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The Heart of the Problem: What Does It Mean to "Covet"?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
December 2, 2020 3:00 am

The Heart of the Problem: What Does It Mean to "Covet"?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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December 2, 2020 3:00 am

At various times, we all come down with a case of the “gimmes.” Gimme this, gimme that. And nearly every advertisement feeds that craving. Whatever they say, what they really mean is, “You want one of these, don’t you?” A new car, a new phone, a new outfit.

But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the biblical reference to coveting goes even beyond the gimmes. “I don’t just want one . . . I want YOURS.” Today, we’ll see it’s addressed in the Ten Commandments.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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The following message from Pastor Greg Laurie is made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. Hey, I want to hear from you. Would you consider emailing me? You can reach me at Greg at Harvest dot org. Again, that's Greg at Harvest dot org.

And you can also make me one of your friends on Facebook and drop me a comment. This is something that is not yours and it can destroy your life. Sometimes we all come down with a case of the gimmes. Gimme this, gimme that. And nearly every advertisement feeds that craving. Whatever they say, what they really mean is you want one of these, don't you? A new car, a new phone, a new outfit. But today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the biblical reference to coveting goes even beyond the gimmes.

If you just want one, I want yours. Today we'll see it's addressed in the Ten Commandments. I was with my grandkids the other day and we were talking about the Ten Commandments and I said, I will give ten dollars to the grandchild who knows all of the Ten Commandments in their proper order.

I have to admit I was very impressed. They had pretty much all of the commandments but they didn't have them quite in the exact order. But then one of my younger grandchildren said, Papa, what does it mean when the Bible says you shall not commit adultery? And I said, that means you should not kiss anyone but the person you're married to. And then one of my older grandkids said, it means you shouldn't cheat on your spouse.

And I'm like, that's actually technically true. So those are the commandments. And why did God give us these Ten Commandments?

Well, for a lot of reasons. Number one, they're the foundation of all morality. Here are the absolutes we're looking for so we know right from wrong, up from down. They are guardrails given to us so we can live happy lives. They're given to us for our own protection. They're walls of protection to keep us safe. And one last thing I'll say about the commandments.

They are absolutely impossible to keep on your own. The commandments are sort of like a moral mirror. Have you ever looked in a magnifying mirror? You know you look in the regular mirror and you think I look good. And then you look in that magnifying mirror with extra light and you realize you don't look nearly as good as you thought you looked.

Because a magnifying mirror puts your flaws on display. When I look at these Ten Commandments given to me from God, I realize how far short I fall. And so they're a moral mirror sending me into the open arms of Jesus. Now you remember the first four commandments. You shall not have another God before him. You shall not have a graven image or worship a graven image. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain. And you shall keep it the Sabbath day. The first four have to do with my relationship with God. The final six have to do with my relationship with people.

And that's what I want to focus on right now. The final commandments in the Ten Commandments. Let's go to commandment number five.

It's Exodus chapter 20 verse 12. Honor your father and mother that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God has given you. Commandment number six. You shall not murder. Commandment number seven. You shall not commit adultery. Commandment number eight. You shall not steal. Commandment number nine. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor or don't lie. And finally the last commandment. And by the way I think this is the hardest of all ten to keep. I think it's harder to keep than you shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not take the Lord's name in vain.

It's harder than all of them. Because it's a matter of the heart. The title of this message is the heart of the problem. Listen to this. The heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. What is the final commandment?

Here it is. You shall not covet. Exodus 20 17. Don't covet your neighbor's house or his wife or his manservant and maidservant or ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. Coveting is not simply desiring something we don't have.

That could just be admiring. To covet is to be devoured by desire for something that is not yours. It actually means to eagerly desire that which belongs to another or to set your heart on something.

The New Testament translates the Hebrew word for coveting with the word lust. And it can be translated to pant after something. Pant after something. So think of a dog panting after its food. You put food in a dog's dish. A dog wants to eat that food. You better not touch that food. That's a dog's food.

