I See, I Want, I Take

Scripture: Matthew 13:22, 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, Genesis 3:1-6
Date: 01/13/2018 
Lesson: 2
"It’s hard to imagine anything in the human character that is less reflective of the character of Christ than greed."
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Good morning friends, welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour coming to you here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church near Sacramento, California. I'd like to welcome our online members and also those who are watching around the world. Thank you for being a part of our study time today. Also to the members and the visitors here at the Granite Bay church. Good to see you again here this morning.

We are studying through our new lesson quarterly dealing with stewardship. That's the theme for the next 12 weeks we're going to be studying this important theme entitled motives of the heart. We're on lesson number two today entitled I see, I want, I take. So an interesting study today talking about stewardship. Now for those of you who are joining us who don’t have a lesson quarterly to study along, I encourage you – go to the Amazing Facts website just amazingfacts.

org and you can download today's lesson – it’s lesson number two in our lesson quarterly on stewardship. And you can study along with us or you can visit a nearby Seventh-day Adventist Church and you can receive your lesson quarterly there as well. Also, for our friends in North America, we do have a free offer that we’d like to let you know about. It's an intriguing title call thieves in the church - goes along with our stewardship theme - that's our free offer today. If you'd like to receive it.

Call 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #136. Well before we get to our study this morning we always like to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite our chorus to come and lead us in our music today. Good morning. And it's such a privilege to be able to sing with you all this morning.

We're going to begin our singing with #608 - faith is the victory. And when we think about Christian warfare - usually, when we think about warfare, we think of weapons, but in this warfare our weapons are love and we would invite you all to sing with us #608 - faith is the victory. And our next song we'll turn over to #422 Marching to Zion. We’ll sing, together, the first and last verses – Marching to Zion. Thank you all for singing with us.

And now our Sabbath school lesson is going to begin. Let's bang heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again, thank you for the opportunity to open up Your Word and study together. And as we talk about this very important theme of stewardship, father, we ask that the Holy Spirit would come and got our hearts and minds to reveal to us our great need of having that same attitude that Jesus displayed - an attitude of giving in all aspects of his life. Bless our time today for we ask this in Jesus’ name.

Amen. Our lesson today is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug. And just before I invite Pastor Doug to come up, we're going to be doing something just a little different this morning we actually tried this last week. And in a special way - those joining us on Facebook – we're going to take a few moments at the conclusion of the program, near the end of the lesson, to answer your Bible questions. So if you have a question you'd like to ask, you can actually type it in right there on Facebook and, near the end of the lesson today, we will have an opportunity to answer as many of those questions as possible.

Alright, Pastor Doug, we’ll turn the time over to you. Thank you Pastor Ross and good morning everybody. We’re glad to see each of you here at Sabbath school. Glad you've come to study. We have an interesting lesson today and at times it will be maybe even shocking and sometimes convicting, but we're going to be talking about – and this as lesson two on our new quarterly on stewardship: motives of the heart.

And today's lesson is I see, I want, I take, and it's talking basically about covetousness and which is, of course, the tenth commandment. I want to reiterate that rarely do we have an offer that matches so perfectly with the study. The offer for today is a book by Joe Crews called thieves in the church and it talks about the sin that nobody admits to is covetousness. And so you want to request that. We have a memory verse.

The memory verse is from Matthew chapter 13, verse 22. And if you want to find that in your Bibles this is from the new king James version. You ready? Matthew chapter 13:22 here we go, “now he who received the seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word of God and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful.” Can that still happen to us today? The deceitfulness of riches. Now we're going to be sharing a little later a principle we all know. We've heard the quote ‘the love of money is the root of all evil’ but the Bible doesn't say ‘money is the root of all evil’.

It is the love of money. I mean it’d be, kind of, a little bit of a paradox if we say ‘money is the root of all evil. Now it's time for our offering.’ (Laughter) I mean we talk about money in church all the time and there's a lot of good things that can happen through money. It's the love of money. It can be distracting and you know there's an interesting quote if you've got your quarterly right there at the beginning of the quarterly is a quote from the book councils on stewardship page 154 and 55 in here Ellen white describes as a vision where the devil is in consultation with his demons and he's telling them ‘here's how we can trap followers of God.

’ The devil, speaking to his demons, he says, “go make the possessors of lands and money drunk with the cares of this life. Present the world before them in its most attractive light. That they may lay up their treasure here and fix their affections upon the earthly things. We must do our utmost to prevent those who labor in God’s cause from obtaining means to use against us. Keep the money in our ranks.

The more means they obtain the more they'll injure our kingdom by taking from us our subjects. Make them care more about money than the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom and the spread of the truths that we hate and we need not fear their influence, for we know that every selfish covetous person will fall under our power and finally be separated from God's people.” Kind of gives you chills to think about how the devil is counseling people in - in his kingdom. Unfortunately this ploy seems to be very successful. Now, our first section under Sunday is talking about the prosperity Gospel. How many of you know what the prosperity Gospel is? It's a - a branch of supposed Christian theology that, basically, at its core, says that God - if you have enough faith - God wants you to be wealthy.

