Stop Bringing to God What Costs Nothing

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically today’s passage begins with the fifteenth verse of the eleventh chapter and continues through to the twelfth verse of the twelfth chapter. “And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would. Not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, 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. And when even was come, he went out of the city” (Mark 11:15-19). “And in the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses” (Mark 11:20-26). “And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, and say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority to do these things? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? Answer me. And they reasoned with themselves, saying, IF we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things” (Mark 11:27-33). “And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard? He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And have ye not read the scripture; The stone which the builders have rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and. They left him, and went their way” (Mark 12:1-12). When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will find the second of what would actually be four different accounts of Jesus entering into the Temple and bringing cleansing to it. What’s more is that what makes this truly unique when you take the time to consider it is when you read the four gospel narratives and discover that the apostle Matthew, John Mark and the beloved physician Luke present this particular event within the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus after His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem on what we have come to know as “Palm Sunday.” These three gospel authors which have commonly been referred to as the Synoptic gospels present the cleansing of the temple as being one of the first actions Jesus took during what has also come to be known as the week of His passion or the week before His suffering. That which I find even more astonishing and intriguing about this is when you consider how the apostle John chooses to present this particular action towards the beginning of his gospel account of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus. Not only this but the apostle John also chooses to present this particular action and event within the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus shortly after He was in Cana of Galilee at a wedding and turned water into wine. It is in the second chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple and how it infuriated and enraged the Jews who were present and witnessed it. It would be in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we are brought face to face with the absolutely astonishing and powerful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus cleansing the Temple as it was presented at the beginning and opening of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John. If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple is how it not only angered but also seemed to infuriate both the Jews as well as the chief priests and the scribes. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple and how it would anger the religious leaders as well as perhaps the religious Jews. One of the most intriguing and captivating truths that is found in the four gospels is that Jesus’ entrance into the Temple and His subsequent cleansing of the Temple would so infuriate, enrage and upset the religious leaders, the religious Jews and even the religious spirit itself. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture that when we are presented with the narrative of the Lord Jesus entering into the Temple and bringing cleansing to it we come face to face with His confrontation of the religious spirit that was at operation within it. What makes this truly more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that it would be the religious spirit that would animate the religious leaders present during the days of the Lord Jesus as well as the religious Jews who were also present. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are present within the four gospel narratives of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus and I am brought face to face with the incredible reality of the religious spirit and how the religious spirit can be a spirit of commerce and merchandise as much as it can be a spirit of legalism and hypocrisy. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in these passages of Scripture it’s that Jesus’ entering into the Jewish Temple would indeed be something that would anger and upset the religious spirit—and not only the religious spirit but also the religious leaders and the religious Jews during those days. I do not believe it is any coincidence that when we read the four gospel narratives we find both the Jews as well as the religious leaders taking great offense to Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple. For the religious Jews as well as the religious leaders the Temple had become a place of business—a place where commerce and merchandise could be used to turn a profit. What’s more is that with the Temple of the living God being a place of commerce and merchandise it would essentially be means of capitalizing on the worship of the people and making a profit off of both the worship and the people. Stop for a moment and consider what this would indeed be like during the days of the Lord Jesus and how worship of the living God had become a business whereby men could turn a profit and make gains off of. Pause and truly think about the severity and tragedy of this and how when the Lord Jesus entered into the Temple He beheld and witnessed individuals who were capitalizing on worship and actually using it to turn a profit for themselves. The more I think about and consider the words which are found in this passage the more I am brought face to face with the reality that the Lord Jesus would enter into the Temple of the living God and behold those who not only sold but also those who bought. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading each of the four gospel narratives it’s that not only were there those who would capitalize on worship by selling but there would be those who would take advantage of that by buying. What we must needs pay close attention to in this passage is how the Lord Jesus would enter into the Temple and witness both of these acts taking place at the same time—the act of buying as well as the act of selling. It would have been one thing for the Lord Jesus to enter into the Temple and simply behold those who were selling in the midst of the Temple There is something we must needs recognize when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for within it we are brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ entering into the Temple which stood on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem and was deeply angered by what He saw. Upon entering into the Temple the Lord Jesus witnessed and beheld the worship of God being transformed and reduced to nothing more than business which was steeped and rooted in commerce and merchandise. