April 26, 2020. Ephesians 4:28

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Ephesians 4:28 [New King James Version (NKJV)]

28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.

  • Cease stealing
    • Again, akin to lying, Paul commands us to stop thievery (klepto)
    • There are many ways to steal
      • Taking someone else’s possession or property
        • Outright thievery
        • Purloining (borrowing without returning item)
      • Stealing one’s reputation (gossip, false accusation, innuendos, speculation, mischaracterization, misquoting…
      • Stealing affection that does not belong to you (someone else’s spouse)
      • Taking credit for another’s efforts
        • We most often steal praise that belongs to God (Moses at the rock, Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, Herod Agrippa I in Tyre–Acts 12)
        • Plagiarism, stealing another’s ideas
      • Stealing another’s hope and joy (1 Thessalonians 5:19 quenching the Spirit) through discouragement
      • Cheating on your taxes, in business dealings, or on loans
    • The context of this passage is narrow: stealing possessions and $
    • We are to stop cheating and stealing from others
  • Honest labor
    • God designed man to be productive
      • Genesis 2 the first assignment God gave man was to tend the garden (even before he was given a wife)
      • 1 Timothy 5:8 man is to take care of his family
    • Paul emphasizes 2 aspects of earning a living:
      • Labor with your hands = to work with tools God gave you
        • Hand is a euphemism for productive labor of any kind (1 Sm. 5:11 the hand of God was heavy against the Philistines; Proverbs 21:1 the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; Eccl. 9:10 whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all might unto Lord; Ecclesiastes 11:6 do not withhold your hand from sowing in the morning and evening; Is. 48:13 God laid the foundation of the earth with his hand and with his right hand he stretches out the heavens; Isaiah 64:8 we are the work of the hand of God)
        • We are not designed to be sluggards or idle (Proverbs 6)
    • Honorable work
      • Every honorable work done in an honorable way (fair and quality) is pleasing to the Lord (laborers, tradesmen, doctors, clerks, teachers…)
      • All labor must be done to praise of God
  • Labor to give
    • The Bible gives us 6 basic uses for money:
      • Malachi 3:9-10 to give to the Lord
      • I Timothy 5:8 to provide for one’s family
      • Romans 13:1-7 to pay taxes and fees to whom they are due
      • Proverbs 13:22 a godly man leaves an inheritance for his children and grandchildren
      • Proverbs 3:27-28 (Jm. 2) to give to those in need
      • Proverbs 6:6-9 store up for future needs (consider the ant)
    • The biblical 6 expenditures must be met before anything else
    • By giving to those in need we lend to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17)
      • Can’t meet every need
      • Often the Lord gives us bounty to share with others
      • Not referring to give to those refuse to work and take advantage of others (2 THS. 4:6-15)
      • To meet legitimate needs as the Lord leads (Good Samaritan)
    • Go from thieving to working to giving (from taker to giver)
    • Stewards of Gospel, family, testimony, all we are given