It also usually says that God wants you to be healthy and if you're not wealthy and healthy it's because, well, you've got a faith problem. And often, if you want to show you have faith it - they'll say you need to send money to our ministry. And they call it a seed of faith. And there are about five tenants that you find in this prosperity Gospel. We’re going to kind of go through them in just a moment.

First I want to read an interesting quote to you from spurgeon which I agree with. He was a contemporary of Ellen white and a great preacher. Spurgeon said, ‘i believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You'll say, ‘are we not to strive all we can to get all that we can?’” He said, “well, you may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in doing so you may do service to the cause of God but I would say that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.

” If our object is to simply get wealth the Bible says that ‘he seeks - he that seeks to be rich will not be without sin.’ And doesn't Jesus say that it's harder for a rich man - you know the story of the rich young ruler - harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God than a camel to go through the eye of a needle. Now, in Bible times, when a shepherd was counting his sheep, in order to make sure that only one sheep - sheep went through the door at a time they had a narrow spot and it would kind of funnel the sheep one at a time into the corral and they called it the eye of the needle. So some are wondering was Jesus talking about this sheep gate or was he talking about the literal eye of a needle. Well if it's a literal eye of a needle you can't fit a sheep through that, let alone a camel. But a camel could go through a sheep gate but he had to get on his knees and you had to unload him.

Som many have thought Jesus was talking about when shepherds would count their sheep. A camel could not go through the eye of a needle unless it unloaded and it got on its knees and - will there be rich people in heaven? Who are they? Name some. Abraham Abraham. We're going to talk about him in just a minute. Who else? King David? Nicodemus.

Nicodemus. Solomon. Job. Well, we’ve got two Josephs there, one Joseph - Joseph The Son of Jacob ended up very wealthy in the end and we expect to see him in heaven. Joseph of arimathea - both Joseph of arimathea and nicodemus ended up basically liquidating their wealth to support the early church.

They gave heavily back then. But yeah, there are examples. Now are they your heroes or are the poor people in the Bible your heroes? Trick question. The Bible says as the harder for a rich man to get into the Kingdom than a camel to go through the eye of a needle. There are exceptions.

How many of you would like to be the exception also? We all kind of want to be the exception, right? But is that dangerous? If our object is to be financially wealthy - I got to a number of Christian colleges and universities, I do a week of prayer. Sometimes I'll talk to the students. I’ll say, ‘what's your goal?’ And they'll say ‘well, you know, I wasn't going to take this but this pays better and this has better benefits.’ I said, ‘so is your goal for your career the best paying job? Or is your goal to say ‘what does God want me to do for the service of fellow man and to please God?’ What should be our supreme objective? Now, if God says ‘i want you to go into medicine because that's how your gifts and how I want you to serve God’ - and it may pay well, that's fine. If God says I want you to go into engineering because that's where your gift are and – and you can serve your fellow man.’ That's fine, but if your first question you're asking is ‘what's the pay package?’ That's the wrong question to ask. For a Christian, your first question should say, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do? I'll take up my cross and I'll follow you wherever you want me to go.

’ He says you’ve got to deny yourself. So we’ve got to be very careful to think that that statement about ‘hard for a rich man to get in the Kingdom’ is not still true. It is still true. It is still hard. Are we a rich country? Should that concern us? In a couple of months Amazing Facts is going back to india – i’ve been to india a few times before and, boy, it’s – there’s a lot of poor people - things are changing there and the economy is getting better but there's still a lot of poor people.

And you go from a place like india and some of the places I've been in the south pacific and in africa and then you come back to the u.s. And wow, we are very well off. Alright, back to the prosperity Gospel here. Someone's going to read a verse for me in just a minute. I think you'll have 2 Corinthians 8:9.

One of their beliefs - prosperity Gospel - is that the Abrahamic covenant is a means to material entitlement that through Abraham we will all be blessed and God blessed Abraham and since we are the descendants of Abraham and God blessed Abraham with great abundance we should expect great abundance. What was the blessing that God said he was going to give the world through Abraham it money? Or was it the Savior? The Savior. It was the Savior that would come and the Bible says that if we are in Christ then we're Abraham's seed and prosperity preachers will quote that and say ‘since you are the seed of Abraham and Abraham was rich, you should be rich too. We should not be borrowers. We should be the lenders.

We should not be the last, we should be the first. And you'll hear some really - and you know what makes the prosperity Gospel dangerous? There are elements of truth in it but isn't that true with every false teaching? There are elements of truth that there are blessings in serving God and there are promises. But if the whole purpose is you go through the Bible like it's a fortune cookie to pull out the verses and only talk about prosperity, and you don't talk about the ones where they say ‘we have forsaken everything to follow you,’ - I mean there's a lot more of that. How many of the apostles were rich? So even Paul said ‘not many wise, not many noble’ - you know they were sort of the - a motley crew. Okay let's keep it - continue on here.

