Christian Ethics: You Shall Not Steal (Leviticus 19:11-13; 35-37; Exodus 22:1-15)

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You Shall Not Steal

Leviticus 19:11-13; 35-57; Exodus 22:1-15

Mr Jack Mock

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Sermon Outline

You Shall Not Steal

Leviticus 19:11-13; 35-57; Exodus 22:1-15

  • Having been saved by faith alone in Christ alone; how then should we live?
  • The commandments of God reveal the will and character of God; what he likes and does not like
  • There seems to be a discord between holy living Lev 19:1 and neighbour-love v18
  • Verse 1 “Be holy for I the Lord your God am holy” is tied to v18 “love your neighbour as yourself.”
  • The first four commandments of the Decalogue tell us how to love God
  • The last 6 tell us how to love our neighbour

Firstly, the creation ethic is to work for our living.

  • Jean Valjean in Les Miserables jailed for just stealing a loaf of bread
  • “he who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.” (Eph 4:28)

Secondly, part of holy living is not steal from your neighbour

  • V11-15 Holy living means “do not steal, lie, deceive, defraud or hold back the wages of a hired man overnight”
  • A person has a right over his/her possessions and property and to steal from another is to take what God has graciously given to him
  • V35 neighbour-love means justice and accuracy in weights and measurements
  • “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity, use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah, an honest hin. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of 
  • Intellectual property rights
  • Those who work in fashion, phones, computers, music sheets;
  • can we copy and paste everything we come across; whose property rights is it?
  • “Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless.” (Prov 23:10)

Thirdly, if the Ten commandments are general laws, apodictic;

  • then the Book of the Covenant Ex 21 to 23 are case laws;
  • The principle of restitution, recompense
  • “If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.”
  • “A thief must certainly make restitution but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft.”
  • “If a stole animal is found alive in his possession – whether ox or donkey or sheep – he must pay back double”
  • “If a man grazes his livestock in a field or vineyard and lets them stray and they graze in another man’s field, he must make restitution from the best of his own field or vineyard.”
  • “If a man give his neighbour silver or goods for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbour’s house, the thief, if he is caught, must pay back double. But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges to determine whether he has his hands on the other man’s property.
  • In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment or any other lost property about which someone says, This is mine, both  parties are to bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges declare guilty must pay back double to his neighbour.”
  • “If a man borrows an animal from his neighbour and it is injured or dies while the owner is not present, he must make restitution.
  • But if the owner is with the animal, the borrower will not have to pay. If the animal was hired, the money paid for the hire covers the loss”
  • It is the principle of recompense, restitution, making good the damage we have done through theft, stealing other people’s property.
  • Whether it is their money, intellectual property rights, not paying your proper taxes and cheating in all kinds of ways called white collar crime.

Fourthly, the Gospel is for all people

  • including those who thieve, defraud, cheat,
  • use dishonest scales, two accounts books, etc
  • (a) Zacchaeus
  • “Look Lord. Here and now I give half of my possession to the poor and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
  • (b) the thief on the cross who confessed at the last moment


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Next Week: 15 October 2023

You Shall Not Covet

Deuteronomy 5:5-21

Mr Jack Mock


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