Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform. We're continuing a study series entitled, Oh How I Love Thy Law, which is a study of the Ten Commandments. Today's message will be preached by Dr. Nathan Crockett. He'll be examining the Tenth Commandment, which is, Thou shalt not covet. Dr. Crockett's message will show us how we can be totally satisfied with God. Please turn to Exodus chapter 20 verse 17, Exodus 20 verse 17, as we talk today about being satisfied with God, examining the Tenth Commandment.
Several months ago, I received an email being invited to speak in the series. It went out to several of us and they asked us if we would list the top three of the Ten Commandments that we would like to speak on if we were willing to speak. And I'd never really thought about that before, which of the Ten Commandments would I like to speak on? And the more I thought about it, my number one choice was the final commandment, the Tenth Commandment. And that is not because I feel like I've succeeded at this commandment, like, oh, I never covet, so I want to speak on that.
In fact, it was maybe the opposite. I've never murdered anyone. I've never committed adultery, but I certainly covet quite a bit. And I actually felt like because of my own struggle with this commandment and even wanting to know precisely what it meant and what it was talking about, I feel like I haven't heard too many sermons in my life on not coveting, that I wanted to examine this further just personally.
And maybe you would feel the same way. Most of the other commandments seem to focus on external actions, but when we look at do not covet, we're talking about our internal thoughts and our hearts desires. And so probably none of you this week have committed adultery, though maybe you've had wrong thoughts. You've probably not murdered someone or bowed down to a graven image, but probably many of us even this week have coveted.
We're very likely to break this one. So Exodus chapter 20 verse 17 is very straightforward. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is thy neighbor's. And as I studied for this I looked at many many different definitions of covetousness. The Hebrew word has the idea of a strong desire, almost a lust. Many different definitions. Here's how I would like to define covetousness.
I think this summarizes it. Covetousness is the unlawful desire for something that does not belong to you. The unlawful desire for something that does not belong to you. You should have, if you're married, a righteous desire towards your spouse, but you should not have a desire towards someone else's spouse. You should enjoy the home that God has given you, even the physical house, but you shouldn't want to steal someone else's house. You should enjoy kids. If someday God gives you kids, you should enjoy your kids, but you shouldn't covet somebody else's children.
Even in Webster's Dictionary they give a sample sentence and I thought it was very telling. It was this, the king's brother coveted the throne. He wanted something that was not rightfully his.
It was his brother's right to be the king. So the unlawful desire for something that does not belong to you. Now as we get started here, I want to contrast ungodly covetousness with godly biblical ambition. I would not want to preach a sermon like this and for us to think, oh I need to go somewhere and become a monk. In fact, in the Middle Ages there were monks that lived in caves, there was a group of monks called the pillar monks that they were also known as the stylites, and they would they would stand atop of a pillar and people would come and try to, either they would go without food or people would try to get food up to them, and this was their way of saying I have nothing to do with the world. I'm literally standing on top of a pillar.
The magician David Blaine, I think in 2003, did this on a hundred foot pillar in New York City and he stood there for over 30 hours and he said part of his inspiration was these weird pillar monks. That'd be hard to go to classes if you're out standing on a pillar. You don't need to do that. We don't need to retreat from the world. In fact, biblically, you should pursue good grades. You should hope to have a good job and to excel at your job and to do well. Coveting is not ambition. In Romans 15-20 Paul said, I strived, literally I made it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named lest I should build upon another man's foundation.
Paul made it his ambition. In Mark Twain's classic work, Tom Sawyer, at the end of chapter two after the whitewash scene, we read this. He, that's Tom, had a nice good idle time all the while, plenty of company, and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it. If he hadn't run out of whitewash, he would have bankrupt every boy in the village.
Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world after all. He had discovered a great law of human action without knowing it, namely that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. Oftentimes, we covet something that we feel like is difficult to attain. Oftentimes, covetousness is a gateway sin. If you think about 2 Samuel 11, David's sin with Bathsheba, it starts with an inner desire, but it transforms into a very external sinful actions, right? He breaks the tenth commandment when he desired Uriah's wife after he saw her bathing. He breaks the eighth commandment when he steals Bathsheba away from her husband. He breaks the seventh commandment when he commits adultery with her. He breaks the ninth commandment when he lies about the affair.
He breaks the sixth commandment when he gives orders to have Uriah killed in battle, and you could argue that he broke the first commandment by completely ignoring God during this whole episode. So, the text says don't covet your neighbor's what? First of all, your neighbor's house. In biblical times and even in our times, it's very easy to look at someone in your neighborhood or someone you know or your roommate and covet their house. It says don't covet your neighbor's spouse.