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the presence of commerce and merchandise present within the house of the living God. I write these words and I can’t help but be absolutely captivated with the tremendous reality of capitalizing on the worship of God by the saints and using it to turn a profit. I look at some of the “megachurches” across this nation and how there are a number of them who are capitalizing on the worship of the saints and turning a profit from it. There are countless “megachurches” throughout this country who have for all intents and purposes turned the church building and even church itself into a business. What’s more is there are actually pastors who refer to themselves as CEO’s of these “church corporations” and as a direct result of this they reduce church and the church building to nothing more than “Corporate America.” If we were truly being honest with ourselves and with the Holy Spirit we must needs admit that we have allowed corporate America to creep into and enter into many of our churches. What’s more is that not only has corporate America creeped into many of our churches but it has become the foundation for the substance of the church. Much like Pharaoh built Egypt upon the backs of the children of Israel after enslaving them in the midst of the land so also do many pastors build these churches into kingdoms and empires and do so on the backs of the saints of God. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something we must needs come to terms with and that is how there are countless pastors and leaders within our churches who have not only turned the church building and church itself into a business but they have sought to build kingdoms and empires on the backs of the saints of the living God. Oh it is with this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Exodus—and not only that which is found in the Old Testament book of Exodus but also that which we see in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle Matthew concerning the scribes and the Pharisees: “And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour” (Exodus 1:7-14). “And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live. But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive. And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed mighty. And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses. And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive” (Exodus 1:15-22). “And it came to pass in the process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them” (Exodus 2:23-24). “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to. Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called. Him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moss said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT IAM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: and I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say. Unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and. Ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters: and ye shall spoil the Egyptians” (Exodus 3:1-22). It is within these passages found within the Old Testament book of Exodus we encounter Pharaoh enslaving the children of Israel in the midst of the land of Egypt. Because of his insecurity, his own anxiety and his own fear he not only enslaved the children of Israel but he also made their lives miserable and burdensome by forcing them into manual labor. Moreover Pharaoh appointed cruel and oppressive taskmasters who greatly afflicted them and made their lives a complete and utter misery in the midst of the land. Within the opening three chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus we encounter and come face to face with the reality of Pharaoh enslaving the children of Israel—and not only enslaving the children of Israel but also building two treasure cities off their blood, sweat and tears. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the children of Israel while they were living in the midst of the land of Egypt for more than four-hundred years they would live as slaves being subjected to cruel bondage and oppressive slavery. The first three chapters of the Old Testament book of Exodus calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the children of Israel and how Pharaoh appointed cruel and oppressive taskmasters over them who would violently oppress and afflict them. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the undeniable reality that Pharaoh would indeed enslave—and not only enslave the children of Israel but also subject them to cruel and oppressive bondage and affliction in the midst of the land. Moreover he subjected them to forced labor as they would be relegated to giving of themselves and their lives to build the kingdom and empire of the land of Egypt. Having said this I find it necessary to draw and call your attention to the following words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and bring us face to face with the truth surrounding cruel and oppressive taskmasters who were present during the days of the Lord Jesus. We must needs recognize and understand that while there were physical and natural taskmasters who cruelly and violently oppressed and afflicted the children of Israel during the days of Moses so also were their cruel and oppressive taskmasters during the days of the Lord Jesus who afflicted the people. The twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew calls and draws our attention to the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding these religious taskmasters who would not violently oppress and afflict the people of Judaea and Galilee but who would afflict and oppress them nonetheless. It would be very easy to think that just because the scribes, the chief priests, the elders of the people, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and even the teachers of the Law did not oppress and afflict the people of Judaea and Galilee during those days, however, the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case. There is something we must needs recognize and understand concerning the words which Jesus taught concerning the scribes and Pharisees for they bring us into a place where we recognize and understand just how oppressive these religious taskmasters truly were during the days of the Lord Jesus. