[Exodus 20: 15]
‘You shall not steal.’
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In Sunday morning services, I am delivering the message on the Ten Commandments.
So far, you have listened up to the 7th commandment, and how do you find the message to be?
Now, can you confidently say that you truly keep the Ten Commandments, and that you do not take the name of God in vain, you keep the Sabbath completely in spiritual sense, and that you do not murder?
If you haven’t learned the spiritual meanings of those commandments, many of you would not keep the Ten Commandments properly until the Lord comes back, thinking that you are keeping the Ten Commandments.
But that now you realized the will of God, how thankful this is!
Today, I will talk to you about the 8th commandment, telling us, ‘You shall not steal.’
Even in this commandment, there are spiritual meanings of which people usually are not aware.
I hope you will keep this message in mind, and I pray in the name of the Lord that through the message, you will become God’s perfect children who do not have any blemish or spot.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the commandment telling us not to steal mainly has two meanings.
First is the physical theft. Namely it is to forcefully take or steal something that is not yours.
Even the worldly people know very well this is a sin and crime.
Also, if you say to anybody that he is a thief, he would feel very uncomfortable and or even victimized.
But in many cases, people are stealing things, but they do not just realize it.
Because they do not realize that they are committing sins, they unknowingly become thieves.
For example, a lot of times people just use somebody else’s belongings without the permission of the owner, without giving much thought about it. Because they are close friends to each other, and because it is not something valuable, they think it’s OK to use it without having the permission from the owner. So, they do not even have the qualms of conscience for this.
Also, if they use somebody’s things without the permission, they have to return them immediately, and sometimes they do not even return them.
This is not only causing damage to another person, but it is also something very rude, not respecting that person.
Even though it is something very small or just a little bit of food, and even though you are very close friends to each other, if you use anything without the permission of the owner, it is stealing in God’s sight.
Also, when somebody needs something, they use somebody else’s thing, just after saying, ‘Can I use it?’ or ‘Can I borrow it?’
But there are some people who say ‘May I borrow it?’ and then use the thing completely, so there will be nothing left. Also, even if they use it and return it, if that thing is reduced in amount, it means they are causing some damage to the other person.
It is also actually something embarrassing to tell anybody to give you something. If you have clean conscience, you will have the pricks of conscience if you take even a little thing of somebody else.
Even though you did not actually steal or take away somebody else’s possession by force, if you just take something unjustly, it is also stealing.
For example, if you receive bribery with your position and authority, or if a merchant overcharges the customer and makes undue profits, those who have good conscience will have the qualms.
Even though you did not steal somebody else’s things, because you unjustly took something that you shouldn’t have taken, it is actually a stealing in strict sense.
Brothers and sisters, secondly, there is spiritual stealing, and it is to steal what belongs to God.
If you steal something that belongs to God, it has direct relationship with your salvation. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, was in charge of the offering money that the believers offered after receiving grace from Jesus.
But he was not honest in dealing with that money. He was a thief, and finally, he received works of Satan and even sold Jesus.
He was called as a disciple of Jesus and had the chance to receive most honorable glory at a later time, but because he piled up sins upon sins, he could not even receive the spirit of repentance. He finally faced a very miserable end by committing a suicide.
It is the same today. There are some believers who touch God’s money.
Even unbelievers would have some kind of fear if they steal something in the sanctuary of God. And if believers steal and if they dare to touch God’s money, do they really have faith to receive salvation?
On appearance, they may be leading a good Christian life and doing their God-given duties, too, but because they have such great wall of sin, they do not even realize what kind of grave sin they are committing.
Even if their sin is not revealed in front of other people, and they are not punished for that, this is actually something more fearful.
People may not know it, but God is certainly looking at them, and when the time comes, they will certainly pay the price according to the justice.
If they do not repent until the end, and if they fall down in the 7-Year Great Tribulation as a thief stealing God’s belongings, how much would they mourn and tear their heart?
I urge you earnestly in the name of the Lord that there will be none among you who are listening to this message, who cause disaster on themselves like this.
Brothers and sisters, even if you do not directly steal offerings, if you misuse holy things in the church or if you thoughtlessly spend church money, this may also result in stealing God’s belongings.
Let me give you specific examples.
You must not spend membership fee of mission groups at your disposal, and if your mission group or department receives any financial support from outside, an individual cannot spend that money at his will.
Also, some workers request for stationeries for church use, but later they use them for personal use. But this should not happen. There are many other cases: some people waste things in the church while they could have saved them more; you may have remaining money after doing a certain church work, and you don’t return it immediately but spend it for some other purposes, and all these things are using God’s money at your disposal.
It’s same as using church telephone and other equipments for personal use. If you have to pay for the expenses, there are many things that you wouldn’t use. But only because it is in the church, you easily use it or waste. This kind of thing happens surprisingly often.
But if you truly love God and respect Him, you will want to save His belongings more than you do for your own belongings.
Also, parents who bring their little children to church should educate and admonish your children not to fold or tear the offering envelops, weekly bulletins, or church newspapers for fun.
All these things may seem trivial in physical sense, but each of them can be a wall of sin before God in spiritual sense.
Brothers and sisters, among spiritual stealing, God especially and strictly warns us about stealing tithes and offerings.
Malachi 3:8-9 says, ‘Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.  ‘You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!’
Title is to give to God one tenth of our income in recognition of God’s sovereignty over material things. This is proof that we believe in and acknowledge God who governs our lives.
So, if you do not give tithe while professing your faith in God, it is to rob God, and curses will fall.
