Back if you would in your Bible to Matthew, Chapter 21. We'll come back to John, Chapter 2, but Matthew 21 and I want to preach this morning about this story where Jesus Christ casts out the money changers and then the bought and sold from the temple. The title of my sermon this morning is Buying and Selling at Church.
This is a story that is recorded in all four gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke record one instance of Jesus clearing out the temple. Then John Chapter 2 records a different instance where Jesus clears out the temple. This is something that he did twice and the thing about that is when something is recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, it must be pretty important to get that kind of emphasis where all four gospels deal with it.
Look, if you would, at Matthew 21, Verse 11. And the multitude said, "This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. Jesus went into the Temple of God and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said to them, It is written my House shall be called the House of Prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves."
Flip over to Mark Chapter 11. Bible says in Verse 15, "And they come to Jerusalem and Jesus went into the temple and began to cast out them that sold and bought." Notice the pattern over and over again. The Bible is telling us who's getting thrown out. Those who sold and those who bought. This was in the Temple of the Lord. This is in God's house at that time, but the Bible teaches that the Church is now God's house.
The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:15 that "Thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." What's the church? Not a building, but it's the assembly. The congregation. When God's people come together and congregate, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, that constitutes the church. Some people will say, "We're the church." That's true in a sense, because the church is made up of the people, but when you're off by yourself, you're not the church because church means congregation. To congregate means to assemble, to come together.
The Bible says here that he cast out them that sold and bought. Look down at your Bible there in Mark 11:15, "And overthrew the tables of the money changers and the seats of them that sold doves, and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple."
It sounds like he's being pretty strict when he says you can't even carry that vessel through the temple, let alone buy or sell there. He says, in Verse 17, "Is it not written my house shall be called, of all nations, the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves and the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him, for they feared him because all the people was astonished at his doctrine."
This teaching made people upset whenever it's recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. They didn't like having the tables flipped over. They didn't like being cast out of the temple. Sometimes I think we read over this without picturing the intensity of a scene where Jesus literally walks in and flips over tables. Stuff is flying everywhere, merchandise is crashing and flying. It says he dumped out their money. He's dumping the money on the ground, flipping things over. Think about the boldness that it would take to do that, and think about how angry you'd have to be to start flipping the tables over.
I'm not going to do it this morning, but one time when I was preaching this, I had a table up here and I flipped it over. It shows how dramatic it is. Sometimes you hear those words, but you don't picture what it would really be like if somebody started flipping over ... Imagine walking into a clothing store or something and start flipping the tables over, dumping out the cash register. That would make quite a scene, wouldn't it?
Look at Luke Chapter 19. Of course those are appropriate places for buying and selling. Nothing wrong with buying or selling in a store, but church is not a store. You don't buy and sell things here. It doesn't matter. It seems like it mattered a lot to Jesus.
Look at Luke Chapter 19, Verse 45, "And he went into the temple and began to cast out them that sold therein and them that bought saying unto them, 'It is written my house is the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.' He taught daily in the temple, but the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him, and could not find what they might do for all the people were very attentive to hear him."
Go to John, Chapter 2. A lot of people, in order to justify the sinful practice of buying and selling at church will try to twist this story and say, because he said they made it a den of thieves, the sin there was that they were not dealing honestly. The Bible doesn't mention anything about them dealing dishonestly or about the money changers charging too exorbitant of an exchange rate. That's what I've heard my whole life about this passage. My whole life, I never heard anybody teach this passage properly when I was growing up. Why? Because they're all selling things. The church is selling things, so they find some other way.
I'm preaching it the way it reads this morning. He cast out those that sold and bought. If it was a problem with the exchange rate, then why would the buyer be in sin? If the people that were selling stuff were ripping people off, why is the buyer being condemned in all four passages? I'll tell you why he said you made it a den of thieves, because when you're using God's house for your financial gain, you've made it a den of thieves.
It'd be like, and this is the illustration that explains it best. If I were to go stand outside Walmart this morning, and I were to stand out there with my own merchandise ... If I brought in a table and set it up in front of Walmart and had my own merchandise, do you think that Walmart would allow me to do that? No way.
Why not? Why can't I stand on the public sidewalk and sell things? Here's why. Because they're the ones who advertise and brought in the customers. Everybody who's going to Walmart is a Walmart customer because Walmart spent money advertising to get their name out there and get people to come, and I would be riding on the coattails of Walmart standing out there selling stuff, basically stealing customers from them. That's why I'd be a thief.
It's a den of thieves when we take God's house ... People didn't come here to buy your junk. They came here to worship the Lord. They came here to hear God's word preached. They didn't come here to buy stuff and sell stuff, but then you're stepping in as a merchandiser and stealing God's customers, basically, and coming in and taking people that didn't come to hear that, and you're stealing God's glory and He should have the preeminence here, and we shouldn't be selling and buying. There's a time and a place for everything. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven. Nothing wrong with buying, nothing wrong with selling, but there's something wrong when you're doing it at God's house.
Another twisted interpretation that some people will have of this story is they'll say it's okay to buy and sell at church as long as you're buying and selling that which is spiritual. Don't come to church selling Tupperware and Mary Kay, but as long as you're selling something spiritual, like let's say you're selling Bibles or selling Christian CDs, preaching CDs, then they say that's okay, because you're selling that which is spiritual.
