widows and the children.
    2. To love kindness
      1. KINDNESS, 2617. checed, kheh'-sed; from H2616; kindness; by impl. (towards God) piety; rarely (by opp.) reproof, or (subject.) beauty:--favour, good deed (-liness, -ness), kindly, (loving-) kindness, merciful (kindness), mercy, pity, reproach, wicked thing.
      2. This is the way of justice.
    3. To walk humbly
      1. WALK, 3212. yalak, yaw-lak'; a prim. root [comp. H1980]; to walk (lit. or fig.); causat. to carry (in various senses):-- X again, away, bear, bring, carry (away), come (away), depart, flow, + follow (-ing), get (away, hence, him), (cause to, make) go (away, -ing, -ne, one's way, out), grow, lead (forth), let down, march, prosper, + pursue, cause to run, spread, take away ([-journey]), vanish, (cause to) walk (-ing), wax, X be weak.
      2. HUMBLY, 6800. tsana', tsaw-nah'; a prim. root; to humiliate:--humbly, lowly.
      3. This is the way of humility.
      4. It is the evidence of love.
  6. We are all guilty, in one way or another we are all guilty.
    1. Our only recourse is to use the means that we have been provided by our God to examine our lives, to make amends, and to contribute our work for the benefit of all.

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