It’s not that God will curse you because you don’t give tithes, but it’s that God cannot protect you from Satan’s accusations, so you will come to suffer from financial difficulties, tests, trials, and diseases.
But some people give their tithes but are not protected. This is when they don’t give proper tithes. A tithe is not only one tenth from the received salary but one tenth of the whole income.
If you have any extra income, or pocket money, or a gift received from others, it is also your income, and you have to give tithes for those things, too.
But some people just exclude all other incomes and they just give tithe of their basic salary only. Also, even from the salary, they deduct taxes and other expenses, and give tithe only from the remaining income.
Also, in some cases, they calculate the tithe, but they don’t give it as tithe, but they give it as mission offering or charitable work offering as they want.
But all these things, after all, are stealing God’s tithes.
It is the church that will decide where to spend the offerings as needed, and when we give, we have to give it as tithes.
About giving the proper tithes, you listened to many other sermons, so please refer to those previous sermons.
Next, offerings are all other thanks offerings except for the tithe. God’s children who are saved have so many things to thank for.
We are thankful for we are saved and we go to the kingdom of heaven, we have received a duty and we are storing up rewards, and God is protecting us and blessing us in each matter. Also, even in difficulties or trials, we believe that God will cause all things to work for the good, so we are always full of thanks in our lives.
Therefore, Matthew 6:21 says, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” and as said, in each Sunday service, you don’t come before God empty-handed but give thanks offerings, and in feasts or when you have some special conditions to be thankful for, you specially give thanks offerings.
This is something obvious even logically. Even between people, if you receive some grace or if somebody does a favor, you don’t just say thank you but you want to express your thanks with your deed or with something.
Especially on that person’s birthday or in special holidays, you remember that person and express your thanks.
This may not be your forced duty, but if you know the obvious duty and obligation of men, you will do it truly with your heart. And if you are full of the hope of heavenly kingdom and if you are truly thankful for the grace of salvation, how can you be stingy before God?
Whenever you feel the grace of God’s protecting you each week, and whenever you gain the fruit of the answer of your prayer, you will want to give to God with more thankful heart.
But in some cases, they feel wasteful when they give thanks offerings to God although they profess their faith in God. In case of tithes, they give it with fear because they hear it is directly related with salvation. But in other offerings, they are stingy. Or some others reluctantly give thanks offerings thinking of the eyes of other people.
But Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
If you are stingy before God, it means your heart is not filled with the love of God and the hope of the kingdom of heaven, but with the desire for money and lust for this world.
It may be understood in case of a new-believer, but if you still have that kind of heart leading a Christian life for a certain amount of time, it is very likely that your faith will not grow up but backslide.
You will gradually forget the grace you received, and conditions of thanks will also decrease. That is why it is said that if you steal the offerings that are supposed to be given to God, it is related with your salvation.
Of course, each one’s measure of faith is different, and because God knows all the conditions and inner heart of each person, He does not look at the amount of offering.
Just as the widow who gave only two small copper coins was praised by Jesus, God wants to receive the true thanks and the aroma of faith from us.
If you please God with your aroma of thanks, you will receive it back with more blessings that cannot be compared with what you have given.
God will let our soul prosper, give us more conditions of thanks, and bless us 30, 60, and 100 times more.
I hope you members will give properly what belongs to God and give abundantly with faith. By doing so, I hope you will always enjoy the blessings of God that springs out like a well.
Brothers and sisters, another kind of spiritual stealing is to steal God’s word. Namely, it is to make false prophecies in the name of God.
Some people talk about the future of somebody, like a fortune-teller, saying that he heard the voice of God. There was a person who constantly failed in his businesses, and I also heard somebody say to him, ‘You must become a pastor, and that is why God let you fail in your businesses.’
Also, if you have a personal dream and say the dream was given by God, or if you see a vision with your own thoughts and say God showed you that vision, it is also stealing God’s word spiritually.
It is also to take the name of God in vain as explained in the 3rd commandment.
Jeremiah 23: 30-32 says, “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’ declares the Lord, ‘who steal My words from each other.  ‘Behold, I am against the prophets,’ declares the Lord, ‘who use their tongues and declare, ‘The Lord declares.’  ‘Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,’ declares the Lord, ‘and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,’ declares the Lord.”
Of course, it is something good to understand the will of God in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and proclaim it, but in order to do that, you must check yourself first as to whether you are a truly worthy of being used as an instrument to deliver the word of God.
God does not let just anybody hear His voice but He chooses those who have no evil and are clean in heart and lets them proclaim the will of God through them.
I hope that you will keep your lips with discretion and never steal God’s word with your thoughts by any chance.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, I talked to you about the commandment telling us not to steal.
I explained about using somebody else’s things without permission, taking something unjustly, and about stealing things that belong to God.
Also, when you take something, if you have qualms of conscience or sense of shame, you should definitely look back on yourself.
Because you are seeking your own and are taking something that is not yours, the Holy Spirit is lamenting and you have the pricks of conscience. For example, although you do not steal anything, if you are paid to do a certain work or if you have a God-given duty but are very lazy and are not doing your job properly, you will have the pricks of conscience if you have good conscience.
Also, if a person who is bound to God spends at his disposal his time that is supposed to be spent for God and causes waste of time in the kingdom of heaven, he is stealing time, and to that extent, he will have the qualms of conscience.
It is not only for God’s kingdom actually. Even in the worldly companies or between individuals, you should always keep the time so that you won’t waste any time of other people.
I hope you will cast off all self-centered mind and greed, and always seek others’ benefits with truthful and faithful heart having good conscience.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you will all become God’s perfect children who are clean and pure in the truth.