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The Tenth Commandment: The Secret of Contentment

By David Robinson/ March 16, 2014

Series  Ten Commandments

Context  Westminster Chapel Toronto

Topic  Law & Gospel

Scripture  Exodus 20:17; 1 Kings 21:1-26

The tenth commandment requires us to be fully content with our own condition and to be charitably disposed toward our neighbour.

Scripture:  Exodus 20:17; 1 Kings 21:1-26

Sermon Notes:

  1. The law of God reveals the structure of our relationship with God and one another.  It gives instruction and light.
  2. While the law in large part addresses our actions, the tenth commandment shines a light on the attitude of our hearts.
  3. We live in a consumerist culture, in which greed, envy, and covetousness are prominent.
  4. Desire in itself is not wrong: we are to delight in the beauty of creation; good food is to be enjoyed (Gen 2:9; Deut 14:22-27); sexual desire within godly marriage is good.
  5. Coveting is an inordinate, immoderate and excessive desire for what belongs to your neighbour.
  6. More often than not, coveting leads to further sinful action.
  7. Coveting led Ahab into perjury, murder, theft (1Kings 21).
  8. King David desired Bathsheba and it led to adultery, false witness, and murder (2 Samuel 11).
  9. The tenth commandment forbids discontentment, inordinate desires, and envying or grieving at your neighbour’s talents and blessings.
  10. Envy makes one upset about the blessings of others, breeding contempt and hatred (Prov. 14:30).
  11. Envy is easily diagnosed: do you rejoice with others when they are blessed? (Romans 15:10).
  12. Envy soon leads to contempt even for the envied gifts or blessings themselves.
  13. Envy sucks joy from your soul and prevents you from receiving or enjoying God’s good gifts. 
  14. The older brother in Luke 15 is envious and sullen.
  15. Finally envy culminates in contempt and hatred for God.
  16. Greed is an endless desire for more (Eccl. 5:10).
  17. Greed diverts our eye to the earth; it is a love for the world rather than love for God.  
  18. Greed causes us to have contempt for God.  Greed is the enemy of God’s grace (Matt. 6:24; 13:22).
  19. If you devote yourself to money, you despise God and His providence (Psalm 10:3; James 5:1-6).
  20. The positive implication of the tenth commandment is to require contentment and generosity.
  21. The tenth commandment requires us to be fully content with our own condition and to be charitably disposed toward our neighbour. 
  22. We are to trust God and rejoice in His providence, i.e., God’s good, wise and just governing of all things.
  23. “Christian Contentment is the sweet inward gracious frame of spirit which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”  — Jeremy Boroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
  24. Whatever trials we face, God calls us to not be afraid.  We can face all things through the power of Christ (Phil. 4:13).
  25. Obeying God’s law begins with a changed heart attitude.  Christ has paid for our sins that we might be made new.

Application Questions

  1. What is forbidden by the tenth commandment?
  2. Distinguish godly desire from ungodly desire.
  3. What is the difference between envy and greed?
  4. Why is dissatisfaction with God’s providence wrong?
  5. What is the fruit of envy?  Why is greed never satisfied?
  6. Do we rejoice at the talents and blessings of others?
  7. How can we cultivate contentment and generosity this week?
  8. On what basis can our hearts become obedient?

Sermon Notes