A House of Merchandise John 2:13-17 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
There is always a temptation in the ministry to go after money and to make merchandise of God’s people. Under the Law there was a system of sacrifice and the Jews could submit oxen, goats, sheep, turtledoves, pigeons, cornmeal, oil or wine as an offering. They would be offered as a tithe or on special feast days like the Passover or Feast of Tabernacles, etc. (Numbers 28:18, Lev. 12:8, Deut. 14:22).
The passage we are looking at today deals with the aforementioned temptation as it shows us that moneychangers were selling oxen, sheep and doves in the temple. They had turned God’s temple or house of prayer into a house of merchandise (John 2:14). In the Bible, the word merchandise is a word with a negative connotation (Deut. 21:14, 24:7, Isaiah 23:15, Ezek. 27:34, 28:16). From these verses we learn that violence and sin are connected to merchandise.
Going after money before God can cause a man to lose his soul (Matt. 22:5, Luke 12:15, Mark 8:36, 2 Peter 2:3, Rev. 18:11-12). Most especially if one is going after money in the name of God in an attempt to justify his transgression (Neh. 13:15-21). God makes it clear that you cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13). The church of Laodicea made the mistake of thinking that they were self-sufficient due to their wealth and, thus, neglected to give the proper glory to God (Rev. 3:14). For the most part the church today is no different than the church of Laodicea and so the message given to them by Jesus Christ is a very timely one for us (1Tim. 6:9-10).
As the old-timers used to say, “Money obscures faith.” Preachers of today have made an art of taking advantage of people’s desire to give. When you love the Lord Jesus Christ you want to give and be charitable just as He was. But these modern day Pharisees have constructed cleverly devised schemes to suck money from people so that they can get filthy rich off of their desire to give to God (2Cor. 9:6-7, Acts 20:35). We say this as a warning.
You are to give and do so cheerfully because it is more blessed to give than receive. But please prayerfully consider what you do with your money before you do it. Please check it out and make sure that the guy begging for your money is not some kind of scam artist like so many of them are today. God is going to judge people who make merchandise of the Gospel and you do not want to be party to their evil deeds. The Bible warns against this.