So kenneth copeland, in his book he wrote - kenneth copeland is a great advocate for the prosperity Gospel - in 1974s the laws of prosperity – he said, “since God’s covenant has been established and prosperity is a provision of that covenant, you need to realize this prosperity that belongs to you now.” And he has, I think, a couple of airplanes and a multimillion dollar estate there in Texas and he's trying to live out his theology. Second point that they say in the prosperity Gospel is that Jesus’ atonement extends to the sin of material poverty. In other words, Jesus died, not only to save you from the penalty of sin, but one of those penalties is poverty and he died to save you from poverty. The opposite of poverty is prosperity. And so he saves you from poverty, and so you can be prosperous and part of his death on the cross was to make you rich.

And so they weave that right into the atonement. And they've got a verse for that. Go ahead. You can read that for me. ”For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor. That you, through his poverty, might become rich.” All right. There you have it. The Bible says that he became poor, that you might be rich. Now what was Paul talking about there? Jesus became poor so that we all might be bill gates or warren buffet? What - what was he talking about? Jesus became poor so that we all might be billionaires? Rich, how rich? Is rich a hundred thousand a year> or is rich - I mean, is it a monetary riches? The Bible talks about people who think they're rich and are really poor.

Because they're increased with goods they think they're rich and the Bible says they don't know that they're poor and wretched miserable blind and naked. Now that could be a lot of the church in North America that may have a lot of physical prosperity but be spiritually bankrupt. And doesn't the Bible say ‘has not God chosen the poor of this world’? And how did Jesus begin the sermon on the mount? ‘Blessed are the’ – poor. Now in Matthew he says ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’? Do you know in Luke hesays ‘blessed are the poor’ - who wants to be blessed like that? So yeah maybe we’ve bought into some of the prosperity Gospel. So they – he - Paul is not talking about physical riches here, he's talking about through the poverty of Christ – through his sufferings we might be spiritually rich.

Point number three in the prosperity Gospel: that Christians give in order to gain material compensation from God. And one of the verses I'll use there is – it does say Luke 6:38 “give and it will be given to you good measure pressed down shaken together running over shall men put into your bosom for with what measure you mete, the same will be measured back to you.” Now that's true. Many years ago I had a firewood business and firewood is a commodity that, when you give it to people it's a quantity – it’s a hundred and twenty-eight square feet. Three tiers is a cord of word. And that's three tiers - three stacks of wood that are eight-feet long, four-feet high, 16 inches for each stack - hundred twenty square feet.

And if it’s not quite a hundred and twenty square feet you’re cutting people short. And so there was a big complaint in town that, you know, some wood dealers were selling them wood and when they measured it out, it wasn’t a full cord. So, when we would advertise for our firewood, I was in business with a seventh day adventist brother, and we used that verse ‘give and it will be given to you good measure pressed down shaken together running over’ - we would give people a full cord. If it wasn't straight across at the top when it was four feet high we would round it up. And then word got out – they’d say ‘buy your wood from bachelor and boatright, they give you a full cord.

’ And then we found God blessed us. I still don't have like bill gates but, you know, God’ll take care of you. So there's a principle there that you do unto others and they'll do unto you. So the way God blessed us was we got customers because we were honorable. You know what I'm saying? So there's a principle there but God is not saying ‘give and it will be given to you’.

The way the prosperity churches used that – ‘give to our ministry and it will be given to you.’ What does it do for Christianity when people look and the ministers are supposedly talking about taking up your cross, denying yourself, and following Jesus are living in gilded, festooned - 4lifestyle. It doesn't really denote what Christ is – Christ’s example was. And so, they say, ‘you give to us and God is going to bless you materially.’ And you've all seen it, you know, the pastor said - I remember there was a - I am naming names because I think they ought to be ashamed. There was one guy named bishop ike and he was notorious for having the most incredible schemes to get you to send money. And he would send out his appeal letter and in his appeal letter, there’d be - there was a little piece of paper and it had the print of a rug on it and it said ‘special prayer rug’.

And then he give you instructions in the letter, he said, ‘God’s going to answer whatever you want to pray for. The only way you are going to get that answer is you’ve got to reach in your wallet right now, take the largest bill in your wallet, put it in the prayer rug, wrap it up quickly, you know, before it expires and mail it back to me.’ People were desperate. They fell for it. There's all these scams. How many of you, you know, there's some pastor that says, ‘we’re going to send you oil - water that i’ve blessed - or oil that i’ve blessed’ – they do both – ‘and this is oil.

It’s olive oil from Jerusalem we’ve blessed it and you sprinkle this on wherever you're sick and you'll be made well.’ And this - have you heard these things? All these scams - and people get desperate. You know, they think, ‘well what have I got to lose? I've tried everything else. Maybe this will work.’ And they make a lot of money. Does Jesus talk about a class of people in his day? He says, ‘you rob widow’s houses and make long prayers’ - another televangelist got into trouble - he was very popular and had a broad ministry - robert tilton - and he was on stage and he’s begging and pleading telling people ‘lay your hands on your tv’ and going through all these steps and he’d shout and he’s casting out devils. The people that are watching – and be manipulating folks to send their money and ‘send your prayer requests’ and then at one of these news agencies did a special on him and they had the people taking all the money out and throwing out all the prayer requests - they had them on camera - they weren't even reading the prayer requests - and throwing them in a dumpster.

