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1778. Stealing, Working, Giving

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
May 22, 2024 5:00 pm

1778. Stealing, Working, Giving

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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May 22, 2024 5:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit continues the series entitled “New Life in Christ,” with a message from Ephesians 4:28.

The post 1778. Stealing, Working, Giving appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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This mystery is now being unfolded. It is now being revealed. So what is this mystery that leaves the angels so amazed? God was working in such a powerful way that the Gospel spread throughout the entire region of Asia. The book of Ephesians is about revealing a mystery that had been hid in the past but is now unveiled in the present.

And what is that mystery? That God the Father is preparing for God the Son a bride. This bride or this body called the church is inclusive of believing Jews and Gentiles. And what did God do for the Gentiles? He made them citizens of God's kingdom and He made them members of God's family. He's brought Jews and Gentiles separate and He has made them one in a new body, a new humanity that is called the church of Jesus Christ. And so He writes to these Gentiles and He says, and live out this new life that you have in Christ. That's what our theme is all about, living that out as Gentiles in the world today. That is the mystery that amazes the angels.

I wonder how many of them say, wow. Today on The Daily Platform, Dr. Steve Pettit is continuing a study series from Ephesians entitled New Life in Christ. Today's message is entitled Stealing, Working and Giving from Ephesians 4, 28.

Would you please take your Bibles this morning and turn to the book of Ephesians, Ephesians chapter 4. Back when we began in our ministry of evangelism, we had bought a trailer that we were getting ready to move all of our belongings out of one fifth wheel trailer into a new one. And so for a short period of time, we went on vacation, we came back, got our new trailer, and then we went to a storage bin that we had rented in Columbia, City, Indiana. And we got our new trailer, pulled it over, and we were going to load everything into our fifth wheel trailer. And when we opened up the storage bin, to our shock and surprise, our storage bin had been ransacked by thieves.

And it was one of the weirdest feelings we've ever had to know that we had had all this stuff and people had come in and taken what they wanted, left what they didn't want to have, and we were stuck there sitting there in this particular situation. Being an object of someone else's thievery is always shocking. How many of you have ever had anything that was yours stolen from you? Would you raise your hand? Okay. How many of you imagine what you were going to do to the person when you found them who had stolen your stuff?

Would you raise your hand? Yeah, there's another sin called stealing. But being stolen from is a terrible experience. This morning, I'd like us to look at Paul's admonition to us as Christians with regard to stealing, working, and giving. In New Testament times, many of the Christian converts were slaves, or they were common day laborers. For them, life was hard, pay was low.

In some cases, they received nothing at all, especially if they were owned by someone else. So back in ancient times, stealing was just normal. In a pagan society, people were just trying to live day by day. However, when the Gospel came in, it changed everything. Because the old life of sin was put off at conversion and the new life in Christ was received. The change started on the inside where God recreated you, with his own image, which was created in righteousness. Righteousness is obedience to the law. And that change in heart soon led to an outward morality, a change of life, a difference. And therefore, of course, Christians ought to be different because of the new life in Christ. And in Ephesians 4 and verse 28, Paul deals with one of those put on commands.

This is the third of five that we've been looking at. This morning, he deals with the theme of stealing, working, and giving, or my simple title is this, how a kleptomaniac becomes a philanthropist. God literally changes you. And let's look at what he says in verse 28. Paul gives really three simple commands here as he has been doing.

It's very straightforward. And the first command is simply this, where to stop stealing. Let him that stole steal no more. Literally, it reads, stealer, stop stealing. Now we know that stealing was considered a sin in the Old Testament. Exodus 20, 15, the law says, thou shalt not steal. Leviticus 19, 11, you shall not steal. In the New Testament, when Jesus comes into somebody's life, we find that stealing starts to go out. For example, do you remember the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who when he was converted, his heart was dramatically changed so that he went from being a taker to a giver.

Fundamentally, that's what changes in the human heart. Because by nature, by selfishness, we are self-centered people, and therefore we think of getting, we rarely think of giving. In Ephesians, Paul was concerned about the negative impact of stealing. Because he knew it would affect the unity of the Christian community. He understood that stealing would destroy trust among believers and trust was fundamental for Christian fellowship.

