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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Commodification Of The Things Of God

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

12And 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.

  13And He said to them, "It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN."…
Matthew 12:21

Why did Jesus do this?

 My house shall be called the house of prayer.

 These are the, words of God, calling the temple his house, which was built according to the specific plan that he gave.

It was the place of his worship, where he dwelt, and where his presence to his people dwelt; and signifying, that in time to come, it should be an house of prayer; not for the Jews only, but for the Gentiles also: "for all people".

 As it is expressed by the prophet Malachi, and cited by Mark; and particularly this part of it, in which were the money changers and sellers of doves.

 These words are rightly applied by Christ to the temple; nor can the Jews themselves deny it; for their own Targum paraphrases it thus, , "the house of my sanctuary shall be called an house of prayer".

 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 7:11

For that was the court of the Gentiles, where they were admitted to pray, and perform other parts of worship.

Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers.

The Temple was where the Shekinah glory of God resided.

 Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry, John 2:13-17.

His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former.

 If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse!

 And how many things daily practiced under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!

The priests and the officers of the temple were a gang who had made the Temple a gang hide out.

These persons robbed both God and man, and the temple was a sanctuary to them: here they hung out  and, under the appearance of religion and devotion, devoured widows' houses, plundered persons of their substance, and were full of extortion and excess.

The part of the temple which Jesus now visited, and which was profaned to secular use, was the court of the Gentiles, separated from the sanctuary by a stone partition, and considered of lesser sanctity, though really an integral part of the temple.  

Jesus Cast everyone out, all them that sold and bought.

 In this large open space a market had been established much to the prosperity of the temple priests and it's officers.

 These rented out the sacred area, of which they were the appointed guardians, to greedy and irreligious traders, who made a gain of others' spiritual piety.

 We find no trace of this market in the Old Testament; it probably was established after the Captivity, when the Jews brought back that taste for commercial business and skill in financial matters for which they have ever since been known for.

 In the eyes of worldly-minded men the sanctity of a building and its appendages was no impediment to traffic and trade, hence they were glad to utilize the temple court, under the sanction of the priests, for the convenience of those who came from all regions to celebrate the great festivals.

Here was sold all that was required for the sacrifices which worshipers were minded to offer - animals for victims, meal, incense, salt, etc.

The scandalous abuse of the holy precincts, or the plain traces of it (if, as it was late in the day, the traffickers themselves had departed for a time), Christ had observed at his previous visit, when he "looked round about upon all things" (Mark 11:11), and now he proceeded to remedy the evil.

 The details of the expulsion are not given.

 On the first occasion, we are told, he used "a scourge of small cords;" as far as we know, at this time he effected the purification unarmed and alone.

 It was a marvelous impulse that forced the greedy crew to obey the order of this unknown Man; their own consciences made them timid; they fled in dismay before the stern indignation of his eye, deserted their gainful trade to escape the reproach of that invincible zeal.

 Money changers.

  These persons exchanged (for a certain percentage) foreign money or other coins for the half shekel demanded from all adults for the service of the temple (see on Matthew 17:24).

They may have lent money to the needy.

 The sellers also probably refused to receive any but current Jewish money in exchange for their wares.

 It is also certain that no coins stamped with a heathen symbol, or bearing a heathen monarch's image, could be paid into the temple treasury.

 The seats of them that sold (the) doves. 

 These birds were used by the poor in the place of costlier victims (see Leviticus 12:6; Leviticus 14:22; Luke 2:24). The sellers were often women, who sat with tables before them on which were set cages containing the doves.

So...knowing these things...

The Church of Jesus Christ is His temple today.

Jesus dwells in the believers and is present in their gathering together.

Wherever there are Christians there we find Jesus.

And there we find what else?

You got it.

Those who make all things that they can, pertaining to Christians, into commodities to be put up for sale.

A paywall is installed that you can not pass through unless you pay up.

No access to the things of God with out payola.Displaying IMG_1021.JPG

Every single thing is monetized to the profit of the principle inhabitants of where ever Christians are present.

This teaching will be continued when you get your pass.

Paypal, credit cards, and bitcoin accepted.

Just kidding.

Been freely sharing stuff here for years.

Open your eyes and see how many places are into tapping into your wallet.

Look at all of the ways and means that have been and are being used to monetize the things of God.

Do ya think Jesus is going to let them get away with it.

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."
Matthew 21:13

"But who can endure the day of His coming?

 And who can stand when He appears?

 For He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap.…

Beware of scheming for profit the things of God.

