Christian Ethics: You Shall Not Covet (Deut 5:6-21)

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You Shall Not Covet

Deuteronomy 5:6-21

Mr Jack Mock

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Welcome >> Worship in Songs

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Scripture Reading >> Sermon 

Response Song >> Benediction

Sermon Outline

You Shall Not Covet

Exodus 20:17

  • Covetousness
  • Greed
  • Avarice
  • enough is enough
  • the simple Christian lifestyle
  1. Intro remarks
  2. Unpacking the divine imperative, ‘You shall not covet’
  3. What did Jesus & Paul say about contentment & wanting more?

One major bank closing down rural and regional branches and laying off 5000 workers

Greed is back in fashion

How do you decide your lifestyle and make your financial decisions?

The first 4 commandments tell us how to love God and last 6 commandments tell us how to love our neighbour.

God has given people different gifts, talents and unequal income therefore we are to be content we what we have and we ought not covet our neighbour’s house.
Our God is not a Marxist-Communist God where we all have equal income or wealth

Personal discipleship recognises the Lordship in every area of our lives

What about covetousness? ………. Wanting more and more, being greedy, consuming more and more, “I want what she is having” says one TV ad.

Fashion and the cosmetic industries tend to create wants and needs.
Economics are theories about goods and services and the distribution of them. We live in a consumer society., an inbuilt-obsolesce society

What is the Christian to do in an affluent country? What if we are the affluent minority in an Asian country? What is the Christian’s attitude to wealth and possessions?

It is noteworthy that the Bible does not condemn wealth in itself. It is not money per se but “the love of money which is the root of all evil” says the apostle Paul.

1 Tim 6:17,18 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth but on God who richly blesses us with everything to enjoy. They are to be generous and willing to share.”

John Wesley’s advice is:
“to earn all that you can, save all that you can and give all that you can”

is one of the bases for the Protestant work-ethic.


2. The 10th Commandment: “You shall not covet”

It means having an intense desire for something that you currently do not have. An earnest desire so much so that people not only dream about it, they think constantly about it, they plan to save up for it and orientate their whole life around to obtaining it.

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s house”.

For most of us buying the family unit or home is the most expensive item that we will buy in our lives. Do we think and pray over the matter? Is the determining factor being what house that our friends have?

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife”

As a husband, do I compare my wife with my neighbour’s wife? You can reverse the role. As a wife do I compare my husband with my neighbour’s husband? He is on such and such income, they go overseas every vacation; he has this and he has that.

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s manservant or maidservant”.
Our modern-day household servants are the fridge, the micro- wave oven, the dryer, washing machines and so on.

We need quality for our money. But the question is: do we need it? If so; how much can we afford and what will it do? We are called to be wise stewards of our money

“You shall not covet your neighbour’s ox or his ass”

The ox worked on the farm in ancient times. The modern equivalent would be household tools, power tools, lawn mower and the like. The hardware and garden sections of a store.

 The ass was the means of transport in ancient time. The modern equivalent is the automobile – the family car.

“you shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour“

God may have blessed your neighbour with material possessions. Why God blesses one and not another is His prerogative? BTW God is not a Marxist-Communist where the ideal is that all have equal possessions

Enough is enough. Sufficiency is the rule. The bible seems to suggest a simple life style.

3  Jesus & Paul on greed and material things

 Col 3:5. “Put to death what is earthly in you; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (covetousness) which is idolatry”

‘Godliness with contentment is great gain … but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap that plunge them into ruin and destruction.’

Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount:  ‘So do not worry, saying, what shall we eat? What shall we drink? What shall we wear? For your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.’


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Mr Jack Mock


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