Carpenters Corner: For sale


“Where can we set up our product table?” asked the young worship leader from a large church in Los Angeles.

Other people browsed the crowded tables looking for the latest “feel good” tracts that they could introduce at their own churches in the following weeks. A&R reps and other tal­ent scouts listened to acts while sipping coffee in the main sanc­tuary.

“Religion is big business!” said one of the reps as he slapped his competitor on the back. “But you know we make more money on selling tee shirts, bumper stickers and concert tickets then bibles and you know how much of a mark-up we put on those!” Selah.

Is anyone appalled at the fact that religion has become a busi­ness? What have you spent on bibles, commentaries and study guides and in the last ten years? Oh my goodness you might pay upwards of eighty dollars for a good study bible as the authors are plastering their own names on the front cover. In contrast many Jews will not even pro­nounce the name of God.

Many religious gatherings prefer to use study guides rath­er than the bible in their weekly bible studies. Maybe, studying the bible means actually read­ing a canonized translation then praying and asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate what you have read.

Marketing Jesus is big busi­ness as cross-shaped necklaces, coffee cups, pins, tattoos and nativity scenes bring the world into the ecclesia. Millions of dollars flows through church 501C3 organizations for extra biblical items as the “called-out” ones are being “called-into” the commercialism of Christ.

In the book of Revelation chapter 2, the seven letters to the seven churches, the church at Pergamum was this kind of compromising church. They were living in a city that was a pagan capitol of idol worship. Located on the slopes of Per­gamum were many temples to Athena, Zeus, Dionysius, Asklepios as well as several temples to Roman Emperors. We know from the book of Acts chapter 19:21 that Paul started a riot in Ephesus by preaching “The Way” which impacted the local silversmith’s business of selling trinkets of Diana and other idolatrous religious icons.

While the church at Per­gamum held fast to the name of Jesus Christ, meaning that they upheld the gospel, his death, burial and resurrection, and his seat in the Godhead, Jesus said he had this against them that they held to the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Now this is where you need a few study helps and a good study bible with commentary. So I am not against selling bibles and ex­tra biblical books but rather the adsorbent costs of these items and our dependence on them rather than the bible.

Thanks be to God for the Gide­on’s, who still put free bibles in hotel rooms and give away cases of them on a regular basis! God always looks at the heart, judg­ing man’s motives and every idle word he speaks. We cannot hide from the One with the eyes that are like a flame of fire. In the end Jesus will burn away the dross from our works and reward us at the Bema for what remains.

So to understand the doctrine of Balaam we need to explore the scriptures reading the book of Numbers chapters 22-25. We find that as Balak, the king of Moab watching as over two mil­lion Israelites of the Exodus descended upon his kingdom, that he hired Balaam to curse Israel in a feeble attempt to stop them from entering their lands. When Balaam refused to curse them, Balak invited the men of Israel to Acacia Grove to the sac­rifice of their gods and fornicate with the women of Moab which many did.

The doctrine of the Nicolai­tans is up for interpretation. The word “Nicolaitan” is a compound word made up of “nikao” mean­ing to conquer or rule over while “laos” means the people or laity. So this doctrine that Jesus hated is when men of the church try to conquer or rule over the body of Christ. We don’t need a hier­archy to be forgiven of our sin. The bible says that there is but one mediator between God and man and that in the man Christ Jesus.

We should not have one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom of God. God wants us to have both feet in his king­dom. As we near the end of the “church age” and the seventieth week of Daniel begins, we need to keep both eyes open for com­promise. Daniel’s friends would not bow down to the golden im­age of Nebuchadnezzar and while God did not spare them from the experience of being thrown into the furnace, he walked with them through the fiery trial. Let us be set apart only for God’s use.


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