And once he was exposed his ministry he just fell into nothing. He's still out there trying to resurrect it. So one of the greatest enemies of the truth of God is counterfeit Christians out there, and counterfeit pastors that exploit people. They had that back in Jesus’ day. Oh I haven't gone through my list of what some of the five false characteristics are of the prosperity Gospel.

One is that you give so that you can get. And I read you Luke 6 – there’s Mark 10: 29 and 30, Jesus said ‘assuredly I tell you that there is no one who has left houses or brothers or sister or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my sake’ - in the Gospels – ‘who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time. Houses’ - this is a verse they use. You follow everything you leave everything to follow me and in this life you're going to get a hundredfold more houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands - and persecution – they don’t emphasize that. They say you’re going to get a hundred times more houses.

Well, what did Jesus mean by that? He meant ‘if you leave everything and follow me you will have a home wherever you go, in the church, because people will take you in.’ He didn't mean you're going to have 100 times more house or a hundred times more houses and yet, that's the way some prosperity preachers will twist that. Any of you heard these things? Yeah, they call it ‘name it and claim it’ theology. Another one is the prosperity Gospel is faith is a self-generated spiritual force that leads to prosperity. That the purpose of faith is not that you might be saved from sin and live a holy life, but the purpose of faith is so that you can, basically, declare what you think you're supposed to have and, by continuing to declare that you are speaking faith into your statement, and God is required to do it because you said it. And you just are supposed to proclaim and declare and - and rebuke disbelief and just be positive about everything and – and, you know, one very popular prosperity preacher, he - his - his tactics are not as manipulating as some that are out there but the messages are all just positive, positive, positive, is Joel osteen, who has a church in houston with, I don’t know, seats 20,000 – 30,000 people there in an auditorium, but - and I've listened to some of his messages, he's on radio and it's just God’s got a good for you and you’ve just got to believe that – and, again, there are – there is some truth woven into it.

I mean, Christ did say some things that talked about - there were some positive messages. But the idea that if you're suffering it's just because you don't have a good enough attitude, that's not biblical. Jesus said the rain and the sunshine comes to everybody - isn't that right? Believer and unbeliever. Now this is interesting because my message in our sermon that follows is addressing some of these same things quite by coincidence. Alright, and then the fifth point in the prosperity Gospel is that prayer is a tool to force God to grant you prosperity.

I want to give you a quote – I don’t know if you've ever heard there's another preacher his name is creflo dollar - interesting name for a prosperity preacher, dollar. And he said, ‘when we pray believing that we have already received what we are praying for, God has no choice but to make our prayers come to pass. It's a key to getting results as a Christian. You - the whole purpose of prayer is to get what you want. God is a big santa claus up in the sky and you’re just supposed to ask and he's supposed to give and you just need more faith.

And if you're not getting it you don't have enough faith. Again I don’t say this, i’m saying this is what the prosperity Gospel teaches but it's really a Gospel of greed. Whenever we pray - James says when you pray you should say, you know, ‘if it's God's will’ - and did Paul get sick? Did Paul have a thorn in his side - some affliction some malady? We believe it was a physical problem. Most scholars think that he had very bad eyesight. Remember when he saw the Lord, he was blinded for a few days and later the scales fell from his eyes.

But as time went on, he never did see the same. He had other people write his letters he would sign and then he said, ‘behold and what big characters I write’. And when he was standing in court in front of the high priest, he didn't even know it was the high priest. He couldn’t see. He always traveled with somebody because his vision was so bad.

And that could have been the affliction. And he says ‘i prayed three times that God would heal me.’ And he said, ‘my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ So what, did Paul not have enough faith? Who's going to argue that? So this idea that if you're sick or if you're poor you just don't have enough faith. I guess the apostles didn't have enough faith. Because they were all - you've heard the expression ‘a rolling stone doesn't gather much moss.’ Well they were itinerant. They went from place to place and they were not wealthy in this world's things.

Alright, the next section - oh I read a survey that was done by American mythos and it showed that 82 percent of Americans thought that they were materialistic and 77 percent said that they are self-indulgent. I would agree with that, that most people are materialistic. I'm convicted all the time. I have too much stuff. Anyone else out there? You can become a slave to your stuff so you can’t do mission work for Jesus because you get to stay home and take care of your staff.

And Christ said, of course, a man's life does not consist in the abundance of things that he possesses. Blurred spiritual eyesight is the next section and we're going to begin with a quote, here, from this spirit of prophecy. This is from the book spiritual gifts, page 267 - this is your lesson – “some love this world so much that it swallows up their love for the truth. As their treasures here increase, their interest in the heavenly treasures decreases. The more they possess this world the more closely they do hug it to them as they fear - as if fearful their coveted treasure would be taken from them.

The more they possess the less they do - they have to bestow upon others. The more they have the poorer they feel. Oh the deceitfulness of riches! They will not see and feel the want of the cause of God. Poor people, statistically, give a bigger percentage of what they have than rich people. You would think rich people would give more, but it's been proven time and again that poor people would give a bigger percentage than rich.

