IDEA: Christians should look at life from a different perspective because we are part of a different kingdom. TEXT: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).
PURPOSE: To help listeners recognize that the solution for covetousness rests in the presence and promise of God.
Have you ever lived for an extended period of time in another country as a citizen of the United States? What difference does that make in the way you think and the way you act?
I. The Bible pictures Christians as being citizens of another kingdom.
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29).
The writer in the context has talked about a kingdom which cannot be shaken, in contrast to the kingdom of earth that can be shaken.
When the text says, “God is a consuming fire,” what do you think that refers to? It goes back to verses 26 and 27, where it states that the kingdoms we see now will be shaken and removed.
What is more eternal, people or civilizations? Which do we tend to think is more lasting?
We see evidence of this shaking of the earth in that many of the armies, the kingdoms, the buildings, the theories of the past are now in the dust. To give yourself to this is to give yourself to what is passing and to what God will ultimately consume.
II. The writer goes on to tell us how we are to serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
We are to give ourselves to what is eternal.
We are to give ourselves to relationships because love is eternal (Hebrews 13:1-4). It is not part of the passing. “Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them–and those who are mistreated–since you yourselves are in the body also. Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
We are to conduct ourselves without covetousness and be content with such things as we have. “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” (vv 5-6).
Covetousness is a magnetic attraction to money, and money is the center of the kingdom in which we live. When Jesus contrasted following Him to not following Him, He said, “You cannot serve God and money.” The picture is like someone eagerly collecting Confederate money at the end of the Civil War.
This is simply not a warning about giving yourself to what is passing, but an encouragement to trust the King of the new realm to provide what you need. He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Could that be said of money?
It says, “So we may boldly say ‘The Lord is my helper; and I’ll not fear. What man can do to me?’ ” Is it possible for men or women to take your money away and leave you penniless? Is it possible for you to lose the presence of the eternal God?