The reason we know that's a lie is because in this story, they were selling that which was spiritual. What does it say they were selling? Doves. What was the purpose of selling doves? Because doves were major sacrifice items and the Bible even commanded people, we don't have time this morning. He commanded people, we just looked at it last Sunday night, to take their tithes and if the way was too far, instead of bringing their tithe in the form of animals or crops, bringing the tenth unto the Lord, He said turn it into money, bring the money, and then buy the offerings when you get there.
God even said come to Jerusalem and buy offerings. It was spiritual thing that was being sold, but you know what the problem was? They weren't supposed to be buying and selling in God's house. God's house was supposed to be a house of prayer. It was not supposed to be a merchandising zone. The doves were a spiritual item that were being sold.
Look at John Chapter 2, Verse 13, "And the Jew's Passover was at hand and Jesus went up to Jerusalem and found in the temple those that sold oxen, and sheep, and doves." These three items are all used in the worship of the Lord. All three of them, and the changes of money sitting. You say why do they need a money changer? Because people are coming from all different nations and when they show up, they have all kinds of currency, so they have to exchange their money into the local currency.
What's the big deal, Jesus? What's wrong with people coming and exchanging their money? What's wrong with buying sacrifices? That's what you told us to do. Because God's house is not the place for it! You go to a business, you go to a merchant, and you buy oxen, sheep, and doves, but you don't buy them in church. You don't buy them in God's house.
It says, When he had made a scourge of small cords, what is he doing? He's making a weapon. A scourge is an implement that you would use to drive cattle. Argh! He's making a bullwhip and he chases them out of the temple. He drives them out. When we say the word drive, we need to understand. He wasn't, "All right, hop in the back of the truck, guys." It's not that kind of driving, kids. For the young children, they hear drive ... No, drive them out is like a cattle drive. They go running out because they're scared.
By the way, quit painting Jesus as some girly man. Some girly, sissified guy that looks like these paintings that we see of Jesus wouldn't have had the guts to do something like this. If he would've tried it, they would've stopped him. Nobody stopped him. He was a manly guy. He walked in, he's flipping tables, he's whipping people out the door, and what does the Bible say? He poured out the changers' money and overthrew the tables and said unto them that sold doves, Stop selling doves. Is that what said? Don't sell doves. Quit being a dove salesman. No, he said unto them that sold doves, "Take these things hence." What does hence mean? From here. He's not saying you're doing wrong by selling doves. You need to stop ripping people off on that exchange rate! No, he says take it out of here. Take these things hence. Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise, and his disciples remembered that it was written, the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
Flip over to Revelation 18. Let's get a biblical definition of merchandise. Revelation, Chapter 18. Again, there's nothing wrong with buying and selling. There's nothing wrong with operating a store, and there's nothing wrong with operating a store that sells spiritual things. Opening up a bookstore and selling Bibles, selling Christian CDs, sell whatever you want. Don't sell it here. I don't care whether you're selling that which is spiritual or unspiritual, this is the wrong place to do it.
There are people who literally, their marketing strategy is church. Some of these multi-level marketing deals, like your Amway, Tupperware, Mary Kay, Vitamin-whatever, a lot of this stuff will tell their people that a strategy is to go get involved in church, and that's where you'll get all your Pampered Chef and your Tupperware and your Mary Kay customers.
That is not right to use church like that. My parents were very hurt one time. They went to a brand new church, independent, fundamental Baptist church, and when they got there, this couple came and was friendly to them ... As we should be when visitors come and new people come. It's great when people reach out to them and are friendly to them, invite them out to eat, invite them over for dinner, invite them out to ice cream after the service. That's wonderful.
This couple invited my parents over for dinner, and my parents were excited, like wow, this church is great, people are so friendly, we already got invited to dinner and it was a first time at church. They showed up for the dinner, had dinner, and then the Amway presentation began. Then they realized how insincere the whole thing was and how they were being used and it makes people upset.
I remember, when we were in a church and people started joining Amway, and here's how you could tell ... My dad called it Invasion of the Body Snatchers. That's what my dad called it. He's like, "It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers!" Basically, these people would become completely different people. When they got in Amway, they would turn into this weird Amway zombie.
The first sign that one of them had been infected, we'd seen them park backwards in the parking lot and we're like oh no. You know? We're worried because they might be parking backwards, we don't know, but Amway taught their people back then to park backwards. We'd see somebody park backwards in the parking lot, and we'd be like check, see if he still has a beard. Because Amway also taught you got to be clean shaven. Guys who previously had had a mustache or a beard, it'd be shaven. That was strike two. Strike one, they're parked backwards. Strike two, all facial hair is gone.
Then they'd be sitting down, they're reaching into their pocket, and we're like, "No, please, no." Then they'd pull out the Amway Binaca. No! Another one! When you saw the Binaca come out, because these Amway people it was always like ... That's when you knew they had gone over to the dark side.
I've grown up with this in churches and seen it. I remember there was a lady in another church. She would never come to church. She'd show up every month and a half to church and be like, "All right, I'm having my next Pampered Chef party," and my theory is that she went to church every Sunday at a different church and is going around, marking stuff. That is wicked. Don't sell stuff here. Don't buy stuff here.
It's great if you run a business and people contact you and want to use your business. Great. I'm not saying it's wrong to do business with people from church. You have to be real careful with it and make sure you're on your best business behavior, both buyer and seller, but let me tell you something. That should never go on here. Walking around, handing out business cards, and making deals here. Don't carry that vessel through this House. Don't be paying people here, and ... The only money that should ever change hands here is the offering going into the plate. That's the Lord's money. Any kind of other transactions going on during church are not something that we should be doing.