You know, I think I quoted this to you last week, ben franklin said that abundance destroys more people than poverty. And we can get comfortable with having everything - all of our earthly needs net - all of our earthly needs met so we don't really pray, ‘give me this day our daily bread’. Most of you when you pray ‘give me this day my daily bread’ - you know it's more a ritual. You’re not really thinking, ‘will I eat today?’ Well, maybe some of you, but most of you, you're pretty comfortable that you're going to eat. So the poor people often really have to turn to God and this was a warning the Lord gave over and over again.

He said ‘when you come into the promised land don't just say ‘oh well, you know, i’ve got my houses and my lands and my orchards and my wells and everything is going well’’ and you forget about the Lord. And so that can happen to us. You know one reason I think that God allows trials to come on a nation is to help them recognize their need of God. Because when we’re - when we are swimming in abundance we tend to forget to pray. Knowing you have a need can drive you to prayer.

Matthew 13 - Jesus tells a parable. Matthew 13, verse 3, “he spoke to them in many things in parables saying, ‘behold a sower went out to sow and as he sowed, some of the seed fell by the wayside and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places where they didn't have much earth and immediately they sprang up but because they had no depth of earth, but when the sun came up it was scorched and because they had no root they withered away.” Now here's the part I want you to notice: “and some of the seed” - good seed – “it fell among the thorns and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But the others fell on good ground and it yielded a crop some a hundredfold some 60 some 30. He who has ears let him hear.

” Later they came to Jesus and he explains the parable. Now that third batch of seed that we just looked at, it said “he who received the seed among the thorns is he who hears the Word of God and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful.” Might have a little fruit but there’s not a lot. Why? The deceitfulness of riches. What is the deceitfulness of riches? Tell me what do you think? What's the deceitfulness of riches? That somehow, if you have enough, you'll be satisfied. You may not be holy.

You may not be ready for heaven but you’re comfortable and we figure that if we’re comfortable, well that's good enough. Riches can be deceitful that way and we become unfruitful in the work of God. Jesus said – doesn’t the Bible say that - speaking of the second coming – ‘pray always that we might escape all these things and guard, lest our hearts be over charged with eating, drinking, and the cares of this life.’ We can get so preoccupied with the cares of this life that that day overtakes us as a thief. Now there's another section here that talks about covetousness. Genesis chapter 3, verse 1 - how did sin enter our world? Because someone was dissatisfied with what God had provided.

Genesis 3:1, “now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘has God indeed said, ‘you shall not eat of every tree in the garden’?’ And the woman said to the serpent, ‘we’re free to eat from the fruit of the trees in the garden, but of the fruit of the tree that's in the midst of the garden God had said ‘you shall not eat it. Nor shall you touch it lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘you will not surely die for God knows that in the day that you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for” – well, I want to stop before I get to that part. Have you ever noticed then you'd be brought – if you’re brought in to a store and you're told you can have anything in the store, you say, ‘oh, that's wonderful.’ But then the proprietor says, ‘except that one item there.’ All of a sudden you become intrigued by that one item. If there is one thing you can't have and you can have everything else, you become intrigued by – you almost start to desire that one thing.

You start to wonder why can’t I have that one thing?’ And that's where covetousness comes in. Now, how many know the tenth commandment? If you're going to quote the tenth commandment, most people say thou shalt not covet’ - but it's longer than that isn't it. ‘Thou shalt not covet’ – what? ‘Thy neighbor's house, thy neighbor’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his cattle or anything that is your neighbors.’ And so it's not just coveting your neighbors things. It's coveting your neighbors people – manservant, maidservant - his wife. How did David get into trouble - the big trouble he got into? He looked over the fence - he was up on the roof and looked across the fence into the courtyard of his neighbor's house where his neighbor's wife was taking a bath and he wasn't satisfied with the ten wives that he had.

Isn’t that amazing? He had ten but there was one over the fence he didn't have and he was willing to kill that neighbor who was actually one of his mighty men to take the wife. He became dissatisfied with what he did have because he wanted something he didn't have. Now how does the devil work to get us to buy? You know how Marketing works often in the world? They make you dissatisfied with what you do have and they say you'll only be satisfied if you take or buy or acquire. What we're offering in four easy payments - get your credit card out now - you deserve this. You ever heard that on the commercial? ‘You deserve this’ - and you think ‘why do I deserve that better pillow?’ – ‘I deserve it.

Yeah I should go into debt and get it because I deserve it. I was perfectly happy until I found out that I didn't have one of those.’ And then they'll say ‘your neighbors have it and they're successful.’ And why – ‘you mean my neighbors have something I don’t have? Wow, what's wrong with me?’ And so they create this sense of dissatisfaction and the devil says, ‘oh, you might be living in paradise now and you might think all of this food and everything else tastes great, but there's one thing you haven't tasted yet and you don't know everything you can know and there is an experience out there waiting for you. Real satisfaction but you're only going to get it if you eat from this tree.’ And even though adam and eve could eat from everything else and how many trees you think there were in the garden besides that one forbidden tree? Thousands – look at all the different kinds of trees in the world today. And this is God's garden. Can you imagine walking – you know, God’s garden might have been as big as Montana.

