Do NOT Covet

Sunday November 25, 2018   Phone: 570.829.5216
Pastor David Miklas e-mail pdmikBBM@aol.com
Message:  Do NOT Covet – Text: Ex 20:17, De 5:21

The TENTH Commandment

Do Not Covet

 

INTRODUCTION: In this message we come to the last of the Ten Commandments, the tenth found in Exodus 20:17,

 

“Thou shalt not covert thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.”

 

The Tenth Commandment is unique. Search the laws of the world, and you will not find another law which resembles it.

 

The sixth commandment is to protect individual freedom, “Thou shalt not premeditate murder.”

The seventh commandment is to protect marriage, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

The eighth commandment is to protect property rights, “Thou shalt not steal;” and

the ninth commandment protects an individual’s integrity by demanding the truth, “Thou shalt not bear false witness.”

 

Each can be found in law statutes, however the tenth cannot.

 

The other commandments are concerned with VISIBLE ACTS, the tenth with INWARD DESIRE. The other commandments forbid the doing, which is the ACT OF SIN. The 10th commandment forbids the DESIRE TO SIN.

 

This Tenth Commandment is mentioned in the Old and New Testament 40 times. The Bible speaks against this sin more often than any other sin, with the possible exception of idolatry.

 

The Tenth Commandment has been called the commandment nobody breaks, or the sin that no one commits, or the sin to which no one readily admits. Well now, is that really true? Christ said in Luke 12:15, “Beware of covetousness; for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

 

Yet today, I believe most people don’t give coveting a second thought. Do you realize that the advertising industry spends “billions and billions” of dollars to accomplish one goal?  Their goal is to make you covet.

 

The Tenth Commandment reaches into three areas of our lives, property, persons and possessions.

 

You would not steal your neighbor’s house, but you wish it was yours.

You would not run off with your neighbor’s wife, but you wish she was yours.

You would not rob your neighbor of his money, or car, but you wish those things were yours.

 

So what is COVETOUSNESS?  Why is covetousness a sin?

 

It is the inordinate inward desire for the material things of this world.

Covetousness has been called, “an itch for more…”

A covetous person has a severe craving for the possessions or life circumstances of others.

It’s not just a casual “wouldn’t it be nice if…” It is a strong, “I want what you have, because I feel that is what will satisfy me and make me happy.”

 

A covetous individual tends to see the world only in terms of how it benefits his own immediate needs. Short-term satisfaction elbows out long-term goals and deeply held values.

 

Where does COVETOUSNESS stop? Once we start coveting, we’re never satisfied. There’s always more and more and more that we want until we have everything we need, and yet it is not enough. We say, “If only I could have a little bit more.” Contentment slips out the back door of our lives like an unloved child.

 

After reflecting on this tenth commandment, I conclude: “I am extremely thankful God doesn’t give me everything I ask for. He sees the BIG picture, while I see only a tiny slice of it. So much of what I see in that tiny slice of reality is colored with “ME.” The fact is,

 

God KNOWS exactly what you and I need.

He KNOWS when we need what we need. He knows how much we need of what we need. Amazingly, He has a way of seeing to it that you and I receive what we need at just the right time. Not our time, but the right time.

 

Why then would God say what he did in Hebrews 13:5? He said, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, not forsake thee.” God said what he said because He knows what coveting and greed will do to a human life. He understands the devastation it will bring. In His love, He would spare us. What God really intends for us is to be CONTENT:

 

CONTENTED with who we are,

CONTENTED with what we have,

CONTENTED with Him.

 

Why would the Lord say what He did in Exodus 20:17? He said, “Thou shalt not covert thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.”

 

Why would God make this the last item of His Ten Commandments? Because, I believe, God knows a few things about coveting.

 

FIRST: God knows what we covet will not last. The very things people long to possess and hold in their hands will eventually slip between their fingers.