So here's the question I'd like to ask. Is stealing today an ongoing sin among believers? Do you think we have stealing at Bob Jones University? I read this morning the Cleary Report. You know what the Cleary Report is, is what we turn in to the government of what kind of crimes we have on campus at Bob Jones University.

So I read the Cleary Report this morning just to make sure I was accurate, and our Cleary Report dates back to 2014 through 16, 17 is being sent in. Now, let me be honest with you. Bob Jones University campus is incredibly safe.

Almost every area there was just zero, nothing going on, except one area. It's called burglary. It's the number one crime on the campus of Bob Jones University. We actually have people who pay good money to go here who steal from other people. Now we don't have many thieves, but we do have thieves among us. The Bible says, let him that stole steal no more. So how is it that Christians steal?

Let me give you just a few ways. Number one, the first one is just basically stealing. Taking stuff that's not yours. Permanently borrowing somebody else's stuff. Do you remember times in your life when you've stolen? How many of you have ever stolen something before? Raise your hand. Come on, be honest.

Alright. Yeah, we all have. I remember when I was 12 years old. I remember it like it was today. I went down with two of my buddies to Kmart in Columbia, South Carolina when I grew up, where I grew up. I had just gotten a new bicycle. It was the butterfly handlebar bicycles with the big banana boat.

You know where you can pop wheelies? And we went to Kmart with the intention of stealing two things. Number one, we wanted to steal some gold rings. Back in those days when I was in elementary school, in the sixth grade, if you liked a girl, you would give her a silver, what we call friendship rings.

If you really liked her, you gave her a gold friendship ring. And so we went and stole some friendship rings. And I had them in my pocket and I remember getting out of the store and jumping on my bike and taking off across the parking lot.

And I thought the CIA, the FBI, the National Guard, the SWAT team, the Navy Seals were all going to come after me. I remember that. And I remember taking those things that I had stolen, feeling so guilty about it, I threw them out into what was known as Gilles Creek. I was 12 years old. About 16 years later, 26 years old, I was sitting in my office. I was sitting in my office as a youth pastor in Michigan and God began to convict me of what I had stolen when I was 12 years old. And I got under such conviction, I sat down and I wrote a letter to Kmart International apologizing for stealing from them when I was 12 years old. And then I wrote a check for what I had stolen.

I estimated it and doubled it. You say, what did they say to you? I don't know.

I never got a letter back, but the check cashed. Stealing. Then there's another way we steal and that's found in Titus 2 and verse 9. You ought to notice this verse, verse 10 too.

It says, exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters and to please them well in all things, not answering again, not purloining. The second way we steal is by purloining. Now, that's not a word that we use. You purloined. You purloiner.

Well, what does it mean? Well, it's basically employee theft. Stealing from work.

Do you know that most stores today have more problem with their own employees stealing from them than people coming from the outside in and stealing? I was preaching in a camp a number of years ago and a teenager came forward under conviction because he had stolen over $100 worth of goods from his work as a teenager and he had to go back and turn himself in and ask for forgiveness and pay the money back. I preached in a church in Jefferson City, Missouri and a lady got saved in the meeting. Three, four years later I came back to the church and from the time that I was there, the first time to the second time, I found out the story about a lady who got saved in our revival meeting. She worked for Walmart and she had embezzled over $50,000 worth of goods.

I mean televisions and pool tables and all that. She just stuck them in her house. Well, she turned herself in and she got sent to jail. She did a year and a half in prison, got out because of the way she had been living and she was now back in this church.

I didn't even know what happened between my first and second visit. What does it mean to purloin? It means to set things aside for yourself, to skim off the top, to misappropriate funds for oneself.

This is not exactly purloining but it is something that God should convict us about. When I was in Israel a number of years ago, my last day there I went to the desk in the hotel and I gave them a $50 bill because I wanted to change it, exchange it for shekels. And so they gave me the shekels and I stuck them in my pocket, went down into the old city of Jerusalem, I pulled out the shekels to buy some stuff, I started looking through the shekels and realized, man I have more shekels than I thought I purchased. And it dawned on me that the guy behind the desk gave me twice as many shekels as I should have gotten for that $50. Now, what would you do if that happened to you?

Finders keepers, losers weepers? Is that what you would do? Well, I knew what to do. I went back to the hotel that evening and I went back to the supervisor and I said, sir, I believe that I was given too many shekels today when I made an exchange. And he looked at me and he smiled and he said, thank you so much for coming back because that gentleman who gave you that money, at the end of the day he had to bring up his report and found out that he was short in shekels because he gave them to you and we actually charged him and he had to pay for those shekels.

