Sermon on the Ten Commandments (#10): “You Shall Not Covet”

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  • Covet or Content?
  1. (Luke 12:15) Don’t Seek Possessions
    • (Explanation) Jesus warns us not to rest our identity upon money. We can try to build up our savings accounts, get great jobs, buy huge houses, but completely miss out on all joy in our lives. The deceiving thing about coveting is this: there’s no limit. You can never be satisfied if you struggle with coveting. It’s like as if every time you covet something you big yourself a deeper hole, trapping yourself in a pit. The only way out is by being content.
    • (Illustration) Amy Carmichael: As a child, she wanted blue eyes so badly; constantly, she would pray that God would miraculously change their color – He never did though. Later in her life, she became a missionary to the country of India. At that time, people who had any kind of eye color other than brown were viewed suspiciously. In fact, to blend in with the people, she dyed her skin with coffee. If her childhood prayer had become a reality, her life work would’ve been altered significantly. In India, Amy Carmichael had a remarkable life of service, ministering in that country for 55 years.
    • (Application) Consider this quote from Carmichael: “One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving.” This is the exact opposite of covetousness, for when one covets, he is selfishly seeking to satisfy his own appetite and desires. However, love is sacrificial service to another. Which leads us to the second point…
  2. (Matthew 6:19-21) Seek Heavenly Treasure
    • (Explanation) Here’s the thing about “desires”: desires are good. Buddhism teaches that we need to be rid of desires altogether and experience a state of nirvana, which is illogical because in attempting to rid yourself of “desires,” you are actually “desiring” nirvana. Jesus, on the other hand, calls us to desire things that will not wear down, rust, or get destroyed. I think this refers to how much we value God, and that means, if we live our lives according to God’s will on earth, then there will be rewards for us in heaven.
    • (Illustration) Imagine that you are given a credit card with an unlimited limit. Each time you use that credit card, you add more on your account. However, this is a “Kingdom” credit card, so whenever you do things to build up treasure in heaven, you can use this card. So, the more you use the card, the more treasure you are storing up in heaven.
    • (Application) [1] How do we “build up” treasure? Loving God and serving others with a heart that is pleasing to God. [2] What is the heavenly treasure? Scripture doesn’t tell us too much on this detail – there are 5 crowns mentioned in the Bible. Whatever the treasure is, we can be assured that it’s good.
  3. (2 Corinthians 8:9) Seek Christ, Our Ultimate Treasure {Who to consider}
    • (Explanation) Out of everything that we can see about this 10th commandment, I think this verse presents the most amazing truth: Christ became poor so that we could become rich. Imagine Bill Gates giving up his entire life saving’s so that someone else would become as he once was. Christ gave up everything, even His own life to be crucified on the cross, so that we could be rich in His grace. G-R-A-C-E (“God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”).
    • (Illustration) Joe Flacco: 120.6 million dollar contract for 6 years. Let’s say you are a homeless bum on the streets of Baltimore. As he walks towards you, He says, here’s 120.6 million dollars; it’s all yours. Consequently, Flacco is out of money, and so he becomes the bum on the street.
    • (Application) If you struggle with coveting, think as often as you can about the example of Christ – how He became poor so that we could become rich. Maybe even memorize this verse if you’d like.

Conclusion:

  • Do we covet what others have? {covet other families have more money; covet someone’s appearance; covet the talents of others; etc.) It can be hard not to. But you see, coveting what others have shows us that we don’t really value what God has provided for us. And also, God wanted to show us that our desires are easily captured by things that don’t matter. So really, this command is meant for us to keep our minds and hearts directed toward God. (Isaiah 26:3)
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