Friday, October 31, 2008

Special Answer to Prayer

Michael Carlyle reports that the Lord has answered our prayers in directing his family to the field of Cambodia. Michael wrote:

Julie and I would like to confirm with you our plans to change missions fields from Brazil to Cambodia under Baptist Mid-Missions. As you know, we returned from Cambodia late last week. On Wednesday evening, we reported the results of our trip to the leadership of our sending church who unanimously support our change in fields.

Please keep praying for the Lord to speed them to the field.

Redemption Applied

Jesus Christ accomplished all that was needed for our redemption. But how exactly does his work apply to us? There had to be some powerful transaction take place. And here the focus shifts to the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. By his miraculous power and great grace, the Spirit applies to us exactly what Christ died and rose again to accomplish in our lives.

Come, Thou Almighty King (#63)
Holy, Holy, Holy (#3)
According to Thy Gracious Word (#232)
To Calvary, Lord, in Spirit Now (#235)
How Sweet and Awful Is the Place (#238)
Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove (#211)

Scripture Reading
Christ's Single Offering and the Forgiveness of Sins - Hebrews 10:1-18

Redemption Applied - Titus 3:3-7


Over at his blog, Immoderate, Ryan Martin has a good post illustrating how desperate contemporary evangelicals are to appear relevant to contemporary society. This is a constant temptation to all Christians, and the contemporary imbecility of broader evangelicalism should stand as a continual reminder to us to "make it our aim to please the Lord" (2 Cor 5:9).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Spiritual Taste

Last night, in our ongoing discussion of J. C. Ryle's book Holiness, we spent some time talking about this important paragraph in chapter 6. I thought I would share it with the rest of you.

Another mark of growth in grace is increased spirituality of taste and mind. The man whose soul is growing takes more interest in spiritual things every year. He does not neglect his duty in the world. He discharges faithfully, diligently and conscientiously every relation of life, whether at home or abroad. But the things he loves best are spiritual things. The ways and fashions and amusements and recreations of the world have a continually decreasing place in his heart. He does not condemn them as downright sinful, nor say that those who have anything to do with them are going to hell. He only feels that they have a constantly diminishing hold on his own affections, and gradually seem smaller and more trifling in his eyes. Spiritual companions, spiritual occupations, spiritual conversation appear of ever-increasing value to him. Would anyone know if he is growing in grace? Then let him look within for increasing spirituality of taste.

Though Ryle cites no Scripture passages in this paragraph, I thought of several which support his statements: 1 Cor 7:29-31; Col 3:1-17; Heb 11; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11; 1 John 2:15-17. We would all do well to meditate on these today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More on the Election

Here is a good word of advice on the proposed Amendment 50 from Kenyn Cureton of the Family Research Council.

The Scriptures are clear about gambling. Gambling violates the principle of the law against covetousness (Exod. 20:17), the principle of labor to earn our living (Prov. 3:11), the principle of love for our neighbor (Matt. 22:39), and the principle of Lordship (Matt. 6:24). George Washington said: 'Gambling is the child of avarice (greed), the brother of iniquity, and the father of mischief.' Colorado must not gamble with its future. Encourage your people to vote NO on Amendment 50!

"Culture, Contextualization, and the Church"

On October 16-17 I attended the Mid-America Conference on Preaching, and the theme this year was "Culture, Contextualization, and the Church." The audio from the conference is now available online here. I would particularly commend to your attention the first general session by David Doran and the workshop by Mark Snoeberger entitled "Notes Toward a Definition of Culture."

Election Resources

As election day draws near, here is a sampling of some resources to help you make a fully informed decision on who and what to vote for. And as you vote, be relentlessly biblical!

Good Admonition and Instruction from Christian Leaders

"A Christian Conscience in the Voting Booth" by David Doran.

"Joseph of Nazareth Is a Single-Issue Evangelical" by Russell Moore.

"I'm Not Voting for a Man, I'm Voting for Generations of Children..." by Randy Alcorn.

"Vote as Though You Were Not Voting" by John Piper.

