A Commercial Venture

Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 6:44 a.m. – When I was getting ready to have my quiet time with the Lord this morning, he put the song “The Battle for Truth” in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read John 2:13-25 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%202&version=NIV

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.


For the most part, during the years my (and my husband’s) four children were growing up, I was a stay-at-home mom. When they all reached adulthood, I decided to go back to work outside the home for pay. My first two jobs were both in the field of marketing and sales. I was an administrative (or personal) assistant, so I was involved in the preparation and distribution of marketing and sales materials. I had no previous experience in marketing or sales prior to this, to the best of my recollection. Then, I had a couple of church administrative assistant positions where I was able to put my newly learned marketing skills to good use in the making of church bulletins and in the editing, planning, development and distribution of church newsletters.

Ever since my husband and I were teenagers, we have both been involved in Christian ministry in and outside of the institutional church, with some gaps. We were involved in church planting twice as lay pastor and wife. Then, in 1999 the Lord Jesus led us to begin a ministry to college-age adults out of our home, though we did try connecting with several churches, too. This lasted seven years (until 2006). While in this process of working with these college-age adults and pursuing the direction of planting a church, I decided to take some classes at our local two year community college. I attended classes part-time between 2002 and 2006, and secured an entrepreneur certificate (just a little shy of a 2 year degree in business). I took mostly business classes, one of which was a marketing class.

So, it is with that experience under my belt that I am able to speak on this subject with some knowledge and understanding of what I’m going to share with you here. Yet, I trust the Lord Jesus to give me the words he would have me to share with you today.

Marketing and Sales

The word of God is alive and active, and it still speaks to our hearts - to our circumstances today. The Bible says that all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (see 2 Tim. 3:16). So, even though this is a historical event about the life of Jesus and the Jewish temple described in this passage, the scriptural truths contained within the story can be applied to the church today.

If Jesus were to walk in the doors of our institutional churches today, what do you think he would see, and what do you think would be his reaction? I believe that he would see far worse than what he saw with these merchants and money changers in the temple area of his day. But, let’s take it beyond that, because Jesus made it clear that when he spoke of the temple, he was speaking of his body (see vv. 19-22). Today the temple of God dwells within the hearts and lives of Christ’s followers, both individually and collectively (the church). So, if you could picture him physically with you throughout the day, what would he see (and does see), and what do you think his reaction would be to your (and my) activities, thoughts, desires, words expressed, etc.?

The reason I shared my experiences with you is so you understand that I am not just speaking in theory here or from books I have read, but I have physically seen and have personally witnessed the selling, marketing, and the desecration of God’s holy temple – Christ’s body - his church, which goes on daily in our lives individually and corporately. The church of today is marketed just like any other business. Not all marketing is deceptive, but much of it is. Gimmicks, entertainment, comedy routines, manipulations of minds and emotions, deception, lies, half-truths (lies), human thinking and reasoning and philosophies, human goals and objectives, and a diluted gospel (so as not to offend anyone) are routine. Those who are needy and hurting, as well as those who hold to the truths of scripture, are often cast aside because they get in the way of the big business goals and objectives. People are stepped on and they are throwaways, all for the purpose of building earthly kingdoms of mankind over and above building God’s eternal kingdom.

The worst offense of all, I believe, is the diluting of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel has been turned into a free-for-all (no rules; chaotic; no definite standards). Yet, that is not the gospel of scripture. Yet, its purpose is to make the gospel more palatable and non-offensive so that the world will want to come into our churches (social clubs). The church, nonetheless, is not supposed to be an organization, club or business of humans, but it is, in reality, a spiritual organism of God, with Christ as the head, and with the Holy Spirit determining the parts of the body and the giftedness of the Spirit in individual believers’ lives. You wouldn’t know that to attend most institutional churches today, though.

The Truth

The true gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of grace, but it is not without rules. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny himself (his self-life) and take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self), and follow (obey) the Lord Jesus (see Lu. 9:23-25). Paul (speaking in the Spirit) said that we come to know Christ by forsaking our lives of sin, by being transformed in heart and mind, and by putting on our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (see Eph. 4:17-24). He said that being crucified with Christ means that we (the “I” in us) no longer lives, but Christ lives within us, and the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God (see Gal. 2:20). We don’t just clean up our old lives at our own pace when we come to Christ, but believing in Jesus Christ involves a radical change of heart and mind away from lives of sin and toward walking in humble and submissive obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, God is calling his church, including individual believers in Christ, to repent of her sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery, and to return to her first love, Jesus Christ, and to make him her only Lord and husband. He is calling his church away from marketing schemes of humans and from human teaching and philosophy, and back to the truths of scripture. He is calling his church away from thinking of church as a corporation, a social club and/or a place to bring the unsaved of this world, thus working hard to attract the world to the “church,” and back to the teachings of scripture on the church, and the understanding that we don’t bring the world into the church by worldly means, but it is Christ who adds daily to the church those who are being saved. The church should be a place for the body of Christ to be nurtured, taught, ministered to, encouraged, strengthened, and for them to participate in the life of the body as God designed, not as man designed. And, then the church should go out into the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it should grow by salvations.

If the church does not repent, and she does not return to her first love, the Lord will come against her in judgment (see Rev. 2-3 and the book of Isaiah). And, he will come with a whip, because zeal for his temple (his body/God’s holy place) consumes him. God is a jealous God. He promised us to one husband, and he will do what it takes to get his church to return to her one true love. So, if this lesson speaks to you, I pray you will repent today.

The Battle for Truth / An Original Work / May 18, 2013

Based off Malachi 1-4

I love you. Honor me.
Tell the truth. You’ll be free.
Sing My praise all your days.
I will give all you need.

Turn from sin; cleansed within.
Stand in awe of My Name.
Teach what’s true. Walk in peace.
Follow Christ, in His ways.

Show to God faithfulness.
Do not be adult’rous.
Do not shed shallow tears.
Do not be insincere.

I have sent messengers,
Who have giv’n my address.
They call for repentance,
And they warn of judgment.

I, the Lord, do not change,
So return – blessings gain:
Healing comes; joyfulness;
Freedom from your distress.