I have been brought up knowing that you don't sell goods in Church. The Churches that I attended as a child always had potlucks or Church gatherings that were free to all. They never sold books or a cup of coffee. There was never an admission price to go to an event such as vacation Bible school. One of the main things that the Church focused on was creating community through showing Godly love. My how the times have changed.
I don't want to go on a rant here, but I see Churches progressing in a way counter to Biblical teachings. Having debated the subject with other brothers and sisters in Christ for many years, things are finally coming to a head. Cafe's are now infiltrating Church foyers, replacing the home baked goods and creating a commercial atmosphere. I realize that the symptoms of progression mask the underlying problem with some Churches today.
On my Facebook news feed today, I saw an ad for pizza. We all love pizza, right? What is not to like. The comforting aroma of a freshly baked pizza straight out of the oven is sure to make anyone's mouth water. Just for clarification, my problem is not with the pizza; it is with the counter-Biblical teachings of the Church. You might think that I saw a pizza ad from a local pizza company. How could the ad possibly have ties to the Church and offend me? If your Church is now the pizza company, there in lies your problem.
So the Church is now offering pizza at $2.00 a slice from the Church cafe. What is the problem with someone grabbing a piece of pizza a muffin and a latte before the service? After-all we need to eat right? I'm sure that some of what I am about to say will strike a nerve with some of you. My only intentions when I write blogs is to seek Biblical truths. My heart is where the Bible leads and directs me. So with that being said here, we go.
Why did Jesus get angry when people would sell goods in the Church?
The Bible talks about selling and buying merchandise in all four gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. If this topic was significant enough to talk about in all four gospels, then we should pay particular attention. Not only do these gospels talk about selling and buying merchandise in the Church, but they also talk about Jesus's anger towards those who buy and sell in the Church. It is very clear that we should not sell goods in Church.
Matthew 21:12-13 NASB And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He *said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”
Jesus was so angry at the sinful practice of buying and selling in the Church; he overturned the tables and seats of the money changers. Can you imagine anyone walking into your Church and flipping over tables and throwing chairs? This example shows the anger Jesus had over the commercialization of the Church. When Jesus saw someone sell goods in a marketplace, he didn't object. Jesus was only opposed when the transaction was happening in the Church.
People go to Church searching for God, not merchandise.
Mark 11:15-18 NASB Then they *came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.” The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching.
God's house is supposed to be a house of prayer. In a house of prayer, you shouldn't sell goods. The purpose of the Church is not to be a marketplace or a country club. You go to a business to conduct business. You go to a Church to worship the Lord. When you mix the two, you minimize the purpose of the time of worship.
Jesus not only flipped over tables, but he also dumped money from the money changers on the floor. You have to remember that Jesus's mindset was not to casually enter the Church and politely ask these transgressors to leave. Jesus entered the Church to drive out the people buying and selling merchandise. He whipped people out of the Church doors. All of this because Jesus saw people sell goods inside the Church.
Is your Church a house of prayer or a robbers' den?
Luke 19:45-48 NASB Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den.”And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.
Luke 19:45-48 again tells us that Jesus called the buying and selling of merchandise in a Church turns the Church into a robbers' den. Why is there so much emphasis in these three books about the accounts of what Jesus did? These verses are in the Bible to re-enforce the purpose of the Church and proclaim its holiness.
Driving the Cattle out of the Temple.
John 2:14-22 NASB The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us is your authority for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this [i]temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.
Who do you think you are?
Instead of the money changers defending their actions, they questioned Jesus' authority over them. “What sign do You show us is your authority for doing these things?” When the son of God tells you that you are insulting God the father, you better believe it. Who else would know what God's intentions and design for the Church are other than Jesus? If we are followers of Jesus, we should take him at his word. If Jesus tells us not to conduct business in the Church, then we shouldn't be doing business in the Church.
If Jesus said it, we should follow it.
I have been questioned as to why my interpretation of these verses is correct. My response is, I seek the truth. I strive to honor what God wants for me, and I try to honor his wishes. When I read the Bible and see the same direction from Jesus four times, who am I to question it. If Jesus said it is holy to sell and buy pizza in Church, then guess who would be one of the first people in line? Me. When Jesus tells me that I shouldn't purchase or sell goods in Church, then I won't.
I have yet to see a Biblical justification for buying and selling merchandise in a Church. If someone has some verses to point me to, then please share them. Unless Jesus changes his mind (which he won't), I will continue to voice my opposition to business transactions going on in the Church. I am not opposed to a free cafe or a free cup of coffee. Doing things as a community of believers is great. One of the most significant ways to grow in the Lord is through spending time with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Let's just glorify God by following his instructions to us. Is it worth dishonoring God when you sell goods?