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew beginning to read with and from the first verse: “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: For they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselevs will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: For one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows! Houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto. You, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of. the temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifeth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisees, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchures, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous. And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:1-33). It is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in the twenty-third chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew for within it we are brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the scribes and the Pharisees. It is within this passage of Scripture we encounter and come face to face with the reality of the scribes and the Pharisees and how they were indeed religious taskmasters who cruelly oppressed and afflicted the people of Judaea and Galilee during the days of the Lord Jesus. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the reality surrounding the scribes and Pharisees and how they were those who would bind heavy burdens and place them upon men’s shoulders yet were not willing to lift a finger to help them. As if this weren’t enough we also read concerning the scribes and the Pharisees how they were those who refused to enter into the kingdom of heaven and even restricted and prevented others from entering therein. The scribes and the Pharisees were those who would not and could not enter into the kingdom of heaven and as a direct result of their inability and unwillingness to enter into the kingdom of heaven were those who would not and could not allow others to enter in. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it brings us face to face with the reality of the scribes and the Pharisees and how they were those who did indeed and did in fact bring men and women into bondage through their own pretense, their own traditions, their own legalism, their own hypocrisy and the like. This is something which must needs be carefully considered for it brings us face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the scribes and Pharisees and how they were those who would indeed be in bondage themselves—bound to tradition, bound to the Law, bound to rules, bound to their own blindness and deafness—and would as a direct result of this lead others into bondage themselves. The truth of the matter is that it is necessary for us to recognize and pay attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face with those who are present within many of our churches today. There is a not a doubt in my mind there are countless religious and legalistic taskmasters which are present in the midst of many of our churches within this nation. Such individuals are those who build kingdoms and empires off the backs of the people of God—and not only off the backs of the people of God but also off their tithes and offerings. Such men and women are not at all concerned with the building of the kingdom of heaven but they are concerned with their own kingdoms and their own empires. These individuals are entirely and altogether consumed with making their names great—and not only their names great but also the name of whatever ministry, organization and church they are leading and heading up. Oh we must needs recognize and understand this for there are countless men and women within our churches who are being taken advantage of by greedy charlatans who care only about turning a profit and building an empire of wealth. Look at how many there are who are becoming rich and fat off the wealth, the resources and the finances of others as they focus solely on making their own name great within the earth. I read the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narratives written by the gospel authors and I am brought face to face with four distinct accounts of the Lord Jesus Christ entering into the Temple which was present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem. What’s more is that when the Lord Jesus entered into the Temple which was present in the midst of the city of Jerusalem He witnessed the presence of commerce and merchandise which was present in the midst of it. As if it wasn’t bad enough for the spirit of religion to blind and bind the hearts and minds of men the religious spirit would also tolerate and allow commerce and merchandise in the midst of the sanctuary of the living God. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when we read the words found in each of the four gospel narratives it’s that the religious leaders as well as the religious Jews seemed to be entirely and altogether approving and accepting of those who bought and sold within the Temple. The more you read the words which are found in these four passages of Scripture the more you will be brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding both the religious Jews as well as the religious leaders and how they seemed to take great offense with the action(s) of Jesus. When Jesus entered into the Temple which stood in the midst of the city of Jerusalem He would be angered and frustrated with the buying and selling that took place in the midst of the sanctuary of the living God. You cannot and must not miss how incredibly important this truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus entering into the Temple and being angered and perhaps even saddened by the sight which He saw within it. As I read these four passages of Scripture I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that the Lord Jesus would indeed enter into the sanctuary and Temple of the living God and would witness and behold individuals making a profit and getting rich from and off of the worship of the people. You cannot read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus entering into the Temple and being greatly angered and offended—not only because of the selling which He witnessed in the court of the Temple but also because of the buying He beheld. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s that the Lord Jesus wouldn’t merely be angered and offended by those who sold doves, and oxen, and sheep and the like. Upon reading the words found in these passages of Scripture you get the strong sense the Lord Jesus was greatly angered and offended with and by those who bought as well. It wasn’t enough simply for there to be those who would turn and transform worship into a business as they would buy and sell those things which would be used in worship for there would also be those who would participate in this action and would buy that which was being sold. Oh there is something incredibly tragic about that which is found in this passage of Scripture and how Jesus entered into the Temple of the living God and observed those who turned and transformed worship into a business as they would sell those things which would be used to worship the one true and living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it brings us face to face with what is present among us within our generation and within this nation—and not only this nation but also the world itself. There is a great need for us to recognize the words and language found in these passages of Scripture for they bring us face to face with those who have taken the worship of the living God and have transformed it into a business where they are selling and producing that which men and women buy that they might worship the living God. It is with all of this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found within the four New Testament gospel narratives for they bring us face to face with those within the Temple who turned and transformed the worship of the living God into a business whereby they would sell what was and would be used to worship the living God unto those who would come into the Temple. There would be those who would look upon and view worship of the living God as something they could turn a profit off of and would essentially make it easy and convenient to worship the living God. In all reality I can’t help think about how many of these so-called Christian music artist have done and are doing the very same thing. They are mass producing that which makes it “easy” for men and women to worship the living God by selling that which men and women might lay a hold of. What makes this so incredibly tragic when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that there are countless men and women whose worship is entirely and altogether cheap because they have been relegated and confined themselves to worship which has been produced by those who have not only produced but also sold it. This is something we must not miss and lose sight of for there are very few who truly know how to worship the one true and living God with more than that which had been produced and manufactured by others. How many men and women are completely and entirely unable to worship the living God simply and solely because they have become so bound by that which has been produced and manufactured by so-called “Christian artists?” Such men and women find it absolutely and incredibly difficult to worship the Father in Spirit and in truth because they can only worship in what is manufactured and produced. I am writing these words and I can’t help but wonder where the true worshippers are who can and do in fact worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Where are the true worshippers who like David in the house of Obed-edom cannot and will not offer unto the living God that which cost them nothing? Where are the true worshippers of the living God who like Mary will bring her alabaster box—both that which itself was expensive and costly and which contained within it something that was costly and expensive—and break it at the feet of Jesus? Where are the men and women who are willing to fill the room with the fragrance of their worship just as Mary did when she broke the alabaster jar at the feet of Jesus and poured out the fragrant perfume upon His feet? Where are those men and women who will sit at the feet of Jesus as Mary did and simply hear and listen to Him as He teaches and speaks? Where are those men and women who will worship before the Lord Jesus by anointing His feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair? There is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in these passages of Scripture for part of the underlying danger and trouble that was found in the Temple was a worship of convenience for those who would come into the court of the Temple. Of course we cannot completely say that worship did not cost those who came to the Temple nothing for they would indeed pay money to purchase the turtledoves, or the oxen, or the sheep, or anything else that would have been used to worship the living God in the Temple. What we see and what we find when we read the words found in this passage of Scripture is an incredibly unique and powerful picture of those who would take the worship of the people of Judaea and Galilee and transform it into a business whereby money could be made from it. It is with all of this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following passages presented within the four New Testament gospel narratives concerning Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of that which is found within these passages for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus entering into the Temple of the living God—the Temple of His Father—and witnessing those present in the midst of the court of the Temple buying and selling that which would be offered unto the living God as worship. What’s more is that with this being said I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words found in various Old Testament passages of Scripture. I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize the words which are found in the fifteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel, as well as the words which are found in the first chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah, and the words found in the seventh chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Jeremiah and finally the words which are found in the first chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Malachi. I firmly believe there is a great need to consider the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the incredible reality of the Temple of the living God and how the Temple was and should be a place of worship, sacrifice and prayer and how men turned and transformed it into that which displeased and even offended the living God. Having said this I invite you to consider the following words found in these Old Testament passages of Scripture beginning with the Old Testament book of First Samuel: “Then came the word of. the LORD unto Samuel, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieve Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed b e thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou was little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee ona. Journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD/ And Saul said unto Samuel, yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:1-23). “Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of. Sodom; Give ear unto the law