Voters Guides - Here are some helpful guides for looking at the candidates positions and at the other issues on the ballot. I would encourage you to use them to get a helpful overview of the various issues. As always, use them as a good resource, but don't let them do your thinking for you.

Christian Family Alliance of Colorado

Colorado Family Institute

Rocky Mountain Family Council Issues Guide

FRC Action Presidential Voters Guide

FRC Action Congressional Voters Guide

I would like to particularly draw your attention to Amendment 48, which would define all unborn children as persons. This is clearly the biblical position, and it should be reflected in our laws.

Perspectives You Won't Find Well-Explained in Most Media Outlets

"Biblical Principles for the Ballot Box"

"Democracy, or 'Whatever the Majority Approves'" by James V. Schall

The Constitution Party

The Heritage Foundation

Americans for Tax Reform

Cato Institute - libertarian perspective

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Redeemed By His Blood

Due to my trip to the Mid-America Conference on Preaching at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary this week, this update is a little late in coming. This is also the reason for my silence on the blog this week. Thank you for those who prayed for me while I was gone. It was a profitable trip.

This Lord's Day we will continue searching out the amazing work that Christ accomplished. In particular, we intend to savor the redemption that set us free from sin. I hope you know and live in the freedom of Christ today!

O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing (#69)
Praise the Savior (#17)
Hallelujah! What a Savior (#128)
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (#137)
Hark! the Voice of Love and Mercy (#133)
O for a Heart to Praise My God (#70)

Scripture Reading
Psalm 105

It Is Finished! - the Redemption to Set Us Free

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Church

As many of you know, one of my major concerns for Christianity in our day is the breakdown of the biblical understanding and practice of the church. Recently, Thomas White gave a useful lecture on the NT doctrine of the local church. While I differ with White on a few details of his lecture, I thought that his application of the NT teaching on the church to three contemporary trends was excellent. He specifically critiqued (1) the ecumenical movement, (2) George Barna's ideas in his book Revolution, and (3) internet and multi-site churches. White demonstrated how each one of these trends undermines the biblical idea and the biblical practice of the church. The lecture is just under an hour long, but it is worth listening to.

My God Is Reconciled

Have you ever seen enemies become fast friends? That kind of reconciliation is exactly what happens between God and man through Christ. Christ's finished work includes taking away our guilt, satisfying God's wrath, and, as we will consider this Lord's Day, making peace between God and man. I invite one and all to join with us!

Come, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove (#211)
Thou, the God Who Changes Never (#18)
Sing Praise to God Who Reigns Above (#60)
Our Great High Priest Is Sitting (#173)
With Joy We Meditate the Grace (#176)
Arise, My Soul, Arise (#174)
And Can It Be? (#335)

Scripture Reading
The Peace Offering - Leviticus 3

It Is Finished! - The Reconciliation to Make Peace
Romans 5:8-11

Don't Forget - We are so excited to witness the confession of faith in baptism of several folks this Sunday and to welcome them into the body of Christ. Make plans to meet at 1:30 p.m. at Rustic Hills Baptist Church (1927 N. Murray Blvd). We thank RHBC for allowing us the use of their facilities for this special occasion.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Eighth Commandment

The Command to Love Your Neighbor’s Property (Part 2)
Deuteronomy 5:19; Genesis 1-2

If you have been around children, you have doubtless heard this argument:
“That’s mine.”
“No, it’s mine.”
“Give it to me!”
“I had it first!”
“No, you didn’t. I was playing with it.”
There we have the most primitive example of an argument about property rights. As people get older, the arguments are still there, and the stakes get much higher. The object of the dispute is no longer a toy, but a car, a bank account, an inheritance, a copyright. And in order to get what they want, many people resort to stealing.

Last week we considered what the 8th commandment forbids. It forbids stealing, in whatever form, which is basically taking what belongs to another without his knowledge or consent. But God did not just arbitrarily give this prohibition. There are very deep, deep reasons for this command. Today I want to consider these reasons. As you understand these reasons, you will be able to see more clearly what is stealing, and you will also be equipped to understand the positive implications of this command, or the way we ought to treat our neighbor and his property.