Specifically says wife, but you shouldn't, women should not covet someone else's husband. Don't covet your neighbors, and I'm going to say it this way, their possessions because a manservant or maidservant helped people accomplish things. In our day, you might think about having a great car or really someone who does the lawn work for you or a super nice new refrigerator or a brand new remodeled kitchen. Don't covet your neighbor's possessions, and then it says their ox or their donkey. I would call this their profession because that was the means by which they provided food for themselves. As it were, it's how they made a living. In our day, we'd say don't covet your neighbor's job. Oh, I worked my head off doing such-and-such and my neighbor, you know, he's into marketing and he goes out and golfs with people all the time and he makes double the salary I do. Don't covet your neighbor's house or spouse, possession or profession, and then finally anything else.
Don't covet anything, the text says, that belongs to your neighbor. That might be their looks, their body type. Young ladies in particular look at someone else and if only I could be as thin as her and she never even has to dye it. Their athletic ability, their musical ability, their wardrobe, their kids.
Why can't my kids be as cute as their kids? You realize that Americans in particular are known for our greed, that there is actually a multi-billion dollar industry called the marketing and advertising industry, and in 2016 in the U.S. a hundred and ninety billion dollars were spent on advertising. That's more than any other country in the world by far. In fact the second most, the second biggest market for advertising, China, doesn't even come to the halfway point of what is spent in America and probably most famously the Super Bowl. On Super Bowl Sunday people gather around their TV wearing their football jerseys and eating Doritos and not even realizing that while they watch so much money is being spent. Over the past 52 years it's estimated that 5.4 billion dollars has been spent in Super Bowl commercials. The average price of the most recent Super Bowl was over five million dollars for 30 second ad. That's over a hundred and seventy thousand dollars a second. Companies are spending a hundred and seventy thousand dollars a second hoping that they'll hook you into buying their product.
They're planning on your greed. I think American credit card debt is one sign of our covetousness. For every family that owns credit cards the average debt is over sixteen thousand dollars. You'll often hear the figure over five thousand dollars per American of credit card debt but not every American owns a credit card.
People that actually own credit cards on average owe over sixteen thousand dollars. We hear about the American dream you can drive whatever car you want and live in whatever house you want and retire early and it often leads to covetousness. But we don't just covet people's money we covet their looks, we covet the color of eyes that they have, their body type, their brain, their GPA, their athletic ability. Maybe for some of you you covet the favor that one of your siblings seems to have with your parents. I have five children the youngest of whom is only a few weeks old and I notice that even many times particularly my older three it's almost like they're they're jockeying for position because they want my wife and I to notice them and they want to prove that they're smarter than their siblings. With Genesis being home our baby with my wife I've been bringing the other four kids into school which is interesting with the bum ankle but it works out and we have this rule that if we can leave by 705 we only live about 10 minutes from campus but if we leave by 705 we go out to eat breakfast if we leave after 705 we eat breakfast in the car so that encourages them to help get ready quickly and so on and a few days ago Shepherd says daddy Lillian is blackmailing Christian. I was like okay how is she doing that well she's telling Christian if he doesn't give her his hot cross bun she's gonna go really slow on purpose so we don't make it to the car by 705 and we have to eat in the car we don't get to go to a restaurant. So I talked to them about why we shouldn't blackmail and I say hey you know what the three of you you're ready why don't you go out to the car I'm gonna finish getting obvious clothes on him the 16-month-old and I'll bring him out to the car so they go out to the car I get obvious clothes on him I head out to the car and Lillian announces Shepherd did something worse than blackmail.
He killed one of God's creation and that's the same as killing God. I was like well no it's not the same as killing God but Shepherd what did you kill and he said well they were just sitting around there looking at it and they wouldn't get in the car so I just squished it and he's like it was just an old centipede anyways who really cares it's no big deal. Lillian said I wanted to catch that centipede and keep it for a pet.