You say what's merchandise? He said make it not a house of merchandise. What did he mean by that? People try to get hung up and twist things just because they don't like the truth that's being preached right now. I'm not saying that every church that has the bookstore in the back is a horrible, wicked church. A lot of people have never thought of this and they've been brainwashed their whole life, like I was, that that's not what that means. I'm not saying that every pastor's a horrible person or the church is a horrible church, but I will say this. Jesus is angry. Fix it.
I don't know where I was going with that, but the bottom line is, people will try to twist this passage because of the fact that they'll try to say but what's merchandise really mean? Is it really merchandise to sell a Bible? Is it really merchandise to sell this Christian CD or preaching CDs or whatever?
Look what the Bible says, just to get a biblical definition of merchandise, Revelation 18:11, "And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her, for no man buyeth their merchandise anymore. The merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones and of pearls and fine linen in purple and silk and scarlet and all thine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory and all manner of vessels of most precious wood and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat ..." You get the picture? Anything that is bought or sold is merchandise. That's what merchandise means. Anything that you buy or sell. Sheep, horses, chariots, today that would be cars, slaves, and souls of men. Anything that is bought or sold, period. Spiritual, unspiritual, food, textile, wood, anything is merchandise.
I remember one time, my brother ... I wasn't there, but he told me the story. He won a guy unto the Lord and he was at the church and they had a little bookstore in the back of the church where they sold Bibles and sold CDs and sold different things and he walked up and unpackaged a Bible and handed it to the new convert, and said, "Here, you just got saved. Here's a new Bible." Everybody looked at him, like whoa, you're supposed to pay for that. He said that Bible is God's Bible and I'm certain that this is what God wanted it to do, was to go to this guy. This guy just got saved. Why wouldn't God give him one of his Bibles? They're all sitting here. People were like you're stealing or whatever. No, you're stealing when you sell stuff at church. You're the thief according to the Bible.
We have, in the back, Bibles, New Testaments, CDs, DVDs, and they're all free. Everything back there is always free. Nothing is ever sold here, period, because we should not make God's House a house of merchandise. Speaking of merchandise, flip over to 2 Peter, Chapter 2.
Some people will say is it wrong to sell a preaching CD? At church, yes, it's wrong to sell preaching CDs at church. By the way, also, I don't think the church should sell anything, period. I don't think the church itself as an entity, should sell things during the week. I think that businesses, merchants, should sell things during the week.
I'm the author of a church piano course, but I don't sell that at church ever. In fact, people try to buy it ... In fact, I refuse to even sell that course to anyone who lives in the state of Arizona. I tell people, if you want that course, come to church and I will give it to you for free, and I've given away hundreds of copies of it for free. I refuse to sell it at church.
Here's the thing: I do sell it online to people who live far away. Why? Because it's not the church selling it. It's me selling it, and I'm doing it during the week on my own time. It's a business. There's nothing in the world wrong with operating a business.
You know what? If a bookstore opened up that's a Bible bookstore, nothing in the world wrong with that. I'm not against Christian bookstores. I'm not against Barnes and Noble being a bookstore. I'm not against anybody selling preaching CDs. I'm not against anyone selling preaching DVDs. I'm not against anyone selling Christian materials outside of the church, in a business setting where it belongs! It does not belong in church! It belongs somewhere else. Take it hence.
We buy our hymnals, we buy our Bibles from businesses. I appreciate the fact that those businesses exist. I appreciate the fact that I can call up the Sword of the Lord and buy more hymnals and buy music books and I can go on christianbook.com or whatever and buy Bibles or go to Sword of the Lord and buy Bibles. That's great that those businesses exist because we will never sell any.
Somebody said you need to be buying your Bibles from local church Bible publishers. Why would I want to buy it from ... Because it's the church's job. Wrong. It's not the church's job to buy and sell to their people. That's a merchandise job. That's why, when we have a meal after the service, the food is given away for free. That's why, when we have any kind of a potluck, any kind of a picnic, any kind of a chili cook-off, all of the food is given away for free. There's no, "Oh, it's $5 for that plate of spaghetti."
Every church I've ever been in, they'd sell you your food at the church. They'd sell you your ice cream. They would sell you your preaching CD. You want a preaching CD? $3. $5. Sometimes they only charge $1, and I'm like why don't you give it away for free? They want to charge money.
Let me say this. Even though I did say a lot of good people could be mixed up on this. I'm not condemning people, but it is disturbing when you teach somebody this truth and they still won't accept it. I can understand being wrong about it, but this seems pretty clear. Seems pretty cut and dried. Let me say this. Even though there are a lot of good people who are mixed up on this? False prophets are real big on merchandise.
Look what the Bible says in 2 Peter, Chapter 2. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction and many shall follow their pernicious ways by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken, and watch this, and through covetousness ... These false prophets are in it for the money. They're covetous. The Bible says elsewhere, teaching things which they ought not for filthy lucre's sake.
Through covetousness, shall they with fainted words, make merchandise of you. Do you see that? Through fainted words, meaning that they seem to be sincere, nice people, but really they're making merchandise of you. They see you as a sucker, who's going to give them a bunch of money for their junk, for their false teaching, and lies.
