Stop Thief!
Dr. Joe Temple


Will you open your Bibles, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 20. We have been studying the Ten Commandments for some time now; we have noticed the reasons why they were given and what relationship they have to us, etc. We are looking now at the Commandments themselves, to try to learn exactly what they say.

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer, please:

Our Father, we do thank Thee for the Lord Jesus Christ, and the privilege that is ours of gathering together around the Word of God once again. We do pray that Thou wouldst open the Word to us, and we pray for that anointing of the Holy Spirit that would enable us to teach the Word. We pray for that enlightenment of heart that would enable us to understand it. And grant, our Father, that we may profit from our gathering together around the Word. For we pray in Jesus' name, and for His sake. Amen.

We come now to the Eighth Commandment, found in verse 15 of Exodus 20:

Exodus 20

15Thou shalt not steal.

This is very brief, and at first thought there is not a great deal that we can say about it. We will not have as much to say about this particular Commandment as we have about the other Commandments, but we are considering this one alone instead of considering it with another so that certain things may be made clear in our minds as we think about it.

Death Penalty Not Required

The first thing I would like to suggest to you is that this Commandment is the first of the last three. Evidently they are not as important in God's sight as the others. Now before you get excited and jump to any conclusions, hear me out on this. The reason I say that is that these Commandments, “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” and “Thou shalt not covet,” are the three Commandments which do not have associated with them the death penalty. This Commandment does have the death penalty associated with one kind of stealing, but we will get to that in a moment. Generally speaking, this Commandment and the next two do not have associated with them the death penalty.

I think that should indicate to us that the breaking of these three is not as serious in God's sight as the breaking of the preceding ones. Why not? Why isn't it as serious to steal as it is to take the name of God in vain? Why isn't it as serious to steal as it is to have some other god before Jehovah God? Why isn't is as serious to steal as it is to commit adultery?

There is a reason for it. I am going to give you a general statement, and then we are going to look at the Word of God and try to understand it. The general statement is simply this: The first seven Commandments deal with life. They deal with the Spirit. They deal with that which is above the material. These last three deal with things which are material.

Emphasis Upon Spiritual Things

We are living in a materialistic age, and because of this we are likely to think that these last three Commandments are more important than the first seven. If you look at the jurisprudence of our land today, you will find that that is the direction our legislation has taken. For example, the laws of our land provide a much more grievous penalty for stealing than they do for taking the name of the Lord God in vain. We recognize that we do live in a land in which freedom of religion is assured—perhaps I should say it used to be—but as far as the trend of men's thinking is concerned, we have put the emphasis on the material, not on the spiritual. God doesn't; God puts the emphasis upon the spiritual.

Will you turn with me, please, to the Gospel according to Matthew, chapter 6. In verse 25 the Lord Jesus Christ makes a statement which bears out what I am saying to you:

Matthew 6

25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

Notice the question, “Is not the life more than meat?” The Lord Jesus Christ in His evaluation of things said that life is far more important than meat. This is just another way of saying that the spiritual is more important than the material. Why are we looking at these verses? To suggest to you the reasons why the last three Commandments are not as important in God's sight as the first seven.

Purpose of Spiritual Life

Will you look with me at the book of Romans, chapter 14; you will notice that the Apostle Paul emphasizes the very same thought that the Lord Jesus emphasized in the Gospel of Matthew:

Romans 14

17For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The first seven Commandments deal with righteousness, and peace, and joy; the last three deal with meat and drink, figuartively speaking. You see, then, why we say to you that these last three Commandments are not as important in the sight of God as the first seven.

I am not saying they are not important, and I don't want to leave the wrong impression with you. I don't want you to think that they are not worthy of your consideration, and I don't want you to think that God cares not whether you steal. We are going to see before we are through that He does. But I want you to see these Commandments in relation to the other seven.

Seriousness of Stealing

Will you turn, please, to I Corinthians, chapter 6, as I emphasize to you that even in view of what I have been saying about their relative importance, it is a serious thing to break the Eight commandment:

I Corinthians 6

9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10Nor [notice] thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

How serious is stealing? So serious that God says that when men persist in it, and indicate their lack of relationship to Jesus Christ on the basis of it, they cannot inherit the kingdom of God. That is how serious it is. Of course, you should never read verses 9 and 10 without reading verse 11. If you do, you are going to be misled theologically:

I Corinthians 6

11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Thank God we can take a thief and wash him in the blood of the lamb, and justify him in God's sight.

