Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ephesians 4:28 Outline

Paul gives six specific examples in Ephesians 4:25-32. The first was truth-telling. The second is managed or governed anger. The third regards stealing, precisely stopping stealing, which is sinful and selfish, and starting working in order to be self-giving and generous. Paul’s third life example of how we are to live distinctively as Christians appears in Ephesians 4:28. "He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need."

I. Stop getting for yourself by taking what is not yours (28a) [The Prohibition]
"He who steals must steal no longer; . . ."

*This command is broader than you think, it applies to you

*"‘Do not steal’ was the eighth commandment of Moses’ law. It had and still has a wide application, not only to the stealing of other people’s money or possessions, but also to tax evasions and customs dodges which rob the government of their dues, to employers who oppress their workers, and to employees who give poor service or work short time." (John R.W. Stott)

*Augustine discovered the sin of his heart by this sin.

II. Start doing good honest work (28b) [The Exhortation]
". . . but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good,"

*"None but Christ can turn a burglar into a benefactor." (John R.W. Stott)

*Paul’s approach to sin is never merely "stop it" but to replace it with a corresponding godly pattern of living

III. Become a philanthropist, by giving of what you’ve earned to help those who are in need (28c) [The Transformation]
". . . so that he will have something to share with one who has need."

*The logic underneath Paul’s command here is to stop viewing ourselves as the center of the world, and to start viewing our work as a means for us to bless others

*The root of this sin is selfishness and a sense of entitlement

*The Gospel rejoinder to this sin is cultivation of selflessness and a sense of responsibility

1 comment:

Rev. Paul D. Smith said...

What an accurate and blistering indictment of all stratas of American business. It would appear as though we are a nation of a thousand points of extortion rather than a thousand points of light.