I have found that the most valuable things in life, the most valuable information available is always free. When you have to pay for information, what does the Bible say? Buy the truth and sell it not; also wisdom and instruction and understanding. When you have to pay for information, when you have to pay for doctrine, it ends up being about as valuable as those Scientologists get when they pay for doctrine. When these Scientologists cough up thousands and thousands of dollars for the next Theten level of [Zemoo 00:24:27] and all that. They basically are paying for the doctrine.
You know what it reminds me of? It reminds me of these infomercials where they spend a half hour telling you how great the product is, but you never really find out what the info is, but they're like this information transformed my life and I was living in a 1-bedroom apartment, and now I'm making $10,000 a week from my home, I'm on a boat with all these bikini babes, and you call this ... Look, I'll give you this information! I don't even know why I'm sharing this information! I'm crazy to share this information! I could keep on making money, but I want to share this with you because I love you and it's $99 and I will share this valuable information with you, and you will have a boat, and you will be surrounded by bikini babes! Call right now! Operators are standing by!
You know what? You call. I had a buddy one time, he said you know what? I called. I broke. He said I finally broke down and I called and I sent him the $100, and basically it was ... They say you put these ads in newspapers and you operate these [inaudible 00:25:41] ... It's all porno. That's what it turned out it was. Your putting ads in the newspaper to get people into porno. He tried to get his money back. Who thinks he got his money back?
Of course not, but it's this fraud, like you pay for this information, but you know what? Buy the truth and sell it not. We shouldn't sell the truth. If we really have such valuable truths to offer the world, we should be shouting them from the housetops and they should be free. That's why every sermon that I preach is posted online, unedited, uncensored, raw, unfiltered. It's posted online. Why? Get it out there.
There are preachers out there who literally enforce copyrights on their preaching, and literally will file copyright violations with YouTube, if anybody tries to post their preaching. Let me say it right now. Anybody who wants to can steal my preaching. How do you steal information? This is what happens when we get away from the Bible's morality and start inventing our own morality.
Let me teach you something about the Bible. The Bible has a lot of rules in it, right? Who thinks there are a lot of commandments in the Bible, lot of dos and don'ts? You know what you're not going to find in the Bible? Rules about intellectual property. This whole stupid copyright, intellectual property, it's a fraud. It's not biblical.
This is what it is. It's these Hollywood actors and these overpaid, over-worshiped musicians want to make multi-million dollars for the rest of their life off that song they wrote in the '60s. It's like they want to live off that for the rest of their life. It's like, oh, I got to protect it. It used to be that copyrights would expire after 25 years or they would expire after 50 years. Songs that were written after 1924, the copyright will never expire. 1924. If you want to have copyright-free music, you got to go back to before 1924. Literally. Most things after that are copyrighted. Then they keep extending and extending, like I want to live off this forever and I want my kids and my grandkids ... No, you have to keep working. You can't do one piece of work and try to live off that for the rest of your life. Then it's like people pirating Microsoft, and [inaudible 00:28:17].
Look, I think Bill Gates has enough money. He has so much money, he has extra to spend on sterilizing people in Africa and ejecting them with Formaldehyde and Mercury. He has enough to spoon Malt-O-Meal into their mouth, and everything, and vaccinate them with poisons. I think he's got enough money. Who thinks Bill Gates is really suffering because people are pirating Microsoft software? So terrible.
Who thinks that the band U2 is really suffering financially because people are pirating their music? Oh, the internet! Oh, YouTube! Everybody's getting our music for free! It's not fair because I only made a billion dollars last year. Who here thinks that Bono is struggling financially right now? These people are overpaid. These people ... Then they take all their millions and billions of dollars and you know what they do? They pay off politicians to make all these copyright laws, literally! There'll be some company down in South America that's uploading movies to the internet or uploading songs to the internet. We sent down our government, a federal SWAT team-type group to go down and raid some warehouse down in South American because they're pirating.
It used to be a pirate was somebody that shot people. It used to be that a pirate actually robbed people, and shot them, and killed them, and said, "Arr, matey." Now, a pirate is someone who steals somebody's information ... Stealing intellectual property. You know what? I don't have any intellectual property. Everything I own is yours. If I could take my brain out of my head and hand it to you and you could take all the information, I'd give it to you right now. Here you go!
This whole thing of intellectual property is stupid. It's a fraud, and it's part of what's leading us into this one world government, because they're like we got to have one world government because what if somebody in South America starts uploading the Hollywood movies? We got to have a global ... We got to be able to send our guys down there to enforce it in South America because the internet, because God forbid that these Hollywood actors would have to take a zero off the end of their income.
It's stupid, folks, but we've all been deceived and we're like let's be sure to report everybody who's violating copyright. Let's turn each other in. Isn't that what they say? Report pirated software. We'll give you a $50 reward if you turn in your boss at work. Turn in your boss at work for pirated software, who's seen those ads? It's a fraud.
When people say you're just immoral, you like to pirate stuff. Yeah, so what? I'm just kidding. Look, here's the thing about when you believe like I do that intellectual property doesn't exist, you still end up buying stuff all the time. Just because you want the CD, you want the DVD, or it's more convenient to pay the money to get it than to sit there ... Most people don't even know how to get the stuff for free anyway. It's like pirates. It's stupid, and here's what I say to people who want to accuse me of that. I say this: Show me in the Bible. Thou shalt not steal. No, stealing is when you take something and they don't have it anymore. It's not like you take it and they still have the same amount as they had before. It's not like Jesus feeding the 5,000, where it keeps coming.