More Than a Minor Offense

So, even though I have been trying to show you the relationship of the Eighth Commandment to the first seven, I don't want to leave you with the impression that stealing is a minor offense. It isn't. When you read this Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” you may say, “What is there to say about it?” We are going to tell you four or five things which the Bible says about stealing. Stealing covers a broad range of things. You might steal this, you might steal that, you might steal something else; the Bible does not list all the things you might steal. But the Bible does list four or five things which would suggest to us that some phases of stealing are worse than others.

Will you turn, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 21, and notice in verse 16 the first kind of stealing that God mentions in a special way. This kind of stealing is so serious that God ties into it the death penalty. He does not tie into other kinds of stealing the death penalty, but He does so here:

Exodus 21

16And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

What kind of stealing is this? You say it says stealing a man. What does that mean? Maybe it is just something related to the Old Testament. Turn with me, please, to I Timothy, chapter 1, verse 10:

I Timothy 1

8But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
9Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, [notice carefullly now] for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
11According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Cause of Present Racial Trouble

Did you notice the word “menstealers” here? It is the very same thing that the Spirit of God is talking about in Exodus 21:16. When we talk about violating this Eighth Commandment, we are talking about menstealing. You break this Eight Commandment when you steal men. You say, “Well, that doesn't apply to most of us, does it?” Basically, perhaps, it does not apply to most of us. But much of the racial trouble that we are facing in this nation today is related to this sin. If this Eighth Commandment had not been broken, if our forefathers had not engaged in the stealing of men, we would not be reaping what we are reaping today.

We may as well face that. Did you notice in Exodus 21:16 that we are told how serious the thing is? It is bad enough to steal a man, but we are told that if he is sold after he has been stolen, the individual manstealer is worthy of death. You see how up to date the Word of God is? Out of all the realm of stealing that He might talk about, God emphasizes the danger of menstealing.

We don't have the same problem that our forefathers did, but there is another problem that is very prominent in our day. We call it kidnapping, but it is the thing we are talking about. It is menstealing, and God speaks of it as a very serious thing. You may be saying, “We are not going to be doing any menstealing, so why are you taking up our time talking about menstealing?”

Why We Need to Know

There are two reasons. One is that when anything is taught from the Word of God, it should be taught fully; the other is that, as we have repeatedly said to you, these are days when men are confusing issues and misleading a great many people in so doing. It is important for you to know the position of the Word of God on such things. It is important that when it comes to a vote, or when it comes to speech-making, or petition-signing, you will be able to take your stand, not on the basis of what the majority is doing, or on the basis of what the minority is doing, but on the basis of what the Word of God says. When you take your stand on the Word of God, you don't have to explain to anybody why you take such a stand. The Word of God is sufficient.

When the death penalty for kidnapping was instituted in this country, there was a great hue and cry about how cruel and unmerciful it was. But it is Scriptural, because that is exactly what God decrees. We need to know the Word of God so that we won't be found on the wrong side of the fence, so to speak.

Stealing God's Word

Will you turn, please, to the book of Jeremiah, chapter 23, as we mention another kind of stealing to which God draws special attention. Keep in mind that we are thinking about how the Word of God amplifies the Eighth Commandment. The Eighth Commandment says simply, “Thou shalt not steal.” But God looks over the field related to stealing and selects certain things for our special attention:

Jeremiah 23

25I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.
26How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
27Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.
28The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.
29Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
30Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.
31Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith.
32Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

Will you notice verse 30:

We have been talking about menstealing. Now the Spirit of God calls our attention to word stealing. I believe that the reason God has collected these things for our attention is that they are more serious than some other things. Which is more important: to steal some money that belongs to you, or to steal away the Word of God from you? Which is more serious? Which is more serious: to keep from your possession some piece of property that you feel rightly belongs to you, or to keep from you the Word of eternal life? You can live without that property, and by and by you can accumulate some more. But if the Word of God is kept from you, great damage is done and it cannot be repaired.

Failure to Give Out God's Word

This thing of word stealing is, according to this chapter, a sin of which the prophets are guilty. Let's look at it from that standpoint. I tremble, I tremble, for those who have the responsibility of giving out the Word of God and who are not giving it. I tremble for the men who stand behind the pulpits, and steal from their congregations the Word of God which is rightfully theirs. That is a sin for which they are going to have to answer; it is a violation of the Eighth Commandment..