We don't know how big the Garden of Eden was. There could have been thousands of different kinds of trees in there including the Tree of Life. You can eat from the Tree of Life. But the devil planted a dissatisfaction in eve's heart and, I guess, later adam’s. There is one thing you can’t have and you’re missing out - and she begins to covet that which was forbidden.

Now is it wrong to want a house? Is it wrong to want your neighbor's house? (Laughter) I was going to say, if there's a for sale sign in front of it is not wrong. Have any of you ever seen your neighbor got a new car and you thought, ‘wow’? And in your little heart you’re thinking ‘i'd like to have that car.’ I mean, you aren’t going to steal your neighbor's car, but it created a desire within you. I'm going to interpret your smiles that that's a yes. Now it's not wrong to desire something. You know, there's a place in the Bible we’re commanded - we are commanded to covet.

It says covet earnestly the best gifts but is it talking about physical gifts or is Paul talking about spiritual gifts? So what should we covet the most? The gifts of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, goodness, faith - right we should covet those gifts. Well we often covet material things. It's not wrong to want something. It’s not wrong to want a house. It’s not wrong to want a car it's not wrong to want a wife or a husband, but you shouldn't be wanting what is not yours to want and that's sin - becoming dissatisfied.

And then the devil said ‘oh, this is going to make you happy.’ “The woman saw the tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes and true desirable to make one wise.” You notice there’s three areas: lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. That's where eve fell. Those are the three areas of - all sin can be summarized in those three areas and these are the three areas where Jesus overcame so that we can overcome any sin. She took it and she ate it. And before the ill effects came she thought, ‘oh, wow, this is exhilarating.

’ She gave it to her husband and he ate. At least for a little while they really thought there was a big difference. And look at all the misery that came into our world because of coveting something that was forbidden even though they had everything else supplied. Covetousness is just really it's the devil's means of making us dissatisfied. Doesn't the Bible say Paul said ‘i have learned in whatever state I am to be content.

I have learned how to abound.’? There were times when Paul stayed in a palace and then a lot of time Paul stayed in a prison. He said ‘I've learned to be content in the prison and the palace. I have learned wherever God has me, if I am in the will of God, I am satisfied. But if you’re always dissatisfied – does shopping make you happy? For a little while, huh? Until you get the bill? But it doesn’t last. Another story in the Bible on this 1 Kings 21 - this is in your lesson.

You know the story of a naboth’s vineyard next to ahab's palace? He had a citizen named naboth, who had a vineyard and he had a thought, ‘boy, i’d like to expand my garden but I need more room. If naboth would sell me his vineyard I can plow up all the grapes and plant my herbs - put my vegetable garden in there’s something wrong with plowing up grapes and putting in parsnips. But anyway so he goes to naboth and he says ‘hey, sell me your vineyard if – you know, i’ll pay you money – i’m the King. If you don't want money’ – he says – ‘I'll give you a better vineyard. Whatever you want.

You tell me. And naboth said to the King, ‘sorry ahab. You know the law said that this is my family inheritance and I cannot sell it. It's going to go on through our family it'll go to my first born and so on.’ And ahab was so unhappy by that – it says he laid down on his bed he turned his face to the wall. He would not eat.

Jezebel, his wife came to him and said ‘why is your spirits so sullen? – You’re pouting – a king pouting – ‘you eat no food.’ - He said, ‘because I spoke to the naboth the jezreelite and I said to him, ‘give me your vineyard for money or else, if it please you, I'll give you another vineyard.’ He said, i’ll not give you my vineyard.’ And you know what jezabel did? She said,’ aren’t you the King? Let me borrow your signet ring.’ And she made a feast and she invited people and she set naboth there at the feast and she had hired some scoundrels who said ‘naboth has cursed God and the King.’ And they drug naboth out and stoned him to death so that ahab could take his vineyard. Now was ahab happy? He was happy for a little while he was walking through the vineyard saying ‘yeah I'll put my radishes here and I'll put, you know, my squash over here’ and Elijah showed up and ahab said, ‘have you found me my enemy?’ And he said you're only God's enemy because you've sold yourself to do wickedness.’ He said ‘the place where the dogs are licking the blood of naboth, they're going to lick your blood.’ So he got nabooth’s vineyard but it says he went out after that and he was sad. He clothed himself with sackcloth. He realized he'd done a terrible thing and judgment was going to come to him. It didn't satisfy.

So when we get something forbidden that we're coveting, does it really make us happy? Did bathsheba - that whole affair - did it make David really happy or did it bring all kinds of heartache and death into his family? Heartache. When you're taking something forbidden that you're coveting - something that you shouldn't covet - should you get at it, it will not satisfy. You know, there's a song we used to sing: only Jesus can satisfy your soul. There’s an empty spot in our hearts and it is not satisfied by the abundance of things. It's only satisfied by Christ.

