The Thief

Steve Viars June 8, 2002

- Today’s lesson is the first in a series of three lessons dealing with what Proverbs has to
       say about money.
- Proverbs talks about the subject of money.
- And as we look through the book we see three different types of people associated with money—the thief, the poor man, and the diligent man.
- Today, we’re going to tackle what the Bible has to say about the thief.

- However, before we turn to Proverbs, I’d like to look at a new testament passage that will help us in our discussion of these people associated with money.
- I’d like us to look at Ephesians 4:28.
- 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.

- INPUT – What principles about money can we draw from the teaching of this verse?
  - There are Three Principles laid out in this verse that I’d like us to note…
    1) Stealing is wrong.
    2) Labor is honorable.
    3) It is better to give than to receive.

- These principles help us to because they give us a framework through which to view each of the people associated with money.
- So, with those principles in mind, let’s look at the…

I. Characteristics of the Thief


  A. A thief is greedy
    - The thief wants immediate wealth.
    - Proverbs 28:22  A man with an evil eye hastens after riches and does not consider that poverty will come upon him. (NKJV)
     - This verse tells us that the thief is constantly looking for ways to become rich.  And so intense is his desire for wealth that he doesn’t even consider the possibility that his actions could lead him into poverty.

      - Now this question may seem a bit obvious, but humor me if you would…
      - INPUT – What are some ways that we see this played out in our culture?  List some ways that people pursue wealth without considering the possibility of poverty.
        - stealing
        - gambling
        - credit cards
        - get-rich-quick schemes

    - You could make the argument that all of the things we’ve listed are get-rich-quick schemes.
    - What’s interesting, though, is that Proverbs actually points out ways not to get
     wealth
    - Proverbs 21:5-7 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.  A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.  The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
for they refuse to do what is right. (NIV)
    - This verse lists Three ways not to get wealth
      1) Hasty schemes (v. 5)  
      2) Lying to people (v. 6)
3) Violence (v. 7)

    - We’ve actually already hit on the first item—hasty schemes.
      - This includes all of the get-rich-quick schemes that are out there.
      - These are the “sure things” that turn people into sure losers.

    - The second item—lying to people—crops all over the place.
      - In Bible times, you saw this in the market place.  Merchants used to use scales to measure a the goods of a customer.  Often merchants would would tamper with the weights used to balance the scales, so that when a customer would bring something to the scales to be weighed, the altered weights would end up cheating the customer.
      - And you’ll see statements regarding this in the Proverbs like Pproverbs 11:1, which says, “Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight”

    - The third item—violence—refers to using strength to take advantage of another person.
      - But, I think it’s important to note that using strength to take advantage of another person does not always involve physical force.
        - One example of this is given in Book of Nehemiah.  In Nehemiah chapter five, we’re told that there was a drought and a famine in Israel, and prosperous farmers were cornering the grain market and becoming rich at the expense of their needy neighbors.
        - That’s just one example of how people can use strenght to take advantage of other people. 
        - Can you think of some others?  Maybe some that we fight face today?
        - INPUT – What are some ways in which strength can be used to take advantage of others?

  - Let’s look at the second characteristic of a thief.
  B. A thief is lazy
    - Warren Wiersbe says, “The biggest thieves of all are the lazy people who could work but won’t, the people who consume what others produce but produce nothing for others to use.
    - INPUT – What’s your response to Wiersbe’s statement?  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?
    - The Book of Proverbs mentions the “sluggard” or the “slothful man” seventeen times, and nothing good is said about them.
    - And at this point in our discussion, you’re going to see me using the terms thief and sluggard interchangably.  Laziness is just one of the character traits of a thief
    - And the sluggard is someone who expects others to take care of him.  That’s
     being a thief. 
    - You’re using someone else’s money, someone else’s time, someone else’s energy to meet your needs.
    - Now, I should point out that there’s nothing wrong with accepting kind treatment from other people from time to time. 
    - What’s wrong is when expecting others to provide for you becomes a way
                           of life. 

    - Now, I want to spend the remainder of our time looking at some of the ways that slothfulness affects the thinking and the behavior of a thief. 
     