Let's enlarge upon that thought, because the Bible emphasizes that the Word of God should also be committed to faithful men who are able to teach others. My responsibility as a teacher of the Word of God is to commit this Word to you, and it is your responsibility to commit it to somebody else.

Scriptural Plan for Evangelism

I believe that if we would follow the Scriptural plan, the entire world could be evangelized in our generation. If the Word that I commit to you, you would commit to somebody else, and he would commit it to somebody else, and he would commit it to somebody else, there would be started a chain reaction that could not be stopped.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4, reminded the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ that to them are given certain men—apostles, evangelists, and pastors and teachers, one office. The offices of apostles and prophets have very largely faded into disuse, because we have God's Word in its entirety. There is a need for the office of the evangelist and there is a need for the office of the pastor and the teacher. But, why? So that people can sit in their pews and pay the preacher and feel that they have accomplished their task? No. Listen to the rest of the passage of Scripture. Why are pastors and teachers given? For the edifying of, the building up of, the Body of Christ. Why do I give you the Word of God? So that you will be nice and fat and shinny, spiritually speaking? No; I give you the Word of God so that you may be equipped for the work of the ministry.

Our Purpose In Learning

Listen carefully to what I am going to say. If you sit under the ministry of the Word of God, here or elsewhere, consistently and constantly, and do nothing with it, you are violating the Eighth Commandment, because you are stealing from other people what rightfully belongs to them. The only reason in the world why God is letting you have it is so you can give it to somebody else.

We recognize that we do not all have the same abilities. We recognize that we may not all be able to contact people in the same way. That is one reason why I am so very grateful that the Lord has opened up the Printed Page Ministry here at the Church. There is not one of you but can find somebody to whom to give the printed message. You may not be able to repeat what you hear on Friday night because you may not have what you think is the necessary eloquence, but you can certainly hand somebody a printed page, and say, “This is what I heard the other night, and it may be a blessing to you.” For any number of reasons you may never be able to teach a Bible class, but you can gather a group of your neighbors in your home with a tape recorder and a tape and say, “This is what our preacher preached about the other night. Wouldn't you like to hear it?”

The reason I am mentioning that, I trust you know, is not that what I am personally saying may be multiplied, but to emphasize to you that there is no reason for breaking this Eighth Commandment here, of all places, because the Word has practically been placed in your hands and in your lap. If you receive the Word and you keep it from other people, then you become Word stealers, and Word stealers break the Eighth Commandment.

Stealing Wages From Employees

Will you turn, please, to the book of Leviticus, chapter 19, where we have another kind of stealing singled out by the Lord for His special attention. Again, perhaps none of us has been guilty of this kind of stealing; perhaps we will never be guilty of this kind of stealing. It deals with a problem which is very pertinent to the age in which we live, and we need to know something about it, so we will be able to know how to vote, how to take our stand, how to sign a petition, how to make our statement:

Leviticus 19

13Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.

The word “neighbor” here is used in a very general fashion. It does not mean the man who lives next door to you. It means the man with whom you come in contact in an employer-employee relationship. If you in any way keep back from your help wages that are rightfully theirs, you are breaking the Eighth Commandment. That is what this passage of Scripture says.

Prompt Payment of Wages

We would not insist on the exact fulfillment of this Commandment, in the sense that the Spirit of God says here that if you keep the wages of him that is hired all night until the next morning you are stealing from him. In other words, it would suggest that if he does his work, you ought to pay him that night, and if you deliberately wait until the next morning, you are stealing from him. Our economy is such that you may not pay by the day. You may pay by the week, by the month, or by the six months; whatever is agreed upon, if it is changed one bit, then an individual who changes it is guilty of violating the Eighth Commandment.

I would like for you to turn to chapter 5 of the book of James as I give you an illustration of the concern which I believe we ought to have. Sometimes we have folk work for us at our home—in the yard or in the house. We have always been very particular to pay them as soon as their work is done, because in most cases they are not financially situated so that they can do without it. We make it a point, even when we have been out somewhere, to be at home before they have left so we can pay them. We could just as well say, “Oh, well, we will run by tomorrow morning with it. There is no point in going home tonight.” But the individuals about whom I am speaking could well go hungry that night because we do not think to pay them. Ever since I found this truth in the Word of God, I have been careful to see to it that I don't keep overnight any wages that should be paid at night. Let us read the passage:

James 5

1Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
2Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
4Behold, [notice this verse] the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

Problems Man Has Created

What is this passage of Scripture saying? It is saying that any individual who has someone in his employ and who does not pay him just wages is stealing from him. Some of the evils we are facing in our society today would never have arisen if the Eighth Commandment had not been violated. The reason we are having labor disputes today, and the reason labor unions have gotten so completely out of line that that which at one time was intended for good is a menace, is that we have broken this Eighth Commandment. We are reaping what we have sown.