If you take something, and then you take it away from them, that's stealing. If you take it and they still have it, you didn't steal anything. Show me in the Bible. Show me intellectual property in the Bible. There's all these laws, show me copyright, show me patent. I don't see it. I defy anyone to show it to me.
What it does is it shows down the process of people getting information is all it does. People have all their Jew justifications for it, but you know what? It isn't biblical. Period.
The bottom line is that when we have preaching and we have doctrine, especially about spiritual things, why in the world are we copyrighting? I encourage everyone to pirate everything that I preach. People literally, they email me and ask me do I have permission to preach this point that you made? I'm like do you think I made that up? I got it from the Bible. Hey, half the stuff I preach I stole from some other preacher. Hello! Stealing, he stole my sermon, you plagiarized my sermon! Look, we're all plagiarizing God every week. It's the Bible.
If I hear a sermon that I like, I'm going to preach it. If I hear a title of a sermon ... If I heard a title of a sermon, but the sermon wasn't that good, I'll do my own sermon. I'll use your title, and make it a better sermon. What now? You stole my ... And people sometimes will ... They'll ask me do I have permission to upload your sermon to my channel? I'm like you don't need my permission. Upload every sermon I preach to your YouTube channel. As long as I don't alter it, right? And give you the credit? No, put it up as anonymous. Anonymous preacher, don't give me any credit, edit it down! Chop things down, add things in, who cares!? Anything I preach is public domain.
For the record, for all eternity. Anything I preach is public domain. Upload it, copy it, mirror it, and I love it. I love it when people take one of my sermons and they take one part of the sermon and make it its own YouTube video. Some people have reported it to me, like did you know that this guy's uploading your videos? I'm like, yeah, I just finished emailing him and thanking him for doing that. There are 20 or 30 channels on YouTube that carry my sermons all the time. I hope it becomes 200 or 300. Give them a different title than what I gave them. Then it will get out to more ... More people will find it. Get it out there.
It's funny how preachers are so protective of their sermons and stuff. They're all protective of ... There are preachers that sell their sermons for crazy amounts of money. They'll want $12 for one CD. One sermon CD. Who's the guy with the real expensive sermons? SM Davis. He's got these sermons on the family, it's going to solve your family problems. $12 for a CD. Good night. I've seen ... The John Hagee's of this world? They'll be like $30 for this DVD about Israel. They'll be like $25 for this ... They'll sell a 55 minute DVD for $30. An audio CD ... I can see charging $20 for a DVD. That's the going rate, but you're charging $12 for an audio CD that costs a buck to make, and you're charging $12 for it. It's like whoa, what are you doing?
Here's the thing. I wouldn't mind. I don't care if he wants to sell his sermons for $120, if he'd put the sermon online for free. If he puts the sermon online for free and says it's free online, but if you want the CD, it's $20 or $120, who cares? He's selling it to you, but he's not selling the truth.
When you have to buy it is the only way to hear the sermon? It's one thing to put things online for free and then sell them, but your preaching is hidden under a bushel and then people upload your stuff to YouTube and you're flagging them for a copyright violation? The way I look it, because I know Peter Ruckman's like that. His stuff is always getting flagged and taken down from YouTube. Phil Kidd, his stuff is always getting taken down, taken down. You guys are stealing! You're dis- ... No, we're not stealing. Bible preaching should be free for everybody, free for all. It's preaching, but they're like you're stealing. You're pirating my stuff.
You know what? I'm glad these preachers hide their sermons. I heard about a church recently where their sermons are password protected. You have to fill out an application process to show them that you're worthy to download their sermons and you have to get a recommendation from your pastor, like yes, this guy can listen to your sermons. This is why: Because they're afraid that the homos are going to get a hold of it, or they're afraid that the government's going to get a hold of it. Put this in your pipe and smoke it, every stupid faggot who's listening to this sermon! It's live-streamed to the world! Sunday morning, Sunday and Wednesday night! I'm not afraid of what some sodomite thinks about it!
It's like let's all hide it, let's keep it ... Why? Why is John Hagee selling stuff for $50 a DVD and $30 a DVD and your prayer shawl is included or whatever? Why? THey're making merchandise out of you. John Hagee's just as much of a conman as that guy who's getting people to put ads in the newspaper. It's the same fraud. Beware of people who have this really good information for people, but you got to pay to get it because if they really thought it was that good, they'd want to get it in everybody's hand.
What if you had the cure for cancer? Would you hide it and say you got to pay $1,000 for it? Or would you just be let's cure everybody. Let's get this out to everybody. No, let's patent it and make sure nobody else can use the cure except us. Think about how weird that is?
You say people got to make a living. Yeah, but it's funny. Some people don't copyright stuff and they still make a living. Some people will give stuff away for free and still find a way to make a living. I bet you U2 could still make a living even without enforcing all these copyrights on their music because they could have a concert and make $10,000,000 and I'm not promoting U2. U2's a wicked band. I did a whole sermon called The Gospel According to Bono, where I showed how ungodly his worldview is. I'm using that as an example because U2 has been one of these ones that goes to Congress and whines about it. They've been one that pushes for these copyright laws, and many others also.
Let's keep moving in the sermon here. Go to Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 21. Again, I'm not against somebody selling sermon CDs or sermon DVDs, but I think that the information, the truths on the DVDs and CDs should be out for free anyway. The CDs are a convenience, an icing on the cake.