Christian the three-year-old says Lillian nobody keeps centipedes for pets if you catch a toad or frog or lizard you keep it for a pet but not a centipede. Lillian says or some people catch dogs and cats and keep them for pets and Shepherd's correct so he said no no one catches dogs and cats and keeps them for pets they buy them as a puppy or a kitten and they raise them up. He's like if you went out in the wild and tried to catch a dog you might catch a wild dog or a wolf that'd be really dangerous if you just caught a random cat somewhere it could be a bobcat that'd be dangerous. Lillian responds Shepherd I'm smart I would never go out and catch a bobcat I would catch a cute fluffy little cat and then make a really good pet and the three-year-old Christian sides with the seven-year-old says no Lillian I know you you'd be running around catching bobcats. And then he's like dad what is a bobcat? So they were trying to one-up each other they covet being thought well of by their siblings and their dad that oh they are the smartest one. One of the main things that we tend to covet is money and what money can buy us and first Timothy 6 addresses that Paul writing to his protege Timothy writes this but godliness with contentment is great gain for we brought nothing into this world it's certain we can carry nothing out and having food and raiment let us be there with content but they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and hurtful lust which drowned men and destruction and perdition for the love of money is the root of all evil the idea is all kinds of evil which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows but thou O man of God flee these things and follow after a righteousness godliness faith love patience meekness the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil now would it be wrong for a believer to drive a car like this one that will show you on the screen would it be wrong to own a boat like this one or to live in a house that looked like this or maybe some very wealthy people owned their own island what if you owned your own island would that be wrong now if we had more time we could spend more time discussing that but I think the bigger question for you today is the fact that probably you would say my bank account isn't one one thousandth of what it would take to own something like that but for some of you even when we showed those pictures on the screen there was something in your heart that said I would do anything to have a car like that I'd kill to live in a house like that I would work no matter how much overtime it required to own my own island and if that's your heart's desire then you're guilty of breaking first Timothy six there there are very wealthy people that God has used in his kingdom who've been very generous and they've held their possessions with a very loose hand and they've recognized that they're simply a steward you could be a multi-millionaire and not violate first Timothy six or you could be a pauper and violate it you could be a homeless person doing everything you can to get your next buck so we tend to assume well this is a really good message for the rich but that's not me it's a major oversight because compared to the rest of the world everyone sitting in this room is rich compared to world history we're rich but also the fact that covetousness is an equal opportunity vice and I think particularly in our day social media often contributes to it because we see airbrushed images of models and we we tend to think that everyone else has better than we do even within the church there's something known as the prosperity gospel that exalts covetousness as if it's godly it's so easy to look at our neighbor I mean as the summers coming up and maybe maybe you know you're you're married and you have kids and you're sitting there and you're looking at your neighbor and he has a beautiful in-ground pool maybe within an infinity edge and here you are and you're dipping your toes and your kids kiddie pool and you covet it's it's envy you envy the person your neighbor and you covet their thing the pool let me make three quick points of application and closing first of all how do you counteract this by cultivating contentment secondly we'll look at loving your neighbor and thirdly finding fulfillment in Jesus the opposite of coveting is contentment Hebrews 13 5 let your conversation your lifestyle be without covetousness be content with such things as you have how do you how do you cultivate contentment while you seek to enjoy God's good gifts listen to Ecclesiastes 3 and 13 all these that every man shall eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor it's the gift of God I write about a rich businessman who found a fisherman during the day and the fisherman's just sitting there looking at the ocean and the businessman says why aren't you out fishing he said I caught all the fish that I need today and the businessman says there's still light in the day you should go out and catch more and he says why I've got all that I need well if you would catch more then you could sell it and then you could buy a bigger boat and you could go out deeper into the ocean and you could catch more fish and pretty soon you could have a whole fleet of boats and you could own your own business and like I do and you could be a very wealthy man and the fisherman said well why would I do that well because someday after all that hard work you could retire well what would I do then well I mean I don't know you could just relax you could just sit out and look at the ocean and the fisherman said what do you think I'm doing right now can we learn to enjoy God's good gifts to us enjoy God's good gifts secondly be grateful for each part of your life covetousness is the evidence of an ungrateful heart John D Rockefeller famously was the single richest man in the world during his lifetime and someone asked him mr. Rockefeller how much money is enough and his famous famous answer was just a little bit more the quality of your life has very little to do with the quantity of your life I won't take the time but there are numerous even recent studies on happiness and greed that show that more money does not always equal more happiness in 1990 the 24 year old Danny Simpson robbed a bank in Ottawa Canada he got away with $6,000 he got caught he went to trial he spent six years in prison the really amazing part is when they studied it out Danny Simpson had robbed that bank using a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol made by the Ross Rifle Company in Quebec Canada in 1918 that gun in antique at the time that he robbed the bank and stole $6,000 and went to jail the gun he robbed it with was worth $100,000 16 times more than the amount of money he stole if he had learned to appreciate and value what he had he probably had no idea what the gun was worth he wouldn't have been stuck in jail I wish we had time to read Matthew 6 25 through 34 you're