Covetousness Is Idolatry

Dear Brethren,

Wouldn’t it be great if every year the greater Church of God would receive a report card telling us how we are doing from the perspective of Jesus Christ?  What if we are like that sad student who thinks that he is doing okay, only to find out that he is failing when it is too late to pull his grades up?  God has not let that happen.

Jesus Christ has given us our report card in advance of His return, and here is what it says.  We are doing well in our attendance.  We’ve received an “A” in that we show up for Sabbath services and Holy Days.  We are also doing okay on our written doctrine and statements of belief.  But, overall, it is not a good report card.  Our letter grade in deportment for how we are applying our lessons is a “D” for deplorable.

We have been given a “C” for the lackluster performance of our work – with a note in the margin of our report card saying that we should either excel or drop out all together (Revelation 3:16).  This is an honors class we are taking, and a “C” is not a passing grade.  The problem is that we in the Church have been deceived into believing that we have already achieved the goals of the program – the Kingdom of God.

So, at the bottom of our report card there is some advice for us in the hope that we will turn around and yet qualify.  Jesus Christ counsels us to build Godly character and put on righteousness in order to actually meet the requirements of the curriculum.  Jesus wrote:

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou may be rich; and white raiment, that thou may be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou may see... To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.”  (Revelation 3:18, 21)

According to the second half of Revelation Chapter Three, the Church of God is not receiving a passing grade at this time.  Though there is always room to improve on every point, I’d like to concentrate on our ignored weakness when it comes to the first and last of the Commandments – idolatry and covetousness.

We do not worry too much about covetousness and idolatry in God’s Church because we do not recognize them to be serious problems.  Paul thought it serious enough to mention it a number of times.  “For this you know…that no covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.”  (Ephesians 5:5)

Covetousness means to yearn or desire something that is not lawful for you to have.  Covetousness frequently refers to wanting or lusting after something or someone that belongs to someone else.  For example, trying to hire another firm’s employee is covetousness, which is also idolatry (Deuteronomy 5:21).  Coveting church brethren in other church organizations is a dangerous proposition.  “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body [of Christ], as it hath pleased Him.”  (1 Corinthians 12:18)

In this week’s sermon we explore the likelihood that a spirit of covetousness and competition are all too prevalent in God’s Church today.


Sermon:  " Covetousness Is Idolatry"
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