 

In II Corinthians 4:18 the BIBLE reads, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

The Lord is saying, “Life on earth is uncertain and fragile enough as it is. I want you to concentrate on those things that will last.”

 

Clothes aren’t going to last, they wear out.

Cars and houses and toys aren’t going to last, they need to be replaced.

 

Those things and many, many, many more things in this life are just temporal. One second after you die, they won’t mean a thing to you, they’ll be left behind to either bless or plague the lives of your children.

 

SECOND: God knows what we covet will be a burden to us. If you don’t believe that, read David’s fifty-first Psalm. David coveted his neighbor’s wife. Because he was in a position to take whatever he wanted, he took her. Psalm 51 was written in the aftermath of this adulterous fling with Bathsheba. Psalm 51 contains the words of a broken man. A man, who longed with all his heart to turn back the clock, knew he could not. In Psalm 51:3-4 David wrote,

 

“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight…”

 

For the rest of his days, David endured the wrenching emotions of a man who watched his family sink into heartbreak and ruin. Rape, murder, incest, disgrace, betrayal, rebellion…it never stopped.

 

David had thought, “Whoa, there’s an empty place inside me. If I could just possess Uriah’s wife, I think I would be satisfied and fulfilled.” But David discovered something worse than an empty place in his heart. It was a heart shattered into ten thousand pieces.

 

God knows how burdensome the things we covet can become in our lives. The weight of them can distract us, press down on us, and squeeze all of the simple joys out of life.

 

THIRD: God knows covetousness is destructive. No one said it more clearly than Paul to his son in the faith, Timothy. Over in I Timothy 6:6-11 the BIBLE reads,

 

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

 

Paul tells Timothy that people who long to be rich soon begin to do all kinds of wrong things to get more money, and more things that bring them and their families great hurt. They work and scheme and squeeze themselves dry to get what they think will bring them happiness. But in the end, they don’t have any TIME or ENERGY for the people who are truly important, the people they love the most.

 

FOURTH: God knows covetousness is deceptive. In Luke 12:15 Jesus said, “…take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Do you really believe that?

 

We live in a consumer society, and today’s sophisticated marketers spend billions of dollars and work around the clock for one purpose: to make you unhappy and dissatisfied with what you have. With all of their considerable skill, talent, and training, they seek to convince you and I that if we would just buy that or possess ____________, we’d find a greater measure of happiness in life.

 

In truth, our value does not lie in what we possess. Is that a revolutionary thought? Our value does not spring from what we wear, what we drive, or where we live.

 

Our value is wrapped up in the amazing fact that Jesus Christ loved us enough to die for us. He is the One who gives worth and value to our lives. He paid the price and purchased our salvation.

 

When it comes to material things in our lives, there will always be something better, something nicer, something newer, something faster. Coveting such things is a dead-end street, and is extremely deceptive. Our thoughts ought to reflect ETERNAL, not EXTERNAL values.

 

By the way, when thinking of values, don’t play what we call the comparison game. Don’t compare yourself with others.

 

Don’t look at the guy in the next office or the couple in the house next door.

Don’t measure yourself by the things others have.

Don’t compare yourself with what someone else has accomplished or attained.

Don’t go around and compare churches.

Don’t go around with a measuring tape seeing how much you have and how far you’ve gone. If you have more, it’ll just make you proud. If you have less, you’ll become envious and begin to covet.

 

Oh, how disappointed and dissatisfied we can become when we realize the things we finally possess after waiting for them a long time are NOT the things that bring lasting contentment to our lives.

 

FIFTH: God knows contentment is the cure for anxiety regarding our needs. God wants us to learn to trust him to provide for our every need, therefore He expressed that desire in Matthew 6:25-34a,

 

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (27)  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: (29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (34) Take therefore no thought for the morrow…”

 

The key of this entire passage is found in verse 33, where we are to “seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness” and when we do, God will provide the needs of our lives. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT???