So I handed him the money back for what he had given me too much and that man the next day surely remembered who I was. Those are the little things in life where we have to be honest, not stealing. Third way we steal is by cheating. Cheating on tests, cheating on taxes, and in marriage cheating on spouses. Does that happen within the Christian community?

Of course it does. And then the fourth way we steal is through our time. The Bible says let him that stole steal no more but rather let him labor.

The idea was that he was not working for what he was to get. If we are hired to do a job then we are expected to work hard and to do our best. How often is time wasted at work?

I'm thankful for Bob Jones University graduates because they have a respect level of working hard wherever they go. How much money is being paid to employees for them to spend time on Facebook and Instagram and other social media sites? We all should have a conscience about our work that if we get paid for eight hours we ought to give them eight hours worth of work. And the fifth way in which we steal is our failure to tithe. Tithing is giving 10% of your income to the support of God's work. In the Old Testament tithing was an expression of one's gratitude to God. It was the belief that what I have is God's and so in giving that tithe I'm testifying that this is God's. The second reason they tithed in the Old Testament was to provide for the house of God, for the priesthood, and for the temple worship and sacrifice. Tithing is a principle that transcends the entire scripture.

What do you mean by that? It means this, that tithing existed before the law of Moses, it existed during the law of Moses, and it operated after the law of Moses. And when we read the Bible carefully, if we do a careful look at scripture we find that God's people often failed in this matter of tithing and God brought judgment upon his people. Listen to Malachi 3 and verse 6. Even from the days of your fathers you have gone away from my ordinances and have not kept them. Return unto me and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But you said, wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God?

Yet you have robbed me. But you say, wherein have we robbed thee? And he answers in tithes and offerings, you are cursed with a curse for you have robbed me, even this whole nation. The Jewish people were put in a place where they were dependent on the blessing of God and that blessing of God came through the priesthood and the temple and the sacrifices. But that temple and that priesthood and those sacrifices had to be supported by God's people and so the temple was dependent on the people of God and the people of God were dependent on the temple. That's the way the system worked and therefore the people had to tithe. If they didn't tithe then the people, the priest had to go work in the fields and then the house of God would lay waste and the blessing of God would falter. And so therefore they had to support the house of God through the tithing. Now we do not find a strict law in the New Testament to give the tithe. However since tithing transcends the whole of scripture and was used for the support of God's house and knowing today that God's house is the local church, then we should as Christians give serious thought and consideration to our responsibility to support God's work through His church. If we are not to give a tithe then what should we give? You say we're under grace and we should give grace out of grace and the answer is great, do that.

But it could be less than the law. Is it less than what we find throughout all of scripture? I would like to submit to you that many times God's people fail to tithe and in so doing it is robbing the advancement of the church. After being in the ministry for 37 years I've realized there are two things that God uses to get His work done. Number one, He uses people and number two, He uses finances to support them. And as children of God we should not rob the church of its tithe.

Tithing should be a part of what we do on a consistent basis as a Christian. So number one, He says stop stealing. Then number two, He says work hard. But rather let Him labor working with His hands that thing which is good.

Paul moves from the negative to the positive, from the put off to the put on. We're to put on hard work. Exodus 20, six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work. In Jewish culture parents had three main goals for their children. Goal number one was that they would know God.

Goal number two is that they would marry and find a life partner. Number three, they would develop a skill so that they could provide for their financial needs through work. The apostle Paul was a Pharisee and a committed student to the Torah, to the law. But he learned to make a living by working with his hands as a tent maker.

So wherever Paul went, even in the preaching of his gospel, he would often support himself by his own work. So regarding work, he tells the Ephesians two things. Number one, he says that we are to labor, rather let Him labor. That means hard physical work.

It's the kind of work that you do and you fall in bed at night worn out and exhausted. Throughout Paul's writings, he exhorted Christians to work. He declared that laziness was out of order for Christian society.

He writes in 2 Thessalonians 3, now we command you brothers in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you receive from us, for you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it. But with toil and labor, we worked night and day. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command that if any person is not willing to work, let him not eat.

