Sometime ago someone preached a sermon concerning the thief who seeks to steal our joy, our blessing, and our salvation. The problem is that in doing so, he failed to rightly divided the word of Truth, and ended up calling Jesus Christ a murderer –
Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:42-44 NKJV)
Can you see how simple the understanding of this verse is: Plainly, the Lord is the unknown that is coming to the Master (the rule of this world) to ‘steal away’ something, namely His people.
Not every word or phrase in the bible is used the exact same way – a point which we will not get into here – but in basing all things related to a thief on this:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 NKJV)
– If we base every time that the world ‘thief’ is used, we fail to rightly divide, and come away sounding foolish at best – and blasphemous at worse.
Look at this way – this world is not governed by God, so to take people out of this world, would be theft of the property of the adversary; the Church (I refer here to John 10) is the property of the Lord’s – His little flock – so anyone attempting to steal away a Saint is a thief.
But, seriously, just read the Bible.