 

SIXTH: God knows contentment is a process. I believe the word of God is very clear about that.

 

In Philippians 4:11-13 Paul said in testimony, “…for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Hebrews 13:5, “…be content with such things as ye have…”

 

Do I have to have that accomplishment, or that set of circumstances or those particular possessions to make me happy?

 

Every experience you and I face is an opportunity to learn and practice contentment in our Lord.

My times of need become opportunities for God to show me again and again how He will fill all those empty places in my heart.

 

Paul finally learned where to find what he had always been looking for. When he did, everything else paled in comparison. For in Philippians 3:7-8 the BIBLE reads,

 

“But what things were gained to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have counted all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”

 

Paul once thought he had it all, and he did. But everything became worthless to him, when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ. He then discarded everything temporal as garbage.

 

SEVENTH: God knows true contentment brings peace. When I say contentment brings peace, what do I mean? I mean it is in those personal times with God, even in the midst of difficult, heartbreaking circumstances, you and I learn true contentment. In Psalm 73:23-26 the BIBLE reads,

 

“Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

 

The covetous man is typical of the old saying, “that he is never blessed, but he is always to be blessed.” He would truly be happy if he could only have _____________.” Yet

 

In Ephesians 5:3 the BIBLE reads, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be named among you, as becometh saints.”

In Colossians 3:1-2, 5 the BIBLE reads, “If ye then be risen with Christ, SEEK those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. SET your AFFECTION on things above, not on things on the earth. Mortify, therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness…covetousness, which is idolatry.”

In I Timothy 6:6, 8 the BIBLE reads, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”

 

So, I would ask you, upon what are your affections set?

 

Are they set upon “the things of God above or are they set upon the things below?”

Are you spending your life in the muck-raking of the mud-flaps of materialism, when God has created you for eternity?

 

I believe that the reason so many church members place so little value in the kingdom of God is simply that all of their energies and affections and desires are set on the things of this earth and what can bring them happiness in this life. They have so little time for kingdom thinking and living.

 

Granted we need to make a living and provide for our family. But shouldn’t our thoughts be more so on spiritual things than on the physical things of this life? They will one day be gone, ever so quickly, while spiritual things will last for eternity.

 

So, I ask. Are you guilty of the sin of covetousness? May I remind you that we read in Ephesians 5:5, “no…covetous man, who is an idolater hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” What we look on as something not to be considered, is looked upon by Christ as a serious sin of the human heart. God is looking at the heart. Christianity is a religion of the heart. That‘s what makes this 10th commandment unique.

 

In the Lords day, the Pharisees who were the religious leaders kept all the religious details. Outwardly they appeared to be very religious. But their hearts were unclean. God will not be satisfied with religiosity, or churchmanship. He is looking for a pure heart. That means, we are not only to abstain from ungodly sins, but we are to get rid of the desire for them.

 

There is nothing less that He will accept. Herein is the point.

 

Only Christ can change the heart to make it what it should be.

Only through His death on the cross and with His blood can Christ cleanse our heart from sin.

Only in Christ can we have extracted from our hearts the sins of these commandments.

 

It’s not a matter of doing our religious thing.

 

It’s a matter of coveting spiritual things, where we pray, “Lord teach me how to possess the world and not love it; how to hold it in my hands and not let it get into my heart.” The song of our heart should be, “With eternal values in view Lord, I’ll live for thee.”

It’s a matter of surrender to the mind and heart and will of God. Through that faith our hearts will be cleansed and made pure before God.

 

Again in closing, it’s not living by these commandments that will gain you entrance into Heaven. It’s your faith in Christ. For in John 3:36 the BIBLE reads,

 

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”

 

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Has God spoken to your heart after reading the sermon on the, The TENTH Commandment “Do Not Covet?” Then why not right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.

 

Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in

 

Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”

Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”

 

If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to pastormiklas@aol.com and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.

 

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In His Amazing Grace,
Pastor David Miklas
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