Not Stealing; but Labouring
A Sermon on Ephesians 4:28
28The one who steals must no longer steal; but rather he must labor, producing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with the one who has need.
28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones reminds that the gospel is wonderful because it is not for perfect people, but rather for sinners— for the adulterers, the liars, and the thieves. In this sermon on stealing from Ephesians 4:28 titled “Not Stealing, but Labouring,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones focuses on Paul’s exhortation for believers to labor instead of steal. Many think about stealing in terms of simply taking physical possessions. While this is accurate, there is much more that stealing encompasses, such as stealing time from an employer, stealing thoughts, or even stealing ideas. When one thinks of stealing as applicable to anything and not just material possessions, they realize that it is something that they are forced to think about and look for in their own lives. What are some things to consider concerning stealing? First, there is something inherently shameful about it since it involves secrecy and deception. Second, it involves a misuse of a gift or ability that has been given by God, such as using hands to take what doesn’t belong to them, or by using the brain to strategize how one may carry out theft. In addition, it’s lazy and shows a complete lack of respect for the other person. Instead of stealing, Christians are implored to work hard and for the glory of God, recognizing that God has created a dignity that comes along with labor.
- We should rejoice in the power of the gospel to save from any sin, including stealing.
- The gospel does not necessarily deliver us from all sin at once. We still need instruction and growth.
- Stealing means taking possession of something that does not belong to you. It applies to more than just material goods. It includes time, ideas, etc.
- Stealing shows a lack of respect for others and their possessions. It is selfish and degrading.
- Stealing often arises from a desire to have without effort and a belief that you have a right to whatever you want.
- To overcome stealing, we must analyze how wrong it is, then take positive action by working and laboring honestly.
- Work and labor are dignified. Christianity teaches the dignity of work, unlike paganism.
- We should work to earn and then use our possessions to help others, not just for our own enjoyment. We are stewards, not owners.
- We should follow Christ’s example of self-sacrifice and concern for others, not selfishness. While he was rich, he became poor for our sakes.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.