Marketing Christ

(2 Corinthians 2:12-17)

One of the things that bothers me is when churches, pastors and Christians in general use Jesus for the purpose of marketing to make a profit, that is, where their sole or primary purpose is to make money from the name of Jesus.

Marketing Christ for profit
Marketing Christ for profit

Don't get me wrong here though, because it is quite acceptable for a person doing the work of the Lord to receive their wages from that work. This is an accepted and acceptable practice in the bible. But it is unacceptable where the primary or sole purpose is to profit from the word of God.

We see Paul talk about this point at the end of this section scripture where he says,

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. – (2 Corinthians 2:17)

Using God to Make Money

We saw the Lord respond to those people who were using God to make money from Him in a most dramatic way.

When Jesus came into the temple and He saw the money changers and people selling livestock and pigeons, He took a whip of cords and used it to drive the livestock out and overturned the tables of the money changers. Note especially the comments of Jesus at the end of this incident.

14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” – (John 2:14-16)

His comment, “Do not make my Father's house a house of trade,” is quite specific.

We go to church to learn the things of God, not to buy and sell trinkets, marketing paraphernalia and other items that have been branded with the name of Jesus to make them seem “godly” in some way.

And the things of God that are important: the teachings, the message, the gifts of God, breaking of bread and so on, are all free gifts. What is important in Christ Jesus cannot be bought because it is given freely, and no one should try to sell the ministry of God. It's not for sale.

Supporting Those In Ministry Financially

However, as I said before, it is acceptable for ministers of the word to make their living and be supported financially through preaching the word.

Under the old covenant where the Levite priests served at the temple, they received the tithes and offerings of the rest of Israel as their inheritance, and they had a law to take the tithe. So they received payment for their work of ministry in the service of the Lord.

But now, under the new covenant, the law of tithing does not exist because it is not part of the new covenant. We have been set free from ALL the laws under the old covenant, which includes the law of tithing, and so it no longer has any power over us. I am aware that many churches teach tithing and many people tithe today, but I must emphasise again that it is not part of the new covenant. (If you want to understand the position of tithing in the modern church better, I have a free eBook you can download at this link).

But even though tithing is not part of the Christian teachings, those who work in ministry are still entitled to receive an income for the work they do. The true Christian method to do this is not by tithing, but through freewill gifts and offerings, given cheerfully as return for the value received from the bible teacher, minister or pastor.

Paul wrote,

9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. 11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? 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. – (1 Corinthians 9:9-12)

Those who work in ministry have the right to receive their wages from those to whom they minister. They have been provided for in scriptures so that they do not have to seek work elsewhere, and thus split their time between preaching or trying to make a living.

In the last verse above we saw that Paul chose not to accept this financial support from the church at Corinth because he did not want to impede the word of the gospel in any way. But he had the right to it and we know elsewhere that he was supported by various of the other churches.

Marketing Christ

It is not those who earn a living from preaching that is the concern where Paul said in the verse under review:

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. – (2 Corinthians 2:17)

His concern at that time was that there were some who were “peddlers” of the word. That is, they were marketing and selling the teachings that they had received for free from the Lord, for the purpose of profit and personal gain. Their hearts were not right before God because they saw godliness as a means for gain, which Paul warned us about in his letter to Timothy.

“…and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” – (1 Timothy 6:5)

Paul is quite scathing about those who act in this manner, showing them up as being depraved of the truth and depraved in mind BECAUSE they seek to receive personal financial gain from godliness. In many ways this also applies to the false teachings of prosperity and wealth ministry today.

But even worse are those who sell bumper stickers, trinkets and ornaments that have zero spiritual value and a re produced purely for personal or corporate profit.

These are the peddlers of the word of God and these are little different from those who the Lord drove from the temple. Let us not fall into the trap.

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Byword

It was difficult for me to write this post today. If you are reading this on my blog site you will note that I have a book for sale in the right hand column. It is not however a book of ministry but are thoughts and ideas I have collected over my life that I truly believe will be helpful to others. I am not selling ministry, but it is my hope that by selling this book I can support this website and the work I am doing. I have two more ebooks I am about to publish on Amazon that ARE ministry books, and these will be offered free. I hope this explanation helps and please feel free to add any comments below on your thoughts.

You might also like:

Self Righteousness And Healing On The Sabbath
Marketing In The Church
Paying Taxes To Caesar
Straining Out A Gnat And Swallowing A Camel
Driving Out The Merchants And Money Changers From The Temple
Render To Caesar The Things That Are Caesars
A House Of Prayer
Jesus Drives The Money Changers From The Temple
Christian Giving Vs Tithing
Christian Giving
Paying Taxes
The Lord Provides
The Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Evil
The Lords Protection

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