Introduction: Most topics that we study involve goals on
which the population generally agrees. Who thinks killing,
stealing, lying, or adultery are good things? People get
involved in these sins, but generally not because they
thought it was the right thing to do. That is not the case
with coveting. Powerful forces consider coveting an
important tool to advance their interests. Consider three
examples. Much of the advertising world promotes a spirit of
covetousness. It is not that advertisers want you to steal
their product, but rather that you need to buy it to be
envied by others. Labor unions explicitly promote coveting.
One major union publishes the salaries of top company
executives. The union does not bargain for these
executives. Rather, the purpose is to promote envy and
covetousness among workers. Many politicians use coveting as
a way to get re-elected. They promise that they will take
money from rich successful people and give it to those who
vote for them. Why is covetousness a problem since it has so
many powerful proponents? Let’s dive into our study of the
Bible and find out!

I. The Entry of Sin

A. Read Isaiah 14:12-14. This is a description of how
sin began in Satan. What did he covet? (He wanted
to be like God. He was not satisfied with being an
important angel.)

B. Read Genesis 3:4-5. What approach did Satan make
to Eve to get her to sin? (Coveting: she could be
like God.)

1. Was she not already like God? (Yes.
Genesis 1:26-27 tells us that Adam and Eve were made
like God. There was some other aspect of God,
one that Eve did not understand, that made it
possible to tempt her to covet.)

2. What do you say about the fact that both Satan
and Eve were overcome by the temptation to
covet? (This seems to be the worst sin since
it brought evil into the universe and evil
into our world.)

a. Think about this a minute. Is coveting
the sin? Or, does coveting lead us to
other sins? (We have the best information
about Eve’s situation. In her case
coveting led to the sin of disobedience
regarding the forbidden fruit. See
Genesis 3:3.)

3. What is the cure for coveting? (Being humble.
If Satan and Eve were content with their lot
in life, sin would still be an unknown thing.)

a. Is it easy to be humble? (Read 1
Corinthians 10:13. The Holy Spirit can
make it possible.)

4. Now that we are up to our necks in sin, is
coveting a problem of the past? Is it
unimportant now? (Consider some other major
sins: stealing, killing, adultery. Does
coveting have anything to do with them? (This
gets back to what we just discussed. Coveting
is the trigger, the motivation for other

II. Judas

A. Read Matthew 26:14-16 and compare it to Acts 1:6.
Does this “deal” that Judas makes with the
religious leaders make any sense? If Jesus was
going to set up His kingdom on earth(which the
disciples still believed He would do even after
His resurrection), why would Judas lose his
position for thirty pieces of silver? Judas would
likely be in charge of the treasury for this new
administration. (It makes no financial sense.
Thirty pieces of silver, according to
commentators, is the price of a single slave!
Judas would have access to much more money in the
new administration.)

B. Read Matthew 27:3-4. If Judas intended to betray
Jesus, why would he change his mind about his deal
when Jesus “was condemned?” (This shows that Judas
did not believe that Jesus would be condemned.
Think about all of the miracles that Judas saw
Jesus perform. Judas thought that he was forcing
the humble Jesus to claim His throne. Jesus would
thank Judas for giving Jesus the courage to claim
His throne.)

C. Read Matthew 27:5. Why would Judas hang himself
simply because he changed his mind about his deal
with the Jewish leaders? (This extreme action
shows that Judas believed that things had gone
completely wrong. If Judas merely intended to
betray Jesus, he could walk away from all of this.
But, if you believe, as I do, that Judas never
intended to truly betray Jesus, then Judas
decision to hang himself makes sense.)

1. What is the nature of Judas’ sin? (Judas
coveted being a ruler. He thought that He was
smarter (or at least more cunning) than Jesus,
and he would make the arrangements that would
force Jesus to assume His throne on earth. And
he would make a little money on the side.
When Judas saw that Jesus was going to die
instead, he could not stand the guilt.)

III. Keeping Up With Barnabas

A. Read Acts 4:34-37. If you lived then and owned
land would you feel pressure to sell your land and
lay the money “at the apostles feet?”

B. Read Acts 5:1-2. What action did this peer
pressure cause Ananias and Sapphira to take? (They
also sold land, but they kept some of the money.)

C. Read Acts 5:3-4. What is being coveted here? Is it
the land, the money, or being viewed as a generous
person? (They could hardly covet the land or the
money because, as Peter points out, it was their
land and money and they had no obligation to give
it away.)

1. We previously discussed that coveting is a
trigger for other sins. What is the main sin
here? (Lying to God and humans.)

a. Can you lie to God? Doesn’t He know

D. Read Acts 5:5-6. What is the penalty? (Death.)

E. Read Acts 5:7-9. As you think about the Old
Testament stories, there was plenty of lying going
on among God’s people. Is lying an immediate death
penalty sin?

F. Look again at Acts 5:3 and Acts 5:9 to see how
Peter characterizes this sin. In Acts 5:3 it is
lying to the Holy Spirit. In Acts 5:9 it is
testing the Holy Spirit. Is that so serious a sin
that it deserves an immediate death sentence? (I
don’t think that lying, coveting a better
reputation than you deserve, or keeping back part
of your own money is the main problem. Peter
states that not giving any money would have been a
choice they could have made. I see the main sin as
doubting the power of the Holy Spirit. They think
the Holy Spirit can be fooled? Peter’s statement
about testing the Holy Spirit is the key to
understanding this tragedy.)

G. Read Acts 5:11. What kind of fear came upon the
church and why was that good? (It should not have
been a fear of keeping your property. Instead, the
power of the Holy Spirit was essential to the
success of the early church. God displayed Himself
in powerful ways in the Old Testament. That is the
issue here.)

H. As I write this lesson a revival is taking place
among the students at Asbury University in
Kentucky. I’ve been reading that some members of
my church suggest that this is a false revival.
That it might be the work of Satan. Does the
account of Ananias and Sapphira have anything to
teach us in considering the Asbury revival? (This
is very dangerous ground. If the Asbury revival is
real, and I believe it is, then those suggesting
it is demonic are attacking the Holy Spirit.)

I. Read Mark 3:22-23 and Mark 3:28-30. What does
Jesus say is the sin that cannot be forgiven?
(Blaspheming the Holy Spirit by calling His work

J. Read Matthew 12:22-24 and Matthew 12:31-32. What
does it mean to “speak against the Holy Spirit?”

K. Read 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. Against what are
Christians warned? (Satanic activity that comes
with “all power and false signs and wonders.”)

1. What should we conclude from these two
warnings? (We must understand “the truth.”
Doubting the power of the Holy Spirit, failing
to know the truth of the Bible, is a fatal

2. Have we strayed from the issue of coveting?
(Instead of coveting what others have, we need
to covet a deeper understanding of the Bible.)

L. Friend, consider whether your life is focused on
coveting what others have or obtaining a better
understanding of God’s Word. If you need to make a
change, ask the Holy Spirit for help.

IV. Next week: Giving Back.

Copr. 2023, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.