of our God ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the LORD; I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, a nd the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; It is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: They are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil: learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: Though thebe red like crimson, t hey shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land; But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: For the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:10-20). “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of. the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in. at the gates to worship the LORD> Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, The Temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not. The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed now innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever” (Jeremiah 7:1-7). “Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? IS this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD> But go ye now unto m y place which was in Shiloh, where I set my. Name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye. Have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; andI called you, but ye answered not; Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by. My name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children father wood and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? Saith the LORD: Do not they provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the LORD God; Behold mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field and upon the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched” (Jeremiah 7:8-20). “A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: IF then I be a father, where is mine honour? And If I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine alter; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Saith the LORD of hosts. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: This has been by your means: Will he regard your person? Saith the Lord of hosts. Who is there even among you that would should the doors for nought? Neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: For my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the LORD is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, even his meat, is contemptible. Ye also said, Behold, what a weariness is it! And Ye snuffed at it, saith the LORD of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and lame, and sick; thus ye brought an offering: Should I accepted this of your hand? Saith the LORD. But cursed be the deceiver which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrifieeth unto the LORD a corrupt thing: For I am a great King, saith the LORD of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen” (Malachi 1:6-14). There is something absolutely incredible about the words which are found in this particular passage of scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding the Temple of the living God and how the Temple of the living God was such that would be turned into a den of thieves and a marketplace in the sight and presence of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for they bring us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding Jesus’ actions in the Temple during His day. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words and language contained within each of these passages of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the incredible reality of the Temple of the living God and how much of an integral part it was in the culture and society during the days of the Jewish people. Even when the Lord Jesus would be manifested on the face of the earth the Temple would be a vital part of the culture—this despite the fact that it was being used as a place to turn worship into a business whereby men and women would be able to turn a profit. This is something we have a great need to pay close attention to as it brings us face to face with the truth of those who would take worshipping the living God and would turn it into a business whereby they would be able to make and turn a profit over it. As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the words which we find in the New Testament gospel narratives which were written by the gospel authors. The words we find within each of the four gospel narratives calls and draws our attention to the incredible and powerful truth surrounding the Temple of the living God during the days of the Lord Jesus and how when He entered into the midst of it He would be angered and infuriated at how they had taken and transformed His Father’s house into a marketplace. The living and eternal God had indeed raised up His Temple as a place whereby men and women could worship before Him and yet there were those who would be able to come to the Temple and actually purchase their offering and that which they would offer in the sight of the living God. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous reality of how men and women would be able to come into the house of the LORD without bringing their own offering or that which would come from their own flock, or herd and would instead be present before and unto them during those days. If there is something we must needs understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s how the Lord Jesus would indeed enter into the Temple of the living God and would thoroughly and completely cleanse it from the commerce and the merchandise that would be present in the midst of it. The Lord Jesus would enter into the Temple of the living God and would completely and utterly drive out anything and everything that would be used to turn a profit in the name of worship of the Father. The Lord Jesus was not willing to allow men and women to enter into the house of His Father and offer unto the LORD that which would indeed and that which would in fact cost them nothing. Oh that we would recognize and understand this and how absolutely wonderful it truly is that Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple was indeed an open invitation given unto those who were coming unto the house of His Father to deliver themselves from the commerce and merchandise of worship and to worship before the Father in Spirit and truth. Oh that we would read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and would recognize and understand how absolutely necessary and incredible this truly is and that we would be brought face to face with the need within our own hearts and lives to be those who would indeed be delivered from bringing to God that which cost us nothing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s