Hard work is considered a good thing in God's eyes. Number one, we are to work hard. And then number two, he says we are to work with our hands the thing which is good. That is, we're to do good in our work.

What does this mean? What we choose as a profession should be for the benefit and the blessing of all people. In other words, not only do we work hard, but we do good work. God's people should avoid working for businesses and trades and industries that tear down or destroy the moral fiber of society. We should have a conscience about the kind of work that we do. Our work should not only be for the good of others, but it is for our own good, because in working hard, we develop character like industry, responsibility, and diligence.

And in the end, hard work provides for the needs of your life and for your family, and you do it in an honest manner so that you can live life with a good conscience. And then finally, the third command, and that is to give generously. Notice what he says at the end of the verse, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Paul is teaching us the ultimate purpose of work. He says in Acts 20 35, I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, it is more blessed to give than it is to receive.

The primary reason believers work is not to get, but it is to get to the point where you can give. So two questions, does giving here refer to just money? Can giving mean that there are things like you can give, like your time and your service? And of course that's absolutely yes, of course you give your time and service. But can you give these things in replace of giving money? I'm asking that question because I was asked this question this week. Can you give your time in replacement to your money? And the answer is absolutely not.

Absolutely not. That is not what the Bible is teaching. What does he say? He says you labor with your hands that you may have to give to him that needeth. What is it that he has to give? He's working so he might have something to give. What is it that he has to give?

It's whatever he's made from working with his hands. You work with your hands and you receive so that you can give. As a general rule, giving refers to what you make from your work. Proverbs 3, 9, honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your increase.

So shall your barns be filled with plenty and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. We work and through that working we receive income and with that income we support our family, our needs and then we are able to give. So does this giving refer to just money?

Well it refers to whatever I get for my work and most of us we get paid money. And then secondly and finally, is it wrong for a Christian to want to be rich? You know you read your Bible, there are a lot of people that were rich. Abraham was rich. Hannah said the Lord makes poor and he makes the rich.

King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches. David said both riches and honor come from God. Even Jesus was rich. 2 Corinthians 8 and verse 9, though he were rich, he became poor. Is it wrong for a Christian to be rich? The answer is no. Is it wrong for a Christian to want to be rich? I think the answer is yes.

Where do you get that? 1 Timothy 6 verse 9. But those who desire to be rich, that is make riches a pursuit, fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. Riches are deceitful. Is it wrong for you to become wealthy?

Absolutely not. So what are you to do? 1 Timothy 6 17. Charge them that are rich in this world, not to be high minded, not to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy, that they may do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate.

Is it wrong for you to make it your life's ambition to get rich? You answer the question. You answer what God says. But God does bless people so that we can give.

My wife's favorite saying is very simple. We get to give. We have a privileged opportunity. We've been blessed enough by God so that we can give. If we can be able to give what we have, we are blessed people.

Secondly, we have a privileged responsibility. God has given us the resources for the purpose of giving to others. We get to give. That's the evidence of the working of the new life in a believer. Father, help us to be generous people. Thank you that we get to give, just like you gave of yourself when you became poor, that we might be made rich in Jesus' name. Amen.

You've been listening to a sermon from Ephesians chapter 4. My name is Wyatt Smith. I'm a senior here at Bob Jones University studying multimedia journalism. And I want to tell you a little about my experience here at BJU. I've been here a little over three years, and I truly cannot say enough about the community here at BJU. Whether it has been in the halls of the dorms, in my incredible society, or even in the classroom, I have always felt a very strong sense of community around me that has aided in my growth as a person and as a Christian. BJU's commitment to academic excellence has also pushed me to discover and refine the skills and talents needed to succeed in life after school, such as communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.

My time in the classroom has allowed me to gain hands-on experience in my field of study, all while giving me the freedom to think creatively and build my skills. One aspect of BJU that I have really appreciated is that I have been continuously challenged to develop and grow my faith in Christ through the preaching of God's word and chapel and the daily discipleship of those in community around me. I have truly loved my time here at BJU, and I hope others will be able to share the experience I have had. If you or someone you know is interested in an experience such as mine, I would encourage you to check us out online at our website, bju.edu, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, at bju.edu. For any further information, please feel free to give us a call at 800-252-6363. Thanks again for listening! Join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-22 23:24:33 / 2024-05-22 23:34:17 / 10

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