I remember one time I called a local church in town. They were having a youth conference and my niece was going to be at the youth conference, so I wanted to go see my niece at the youth conference, and they said to come to this conference ... All I wanted to do was come to the evening service and listen to the preaching. That's all I wanted to do. I called them up and they said it's $20. You have to register. I said no. I am not going to pay to go to church. I'm not going to pay to listen to preaching. I'm going to come for free. She said I guess that's okay, as long as you sit in the back. That's literally what she said.
What in the world? There was a church ... When I lived in Indiana, there was a church in Illinois where you bought tickets for Sunday morning. $20, $15, depending on what seats you get, and if you weren't good looking enough, you can't sit in the first two rows. No joke, that is a true story. They would choose who could sit in the first couple of rows because it's being televised and we want to put the really beautiful people up front, make it look good.
You know what? If I were pastor in that church, I'd put the ugliest people up front that I can because God's not a respecter of persons. Sit here under my footstool, sit thou there. That's not what the Bible teaches.
You might ask yourself this question: If the Bible talks so much about this, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, telling you to not buy or sell in the house of God, why do they do it? Have you ever wondered that? Why do they do it? Why do they sell stuff? I'll tell you this, when I was in Bible college at Hyles-Anderson, they taught us never give away anything for free. That's literally what they taught us. They said never give anything away for free.
When I was at Hyles-Anderson, when you went soul winning, the tracks that you handed out on soul winning, you had to buy them. Church invitations to give out and invite to church, you bought them. You paid for them. You want to go soul winning? You buy a pack of 50 invites and you go out soul winning. You paid for everything.
Here's why they taught us. Look at Matthew 6:21. Did I have you turn to Matthew 6? Look at Verse 21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. What they basically said was, if you give stuff to people for free, they won't appreciate it. You give stuff to people for free, they don't appreciate it, whereas if they pay a little bit of money for it, then they treasure it, they take care of it, they appreciate it. Whereas, when they get things for free, they don't appreciate it. Let me say this: They're right about that. They are right that when you give stuff to people for free, they don't appreciate it. Period.
Flip over to Matthew 20, though. From a worldly logic and a worldly perspective, what they're saying makes sense. You give stuff to people that they paid for, and they're going to take care of it, whereas, if you gave it to them for free, they think nothing of it, they don't really appreciate it, because that is human nature. They're right about that.
Look at Matthew, Chapter 20. Here's a story that's like that. I don't want to read the whole story for sake of time, but this is the story where the different laborers are hired and he agrees with the laborers for a penny a day. Then, he ends up hiring people at the very last hour. Instead of working a 12-hour day, they only work one hour, and he still gives them a penny. They're basically getting paid extra because the other people worked all day, receive a penny. These guys worked one hour, received the same amount. They're mad, like what's going on? Why'd you give them that extra? They got what they agreed for. They agreed for a penny, they got a penny. They had no reason to be upset, but they were upset because they saw someone else getting more free money.
Look down at the Bible and look at the response, Verse 12, saying, "These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden in the heat of the day. But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I do thee no wrong. Take that thine is and go thy way. I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?'" Watch, this is the phrase I really want to focus on, "Is thine eye evil because I am good?"
Do you hear what he's saying there? Is thine eye evil because I am good? What does it mean to have the evil eye? Covetousness, envy? He's saying is thine eye evil because I am good? Let me ask you this: If you're good, will that cause some people to have an evil eye? Absolutely, but does that mean we should stop being good? Is thine eye evil because I am good? No, thine eye's evil because you're not right with God. Me being good has nothing to do with that.
What I'm saying is, if we do what's right, God tells us not to sell things in church. Therefore, we're left with one option. Give everything away for free. How are you going to afford that? There's these things called tithes and offerings that come in, that are supposed to be God's way of financing the church, so we don't have to sell things because the tithes and offerings are what finance the church. That's God's model. That's God's plan. That was his plan in the Old Testament. That's what financed the Levis, the tithes and offerings. Not sales.
If we give things away for free, we have to go into it understanding that a lot of people are not going to appreciate it, and they're going to get a bad attitude and have an evil eye, but does that mean we should stop being good? Absolutely not.
Think about the one thing that's given away for free that's of the greatest value of all time. What is it that's given for free? Salvation, right? The gift of God is eternal life. The free gift hath appeared in all men. Think about how people don't appreciate it because it's free. Right? Think about that. Everybody gets salvation for free. If they get it, they get it by believing in Jesus, is free. How many Christians do you see that don't appreciate it, do nothing for God, don't go to church, don't read their Bible, don't keep the commandments, because they don't value their salvation. Why? Because it was given to them for free.
Did that make God say that's it. I'm going to quit giving this away for free? I'm going to make people work for it, then they'll appreciate it more. No, he says you know what? If you have an evil eye, shame on you, but I'm good. I'm going to be good. I'm going to give it to you for free because salvation is a free gift. He wants all men to be saved. He's going to give it away for free. Isn't that wonderful? Isn't that generous of Him? Isn't He the most generous being of all time? God, to give away salvation? He gives away eternal life for free! Forgiveness of sins, it's free!
I guess the Catholics wanted people to appreciate it back in the dark ages, so they sold it, indulgences. They sold the tickets into heaven. Make people appreciate it when they get there, except they're not going to get there.
