Grasping for More.doc
Microsoft Word document [49.0 KB]
Grasping for More.ppt
Microsoft Power Point presentation [921.5 KB]
Grasping for More-handout.doc
Microsoft Word document [28.0 KB]

Grasping for More

Exodus 20:17



Covetousness is the mother of all sins.  All 9 of the previous commandments are rooted in it.


It is an excessive desire for something you don’t have.  There’s nothing wrong w/ wanting certain things, like something better for your family, etc.  But this is an excessive desire that compromises convictions to gain something you want.  It is also an envious desire for what someone else has...desiring what they have to be yours.


The other commandments deal w/ actions, but this one with attitude.  The others are about behavior, but this one is about our mind.  “Don’t Steal” says keep your hands off.  “Don’t Covet” says don’t even think about it!


It is the mother of the other 9 sins in the commandments:

No other gods = the covetous worships the gods of money and materialism

No idols = they bow before things that they possess

        [man worshipped his sports car / let his wife drive it one day / that nite she told him it wouldn’t run because there was water in the carburetor / he said, you don’t know the carburetor from the tail do you know there’s water in the carburetor?/ it’s in the neighbor’s swimming pool!]

Sabbath Day = stores are open on Sunday because it’s one of the biggest shopping days of the’s all about money.

Honor Parents = children steal from their parents, or dishonor their parents who have passed away by fighting over inheritance

Don’t kill = many are killed every day by someone who wanted what they had.

Adultery = this always begins w/ covetousness, wanting the spouse of another.

Don’t Steal = this is obvious

Don’t Lie = usually this is done for personal gain of some kind.  Maybe a bribe on the witness stand, or maybe to try to get out of a jam, wanting a different reality than you’ve made for yourself.


The dictionary definition of “covetousness” is “grasping for more.” 

This is the sin of selfishness.  You’re never content.  Dr. Lee Roberson called this, “An ancient sin dogging the steps of modern man.”


A story is told of a peasant who murmured to a giant landholder of the

unfairness of it all.  Knowing the nature of men, the landholder promised to give the peasant all the land he could walk around in a whole day.  The

peasant, greedily trying to take in all the area possible, overexerted himself and dropped with a heart attack and died.  He ended up with nothing.


Notice three things about covetousness: 



{(What Is It?)}

In the first chapter of Romans, Paul tells us that the wrath of God is

revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.  He tells us that men are filled with all manner of wickedness and corruption.  Then he lists some sins.  Among the many foul sins listed, covetousness is near the top.


Achan, the man who brought judgment upon Joshua’s army, committed this sin.  The Lord told Joshua to destroy Jericho after the walls fell down flat. 

He warned him that all the gold, all the silver and all the spoils of battle

were His.  Achan saw the wedge of gold, the 200 shekels of silver and the

goodly Babylonian garments.  He began to covet them, and he took them.  He stole the “accursed thing” (see Josh. 7:15).  Achan could not help what he saw, but he could help what he coveted and what he stole.  Then he tried to hide what he had done.  [also true for ‘seeing’ someone not dressed properly]


The outcome of this story is one of the saddest in the Bible:  “And all

Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones” (Josh. 7:25).


He saw, he coveted, he took, and he hid.  First there’s desire, then deed, then deception.  It happened the same way for David w/ Bathsheba.  He saw her, wanted her, sent for her, then covered it up.  And it happens the same today for you and me.


There is also the story in Luke’s Gospel of two fellows who were fighting

each other over an inheritance.  Jesus said, “Take heed, and beware of

covetousness, for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things

which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).  Jesus then told of the rich man who talked about “my fruits,” “my barns,” “my good” and “my soul” (see Luke 12). 

Luke 12:16-19
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say [this guy has an ‘I’ problem!] to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

Instead of putting his great wealth to work, he intended to build great storehouses to store his goods and hoard it for himself.  He had desire, deed, and the deception was on himself, for Jesus said, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee” (Luke 12:20).


  • A Debasing sin—it’ll turn you into someone else.

1 Timothy 6:9-10
9 But they that will [want to] be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

There’s no virtue in poverty.  Some very godly people in the Bible were rich.  It’s the desire for more and more that is sinful.  It’s not necessarily a rich man’s sin.

