Jesus often rebuked people for their sin, but on two occasions,
He PHYSICALLY MADE THEM STOP.
Both times, it was for selling things in God’s house.
The first occasion was at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, right after He had performed His first miracle. “Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, HE DROVE THEM ALL OUT OF THE TEMPLE, and the sheep, and the oxen; and POURED OUT THE CHANGERS’ MONEY, and OVERTHREW THE TABLES; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; MAKE NOT MY FATHER’S HOUSE AN HOUSE OF MERCHANDISE” (Holy Bible, John 2:13-16, KJV).
The word merchandise means, “goods that are bought and sold in business” (Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary).
Jesus thus declared that when people are SELLING THINGS, it is MERCHANDIZING — NOT MINISTRY.
This point is extremely important, because the people in Jesus’ day were no doubt justifying their selling in God’s house under the label of ministry. In Deuteronomy 14:22-26, the Bible instructed people that lived a long distance away from the tabernacle, to sell their animals that they were going to offer up to the Lord, and then purchase other animals when they arrived there.
Based upon this passage, people justified their actions. By selling animals right at the Temple, people from out-of-town would not have to search all over for a farmer; and then search all of his animals for a perfect one to sacrifice. They provided choice animals already there at the Temple for sale.
Jesus came along and physically stopped them, and rebuked this FALSE LABEL of “MINISTRY,” telling them not to make His Father’s house a place of merchandise (business).
“Ministry” is also a false label
being applied to selling things in God’s house today.
Although the church building itself is not God’s temple today (Christians are), the LOCAL CHURCH is still called “GOD’S HOUSE.” “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the HOUSE of GOD, which is THE CHURCH of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (Holy Bible, 1 Timothy 3:15, KJV).
Many churches got started down this wrong path of selling things when well-known speakers came to preach for them, and wanted to sell their books and recordings. Later, when publishers began tampering with the text of the KJV, churches began stocking Bibles to sell out of the Church Office. Other books and recordings were gradually added, until it outgrew the office, and the Church Bookstore was officially born.
The second occasion when Jesus forcefully stopped things from being sold in God’s House, was at the end of His earthly ministry.
It was right after Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem — and less than a week before He would be crucified. Once again, “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.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 21:12-13, KJV).
Jesus drove out BOTH the SELLERS and the BUYERS.
It was not just the price that was the problem, but the principle — DO NOT SELL THINGS IN GOD’S HOUSE. “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (Holy Bible, John 2:17, KJV). The word zeal means “fervor, passion” (Merriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary). Jesus had great fervor and passion to keep His house a place of MINISTRY — not MERCHANDISE..
Jesus started the Church — not a bookstore, or a coffee shop.
He never sold spiritual or physical food — everything was always free.
Did Jesus charge the 12 apostles to train them for the ministry? No. Did Jesus charge the 5,000 to feed them? No. Did Jesus charge the multitude to attend His Seminar on the Mount? No.
The pulpit is not the place to advertise important truths for sale in the Church Bookstore. The pulpit is the place to freely preach those important truths.
“Hath not God chosen the POOR of this world RICH in FAITH…?” (James 2:5).
The strength of the church and the faith of its members is never going to be dependent upon how many books they can afford to buy.
It will be dependent upon the truth that is freely preached,
believed, and practiced by that church.
“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” (Holy Bible, 1 Peter 1:18-19, KJV).
“Dear Lord Jesus, I do believe that you are the Son of God; that you are God Almighty in the flesh, the Creator of heaven and earth. I do believe that you are the only Savior; that you died on the cross for me, and gave your precious blood to pay my sin debt; and then you arose from the grave the third day. I do now repent of my sins, and receive you as my Savior. Please forgive me, and save my soul. Please raise up my life from sin and shame, and use it now for your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
Yes, I just asked the Lord Jesus Christ to
save me, and I desire to now live for Him.
God wants you to now openly confess Him by getting baptized under the water at a good Bible-preaching church, and to faithfully attend the services there. If you will write to us, we have some excellent Bible Study booklets to help you learn more.
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