Tithes and offerings are legit and are intended to support the work of God.

Anything that personally enriches the priest and officers of God's temple by selling the things of God is suspect.

God never intended for ministers to live way beyond the level of the sheep.

Fleecing the flock in any way they can for financial gain was never God's intention.

Material Compensation for Spiritual Work

 Paul believed in material compensation for spiritual work: “If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?” (1 Cor. 9:11, ESV) and “the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14). 

To the Galatians, Paul wrote, “One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches” (Gal. 6:6).

 In keeping with that principle, Paul received material support from the church in Philippi.

And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. . . . I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent.
 Phil. 4:15-18

Paul didn’t merely receive a one-time gift from the Philippian believers; he received gifts from them on a number of occasions. 

Even when he was in another city, the Philippians continued to send material support which Paul continued to accept. (I don’t know exactly what to make of the fact that Paul calls this support both “gifts” and “payment.”)

 From the direct comments Paul made and from Paul’s example with the Philippian believers we can arrive at this simple conclusion:

 Those who minister should be compensated for their work of ministry.

But are they supposed to live among the kings of the earth in guard gated communities, living in multi million dollar homes, driving luxury cars and living the life style of the rich?

  Immediately after acknowledging his right to receive compensation from the Corinthians, Paul states,

 Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ . . .

I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision.

 . . What then is my reward?

 That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel (1 Cor. 9:15-18).

Free of charge?

Well what do ya know!

 Why did Paul refuse compensation and work a day job as a simple tent maker?

 Paul was thinking, “How can I be most effective?” 

 Paul pondered this question: “Is it most effective to preach for free or for pay?” 

Much of the time, Paul conscientiously chose to preach for free.

And that meant, Paul had to work a day job.

 Fortunately, since Paul was trained by the ancient rabbis who believed in teaching the Torah out of love and not for profit, Paul was skilled in a trade and that trade was tentmaking (Acts 18:1-3).

 For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God (1 Thess. 2:9).

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you (2 Thess. 3:7-8).

He states, “you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you.” 

Paul’s listening audience would have recognized him as the same man who made tents in the marketplace with sweat-soaked brow.

 Certain things are caught rather than taught and Paul wanted his audience to catch his work ethic.

I know a lot of ministers who don't work at all and live among the rich like rich men, because they are rich.

One fellow I know of makes five hundred thousand a year from the ministry.

In his farewell speech to the elders in Ephesus, where he stayed for two years (Acts 19:1, 10), Paul declared,

You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all these things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:34-35).

Paul’s gospel—the message of God’s sacrifice—was displayed in his lifestyle of sacrifice: “by working hard . . . we must help the weak.”

Paul didn’t make a living from his spiritual work in Corinth, Thessalonica, or Ephesus.

In fact, he refused to do so.

And he refused to do so out of a desire to be most effective, to avoid being a financial burden, to serve as an example of diligence, and to personally provide for those in need.

There’s nothing wrong with getting paid for legitimate work.

As we saw, Paul accepted support from the church at Philippi.

 While there are differences between the support Paul received and a full-time salary with benefits today, the point is that Paul didn’t refuse all expressions of gratitude on the basis of a particular principle.

 In addition, Paul acknowledged that his general mode of not accepting payment went against the grain.

 In 1 Corinthians 9, he asks, “Is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living” (v. 6)?

And “If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?” (v. 12).

If people value our work enough to pay us for it, and if our work is both legal and moral, we have a right to be compensated for it.

 “But,” Paul quickly interjects, “we did not use this right” (v. 12).

Paul acknowledged that his refusal to accept compensation was unusual.

 But if Paul thought that his unique approach wasn’t significant he wouldn’t have mentioned it.

 And he doesn’t merely mention it; he seems to make much of it.

 “What then is my reward?

 Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel” (v. 18).

 In summary, the uniqueness of Paul’s approach means we shouldn’t make too much of it; but at the same time, since Paul draws attention to it with pride, neither should we ignore it.

 While we’re not required to follow Paul’s career path, it stands as a challenge of sacrificial service and full engagement with the world.

 Paul’s ministry reminds us of something that we’ve all learned by experience:

 There’s great joy and freedom in serving voluntarily.

 As we have seen Paul refused compensation because he wanted to accomplish the following things:

 be most effective, avoid being a financial burden, serve as an example of diligence, and personally provide for the weak.

 I wonder how different things would be if Christian leaders had followed Paul’s example more closely down through the ages.

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