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The collapse of Enron, the largest bankruptcy in US corporate history, was caused by fraud. The chairman and CEO were both convicted of 29 charges between them. In a survey of Australian university students more than eight out of ten admitted cheating and copying the work of others. Music, movie and software piracy costs the industry $US56.4 billion a year worldwide and it’s increasing. U.S. Cultural analyst George Barna found that people often don’t see this as stealing.

1. What command protects the property of others? Exodus 20:15 

“You shall not steal.”

2. The principle of honesty is the basis of this command. What practical way is this illustrated? Deuteronomy 25:15-16

“You must have accurate and honest weights and measures.… For the Lord your God detests anyone who … deals dishonestly.”

3. In listing those who will not inherit God’s kingdom, among what company are thieves placed? 1 Corinthians 6:7-10

“Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

4. How does Paul summarize the commandments? Romans 13:9

“The commandments … are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” If we love our fellow human beings we will respect their property.

Ways of Stealing

5. How were some robbed in James’ day? James 5:4

“The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you.”

6. What forms of dishonesty does Isaiah say the righteous reject? Isaiah 33:15

“He who walks righteously … rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes.”

7. What does Paul say about ‘living off the system’? 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

“‘If a man will not work, he shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle ... Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.”

Social security in our society is there as a safety net. It’s not meant to be a way of life.

8. In what way can we rob God? Malachi 3:8

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings.”

Ultimately everything belongs to God and any dishonesty is robbing God (Psalm 24:1).

Hope for Thieves And Other Sinners

9. What hope is there for those guilty of dishonesty? 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 4:16

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

10. What should be the attitude of someone who has become a Christian? Ephesians 4:28

“He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work … that he may have something to share with those in need.”

11. How did Zacchaeus the tax collector respond to Jesus? Luke 19:8

“Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Often in our society people want to cheat the taxman.

Living for God

13. What kind of lives should those who believe in Jesus live? How did Paul exemplify this? 1 Peter 2:12; Corinthians 8:21

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.”

14. What should motivate all our behavior? 1 Corinthians 10:31

“… whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

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Bible Discovery by Errol Webster. Reprinted with permission by SIGNS. Biblebay © 2012, Westlake Village, CA.