    1. Because of his slothfulness, The thief regards work as a curse.
      - But that view is absolutely wrong.
      - In Genesis 2 to we see that God had given Adam work to do even before sin entered into the picture.
      - Adam was responsible for cultivating and keeping the garden.  He was also responsible for naming all the creatures of the earth.
      - Incidentally, parents, those of you with daughters might want to pay attention to this.  But Adam had a job before he had a wife.  You might want to talk that one over with your daughters.

    - Let me read to you another quote from Wiersbe.
    - Wiersbe says, “When we engage in honorable employment, we’re cooperation with God in caring for and using His creation, we’re helping to provide for others, and we’re growing in character.”
    - INPUT – What are some ways that honorable employment can help us to do these thing?  How can employment help us to care for creation, provide for others, and grow in character?
      - These are things that the thief, because of his slothful mind, does not believe.

    2. Because of sloth, The thief loves rest.
      - Proverbs 6:9  “How long will you lie ther, you sluggard?  When will you get up from your sleep?”
      - Proverbs 26:14  “As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed?”
      - I love the picture that verse paints.
      - You get the picture of a person who is just as fastened to his bed as a door to its hinges.  Just flopping back and forth.  Back and forth.
      - It’s the picture of a person totally absorbed with his own comforts.

      - Now, the Bible isn’t knocking sleep.
       - Sleep is a necessary element for a healthy life, but too much sleep is destructive.
        - For the sluggard, sleep is a mark of selfishness.

    3. The thief is more of a nuisance than a help.
      - Proverbs 10:26  “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him”
      - Story of the Christian employment agency manager.
        - If you’re a Christian and you’re not willing to diligently labor at your place of employment, don’t tell others that you’re a Christian.
       - People will begin to see Christians as nothing but thieves, and you will do damage to the cause of Christ.

    4. Thieves are good at making excuses.
      - Proverbs 15:19  “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.”
      - INPUT – What are some ways that making excuses can block a person’s path?
      - Billy Sunday defined an excuse as, “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”

    5. The sluggard wastes God-given resources and God-given opportunities.
      - Proverbs 10:5 says, “He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”
        - The lazy person may be “working” but not doing a very good job.
        - Consequently, what’s done will either have to be thrown out or done over; this means it will cost twice as much.  That’s wasting God’s resources.
        - Similarly, when the fields are ready for harvest, the reapers have to go to work because the opportunity won’t be ther forever.
        - Diligent people are alert to their God-given opportunities and seek to make the most of them.
      - INPUT – What are things we can do to safeguard against wasting God’s resources and opportunities?

 

                                                    Adult Bible Fellowship
The Thief:  Proverbs Series #35

I. Introduction
  - INPUT – What principles about money can we draw from the teaching of this verse?
-  __________________ is wrong.
-  ____________ is honorable.
-  It is better to __________ than to ________________.

II. Characteristics of the Thief
  A. A thief is ______________
     - INPUT – What are some ways that we see this played out in our culture?  List some ways that people pursue wealth without considering the possibility of poverty.
    - Three ways not to get wealth
      1) ____________ ______________
      2) ____________ ____ _______________
      3) ______________
        - INPUT – What are some ways in which strength can be used to take advantage of others?

  B. A thief is __________
    - Warren Wiersbe says, “The biggest thieves of all are the lazy people who could work but won’t, the people who consume what others produce but produce nothing for others to use.
     - INPUT – What’s your response to Wiersbe’s statement?  Do you agree or disagree?  Why?
     
    1. The thief regards work as a __________.
    - Wiersbe says, “When we engage in honorable employment, we’re cooperation with God in caring for and using His creation, we’re helping to provide for others, and we’re growing in character.”
    - INPUT – What are some ways that honorable employment can help us to do these thing?  How can employment help us to care for creation, provide for others, and grow in character?
    2. The thief loves __________.
    3. The thief is more of a _______________than a __________.
    4. Thieves are good at making ________________.
      - INPUT – What are some ways that making excuses can block a person’s path?
    5. The sluggard wastes God-given resources and God-given opportunities.
      - INPUT – What are things we can do to safeguard against wasting God’s resources and opportunities?

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video