familiar with verse 33 that we should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things should be added unto us the secret to contentment and lasting satisfaction is not in getting more it's in wanting less I one time heard John Matthew speaking to a group of people and he said our wanters are too big we want too much you may not always have everything you want but you can want everything that you have so cultivate contentment secondly love your neighbor maybe you notice this with each part of this commandment something was in common it's your neighbor's house and your neighbor's wife and your neighbor servants and your neighbor's donkey and ox if you love your neighbor you're not going to covet what they have think about your parents is your dad covetous when you get good grades does your dad covet your athletic ability of course not he's thrilled to see his son or his daughter do well why because he loves you we don't covet after people that we love and of course Christ summarizes the two I mean all the commandments with these two big ones love God and love your neighbor a covetous person loves things a content person loves people and thirdly find fulfillment in Jesus if you find your heart constantly longing for something this world cannot provide it's because you were created for a different world I mean you you realize that we're supposed to be dead to ourselves and to our sins I mean think about Colossians 3 to set our affections on things above our life is hid with Christ and God do you realize that people who are dead don't covet I wish they got me a better coffin why am I not under the shady part in the cemetery no dead people don't covet we should be dead to ourselves and dead to our sins and alive to Christ listen to Luke 12 15 he said unto them take heed and beware of covetousness for a man's life consisteth not and the abundance of the things which he possesses you are so much more than the things you possess find worth find identity find satisfaction and fulfillment in Jesus more stuff will not satisfy you Howard Hills Howard Hughes took the money that he inherited from his parents and he took millions and turned it into billions he became a Hollywood filmmaker and star he wanted more fame he wanted more thrills and he built designed and flew the fastest airplane in the world of his day he wanted more pleasure so he had numerous illicit sexual activities he had all kinds of drugs he wanted more power so he used his money to influence two different US presidents he had money and fame and thrill and pleasure and power but if you know anything about Howard Hughes he died insane by most people's standards emaciated colorless a sunken chest his his fingernails were in grotesque corkscrews he had rotting teeth he had tumors throughout his body all of his skin was pockmarked with needle marks he died as a billionaire junkie constantly wanting more the things of this life will not satisfy two days ago this Saturday I was at Golden Corral with my three oldest kids I like taking them for lunch and that's one of their favorite restaurants they'd eaten some veggies and fruit and meat which is part of my requirement for them to get to go to the dessert bar so when they went to the dessert bar I was a little bit surprised because normally they want the cotton candy or the chocolate fountain the fondue fountain or the fudge but this time even the ice cream they they just wanted straight-up candy and so each of them got as many gummy bears and jelly beans as I would allow them to have and we went back to the table and they were building designs with the colors of the jelly beans and so on the the jelly bears and and jelly beans and and gummy bears and we were sitting there and I couldn't think of gummy bear for some reason and my daughter Lillian says daddy what would it be like this is a five-year-old girl to have a whole house made out of jelly bears and I just kind of smiled I didn't want to talk to her about how would that support the weight of a bathtub or you know what would happen on a hot summer day and your house becomes a puddle around you with the with the gummy bear and and then Christian who's got his jelly beans in a line he's like I would like a place where there'd be a whole long path of jelly beans and Lillian said I would love a long bath of jelly beans and Christian said no I didn't say bath I said path and Lillian said no I'm thinking about a bath with jelly beans you could eat the bubbles and they taste really good they start talking about what a world would be like made out of candy and Shepherd kind of pauses them at one point and all of his seven-year-old wisdom you know is the oldest brother and he says guys that's exactly what heaven will be like I wasn't sure what to say I didn't talk to them about the theologically there's no place in the Bible that mentions candy in heaven but something hit me and I thought whether you're a child or an adult there's something in you that longs for something better and can I remind us that the glory of heaven will not be gummy bears or jelly beans it won't even be golden streets or mansions it won't even be our loved ones as much as we long to see them the lamb is all the glory of Emmanuel's land and we will spend if you're a believer all of eternity enjoying Jesus heaven will be heaven because Jesus is there how do we counteract the insidious sin of covetousness which tempts each of us we cultivate contentment we love our neighbor and we find ultimate fulfillment in Jesus who alone is worthy let's pray father we thank you for your word we pray that you would impress it on our hearts that you would help us to find contentment in Christ that we would be satisfied with you alone and not drawn to love all that this world offers we pray this in Jesus name amen you've been listening to a sermon by dr. Nathan Crockett which is part of the study series about the Ten Commandments I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform I hope that you've enjoyed it I hope it's been a blessing and an encouragement to you we're living in very unusual times and this is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord so I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at bju.edu and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2500 students who are coming here to get a biblical worldview and see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace as they go out and serve in local churches not only here in the United States but our students are globally in demand Christ centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ so thank you again for listening encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's Word God bless you you've been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University which is part of the study series about the Ten Commandments join us again next week as we conclude this series here on The Daily Platform
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