THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 5-13-07
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: ENVY AND COVETOUSNESS"
Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to be with us as we commit this time to the things of God.
It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
Well it's time to lift up our voices before the throne of God. So, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "God Is Calling The Prodigal."
(SONG # 1)
Some of the most exciting times in life are when we are rewarded for something we have done well or accomplished. Often we are given trophies, medals or even certificates, which all acknowledge our achievements, and honor us for a job well done. I think this is the same idea we are reminded of in Jude 1:20-21, where we read, "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." Here we see that we are doing certain things, "unto eternal life." You see we have a reward coming for a job well done. We have the ultimate gift awaiting us of eternal existence with God, forever and ever!
However, if you also notice in these verses, there are things to do in order to receive the reward of eternal life! Let's face it, is anything in life really free? Don't we have to do something for anything that we get. Anything in life that is worthwhile, that makes a difference or improves us - takes a lot of time, effort and usually money! So, why would it be any different in Christianity?
Notice back in our text where Jude clarifies for us some of the things necessary for eternal life! First he mentions the need to "Build ourselves up in the most Holy faith!" Faith is very important to one who is following God. In fact, in Hebrews 11:6, we find that without faith, it is impossible to please God. James further helps us to understand faith by stating that "faith without works is dead," James 2:26. Faith is necessary to receive eternal life!
The second thing mentioned in verse 20 is prayer, the avenue by which we are able to talk to our God! In prayer we can praise God, thank Him and ask Him for what we have need of. Good communication with God is necessary to receive eternal life!
Love is the next thing brought to our attention in relationship to our reward. How important is love, well, as we see here it is necessary to receive eternal life. Isn't that why Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment is to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," Matthew 22:37-38. Furthermore, Paul said, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love," 1 Corinthians 13:13. So, you tell me, is love necessary?
Finally, we see that we are to "look for mercy." How wonderful it is to know that God is merciful and forgiving. In fact, mercy is one of the very reasons that God has done so much for us to make sure that we can achieve our reward. Without God's mercy we would not receive eternal life!
Are you living for God in such a way that you know the reward is waiting, prepared for you? Isn't eternal life worth the effort?
This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Walking In The Spirit!" Our specific topic today will focus on, "Envy And Covetousness," as we consider another thing which is contrary to walking with God! So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Hark The Gentle Voice Of Jesus!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
We're glad you've stayed with us this morning and now we go again to Galatians 5 and begin looking at two more ideas that certainly will show us what we should not do as we strive to walk in the spirit.
The first thing that we'll consider this morning is the concept of envy. Envy is another work of the flesh or something that is contrary to God. I might ask, "Have you ever been jealous of someone?" Maybe it is a friend or a neighbor or a relative who has gotten a new car or a new house, maybe they've gotten a better job or maybe they've gotten a bonus during the year. Maybe there is something that stands out and instead of maybe you being happy with them, you get jealous at what they have or the clothing that they have. Well, that's where envy begins to step in. It's a jealousy that goes to an even greater extent. The definition of jealousy we might read in a dictionary would be this: "A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with the desire for the possessions or qualities of another." How interesting because it says here it's a jealousy, a resentment, it's something that is deep-seated in an individual when we look to someone else and notice the two areas. We see what they have or we see what they can do. Now we begin to see envy doesn't just deal with physical possessions, but envy even can deal with the concept of seeing that someone is better at something than I am, maybe a better speaker or better at leading singing or better on the job and accomplishing more than I am able to accomplish. So it can be a jealousy because of what they are, their abilities or their possessions. So certainly again, we know that envy is so important to consider because we all at times have felt the concept or the characteristic in our lives of envy. We've looked at others and we've felt that feeling inside of saying, "I wish I could do that or be like that." And we don't think it from the standpoint of still as if we are thankful that they have that ability, but as a resentful way and saying, "How come they have it and I do not?"
The Bible talks a lot about envy. We might remember a few examples in scriptures. In fact, in Acts chapter 7 and verse 9, it is interesting because it reflects on the brothers of Joseph from Genesis chapter 3 and it says that his brothers, "The brothers of Joseph envied him," and so they did what? They sold him as a slave. You might recall there back in Genesis chapter 7 or 37 rather around verse 4. It is interesting that he states there in that text that the brothers saw the father give Joseph, his son of old age, in other words he had him when he was very old, he gave him a coat of many colors. When the brothers saw that, it says that, "They were jealous." That's the concept that is presented. They were envious of that. And why? Because it says, "They could tell that he loved Joseph more than them." There's the idea of envy again over a possession, over a characteristic again, over a feeling even. Dad loves him more than me. Therefore, we begin to envy and as we know in the situation with Joseph's brothers, to even hate him as the verse there says in chapter 37, and to hate him enough to even throw him in a pit and sell him as a slave, their own blood brother.
Well, it wasn't just Joseph, but what about Saul and David? We all recall the situation there in 1 Samuel. In 1 Samuel chapter 18 we recall there that after David had come back from the battle that they began to sing and dance and rejoice over the victory and the song that they sang said that, "Saul had killed his thousands, but David his ten thousands." Oh what jealousy for a king to hear that now one who is younger than him is being glorified and praised more than he was as king. And so, what was the reaction there in verse 9? It says, "From that day forward that he eyed David." He envied him. He looked to him with a jealousy. Why? For he saw the people had lifted David up even above Saul and in fact the text just before that there in verse 8 actually clarifies Saul saying, "Well, what next? Is he going to get the kingdom?" Well certainly we know that God had already told David and had already prophesied that David would be the next king, so yes, is the answer. But what did it cause? Jealousy, envy, because of David's abilities. Saul had everything. He had all the possessions he could ever want. So it wasn't possessions, but he envied his ability with the help of God, his talent that was used in the name of God. And so, envy is a very, very real characteristic.
