Sunday Messages

Exodus 20:15 by Pastor Dan Walker
This message is about respecting others, made in God's image, no matter whether you agree with them or not. In fact, Jesus taught that we must love our enemies and do good to them. To do otherwise, is to violate the eighth commandment which prohibits stealing from others. Learn more about how God's commands guide us to follow the way of love.
Duration:30 mins 31 secs

Today we are concluding our message series entitled “The Way of Love.” In this series, we’ve look at some of the ten commandments to see how they apply to us today. These commands help us to show love to God and love to people. If you missed any of the messages, they are available on our website, along with the study guide notes.

Today, our message is entitled “Respect Others.” I believe that this is an important message for us in today’s world. It’s easy to respect those who think like we do, but not so easy to show respect for those who disagree with us. As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we have clear instructions as to how we should live according to God’s Word. So, when we interact with or observe those who are not living according to God’s Word, we are tempted to not respect them. We may not respect a person’s viewpoint or lifestyle, yet we should always respect them as a person.

James 3:9-10 (ESV)  With it [our tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

James is writing to believers here, who bless God and curse people, most likely who were doing wrong things and were unbelievers. Yet, we are not to curse or show disrespect to unbelievers, because they have also been created in God’s image.

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

This passage speaks of how we, as believers are to witnesses to unbelievers. When an unbeliever attacks our faith, we need to be prepared to make a defense, we need to be able to answer back with the truth of God’s Word. But let’s focus on the last part of the verse. How are we to make our defense? We are to do it with gentleness and respect for the other person. We are not seeking to simply win an argument, but to persuade the person, with the help of the Holy Spirit to become a believer. We must speak the truth in love. Jesus gave us the Golden Rule to guide our relationships with other people, whether they are saved or not saved.

Luke 6:31 (ESV)  And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

We are to treat others, not how they treat us, but how we would wish to be treated. In case, we don’t understand how this works with those who are attacking us, Jesus explains in …

Luke 6:35-36 (ESV)  But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.  Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

We are to show love for everyone, including our enemies, including unbelievers who may not be treating us well. Today, we’re going to look at respecting others according to God’s way of love, which includes …

Respect other’s property

Exodus 20:15 (ESV) You shall not steal.

The 8th commandment is the basis for our message today. To steal is to take something from someone else that is theirs without permission. The most obvious application is to prohibit taking material property or possessions of another person. However, it could also refer to taking something intangible from another person, such as their good name or reputation through something like gossip.

Oftentimes, breaking one of the commandments involves breaking several at the same time. Stealing often involves lying or bearing false witness against someone else. The commandment we looked at last Sunday against committing adultery is actually stealing someone’s spouse which often involves deception. So in order to respect other’s property, we must …

Be honest

As we’ve noted as we’ve gone through this series, the ten commandments are applied to specific cases in the books of Exodus and Leviticus.

Leviticus 6:2 (ESV)  “If anyone sins and commits a breach of faith against the LORD by deceiving his neighbor in a matter of deposit or security, or through robbery, or if he has oppressed his neighbor

Leviticus 6 begins with the statement that when someone sins in the matter of stealing or deception, is it first and foremost sinning against the Lord. And then secondly, sinning against a neighbor. Regarding a deposit or security, you could lie about what you received or never received at all and demand more. Robbery is of choice a blatant case of stealing that is often attempted to be covered up by deception. Oppressing a neighbor refers to other unnamed methods of taking things from another person. The next verses in Leviticus 6 tell us what true repentance involves in these type of cases.

Leviticus 6:5-6 (ESV)  or anything about which he has sworn falsely, he shall restore it in full and shall add a fifth to it, and give it to him to whom it belongs on the day he realizes his guilt.  And he shall bring to the priest as his compensation to the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flock, or its equivalent for a guilt offering.

First all, the stolen property must be restored and an additional penalty must be added to the restitution. This deals with the relationship between the people involved. Secondly, notice that a sacrifice must be offered to the Lord as a guilt offering. Admitting one’s sin and seeking God’s forgiveness. The sacrifice is referred to as bringing compensation to the Lord. This response is required when the sin is discovered and the guilty party is apprehended or turns themselves in. We must be honest in all our dealings with other people and …

Take responsibility

Exodus 22:1 (ESV)   “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

Here we have a case where a man steals some livestock, but he also kills it or sells it. In this case, the thief must make restitution of five oxen for the one that he took and sold in order for there to be justice.

Exodus 22:5 (ESV)  “If a man causes a field or vineyard to be grazed over, or lets his beast loose and it feeds in another man’s field, he shall make restitution from the best in his own field and in his own vineyard.

In this case, someone let his cattle eat in another person’s field, either intentionally or accidentally. In either case, he must make restitution from his own field and vineyard to the person whose field was eaten.

Since I don’t think we have any farmers in our church family, how does the 8th commandment against stealing apply to us? Let’s look at a few scenarios that are closer to home.

