Krister Stendahl wrote, “Madison Avenue techniques for selling the Gospel. We all know that it works. But we should learn that one doesn’t sell Jesus as one sells toothpaste or deodorant. There is the cross; there is the mystery. And there is God’s time, the right time.” Your Kingdom Come, - From “Cross Currents,” pages 264-265. The thought of selling the Gospel of Christ is intriguing. The thought of selling the Gospel involves selling the one who created the Gospel.
It is tragic to think of selling things God freely gives for some kind of personal profit. Even the name of the one great gift of God, that which Paul described as “unspeakable” (2 Cor. 9:15) has been strategically commercialized – think of the “Christmas” and “Easter” seasons of the year. Who can deny that Jesus has become a marketable product by a number of “religious” enterprises?
It always amazes me at “Christmas” time. People who could care less whether Jesus was born of a virgin or adopted by Ishmaelite traders seek to make financial capital on his unique entrance into the world. Have you ever wondered how the Lord feels about this tragic behavior? “Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise,” he said quite emphatically – John 2:16.
If you have the stamina to listen to TV “Ministries,” and “Religious Talk Shows” you will hear and see a For Sale sign pointing to our Lord and his cause. For a tax except enterprise to make financial gain on their rendition of the Lord and his gospel is purely “making merchandise.”
How many times have you heard the tearful plea, “Without your prayers and financial contributions, we will no longer be able to continue this ‘ministry’.” And how do they get away with offering “free” tapes, CDs, and their products for a “donation” – even specifying how much you must donate? The “faithful” of these so-called “ministries,” like that one the infamous Jim Bakker engineered, will dole out their hard earned money, all for the alleged “love of Jesus.”
The sale of Jesus is accomplished by a very up-to-date technique of modern advertising and salesmanship. Watering down anything that might be negative, emphasizing all that is positive, removing anything that might not sell too well in the stormy winds of controversy, the religious mercantile business has a product they call Jesus that bears no resemblance to the Son of God, the Son of Man.
Jesus is not for sale – never has been – never will be. Only those who make merchandise of his lovely name for personal advancement (one way or another) have a Jesus Christ for marketing. True and faithful followers of the meek and lowly Jesus recognize in him alone, all their hopes and dreams for a good life, a loving family, and ultimately eternal salvation. Just to be nearly like him is the single greatest challenge in this life.
Jesus isn’t for sale! All he promises, all his blessings, all of his life is freely offered to every accountable person on earth. Upon the condition of a faith that lovingly obeys his word without hesitation all one could ever want here and hereafter comes without cost.
“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” - Isa 55:1.
This wonderful thing doesn’t come packaged cleverly with some evasive advertising plan. While free, the prize God gives us comes through faith, obedience, diligence, reverence and full commitment. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus” – Phil. 3:13-14. -- DRS
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