In the New Testament, we find it as well. It is interesting where it is applied in the New Testament because one such example is found first of all in Acts chapter 13. Here we see Paul and Barnabus and others who are good workers in the kingdom of God and Paul being an apostle, but in chapter 13 and verse 44, it says, "On the Sabbath Day that many came together to hear the Word." The Word of God that Paul and the others were preaching. But notice the reaction in verse 45 of the Jews. It says, "They were filled with envy." Man, they were jealous as they could be. Why? They saw that the Word of God and the things that they were doing and the powers they used were drawing the people. Well, what did they want? They wanted to be seen by the people. The same thing is said again in Acts 17 verses 4 and 5. You see, envy, that feeling that sometimes we have that we shouldn't, that desire that makes us look at what others possess or their abilities and the qualities and we resent that we have them and we do not. When we've let that come in, what do we do? We sin. We have entertained a work of the flesh and we've done something that will keep us from the kingdom of God even again as our main text has indicated.
In James 3 beginning in verse 14, it states there, "But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. The wisdom does not descend from above, but earthly and sensual and demonic things are evident through this." So there we have what an envy is about. It's not about God. It's about the earth and fleshly and sinful things. Verse 16 goes on to say, "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are." When I'm involved in evil, when I'm involved in envy, it says that when I do that, every other evil thing is going to come about because my jealousies are going to lead me to things I should not do. Not only the thoughts I should not have that are sinful, but to do things to either harm the individual I'm resenting to somehow achieve it or to even covet. That's one of the things we're going to get to in just a moment here.
But finally there in 1 Peter 2 and verse 1, it says that, "We must not, we cannot demonstrate envy."
In relationship to envy, there is another word and I just mentioned it a moment ago and that is the concept of coveting. Actually in Galatians 5, the concept of coveting is not mentioned, but in other simpler texts, that is works of the flesh or things contrary to God, it is mentioned. For instance, in Galatians or rather 1 Corinthians chapter 5, there in verse 11, Paul says, "Don't keep company with such a person." Watch such a person. He goes on to say, "Sexually immoral people and covetous people and idolators." He mentions other things, but the concept of covetous people is there. Those who envy other people and begin to act on envy.
Now again in chapter 6 of the same text, 1 Corinthians, there in the list beginning in verse 9 of those who will not inherit the kingdom of God is mentioned covetousness right along with thieves and murderers and idolators and even drunkards is mentioned in this concept of covetousness. Then in verse 10, it says, "These will not inherit the kingdom of God." The same idea that is presented over in Galatians 5 about envy and the other works of the flesh. So this word is on the same level, again the same type of application and we must mention it because this word actually adds this concept. To feel blameworthy, desire for, that is what is another's. Not just desire it, but to long and to strive to have it.
Now how can we best understand coveting them rather than just envying, seeing what others have, their characteristics, and being jealous of it and then now coveting which means to go and strive to get it. I think one of the best places we go is over in Exodus chapter 20 and verse 17. You and I know that's where "The Ten Commandments" are mentioned. One of the commands mentioned in verse 17 is, "Thou shall not covet." What? "Thy neighbors ox. Thy neighbors possessions. Even thy neighbors field. Thy neighbors wife." Whatever it might be, don't covet it. What does covet mean? To begin to have jealousies and envies to the point that you begin to do something wrong and sinful to get not a wife like her or an ox like that one, but that specific one.
Isn't that what David did when he sent Uriah to the front lines of battle that he might be killed so David could take Bathsheba as wife when he found out she was pregnant? Exactly what he had done. He had coveted his neighbor's wife and broken one of the simple commands of God, "The Ten Commandments." Envy. Covetousness. These things are not according to God.
There in Romans, Paul talks more about covetousness. In Romans chapter 7 and verse 7, he states there that, "If it had not been for the law, that we wouldn't even have known what covetous was for the world practices covetousness." But because of the law God says that covetousness is wrong. To want what others have and to harm or hurt them to get it is sinful. So Paul said we know that it is sin. We know that it is wicked and we know that "those who strive to achieve and have what is others at their expense certainly have done wicked," Proverbs 12 and verse 12.
If you'll turn over now again to James, we want to look at James chapter 4. In James 4 and verse 2, we want to look at what it says about those who covet. It say, "You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight in war yet you do not have because you do not ask." God says you don't have what you need, what you want, what I can bless you with because you have focused on self, world, flesh. You have served those things that are contrary to Me rather than serving those things that are about Me. Well, you see, God says we cannot have the covetous heart.
2 Peter 2:14, why "the covetous heart is accursed, the accused child contrary to God." So we cannot covet. We cannot envy. We cannot covet. Now as we have read, we are going to go back to our main text there in Galatians 5 and see again in our list the concept of envy that is mentioned there as a work of the flesh, verse 19. There in verse 21, envy is mentioned. We found covetousness in 1 Corinthians 5 and chapter 6 where these also are those things that keep us from the kingdom of God. But notice also that he adds in verse 21 and the like. He says, "I have told you in times past as I tell you now, those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Let me encourage us today to master and control our jealousies, to overcome envy in our lives, to not allow ourselves to be led unto covetousness, but rather to realize that God loves us. He's going to care for us. He's going to bless us and He's going to provide our needs and give us the talents that He has given us. Therefore, be happy. Be content. Be satisfied and know that God is going to reward us with the same heavenly reward as anyone else if we are found faithful in the end.
(SONG # 3 - "How Great Thou Art!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please, remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we never be guilty of envy or covetousness. Rather may we know that God loves us all and blesses us all according to our faith and labors in His vineyard!