The command not to steal clearly presupposes the idea of ownership. Something belongs to someone. Ownership implies certain rights – the right to control and enjoy the benefits of the distribution, exchange, or use of whatever it is you own. We all seem to naturally have this idea somehow. Yet when politicians, lawyers, philosophers, and others discuss the idea of ownership, they seem to have a hard time coming up with a solid basis for it. In fact, many of the same arguments you hear between children fighting over a toy are the same arguments you hear in the halls of law:
“That’s mine.” Can you simply claim something and make it yours?
“I had it first.” Does first possession indicate ownership?
“I was playing with it.” Does use indicate ownership?

Now if this was all just theoretical then it wouldn’t matter much, but the reality is that the answers to these questions can literally be questions of life and death, liberty and slavery. It is impossible to estimate how many people have starved to death, lost their jobs or homes, or become slaves because of violations of the 8th commandment. If we want to live for the glory of God in this world and to promote the good of others, then we need to get a clear view of the basis of the 8th commandment.

God owns everything

God straightforwardly states, “All the earth is mine” (Exod 19:5). The psalmist rejoiced that the Lord was King by declaring, “The earth is the Lord’s” (Ps 24:1).

But we may ask, why does God own everything? First of all, God made everything out of nothing. He planned it to accomplish his good purposes, and he carried it out. Out of his own inexhaustible life and energy he spoke the cosmos into existence. He did not use what someone else had made or draw on some pre-existing matter. He did not consult someone else’s plans or ask anybody for help. He made it; therefore, he has the ultimate rights to it.

Second, God continues to uphold and control everything (Heb 1:3). We usually call this his providence. God is not the great watchmaker who simply got this great machine called the universe going and now has nothing more to do with it. He is actively directing and controlling everything in this world. The reason the sun is shining is God’s control. The reason this building is standing is God’s control. The reason the mountains stay put or that water runs downhill is God’s control. So a further aspect of God’s ownership is his providential control.

Now, when we consider God’s providence, we need to realize that it all has a reason or goal. It is not random or haphazard. God created and controls the cosmos in order to fulfill his perfect plan. What is that plan? That plan is to establish his kingdom of loving sovereignty and fellowship with men. In other words, God’s plan is to glorify himself amazingly, and he will do it by blessing his people profusely.

So when we talk about God owning everything, we mean that he has ultimate, exhaustive, and exclusive rights to the universe. He has the authority to do with it what he wants to do with it. He has the right to all the benefits produced by his universe.

There is one other reason we know that God owns everything. God takes ultimate responsibility for his universe. All of prophecy in the Bible reveals this. When the Lord promises what will happen in his universe and what the end of it all will be, and says that he is the one who will make it happen, he is taking responsibility. In Isaiah 46:9-10, the Lord says, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose….’”

Now, I would submit to you that God is the one who defines for us what ownership is. He is the one who created it, and his relationship with his universe is the ultimate standard for defining and determining ownership. From this we should immediately recognize that human ownership can only be an analogy of God’s ownership. We cannot make anything out of nothing, and neither can we completely uphold and control that which we make. We are always dependent beings. Nevertheless, we can recognize in God’s activity what it is that makes ownership genuine – production, control, benefit, and responsibility.

Furthermore, we should see that since God truly and fully owns everything, we cannot own anything unless God gives it to us to own in our limited human way. But we find in Scripture that that is precisely what God has done. So not only do God’s actions define ownership for us, they are also the basis for our human ownership of property.

God made man his steward over the earth.

In Genesis 1:26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and so let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth….” God made a creature, mankind, who could exercise God’s rule in the earth. Thus in Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17, God gave Adam a garden and the responsibility of working the Garden of Eden. Here we have the two legitimate means for us as humans to obtain property – it can be given to us as a gift or we can work for it. Work did not come about as a result of sin. Labor is a good thing, and it is God’s means of giving us possession of (taking dominion over) the earth. When we engage in productive labor, we are participating with God as stewards of the earth. And so, a man owns whatever he produces out of God’s cosmos by his labor (Gen 2:16). If I plant corn and tomatoes in my backyard, then whatever those plants produce rightfully belongs to me. That means that I have authority or control over its distribution, exchange, or use. I have the right to benefit from this produce, and I am also responsible for its care and the effects of its use.