Alright, greed – i’m going to try and save a couple minutes for questions that are coming in - talking about greed here. Isaiah 56 says ‘yes they are greedy dogs that never have enough they’re shepherds who cannot understand’ – that’s like the prosperity preachers –‘they all look to his own way - everyone for his own gain from his own territory.’ It's all about ‘what is in it for me?’ Alright, someone is going to read, for me, 1 Timothy's 6:10 – okay, manjeet, you’ll have that? I’ll – you’re – you’re next, then. I'm going to read James 4, verses 1 and 2. “Where do wars and fightings come from you? Do they not come from your desire for pleasure that war in your members in your soul? You lust and you do not have; you murder, you covet. You cannot obtain.

You fight and you war, yet you do not have because you do not ask”. And then he says ‘and you ask and you don't receive because you ask for the wrong reason that you might consume it upon your lusts.’ We quoted that earlier. Go ahead, read for us, please, 1 Timothy 6:10. ”For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in the worldliness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” So when people receive things that they covet and they're coveting forbidden things, they pierce themselves through with many sorrows. Have you ever met somebody who lost everything in gambling? Love of money.

Gambling is usually about get rich quick. Well, we got some questions came in and then some of these have come in from people who are watching live; others maybe came in from Facebook people. Pastor Ross you got some questions there. We do. We want to thank our friends for typing in your question and we'll try and answer as many as we can today and, if not, we'll keep going maybe next time to answer some more questions.

First question we have ‘is striving for success covetousness?’ No, I think we – we all want to be successful. What's the op - what's the opposite of striving for success? Striving for failure. I mean does the Lord want us to be successful? Are there promises in the Bible that if we follow certain Christian principles - the Bible says that ‘be diligent in your business and you will stand before Kings and not before mean men.’ - I think the word ‘mean’ means a people of low estate in the King James version. That was one of the mottos of ben franklin that he would be diligent in his business - he was a very industrious man and he said ‘i live by this rule’. His parents were puritans and they were very Bible based and he says ‘I've been very diligent in my business and I've stood before several Kings.

’ He said, ‘God's promises are true.’ Franklin said that. So you want to be successful. You want to be diligent. There's nothing wrong with that. But you don't want to be diligent for your own praise.

You want to do it for the glory of God. Okay, the next question we have ‘is it a sin to purchase a luxury vehicle?’ That's a good question. Now, depending on who you're talking to, you're going to think you know the person with the, you know, the hundred thousand dollar bmw he says ‘no, mine is not a luxury vehicle, but my neighbor’s got a bugatti that's what - two million dollars? Yes. At the least a million, I think. That's a luxury vehicle.

And, you know, the person who's driving the prius, someone thinks he's got a luxury vehicle. If the other person driving, you know, a 50-year-old honda civic - so you shouldn’t be living outside of your means and you don't want to be doing something that's going to dishonor God. If a person is a billionaire because of their hard work – let’s just suppose you’ve got a Christian who's very wealthy and they drive a nice car. Should you condemn them for that? If they're also being generous - I mean you know, they might - the guy who the family that started hobby lobby are very dedicated Christians. They just gave millions to build a Bible museum in Washington d.

c. That's just opened up. They are extremely generous. They pay tithe, they give away a great deal of their wealth, they’re very wealthy - they may drive a nice car. I would not condemn them for that.

So we've got to be careful not to not see the whole picture as God does. Right? Did Solomon live in a palace? Yes. Did he have a right to live in a palace? Will we see Solomon in heaven? See what I'm saying. You’ve got to just use good judgment. Here we have another question that says ‘how do young people overcome covetousness with social media and hollywood showing unrealistic lifestyles that seem appealing? How do you overcome covetous when you're - covetousness - when you're being bombarded by messages and images that, you know, ‘i’m not going to look good enough unless I have these clothes and i’m not going to have enough friends unless i’ve got this car.

’ - Or this house – and just all these messages. You know what I'd say is everybody needs to go on a mission trip to a poor country to have a reality check. And every now and then you need to get involved in some aspect of service so that you keep perspective because otherwise you can live in an artificial world and lose perspective of what really matters. You know it's - it's not realistic to say you should never look at an ad again because you know they’re everywhere - it's on billboards – or that you should somehow, you know, go through life with blinders on. You're gonna see the materialistic messages.

You're gonna be exposed to some of these advertising schemes. You need to be centered spiritually in knowing what really matters. Jesus had it around him in his day and age. Okay, the next questions is ‘is Jesus expecting me to give all my money to the poor?’ I don't know, if you're like that rich young ruler, he might be. So i’ve got to be careful to say ‘no, he doesn't want anyone to do that’ - because there are people through history who have done that and God told them to.

But I don't think - I think your question is ‘is he is he asking everybody?’ No. You’ve got too many people in the Bible that he didn't ask them to give everything. But there were people like - some of you have heard of the waldensians and Peter waldo was a wealthy man and he gave everything and he really lived in poverty to go around preaching the Gospel. He became convicted when he read the story of the rich young ruler that that was God telling him to do what he told that young man to do. Many of the apostles, they forsook everything and followed Jesus.

