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A House of Merchandise

And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. John 2:16

I remember the first time I stepped into a charismatic church. Having been raised Southern Baptist there were several things I found odd about the place. For one thing there were canes and crutches and braces hung like trophies all over the walls. The clapping and shouting during the service unnerved me a little although I thought it was a nice change from the bland, boring, sleep inducing service I was used to . One other thing that bothered me at least at first was the small bookstore right there next to the sanctuary.

It was just a small room adjacent to the main auditorium where they sold bibles, tracts, and Christian books and tapes. My first thought upon seeing this was “didn’t Jesus say not to buy and sell in his fathers house?” I quickly put that thought out of my mind assuming that the church leaders must certainly know better about these things than I did.

And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel (wares) through the temple. Mark 11:15:16

Later, I learned from our esteemed church leaders that it really wasn’t wrong to buy and sell in the house of God. No, they claimed what Jesus was really mad about was the fact that the buyers and sellers of His day were cheating the people. We were told that the priests had a business arrangement with the merchants in which they would reject many of the offerings brought in by the people as unclean. Then the people would be forced to purchase an offering from the merchants at an inflated price. The priests of course got a kick back on the sale of these items.  So it was the unethical business practices that caused Jesus to make a scourge and drive out these thieves and robbers.

Is this what you’ve been taught? Does your church have a bookstore that sells bibles, tracts, and Christian trinkets (junk)? Maybe you’ve been to one of the new mega-churches that has not only a bookstore but a coffee shop. I understand some have even brought in a Starbucks franchise to sell overpriced lattes and cappuccinos to the affluent sheep.

You say your church doesn’t do any of that? O.K., how about the ever popular bake sale, or the lawn sale or bazaar where members bring in their old clothes and household items to sell? Maybe your youth group holds an annual car wash to raise money for a trip? Does any of that hit home with you. If it does, you have been taught a lie. Any church that engages in any of these practices has ignored the word of God and substituted the traditions of men.

Jesus said make not my fathers house a house of merchandise. The word translated merchandise is the Greek word emporion {em-por’-ee-on}. This is where we get our word emporium and it means a place where trade is carried on, a mart, or market. Jesus was very clearly saying no buying or selling in the house of God! In Marks version of this event He wouldn’t even allow merchandise to be carried through the temple. That’s not too hard to understand is it?

And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. Mark 11:17

Is your church a house of prayer or a den of thieves? Do your church leaders allow merchandising in the house of God? What about all those overpriced books and tapes and DVD sets from today’s most popular Christian celebrities?  Is it not thievery to sell what God has freely given? Doesn’t the same Holy Sprit that supposedly dwells in them also dwell in you? Won’t He freely give you understanding when you seek him? Why do you pay a man for wisdom that God gives freely and generously?

If your church engages in these practices it is because your church is part of the harlot religious system. I know, you love your pastor and he’s so sincere, and the people there are so wonderful, yada, yada, yada.

They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. Psalm 12:2

Well meaning or not, your pastor and church leaders are lying to you if they ignore the clear word of the Lord and allow these things. They do not love the truth. They have allowed the traditions of men to make the word of God to be of none effect.

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Mark 7:13

Now that you know the truth what are you going to do with it? Will you ignore the clear words of the Lord that you claim to love with all your heart? Will you obey him and come out from among those who pervert his teachings? Will you be a doer of the word or a hearer only?

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Luke 6:46

Steve Lumbley 2006  www.apostasywatch.com

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