Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part II: God's Sustainment Of Israel In The Wilderness Amid Humanly Helpless Trials
I. Aligning With God's Moral Order: The Ten Commandments
2. The Last Five Commandments: Loving Our Neighbors As Ourselves
c. Commandment Eight: Honoring Others By Respecting Their Rule Of Property
(Exodus 20:15 et al.)
  1. Introduction
    1. The right of people to own personal property is a treasured right in many lands.
    2. However, as GOD views it, every human being has a right of ruling his personal property, and for others not to respect that right of rule in any way is to steal, a violation of one of the basic Ten Commandments.
    3. We thus study God's view on personal property rule for clarification as to how to heed Him in the matter:
  2. Commandment Eight: Honoring Others By Respecting Their Rule Of Property, Ex. 20:15 et al.
    1. In reviewing the Ten Commandments, we Christians are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Mosaic Law, for we are dead to that Law in our spiritual position in Jesus Christ, Romans 7:4a with Romans 3:23.
    2. Nevertheless, that Law is intrinsically holy, just and good (Romans 7:12), so the Christian will live up to the righteous standard of that law as he is filled with the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:3-4! Thus, we view the Ten Commandments to note the standard of righteousness we will attain in life as Spirit-filled believers.
    3. Thus, we view Commandment Eight: Honoring Others By Respecting Their Rule Of Property:
      1. God called Israel not to steal in Exodus 20:15, not to take what rightfully belong to another.
      2. Well, a host of other passages reveal this means respecting a neighbors tangible and intangible assets:
        1. Obviously, stealing a person by kidnapping him is a sin that is punishable by death, Exodus 21:16.
        2. However, one can wrongly seize intangible property as follows: (1) Leviticus 19:11 revealed one could steal by dealing deceptively to take advantage of another party's assets. (2) Leviticus 19:9-10 revealed that if a farmer harvested his own crops, he was to leave a little of the harvest for the poor or he was stealing from them. [This reveals we owe some charitable contributions to the poor, Gal. 2:9-10!] (3) Leviticus 19:13 taught that if an employer held back or delayed paying an employee his wages, he was stealing! (4) Leviticus 19:16 reveals that slandering one to harm his reputation and thus his relationships and business dealings was to steal from him. (5) Leviticus 19:17-18 taught that for one to harbor a grudge and to take vengeance of another was to steal by unjustly harming him. (6) Leviticus 19:32 taught that to dishonor the elderly was to steal from the honor due them. (7) Leviticus 19:33-34 revealed that to trouble foreigners was to steal from their sense of safety and wellbeing that was due them. (8) Leviticus 19:36 implied that using false practices to take financial advantage of another was to steal. (9) Romans 13:6-9 claims believers owe the government their taxes or they steal. (10) Paul taught that for a spouse to go beyond what the other spouse was willing to give in intimacy was to steal from the spouse, 1 Thess. 4:6. Yet, for the other spouse to withhold all intimacy was to steal from the other spouse what was his due, 1 Cor. 7:3-6.
      3. Thus, restitution for the sin of stealing is to be made in proportion to the harm done to the victim:
        1. Stealing with the intent of profiting from the theft is to be punished in accord with the profit gain; the greater the profit, the greater the fine that the thief was to pay to the victim, Exodus 22:1, 5.
        2. However, the accidental loss of another person's property is to be reimbursed only according to amount that was lost, for no motive worthy of punishment is involved in such a loss, Exodus 22:6.
        3. When a question arises on whether a theft has occurred, it is to be settled in a court of law, Ex. 22:9.
      4. Paul taught that the rehabilitation of the thief involved directing him to work with his own hands to pay back the party he has wronged, for this teaches the thief the right way to gain property, Eph . 4:28.
Lesson: (1) God wants us to respect the right of other people to rule their own tangible and intangible properties, and that we do so by not stealing these properties. (2) When thefts do occur, reimbursement is to be made in accord with the victim's loss and the thief's profit, and (3) the thief is to be rehabilitated by learning to gain the assets he wants by working for them.

Application: May we rightly respect all the assets owned by one another in the power of the Holy Spirit that we truly express our love for our neighbor as for ourselves, cf. Matthew 22:37-40.