It's like panting after. I must have this thing. That thing must be mine. Remember the Lord of the Rings film series? And there was that little creature called Gollum. And he was obsessed with getting the ring from Frodo. And he called the ring, my precious. He had to have the ring. He was obsessed with the ring. That's a coveting that's like you become obsessed with something.

You feel that you must have this thing. I heard about a Roman Catholic priest who heard the confessions of some 2,000 people. He said every imaginable sin was confessed including adultery and even murder. But this priest said, I never heard one person admit to committing the sin of coveting.

And I think that's because we don't really know what it is and we don't understand how bad it can be. How does coveting work? Well, basically the eyes look at an object. The mind admires it. The will goes over to it.

And the body moves in to possess it. That's coveting. For instance, you might admire your neighbor's new car and go and buy one exactly like it. That's not coveting. That's actually copying. It may irritate him.

But I don't think that's a sin though it might bug him a little bit. But coveting is different. It's when you admire your neighbor's car and then you say, can I take it for a spin around the block and you never come back again. That's coveting.

Well, actually that's also grand theft auto. But the point of it is you've taken something that belongs to another. I saw what somebody else had.

I decided I wanted that thing for myself no matter what it cost me or anybody else. But that's how coveting works. And it can destroy your life. We read of Judas who betrayed the Lord for 30 pieces of silver. 1 Timothy 6 says, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil while some have coveted after.

There's that word. While some have coveted after they veered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. It's not a sin to want to be successful in your business and make a good living. But when you become obsessed with it.

When you're willing to do whatever it takes to get there. When the most important thing to you in life is that thing instead of wanting to seek after the Lord. Coveting has turned into idolatry.

Colossians 3, 5 warns us and says covetousness is idolatry. Maybe one of the best examples of this is King David. This is a man who was very successful. He was the king over Israel. He was loved by his people. And he was on the grounds of his beautiful palace. Back in those days on the top of their palace they would have a little garden to walk around on. And I've actually been to Israel and they have the city of David that they've unearthed and excavated. And you can see the general area where David's palace was. And so there at that elevated spot David's looking over his kingdom and he happens to see a beautiful woman named Bathsheba.

Ironically taking a bath. So you know he saw a woman bathing herself. And that was something that obviously had an effect on him. And he began to lust after her. So he should have just repented.

Taken a cold shower and called it a day. But instead he says I want that woman brought up to my chambers. They have sexual relations together. She gets pregnant. And then instead of admitting this sin to the Lord he tries to cover it up by bringing her husband back from battle to have relations with his wife. And the husband named Uriah doesn't do what David wants him to do so David effectively has him killed.

And then he marries Bathsheba. So look at all of these things that happened. It started with coveting.

Seeing something that belonged to someone else. Or I should say someone that was the wife of another. It started there. Then that gave way to adultery. And that gave way to murder. And then he lied to cover it up.

He broke four commandments. But it started with coveting. Our first parents in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve. They were given the run of the garden. And the Lord said you can eat of any tree of the garden but don't eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Scene two. They are at the tree that they are not supposed to be by. And the devil comes along and he says has God really said what you think he said? Why don't you go ahead and eat of this fruit. And he shows them the forbidden fruit. Now we don't know what it was.

Sometimes people say when Adam and Eve ate the apple the Bible never says they ate an apple. It was called forbidden fruit. I imagine it pulsated with light. Had its own theme song.

Who knows. It was really appealing. The Bible says it was pleasant to look at with the eyes and desirable to make one wise. So what were they doing? They were coveting. They were wanting something that was not theirs.

They took it and you know the rest of that story. Sin entered into the human race. So it starts here. It starts with controlling our mind and channeling our thoughts toward the Lord. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. So many listeners have commented on the help they receive from these daily messages. God's word ministers to them.

And it often gets them through some dark hours. I'm very sorry for the loss of your son Pastor Greg. I can relate to loss and grief.

I love the Lord but I struggle with the type of survivor's guilt. My older sister and I are only 11 months apart. We are very close. I spoke with her just hours before her cardiac arrest and she was excitedly waiting for her son's 21st birthday. Her youngest son found her on his bed and he screamed for help. Emergency responders were able to get a pulse and she was rushed to the hospital where drastic measures took place. Because my sister signed a do not resuscitate order.