The reason I want you to see this now is that so often people say to me, “I can't understand why things are in the mess they are in. Why would God let things get in this condition?” God didn't. We are reaping what we have sown. When God has laid down a law against menstealing, and we break that law, we can expect to reap the harvest. When God has laid down a law against Word stealing, and men steal the Word of God from people for years, you can expect to reap a harvest of people who know nothing about the Word of God and who are not interested in the Word of God. When men have robbed people, as so-called capitalists did in years gone by, stealing from them what was rightfully theirs, you have the labor problems we are facing today.

The Marriage Relationship

Will you turn, please, to I Corinthians, chapter 7, as we prepare to deal with a very delicate matter–so delicate, as a matter of fact, that I hesitate to refer to it. Yet God does, and if we are discussing the matter of stealing we cannot pass over it. We will attempt to handle it with delicacy and I hope you will accept it in good spirit:

I Corinthians 7

1Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
6But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

I want you to notice verse 6 first. This does not suggest that Paul is giving you his own viewpoint. He is simply saying that there is no written commandment about the thing he is talking about. For example, in verse 10 he explains the difference.

You see what he is saying? The Lord gave a definite commandment about divorce, but the Lord did not give a definite commandment about this particular thing. “I, Paul,” he says, “under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, am drawing this particular thing to your attention.” What is he saying? Simply this. Beloved: It is possible to break the Eighth Commandment in the husband-wife relationship. When husband and wife enter into the marriage union, their bodies are surrendered one to the other. So, as God says in His Word here, the wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband; and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife. There is mutual responsibility. When wife or husband withholds this relationship, it is stealing except in the case suggested here of giving oneself to fasting and to prayer, and then only for a time. Many of the problems related to the marriage relationship that end in divorce courts can be traced back to the breaking of the Eighth Commandment in the marriage relationship: Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not steal, wife, from your husband that which rightfully belongs to him. Thou shalt not steal, husband, from your wife that which rightfully belongs to her.

Robbing God

Will you turn with me please, to the book of Malachi, chapter 3. This is a very familiar passage of Scripture. It has been misquoted and misapplied, but it has a principle which we must consider if we are to consider adequately the Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal”:

Malachi 3

8Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.
12And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.

Notice the paragraph which begins with the question: “Will a man rob God?” God said, “Yes, I am being robbed consistently.” Individuals will say, “Well, how have we robbed God?” God answers, “In your tithes and in your offerings.” This is an Old Testament passage of Scripture, and your giving is not to be on the same basis as in this Old Testament passage. You are not to bring your tithes and your offerings into the storehouse in the same sense that the Israelites did and then go away patting yourself on the back because you have accomplished something. Your basis of giving is found in the New Testament. If you will turn to I Corinthians, chapter 16, we will notice the statement upon which your giving should be based:

I Corinthians 16

1Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.
2Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

As God Has Prospered

Part of this Scripture refers to a local situation, so we are interested only in this thought: “Now concerning the collection…let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him…” You may do this laying by in store on the first day of the week; you may do it on the first day of the month; you may do it on the first day of the year. It depends on when you get what you have. But did you notice the principle of New Testament giving? You take God's portion out before you take your own. You don't pay your bills, and then you give to God what is left.

Somebody says, “That is exactly what I do; I take out a tenth of everything.” Well, fine, if that is the measuring stick you want to use. But don't pat yourself on the back after you have done it. That may not be enough, because New Testament giving is not based on a tenth. New Testament giving is based on individual prosperity, which leads us to say that God looks not upon the tenth you give; He looks upon the nine-tenths you keep. Maybe you should not have kept nine-tenths. Maybe you should have kept only four-tenths, because God may have prospered you in such a fashion that you can live adequately on four-tenths. There is no equity in a man who makes a million dollars giving a tenth and a man who makes a dollar giving a tenth. A man who makes a million dollars doesn't need nine-tenths to live on, and God is going to deal with him if he keeps it. The Bible says, “as God hath prospered you.”