You know what? I've seen in our church over the years ... I've been pastoring now for almost 10 years. I've seen a lot f people with an evil eye because we give stuff away for free. It's a minority. Most people appreciate getting stuff for free and they like getting stuff for free and they think it's great that we give stuff away for free, but I've seen people where they literally look a gift horse in the mouth. You give somebody something for free, and then they complain about it, and it's free! I'm thinking to myself what church have you ever been to that'll give you anything for free? They'll never give you ... Then people complain when they get free stuff.
Or you'll have an activity, people will RSVP to the activity and then not show up on a whim. Eh, decided not to go. This is what they taught us at Hyles-Anderson. If they paid, they'll show up. Make them put down a $5 deposit, make them put down $10, put down $20, and then when they're thinking nah, let's skip it, after all the work and money and planning went into it, they'll be like I put in my $5. They don't care that we already put in our $5, that we already spent hours planning it, but when they put in their little $5 bill, it's like I already paid, so I got to go.
Why? Because they appreciate that which they paid for because where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. There are people who ... WE've done weddings for lots of people and we try to give people as nice a wedding as we can, but not all weddings are going to be the same. Some weddings are going to come out nicer than others. A lot of that is because the people that were getting married put in their ... They put in some of their own because we provide a lot of it and we pay for a lot of it, but a lot of people bring their own extras and they upgrade things and stuff, which is great, but literally, we'll do a wedding for one person, maybe we're more busy that week or maybe we're less busy this week, but guess what? Some of the weddings are going to be better than others, but name the church that gives you a free wedding at your church and buys your cake for you and your punch. Can somebody show me a church on this planet that does that besides Faithful Word?
The bottom line is there are people who will have an attitude that literally will like, why was their wedding better than ours? Whoa, you got it for free. You can make it as good as you want somewhere else. You can go rent the Taj Mahal and get married there and you can cater it in with filet mignon and lobster tails. When you're getting something for free, anything that you get is better than nothing.
You know why I think this is a good truth to preach this time of year? Because we're getting into the Christmas season when people are ... This entitled mentality of my name's Jimmy, I'll take all you give me. Gimme, gimme, gimme, and what are you getting me for Christmas, and I better make sure that I don't give too much and get too little, and make sure that we all agree on how much we're spending this year. I don't want to spend a bunch of money and get a Whitman's Sampler as my full gift. Four chocolates. I bought you the whole 1-pound box from See's! You got me a Whitman's Sampler!
People get this stupid attitude. If you're right with God, you ought to go into Christmas with an attitude that says I expect nothing. If I go ... If nothing comes as a gift for me for Christmas, I'm going to praise the birth of Christ! Get excited about that.
You know what'll make a good Christmas for me? A cup of hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols. That's all I need to be happy. Jesus in my heart, but you know and I know that people go into Christmas with real big expectations, don't they? It's called being spoiled.
There are kids in this world who have one toy and they love and cherish that toy, and if they got another toy, they'd be really excited. Then there are kids who are surrounded by toys. Hey, you want to play with this? Ehh! Because they're spoiled.
There are kids that are eating out of a garbage can today in other parts of the world, then there are kids that are like I don't like this food. Why? Because they're spoiled. Isn't that what it means to be spoiled?
Listen, when you give stuff away for free at church, you end up spoiling people. Is thine eye evil because I'm good or because our church is good or because Jesus is good or because the Bible says to do it that way? No. There are people ... Baby showers. We do all of these baby showers, right? My baby shower wasn't as good as so-and-so's baby shower. What in the world? You got free stuff. Anything is better than nothing. The world does not owe you a living. You know what this church owes you? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You know what Jesus owes you? Nothing. You know what I owe you personally? Nothing. There is not a person in this room that I owe anything to, but I want to be a blessing and I want to be generous and help you and do everything I can for you, but I don't owe you anything.
You know who definitely doesn't owe you anything? My wife doesn't owe you anything. If she's been borrowing money without me knowing about it, talk to me and I'll deal with it, but as far as I know, my wife doesn't owe you anything. Sometimes people sure act like they owe her something. They sure act like I owe them something. They sure act like the church owes them something. You give stuff away for free and people get this entitled attitude or why did they get more, or theirs was better. When in reality, even if you got nothing, we owe you nothing, we've done you no wrong.
Friend, I do thee no wrong. Take that thine is and go thy way. If you have a problem with it, it's like what in the world do people think when they come to church and expect everything for free? I feel bad for the next church that people go to after they leave our church because we train them for years. Everything's free, and then they get somewhere and it's like whoa, you're charging for everything!
We did these portraits. These portraits are amazing. Beautiful portraits. Teresa Wittenberger, talented photographer. If we would've hired a professional company to come in, like if we would've brought Olan Mills or whoever in here, the quality would've been lower. Period.
Not only does she take these amazing pictures, she went above and beyond. I thought she was just going to take a few pictures and then pick the best one. That's what I do, just throw something at the wall and see what sticks. You know what I mean? Take as many pictures ... I thought she was going to take a bunch of pictures and pick the best one. She's going into Photoshop and using technology to take the best dad picture, put it with the best mom, the best child, do a head-swap on the baby, and make it all perfect, and people were like eh. What in the world? It's free! Why don't you go down to the mall and stick $5 in the photo booth and get a stupid picture. You're getting a pro picture for free.