  • A Deceiving Sin—usually the covetous person doesn’t know they are that way.

1 Thessalonians 2:5
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness:

It’s hidden within.  Right now the covetous are saying, boy, some of these people really need this message, and they shovel it backward to the next pew, but problem is, the next pew has umbrellas opened and it’s all falling off to the floor or on someone else!

Ill.—Spurgeon said of the thousands he had seen saved he never heard someone say they were saved from the sin of covetousness.  LaSalle was a famous priest of the middle ages and he said never was this sin confessed to him.


And yet this is the mother of all sins!

Eve coveted the fruit and it’s still stuck in man’s throat today!  Lot coveted the best land, and mankind is still fighting over that land today! Judas coveted 30 pieces of silver resulting not only in the Savior’s death, but his own death!  Ananias and Sapphira also died because of it.


  • A Damning Sin—one to take seriously!

Ephesians 5:5
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

It’s a sin to be saved from. 

Ill.—people all over this town won’t come to church because they have it in their head that all we want is their money.  We know that’s not true, but even if it was true, wouldn’t it still be worth tolerating in order to go to heaven?  It just goes to show that the thing standing between them and God is their material possessions!



{(Where Does It Come From?)}


Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, thefts, covetousness . . .” (Mark 7:21, 22).

Ezekiel cried out, “...with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness” (Ezek. 33:31).


Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, one day saw Naboth’s vineyard.  He

coveted it and approached Naboth about selling it.  Because it was an

inheritance, it could not be sold.  Ahab pouted and sulked until Jezebel, the wicked-hearted queen, cooked up a scheme to have Naboth killed.  The moment he was dead, Ahab rose up and took possession of Naboth’s vineyard.  His covetousness led to stealing and murder.  Elijah came to the vineyard and announced to Ahab, “In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine” (I Kings 21:19).

There are still a lot of Ahabs around, but their sin will find them out, also.


He needed a heart change, and so do we today.  The heart of the problem is the human heart!  We need to make a commitment to Christ.  Then we need to find contentment in Christ.

Hebrews 13:5
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

If not, then we face...



{(Where Does It Lead?)}


A successful businessman and his friends were talking and laughing

together and enjoying success.  The businessman told of his childhood of

poverty.  Someone had given him a big coin.  To have a coin was rare for

children then, and his little sister begged to hold it.  He laughed over the

memory of all the chores he could get her to do for him just to get to hold the coin.  He told of a day when she minded the cows all day for the privilege of holding the coin, only to have to give it up at the end of the day.  All of the men laughed again at the childishness of the sister.

Just then, one man not laughing, reminded the businessman that all he was

doing now in labor and service was for the privilege of holding onto a few

possessions.  “The end of the day is coming, and you will have to give them up like your little sister did.”


That is exactly how it is with all of us.  Jesus warned,

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth

corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . . .” (Matt. 6:19,20).


How many there are today who are destroying their very life through covetousness.  How many more are destroying even their soul for the same reason.  Then, thousands of thousands are ruining the lives of their family and friends as they grasp for more. 


Listen today to Jesus:  “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).


There’s nothing wrong with having things.  It’s when you are dependent on things and the want of more things that it becomes sin.

Ill.—we have a lot more things now than 30 years ago with an empty apartment and a little cash in our pocket.  Our old car was often mistaken for the city mosquito fogger!


Now, there is only one area where the Bible encourages us to covet.  It says, “But covet earnestly the best gifts” (I Cor. 12:31).  We are to look around us and see faithfulness, loyalty, dependability, love and other good things in the lives of Christians and covet those things.  We should grasp, desire and seek after the fruits of the Spirit and not after the earthly possessions that belong to our neighbor.

Grace Notes Sermon Ministry

Phone: 217.620.3800

Book is free with purchase of our Flash Drive, below

The Grace Notes Flash Drive

All 75+ series we offer

[reg. $50 ea.] for about $4

Over 2,000 files including sermon manuscripts, PowerPoints and handouts

4 GB drive even gives access to all our future series releases

Print | Sitemap
© Grace Notes Sermon Ministry