But God didn't ask every believer to forsake everything. Think about this stay with me. This is a really important point. If every true believer must forsake everything then where are we all going to live? If you’re at my house then I'm not a true believer because I haven't forsaken everything. Is that right? If everybody forsakes everything then what's in the offering plate when it goes by? Nothing.

That's going to be tough. And so he obviously isn't asking everybody to forsake everything or the church would have a whole lot of nothing. But we must all put everything on the altar and give with our tithes and our offerings generously as God outlines in His Word, amen? But there are some people maybe he calls to forsake everything. Who - who was it – count zinzendorf – any of you ever heard that name before? Moravian - very wealthy man gave everything to spread the Gospel. I think he was an anabaptist.

And so there are others through history that have done that and God blessed them. Okay, the next question we have kind of ties in with the lesson. ‘With our current society, is it even possible to overcome covetousness? With God, how much is possible? All. Is it difficult? Yes. Is it possible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven? Yes but is it possible? It's interesting that just when Jesus said it's almost impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom, in Luke he says that just before the story of zacchaeus.

How does it begin - the story of zaccheus - a very rich man and God - Jesus says to him ‘this is a son of Abraham.’ But what does zaccheus say? ‘Half my goods I give to the poor.’ He didn’t give 100 percent, he gave 50 percent. So he probably still had something left. I think he also said if I've taken anything from anyone by false accusation I'll pay him back four fold, but - so you know, there are some people like that. Okay, the next question that we have, it says, ‘there are times when I can barely pay my bills. How am I not going to want my neighbor's life, which is doing just fine – vacationing and enjoying life? Well that's a good question.

You say ‘look I'm struggling from day to day and I see my neighbor is doing well.’ There’s - if you read in psalm 37, it talks about that fretting yourself because of wicked – the wicked who prosper. Let me read this to you - psalm 37, verse 1, “do not fret yourself because of evil doers nor be envious of the workers of iniquity, for they will soon be cut down like the grass and whither as a green herb.” The Bible says ‘blessed are the meek they will inherit the earth. Blessed are the poor in spirit. There’s is the Kingdom of heaven.’ If we remember the promises and the blessings of God - unbelievers - and the curses that will come on the wicked - then why would covet what they have? Be satisfied that if you have eternal life who is really rich? If God is your father and he owns everything in the world then who is richer? Okay, maybe time for one more question: ‘can asking my children what they want for Christmas lead them to covet? Well, it can. You know, I always think it's important, if you're going to be giving gifts during this time of year, don't just ask your children what they want.

Ask them what they plan on giving. Don't just make it about what we're going to get but to help them to understand reciprocal giving that, you know, yes some will give to you, but who are you going to give to? There's nothing wrong receiving a gift. Jesus receives gifts from us I mean - and for us to receive gifts from each other it's wonderful to be able to share gifts with people but you don't want to inflame the natural tendency in your children to be selfish by making it all about what they're going to get and then giving you their list. Make sure and inculcate in our kids the idea of giving to others and generosity. Amen? Okay.

All right I think that's it for today. >Thank you so much, Pastor Ross, and I'd like to remind our friends we do have a great offer that goes with this – talks about covetousness - called thieves in the church. It's really a good book and I know it sounds a little ominous, but it is a good book. And if we didn’t get to all the lesson, I apologize. I'm not worried because some of the same principles that were in the last section are later on in future studies so we're going to cover this - this section on stewardship.

I think we're all going to be blessed in many ways as we do so thank you friends for participating. God bless you. We’ll look forward to studying His Word together again next week. So what is the brightest light in the world? Well, naturally, you’d say the sun, but we’re talking about the brightest man-made light in the world. It’s the light that shines out of the roof of that pyramid-shaped hotel in las vegas called the luxor.

There, in the cap of that hotel, there’s a room that contains 39 washing-machine sized xenon bulbs; and each of those bulbs requires about 7,000 watts. Altogether, they produce about 40 billion candle power of light. Can you imagine getting that electric bill at the luxor hotel every month? That light is so bright that planes can see it 250 miles away. They’re shooting light ten miles up into space, meaning, if you happen to be floating by, you could read a newspaper up there. And, as you might have guessed, that bright light has become the world’s best bug attractor, bringing in moths, bats, and owls – creating it’s on ecosystem there at night, above the hotel.

But the sad thing about the brightest light in the world is especially when the night air is clear – without any particles – the light doesn’t hit anything and it’s invisible. It shoots up into empty space. The brightest light in the world illuminates nothing. You know, the Bible tells us that there’s another great wasted light, and that’s the light of God’s word. It says in psalm 119, verse 105, “thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

’ And yet, so many people are walking in darkness. Furthermore, Jesus said, if you do have that light, make sure you don’t put it under a bushel, but you let it shine and illuminate the lives of others. Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 5, ‘set your light up on a hill, like a city, so that all might see it.’ Light only benefits others when it reflects off of something. God wants our lights to illuminate the lives of others. So, are you glowing for God? Remember, Jesus said, ‘let there be light.’

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