Sermon – June 18, 2017
“Some people’s sins are obvious, preceding them to judgment, but the sins of others surface later” (1 Tim 5:24). Some people are easy to understand; they cannot help but wear themselves on their sleeves, showing their emotions and, sometimes, sins in the open. Others, however, are quite able to keep their sin inside, and take on a form of outward holiness that is at odds with their hearts. God warns us that it is not just what we do, but who we are that matters. Therefore, he commands us “do not covet.”
1. Coveting: desires that keep us from God
We often think of coveting as only longing for the things that belong to other people. This is the most common form of coveting, as clearly demonstrated not only in our lives, but in the warning about coveting wives, slaves, and animals in Deut 5. But we can also covet with the things we do own, placing them in importance over even God. Matthew 19:16-24 warns us of this very reality.
2. Recognize all you have is from God
One of the reasons we covet is that we are not grateful for the many things that God has given to us; we want other things because we are unsatisfied. This is a major sin in all people (Rom 1:21). Let us, therefore, be grateful to God for the good things that he has given to us, instead of only focusing on those things we cannot get. Be warned: such contentment and gratitude is exceptionally difficult to foster, and you will need the strength of Christ to do it (Phil 4:12-13).
3. Recognize all you don’t have is from God
God often keeps things from us for our own good, to keep us humble and focused on the good that will come to us in a better city, imperishable and built by God. God keeps much from us so that we will understand his sufficiency for us in all circumstances (2 Cor 12:6-10).
4. Recognize all of the law is from God
As we have worked through Deuteronomy, seeing how Moses has explained the law, we have come to an abrupt end, and seem to have run out of text for the 10th commandment. But this is because the command to not covet is the same as the first – to have no other gods beside God. Recognizing this, we see the central fact of the law is the love of God, and why keeping some of the law, but not all, is condemning (James 2:8-11).
We should never think of the law as a list of things to do, or not to do, and by following them making ourselves right before God. Rather, the law is a light, shining on our hearts our own evil and sin, and forcing us to plead for mercy and grace. These God has provided in Jesus Christ, our only hope of justification and life before God. Let us run to the cross to receive forgiveness for our sin and new hearts to love our God, as he has commanded us!