She was very clear about not wanting to be kept alive with feeding tubes and things. We had to let her go. It's been five years and as I tell you this you can hear me weeping inside.

I feel like it just happened. Like you've said you never really get over it. You just get through it. I know the Lord will get me through this obstacle that robs me of fully experiencing peace with God's decision to bring her home. I also know more trials are just around the corner. So I need to learn how to completely trust in the Lord and take myself out of the equation.

So Satan can't place those kind of strongholds on me. I pray for you that you will continue to preach the importance of having complete faith and peace with God's decision whether you like his decisions or not. May God continue to bless you and your family, Pastor Greg. Thank you so much for all that you do.

We're so moved when we hear from listeners like this knowing that this broadcast is helping. Would you like to share your story with Pastor Greg? Call 1-866-871-1144.

Once again, 866-871-1144. Well, we're considering the Ten Commandments as Pastor Greg brings his message today called The Heart of the Problem. So in conclusion, have you broken any of these commandments? Have you committed adultery? Have you lusted after a man or a woman?

Have you hated someone? Have you stolen? Have you lied? Have you coveted? The answer is of course you have. Let me restate it. Of course we have. We've all broken these commandments.

God does not give us these commandments to make us righteous but to show us how unrighteous we actually are. It's painful to have this searing white light of the Holy Spirit shine on an area of your life that you know needs to change. It's sort of like going to the dentist. I don't know how many of you enjoy going to visit the dentist. And by the way, I have a great dentist but I still don't like to go. I don't like drills and all that stuff but maybe you go for a checkup or for a teeth cleaning.

And so the dental assistant comes in before the dentist maybe comes in and they're checking around. Uh oh, we have a little problem. Doctor, can you come in for a moment? Oh no. He comes in and goes hmm. He says yes, I think that we're going to have to do a root canal now, now, now, now.

I go no, no. You don't like the news but it's better than the alternative. So sometimes we have pain in our life and we say why do I have this pain? It's the pain of sin in your life. You're experiencing the implications of sin. You don't want to just get rid of the pain.

You want to get rid of the problem that causes the pain, right? Here's the problem. It's sin. Again, as I said earlier, the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart. You can't control your heart. The Bible says the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things who can know it. Sometimes people say I'll just follow my heart. I'll do what my heart tells me to do.

I hope not because your heart can mislead you. But God can change the human heart. But I have to say to him I know I fall short.

I know that I'm not good enough. Some people say I live by the Ten Commandments. That's all the religion I need.

Then he'll say okay. Do you know the Ten Commandments? I do not but I believe in them.

Yeah. The Ten Commandments again are given to drive us into the open arms of Jesus who died on the cross and took the penalty for every sin you and I have committed. Then he rose again from the dead three days later. Now he stands at the door of our heart, if you will, and he knocks.

He says if we'll hear his voice and open the door, he'll come in. Have you been trying to be a good person? Have you been trying to be a moral person?

Have you even tried to be a religious person and you fall short? Listen, I'm not talking to you right now about religion. I'm talking to you about a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A friendship with the Lord.

But he's more than a friend. He becomes your father. He becomes your God. He becomes your Lord. He's your protector. He's your provider.

All of those things and more. But he wants to enter into your life and show you his plan that he has for you. But you have to ask him in. You know, sometimes you hear it said we're all children of God. Well, actually that's not technically true. We are not all children of God. Now we're all created by God. We're all loved by God. But the way you become a child of God is when you are adopted into the family of God. And that happens when you believe in Jesus Christ. The Bible says for as many as received him he gave them the power to become children of God. So if you want to know that you're a child of God you must receive him.

You must ask Christ to come into your life. As an illustration let's say that I said I'm going to give you my super cool green Bible with all these extra ribbons. I mean look at it. There's three ribbons there. I'm going to give you this beautiful green Bible. And you say I love that Bible. I accept it and you reach out and you take the gift from me. You receive the gift that I've offered you. Even more the Lord says I'm going to give to you eternal life. I'm going to give to you the forgiveness of your sin. I'm going to come and live inside of you.