  • Late one evening, Jim is examining a receipt and discovers the restaurant where he ate lunch didn’t charge him for dessert. While he could drop off payment the next day after work, he decides not to because it would be out of his way. After all, Jim reasons, it was their mistake, not mine. Is Jim right or is he stealing?
  • Dawn, an administrative assistant at a law firm, occasionally takes inexpensive office supplies home with her. She reasons that she rarely needs these things at home, and she ends up wasting much of the quantity she buys personally. Besides, she has been a faithful employee for many years. Is Dawn right or is she stealing?
  • Paul does odd jobs around his neighborhood and is usually paid in cash. When tax time comes, he doesn’t claim the cash payments as income. He reasons that these were informal transactions between friendly neighbors. It would add to the hassle of doing his taxes if he claimed this income. Is Paul right in his reasoning or is he stealing from the government on his taxes?

God wants us to respect other’s property by being honest and taking responsibility.

Engage in fair transactions

This next point has to do with business practices involving money, but also can apply to our relationships with other people

Exodus 22:25 (ESV)  “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.

A poor person may need a loan of money just to get by. This command and the surrounding verses say that we should have compassion on the poor, just as God does. Here we are not to charge interest on any monetary loans that we might make to a poor person who is in the family of God. In fact

Proverbs 19:17 says (ESV) Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.

God will take care of us as we seek to be fair in our dealings with people.

Practice kindness

Deuteronomy 24:14-15 (ESV)  “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns.  You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the LORD, and you be guilty of sin.

We ought to not oppress, but practice kindness towards people who are poor and needy. One way mentioned in these verses is giving the poor worker his wages the same day that he works. He may not be able to wait a week or two to be paid. These instructions involve thinking about the condition of the poor person, putting ourselves in their shoes and practicing the Golden Rule. Treating them as we would like to be treated if we were in the same situation. Engaging in fair transactions also requires …

Assure integrity

Deuteronomy 25:15-16 (ESV)  A full and fair weight you shall have, a full and fair measure you shall have, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.  For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God.

These instructions have to do with doing business with integrity. If you say you are selling a certain amount of product, your weights should be accurate. If you are covering up dangerous side effects of your product, your are not doing business with integrity. When you say you’re going to do a certain job, you must do it to the best of your ability. When your business or work is done with integrity, then God’s blessing will be on your life and family. If you lack integrity and act dishonestly, God regards is as an abomination to Himself and the result will be judgement.

Treating others fairly in life, business and work brings blessing on those who do so. Not only does it bring blessing on yourself, it also brings glory to God and enhances the reputation of the church in the community. On the other hand, if those who are believers do not act honestly, it brings dishonor not only on themselves but on the cause of Christ. Finally, not only must we have compassion on the poor and treat them fairly, God instructs believers to …

Give to the poor

There are many ways to give to the poor. The poor have two major types of needs: spiritual and material needs. The Bible speaks of meeting both needs with compassion, it is not just one or the other. Trying to meet the spiritual needs and doing nothing for material needs is not effective, nor is simply meeting material needs and not the spiritual. For both, we must …

 Provide help

Deuteronomy 24:19 (ESV)  “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

Basically the principle of this verse is to not take everything you make and spend it on yourself. Take some of your profit, some of your earnings and provide help for those in need, here spoken of the traveler, the orphan and the widow. The result of you giving some of the fruit of your labor to help others is that God will bless your work.

Have an open hand

Deuteronomy 15:11 (ESV) For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

God’s Word tells us that there will always be poor people, people who for one reason or another are having difficulty in life making ends meet. Sometimes people are poor because of their own poor choices and other times, they are poor through no fault of their own. We are to have an open hand to those who are needy and poor.

How do we give responsibly to the poor according to God’s Word and not just enable people to continue to do things that result in poverty? I believe God wants us to follow His leading and give to the poor with wisdom. Our church helps those who are poor spiritually or poor in spirit as Jesus would say through our tithes and offerings and giving of our time in ministry. We offer help through Thrive St Louis to the unborn at risk of abortion and their mothers. We give to support the material needs of poor around the church through Circle of Concern. We offer support to those who are struggling with addictions through Living Free. And by far our biggest contributions are to Assemblies of God missions work, both in the US and around the world. Our missionaries spread the Gospel through meeting people’s physical and spiritual needs. When God reveals needs around us, we can also meet those needs individually. As we do, God blesses both the people we help and those who give generously.

What is our whole message about today? It’s about showing God’s love to everyone around us by respecting them as people made in God’s image. As we respect other’s property, engage in fair business dealings and give to the poor, we show people what God is like. God is a God of love, a God of compassion and a God of mercy. As we continue to reach out to those in need, God will draw them to Himself and bless us besides. As we are blessed, we are blessed to be a blessing and continue to share God’s love.