I'm throwing that out there. I'm not saying people were complaining about the pictures. The pictures looked awesome. They looked amazing. I was floored by how good they looked, but the bottom line is, though, we need to make sure that we don't get this entitlement mentality, and this covetous, evil eye of theirs came out better. That's because they're better looking than you! That has nothing to do with the photography! We can't make you look totally different than how you were born! That's DNA! So-and-so's picture looks amazing. That's because they look amazing, and you don't! You're ugly! No, I'm just kidding. Kidding, but not kidding.
Their kid smiled. It's like, you know, you need to make your kid happier. I don't know what to tell you. You forgot to give it a sucker on the way in. Whatever. Plus, that's life. Sometimes kids are fussy and cry. I call those reality pictures. I'm like we got a good reality shot where the baby's like ... Everybody's like ... Then the baby's like ... It's a reality shot. Then you look back at those and they're cool later. Isn't that funny?
Get over it, but you can't beat the price. It's free. Any time something's free, you can't complain about it. It's ridiculous.
Anyway, I've got to wrap up the sermon here. I want to go to one last verse, Luke Chapter 6, Verse 38. Our church will always give things away for free for two reasons. Number one reason is because it's a sin not to. It's a sin to sell the preaching CDs. We have two options: Have no preaching CDs, that's an option. Just not have them. Can somebody show me a Bible verse where we have to have preaching CDs? No, but if we have them, they're free. If we're going to have them out on the shelf, it's free. I'm not like these traveling circus, evangelist clowns who are like I've got my book table in the back there, and let me spend 15 minutes of the sermon advertising you my CDs and my books and my DVD and all this stuff. We're not going to be that kind of a clown. We're not going to disregard the words of Christ here. It would be a sin for us to sell things in the church.
Again, let me reiterate, not a sin to sell things outside the church. Okay to sell Bibles. Okay to sell New Testaments. Okay to sell preaching CDs and DVDs, if a business is doing it. A merchant that sells merchandise, but pastors are not supposed to merchandise you.
There's a second reason why we will continue to give things away for free. Reason number one, because it's a sin not to. Reason number two is Luke 6:38. What does the Bible say? Give and it shall be given unto you. Good measure, press down, and shaken together, and running over shall man give into your bosom, for with the same measure that ye meet withal, it shall be measured to you again. Honestly, I do not believe it is a coincidence that we have always given everything away for free and we have never run out of money and we've never had any debt. In 10 years of our church, we've never had any debt, never borrowed money, never run out of money, always had enough money. Why? Because we give. We're generous, and if you give, it shall be given unto you.
Because our church gives everything away for free, God looks down and is pleased with that, and then He blesses us. Plus, there are people that have an evil eye, but there are a lot of people when they get stuff for free, they really appreciate it and like it, and then they give. Not by constraint, but willingly they give. They give a donation because they want to, not because they're buying something. They're not buying tickets to church or buying a CD or anything. No, they give. The Bible promises that if we give, it shall be given unto us. I believe that Faithful Word Baptist Church has never had to have a fundraiser, never had to ask people to give extra, never had to sell anything, because when you're generous, God will cause man to give unto you, and I believe that's been in the history of our church.
The third reason why we'll never sell the preaching CDs or anything else for that matter, is because I want you to watch them and more people will watch it if it's free. If it's free, exponentially more people will watch it or listen to it.
I remember the first time somebody asked me can I buy one of these preaching CDs. I said how about I can pay you to listen to it? Because why would I ... I want people to hear it. Why? Because the truths of the Bible are life changing. We got to get this out, this message out, and let's not a little thing, like copyright violation, get in our way of getting the truth out, the word of God.
That's what I love about the King James. The copyright was broken in the United States. When this book came to the US, they broke the copyright and they broke it back in the 1700s and said we don't care whether people on the other side of the ocean have this book copyrighted. We're going to print it and say nuts to you, and we've been saying nuts to you ever since with the King James version, and that's why the King James is public domain. No copyright. Can't say the same thing for the NIV. Can't quote ... If I stood up here right now and recited the Book of Philemon from the ESV, I'd be in copyright violation. I need to get written permission to do that. You can't quote more than 1,000 words at a time without permission and it can't be more than 50% of one book, so I can't even quote half of Philemon. What in the world? Because it's copyrighted. We don't want anyone riding our coattails.
You know what? No one wants your stupid ESV anyway. I'm glad the ESV is copyrighted. I'm glad the NI- ... Yeah, shut that stupid thing down. Let's get a King James in peoples' hands. That's why the Dollar Tree will only ever carry King James. You know why Dollar Tree's King James only? Because it's the only one you can sell for $1! Otherwise, $1's got to go to the publisher, and then it's like whoa, where's our money? The King James is the only Dollar Tree Bible.
Let's close the sermon with that, inspiring us to have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much, Lord, for the ultimate free gift: Salvation through the blood of Jesus. Lord, freely we've received, freely we should give.
Lord, I pray that You would help us when we get things for free, Lord, when we get a Christmas present, when someone invites us out to lunch, when someone invites us over for dinner, when someone gives us a card or a gift or a treat, Lord, help us to be thankful people. Help us to be appreciative people.
When someone takes our picture or throws us a baby shower or cooks us a meal, Lord, help us not to be a spoiled brat about it. Help us to actually be thankful and grateful, Lord, and to cherish things without having to pay for them, Lord.
Lord, thank you so much for salvation. I love the fact that it's free. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.