Do you want this gift? We say yes and you receive it. You say how? By prayer. Through prayer you say Lord come into my life. I know I'm a sinner. I know I've broken the commandments. I know I fall short of your standards and I'm sorry for my sin. And I want Jesus Christ to come into my heart and be my Savior and my Lord.

Would you like to do that right now? In a moment I'm going to lead you in a prayer. And I'm going to ask you if you want to know that you'll go to heaven when you die. If you want your guilt taken away. If you want your sin forgiven.

If you want to be ready for the return of Jesus. I want you to pray this prayer after me. You say but Greg why do I need to pray this prayer after you?

Because the Bible says whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. So that's what you're doing when you're praying. You're calling out to God. You're acknowledging your need. And you're acknowledging that God has what you need.

And you're accepting and receiving the gift that he's offering you. So if you want Jesus to come into your life. If you want to go to heaven when you die.

If you want him to fill that big hole inside of you. Pray this prayer after me right now. Just pray these words if you would. Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner. But I know that you are the Savior who died on the cross for my sin.

And rose again from the dead three days later. Now Jesus I turn from that sin and I choose to follow you from this moment forward. As my Savior and my Lord. As my God and my friend. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. An important prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. With those who are making a change today in their relationship with God.

And if you've just prayed with Pastor Greg and asked Jesus to be your Savior. We'd like to follow up with you by sending a free resource. It's our New Believers Growth Packet. We'll send it to you to help you begin to live this new life.

Just ask for it when you write a new beginning. Box 4000 Riverside California 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300.

We're here to take your call around the clock seven days a week. So again dial 1-800-821-3300. Or just go online to and click Know God. At that same web address you can get an instant replay of today's message.

A study called The Heart of the Problem. Again go to Or call us for a CD copy 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24 hour phone number 1-800-821-3300. And then we're so pleased to mention that Pastor Greg's new film A Rush of Hope. Watched by over 1.8 million people over Labor Day. Is now on DVD by popular demand. It's a powerful presentation of the gospel along with some outstanding music performances.

That's for King and Country, Mercy Me, and Jeremy Camp. All featured in A Rush of Hope. And Pastor Greg you also highlight moving moments of several recent films. Important films.

You know that's right Dave. I don't just mean showing film clips. I've written a narrative taking what I think are key moments from three films produced by the Irwin brothers. John and Andy Irwin. And the films are Woodlawn, I Can Only Imagine, and I Still Believe. That present the gospel in a compelling, artistic, and powerful way. And there's some other resources included with this Rush of Hope DVD. Including a booklet that I wrote called Life's Most Important Questions Answered. And a special piece that we wrote telling you how you can host a watch party. How you can show this film in your house or in your backyard or somewhere else as an outreach to your neighborhood, your community.

So many ways you can use it. So for whatever you can send us financially we'll rush you your own copy of A Rush of Hope. So thanks in advance and God bless you. And your generous donation couldn't come at a more strategic time. It really will help us change lives as we move into 2021. Also with the bonus resource we're sending along with the DVD. We'll include a digital download code so you can download the film to your computer or smartphone or tablet.

So you can take a Rush of Hope with you wherever you go. You'll have an outstanding evangelism tool right there in your pocket or purse. So get in touch today with your investment at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or call us at 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock.

And again dial 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to Are you receiving Pastor Greg's daily devotions?

They're a great way to start your day with extra insight and inspiration. Sign up for his devotions today at That's Devo, D-E-V-O, Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here inviting you to join me every weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's a church service, it's a worship service, it's a Bible study, and it's wherever you want it to be. In your home, in your car, sitting on a beach, walking down the street, watching it on your phone. Wherever you are, you can take it with you and be ministered to every weekend. Join us for Harvest at Home at Well next time, as Pastor Greg's series, Water, Fire, Stone continues. A powerful look at prayer and how we follow Moses' example of being a prayer intercessor. Join us next time, here on A New Beginning.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-20 08:35:59 / 2024-01-20 08:45:40 / 10

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