That is the reason why, when I mention that we are not obligated in the New Testament to tithe, as men are told to do in the Old Testament, I often say that you don't need to be alarmed that somebody is going to quit giving if you accept the New Testament principle of giving. It is going to cost him. He won't settle for a tenth. I think that is one reason why the Devil likes for churches to preach tithing. A preacher would have a lot more to spend on his program if your giving were “as God prospered you.” Now, hear me: If you do not re-evaluate your financial condition periodically so that you are giving as God has prospered you, then you are breaking this Eighth Commandment. That is what God's Word says.

Robbing God of Glory

We have been talking about how a man might rob God in relation to material things. I would like to emphasize to you what is suggested in I Corinthians 6, verse 19:

I Corinthians 6

19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body…

Stop right there, because the Bible does. The last statement is not in the original text: “and in your spirit, which are God's.” Does it make any difference? Yes, the Devil wants to water it down. You can glorify God in spirit and you will be doing an intangible thing. You can't put your finger on that. But he is talking about about glorifying God in your body. Hear me: if you are God's child, indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, and you are permitting your body to be used for anything save for the glory of God, you are breaking the Eighth Commandment. You are stealing what rightfully belongs to God.

When I make a statement like that people become concerned, and they say, “You mean I can't use my body for just ordinary, everyday things?” Of course you can. If you use your body for what God created it for, then you are using it for His glory. God created your body to live and to work, to have a family, to carry on social relationships. But listen: If you defile your body in ways too numerous for me to mention now, you are stealing what rightfully belongs to God and using it for your own ends, and you are breaking the Eighth Commandment. The only way you can avoid breaking this Eighth Commandment in this sense is to deny yourself. That is the reason why there is so much said about it in the Word of God.

A Principle of Christian Living

Will you turn, please, to the book of Ephesians, chapter 4. Here we have summed up for us in one simple verse everything we have said. It is emphasized by the Holy Spirit as a principle of Christian living:

Ephesians 4

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.

I want to say a few things about this verse. First of all, it is a verse for Christians. There is no room for stealing in a Christian's life—any kind that I mention, or any other kind that might be considered. Notice another thing: This verse of Scripture is found in a list of things that grieve the Holy Spirit of God:

If you steal, in any of the ways I have been talking about, or in any other way, as a child of God you grieve the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is grieved, the Holy Spirit does not control our lives. When the Holy Spirit does not control our lives, we are out of fellowship with God. Think about that. Notice verse 28 again.

Two Proper Ways of Gaining Property

This verse of Scripture suggests the only two ways of acquiring property that are recognized by God. One of them is working for it, and the other is through gift. If you acquire property in any other way than these, you are stealing it, is what this verse of Scripture says. If you acquire something and have not worked for it, you are violating the Eighth Commandment, unless it is given to you.

Fathers may give property to their children. Husbands may give property to their wives. Friends may give property to one another. That is all right. Or, you may work for it. But if you get it in any other way, according to this verse of Scripture, you are grieving the Holy Spirit; you are breaking the Eighth Commandment; you are stealing.

That is the reason why no Christian should engage in any kind of gambling whatsoever. On the basis of this verse of Scripture gambling is stealing. That is the reason why it is utterly inconsistent with Christian testimony for a church to sponsor a bingo game. It is a violation of this verse of Scripture. This is the reason why you should be very careful about the contests and the various lotteries in which you have opportunity to enter from time to time. Oh, they may seem innocent on the surface, but they violate this Commandment.

If it is a contest where you exercise your skill, that is an entirely different thing. If it is a contest where you enter into competition with somebody else and you exercise some natural talent and ability, that is an entirely different thing. You are working for it. You are putting forth an effort. But, hear this: When you receive something for nothing, other than as a willing gift, you are violating the Eighth Commandment.

This little Commandment over here in the book of Exodus, “Thou shalt not steal,” is more involved than we think, isn't it?

Shall we bow our heads together for prayer:

Father, we ask that Thou wouldst remove from our comments that which is unimportant. That which might be considered chaff, we ask that Thou wouldst blow away. Grant that that which should be remembered will be held in our hearts and incorporated into our lives. For we pray in Jesus' name, an for His sake. Amen.

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