Our congregation ,of which I am an elder , wants to have a barn sale to help pay off our large mortgage. does scripture teach that it is wrong for congregations to sell things or services to raise funds for church work?
The Bible only speaks of God’s people bringing offerings willingly to provide for the needs of God’s house. When God wanted the children of Israel to make a tabernacle, this is what He told them, “Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD; gold, and silver, and brass…” (Exodus 35:5).
When things were being sold in the temple in the New Testament, Jesus rebuked them, and drove them out. “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12,13).
Stress is placed upon God’s work being supported by God’s people who are giving willing gifts. “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7).
If individuals want to get together and have a “barn sale” or a “garage sale,” and then donate the profits to the Lord, that is one thing. But whenever you start selling things in the churches’ name, then you run into the danger of people thinking that they are gaining favor with God by giving money. The Bible clearly says, “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)” (Psalm 49:6-8). Money cannot buy salvation. Only the precious of blood of Christ can do that. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1:18,19).