But I want you to also notice in v. 17 that God did not give man unlimited authority over the earth. God sets the boundaries for what man may or may not do with the property God gives him.

Our ownership is analogous to God’s and it derives from him. That teaches us that no human being possesses absolute ownership. Our ownership is always qualified by God’s ultimate ownership and by our human relationships (which in a sense is like saying that it is qualified by love for God and love for others). God gave mankind the mandate to subdue the earth. As you do this, under God, in the context of his human relationships, then you take possession of that aspect of the cosmos for God. You may control it and direct it and benefit from it. You may also choose to give it or sell it to someone else. You can have property ownership because God gives it to you. That is a great blessing (Ps 8:5-8).

One very important upshot of all this is that property rights are not established or constituted by human governments. Human governments are responsible to protect property rights, but they do not give you property rights. God gives you property rights. You are responsible before God to use the property he gives you for his glory and for other’s good. We need to keep these relationships straight. When we forget this, as has happened over and over again in human history, we are guaranteed to lose our liberty.

Furthermore, when a person is caught and punished for the crime of stealing, they owe reparations to the person from whom they stole, not to “society” or the “state.” Sadly, our current system of imprisoning people for theft is unjust. The same goes for community service. It does absolutely nothing to provide restitution to those who have been violated. If you look at the law God gave Moses, never does God prescribe the punishment of incarceration. The law was very clear about what was to happen in the case of theft – restitution, not incarceration (Ex 22:1, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc.).

Another important lesson from this is that we should not use our property without considering our neighbor. In a Christian understanding of personal property, there is no room for selfish individualism, as if you were the only person who inhabited God’s universe. You are especially responsible to use the property God has given you for the good of your family. You are also to use the property God has given you for the cause of Christ, and in ways that are generally good for others around you.

And this brings me to my last point of application. Last week I talked about ways that we can steal. But I left out the biggest kind of theft of all time. It happens all the time, and nobody does anything about it, because it is perfectly legal. But that it is stealing of the most blatant kind comes directly from the fact that God owns everything. It is the sin of stealing from God (Mal 3:8-12). Even though we are no longer under the OT tithing system, the principle here is very applicable. How many people go through life hardly giving anything back to God, even though he has given them the very property they live by! How are you doing on giving to God out of what he has given to you? Are you using what he has given you to further his cause?

As we think about personal property rights, we should never be able to think about them without overwhelming gratitude to God. After David said that God has put all things under our feet, he closed Psalm 8 by saying, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” The selfishness that comes so naturally to us and that shows up from the time we are children with “That’s mine,” “No, it’s mine,” should be totally replaced with “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein!”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Playing for Keeps

Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, ID, is one of the most perceptive commentators on contemporary American culture in the blogosphere. The reason, I believe, is that he has grasped some basic truths - like, "Jesus is Lord," - and has worked hard to think through the real life manifestations of these truths. The result is that he has become skilled at spotting idolatry. Even better, he developed the simultaneously hilarious and sobering ability to mock these idols to their faces, like the prophets of Israel did in days of old. He does not possess prophetic infallibility, mind you, and sometimes he forgets to bring a few marbles to the game. But most of the time his shooter knocks all the marbles out of the circle! It is fun to watch. That is why I couldn't help but link to this latest post on the financial circus in Washington. Read it here.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

He Is the Propitiation for our Sins

Jesus, my great High Priest, offered his blood and died;
My guilty conscience seeks no sacrifice beside.
His pow'rful blood did once atone,
And now it pleads before the throne.

To this dear Surety's hand will I commit my cause;
He answers and fulfills his Father's broken laws.
Behold my soul at freedom set;
My Surety paid the dreadful debt.

My advocate appears for my defense on high;
The Father bows his ears and lays his thunder by.
Not all that hell or sin can say
Shall turn his heart, his love, away.

These words by Isaac Watts express well Christ's amazing accomplishments. As we continue to learn of God's great plan of salvation, this Lord's Day we will consider that the Father does "lay his thunder by." Jesus Christ's sacrifice not only takes away our guilt, it also satisfies God's rightful anger toward sin.

All Glory, Laud, and Honor (#11)
Holy, Holy, Holy (#3)
Here, O My Lord, I See Thee (#231)
By Christ Redeemed, In Christ Restored (#233)
In the Cross of Christ I Glory (#142)
Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed (#141)

Scripture Reading
Psalm 5

Lord's Supper

It Is Finished (Part 2): the Propitiation to Satisfy Wrath

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Eighth Commandment

The Command to Love Your Neighbor’s Property
Deuteronomy 5:19

Jesus said that we are to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. If we take this casually, looking through the rose colored glasses of our pride, we might be tempted to believe that have actually done that. But the Ten Commandments help us to see reality. And the little commandment we are going to look at here is a blunt reality check when we take it seriously.

The eighth commandment says, “You shall not steal.” It sounds simple enough, we think. And after all, we are not really thieves, are we? Once we have considered the scope of this command, however, we may have to think again. No matter how hard mankind has tried to do away with this idea of stealing, it will not go away. I once heard one of my professors quote James Russell Lowell to this effect:
“In vain we call old notions fudge,
And bend our conscience to their dealing,
The Ten Commandments will not budge,
And stealing still is stealing.”

Yet as we “think again” about the eighth commandment, as with all the other commandments, I desire that it would drive us to Christ. When we realize that we have violated God’s law and that we deserve his righteous anger, then we see how wonderful it is that Christ took the wrath of God for the sins of all those who believe on him. I hope this commandment will do that for you.

Now, what is prohibited by the command?
Stealing. This is basically taking the personal property of another without his knowledge or consent. There are innumerable ways to do this. People have been incredibly productive at coming up with ways to take what belongs to someone else. You see, there are four ways of attaining personal property: produce it, buy it, receive it as a gift, or steal it. Sadly, that last means is widely used.
What are some ways people steal? People have invented as many ways to steal as there are people on earth, but so that we will feel the force of this command, we need to pause to reflect on them.

Simple theft. This is the most obvious. A man walks up to the bank teller with something in his pocket that looks like a gun, demands money, and runs away with the cash. That is stealing. A little boy pockets a candy bar as he walks through the store; a little girl takes home the shiny quarter she saw another girl drop at the park. I once had my trombone taken from the back of my vehicle while I was in a church service. Thankfully, the sheriff was able to track it down in a pawn shop and return it to me. We all recognize that this is stealing.

Fraud. When the stealing involves deceit, we will often call it fraud. Every year at tax time, we could face the temptation to intentionally fail to report income on tax forms. All false dealings in business are prohibited and condemned. In the OT, God condemned false weights and measures. This still happens today. Many times, it is done indirectly through slick advertising. When a product is promoted as something it really is not, thus tricking someone into buying it, that amounts to stealing (the proverbial “used-car salesman”). Obtaining someone’s money or property through trickery is stealing. Charles Hodge notes that all attempts to take advantage of the ignorance or necessities of fellow men amount to stealing (Systematic Theology, 3:435-6). For example, disposing of stock one knows is about to collapse in value is theft. Another way to do this is by charging extreme prices because someone must have something. If a man is about to die of thirst and you have water, he would give you almost anything he owned in order to get a drink. But it would be unjust of you to charge him everything he owned in order to get a drink. That would be taking advantage of his necessity for your own personal gain. Fraud might also take the form of embezzlement, that is, siphoning a little money off of the company for personal gain. Now, we might never think of embezzling, but what about taking an employer’s time or charging unauthorized personal items to business expense? Laziness on the job can amount to stealing.
Let me just mention here that this applies equally to personal information. A growing area of crime since the rise of the internet has been hackers, spammers, phishing scams, identity theft, and so on. The eighth commandment clearly condemns taking what belongs to others, and doing it through highly sophisticated electronic means does not change that a bit.

Withholding what is due. God told Israel that it was wrong to keep a laborers wages overnight. When someone has earned something, then it is stealing from him to keep it from him. It can work the other way, too. When we do not pay for goods or services rendered to us, we end up stealing. In this regard, be very careful about getting behind on your bills. Don’t live beyond your means and put yourself in a position of owing a lot of money. Cut your expenses, or do whatever you have to do to avoid bills piling up. Do not contract with someone to do something for you when you do not have the money to pay him. Stealing can be perpetrated by defaulting on loans. When a man defaults on a loan, he has effectively stolen the money that he did not repay. Credit card debt is a horrible snare is this regard. God holds you accountable to pay what you put on the plastic! Romans 13:8 says, “Owe no man anything.” In other words, pay what you owe. If you contract a debt, pay it right away!
I hope you are seeing now that theft occurs all the time at all levels in our society. In fact, it is so commonplace that the justice system rarely prosecutes petty or minor thieveries. In such an environment, it can be easy to begin to justify small thefts of our own. But the eighth commandment clearly forbids it. We need to keep our moral consciences tender and our moral vision sharp in this area. One of the reasons is that much of the stealing that goes on is, in fact, legal. Just because something is legal does not make it morally right. One of the major ways this happens is through…

Governmental stealing. It would be easy at this point to rail on communism and socialism as systems that deny personal property rights, but I really want to focus on where we live. One means of stealing is through inflation of the money supply. Governments have debt, and one of the most politically expedient means they have of paying their debts is to print more money. But when they do that, they lower the value, the purchasing power, of the money that people already have. Therefore, they have effectively taken value away from people for their own benefit. This is stealing.
Yet the primary means that our government uses to steal from the citizens of the U.S. is through taxation. I do not mean just oppressive taxation; I mean unjust, illegitimate taxation. Now, doesn’t a government have a God-given right to tax? Yes indeed. So when is a tax unjust? Government has the right to tax for the support of its proper work. Its proper work is to provide justice. It protects individuals and institutions against those who would harm them. It protects the basic liberties of individuals and institutions. In this way it promotes the welfare of all who are under its authority. However, when government uses its power of taxation to meddle in areas in which it is not authorized by God, then it is stealing.
Consider this progression of thought given by Professor J. Budzizewski. (1) On a dark street, a man draws a knife and demands my money for drugs. (2) Instead of demanding my money for drugs, he demands it for the Church. (3) Instead of being alone, he is with a bishop of the Church who acts as bagman. (4) Instead of drawing a knife, he produces a policeman who says I must do as he says. (5) Instead of meeting me on the street, he mails me his demand as an official agent of the government. As Budzizewski says, “If the first is theft, it is difficult to see why the other four are not also theft” (The Revenge of Conscience, 92). Sadly, this kind of theft is perfectly normal in our government in the form of pork projects or welfare systems.

Now, the primary reason I bring this up is not to start a campaign to purify our government, however helpful that might be. My primary point here as your pastor is to challenge your thinking. We cannot assume as Christians that just because something is technically legal it is therefore morally right. We must resist the dulling effect on our hearts and minds that comes from living in a society where certain forms of stealing are treated as normal. Just because it is legal for me to take money from you for my personal life or for my business by means of government force does not mean that it is right for me to take money from you. All forms of redistribution of wealth by government fiat are a violation of personal property rights. Forcing you to subsidize my business via government taxation is immoral. Forcing you to pay for sending my children to college, even though you have no covenantal obligation to care for them, through government fiat is immoral. It is stealing. Ask yourselves this before you ever vote for subsidies or government handouts: “Would I be willing to send the police over to my neighbor’s house today to demand that they pay for my life?” If you wouldn’t, then why would you ask the government to tax your neighbor for your own benefit?

We will go on to talk about the basis of this commandment. Where do property rights come from and why do they matter? We will then learn about the positive implications of the command. But first, we have to stop and face our own hearts squarely. Am I stealing? Am I doing anything that would unjustly deprive another person of his property without his knowledge or consent?
If you find guilt in your conscience about these things, then I would urge you to take care of it today. If you owe someone money, pay them. If you have been stealing your employer’s time through laziness on the job, make it right. Most of all, take care of it with God. If you are not a believer in Christ, then turn to him in repentance for your stealing and trust in his work done for you on the cross. If you are a believer, then I challenge you to put into practice the new way of living in Christ. “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Eph 4:28).