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- Jose Bosque
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What I am about to share is going to rock you. It will cause you to re-think everything you do in the future as a Christian. Whether you are the buyer or the seller, one day you will be affected, for Judgment is coming first to the household of God. In love, I ask you to stop reading now or consider yourself forever warned.
I don’t pretend to have the answer to the huge mess that worldly business practices have brought into the church. As Isaiah 61 says we have been in sin and we have endured in them for a long time. Today these worldly practices have their tentacles into much of what the church does. Nothing less than genuine repentance, or a total Heaven sent-Economic failure of the current system, can return us to the original ways of the first disciples.
Recently I have been shocked (even more than usual) by how people that are pressing into the Lord in so many areas have been so duped by the enemy, thereby remaining blind to such an important part of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am talking about the merchandizing of the Gospel. It’s the selling of Jesus for a price or “Christ peddlers” as it is called in
2 Cor 2:17
17 For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. Peddling here is the Greek word for our word “retail,” or, selling for what the market will bear. It’s the requiring up-front free and guarantees to minister to you by “by faith.” It’s the setting up of tables to promote our “spiritual wares”.
In the World’s Economy money creates a division between “the haves and the have-nots”. It is not supposed to be so in the kingdom of King Jesus. I don’t care how you spin it, the Bible says “freely you have received freely give”. There is not a verse in the entire New Testament that teaches that a servant of the Lord should require anything before they minister to the saints. That famous line ‘if we don’t charge they won’t take it seriously” will not work with God.
For those that are fuming right now, let me break it down for you where the rubber meets the road. This is going to be painfully practical.
Saints are merchandized when;
1. They have to pay for Christian books and teaching cd’s,
2. They have to pay for Christian music cd’s and downloads
3. They have to pay Christian Conference registration fees and concert tickets
4. Their hard earned dollars and gifts are used to pay for flights, hotels and other first class accommodations such as “special Fiji water” for their leaders to travel or to entice “elite speakers and groups” on the circuit to come minister at their “church”.
5. Church pastors guarantee income, “honorariums” and love offerings, to book those Christian leaders everyone wants to see.
6. A specific amount is given as the correct amount needed to bless a pastor or leader for his birthday, anniversary or pastor appreciation. Have you ever wondered if those $65 dollars will create the same burden on all the “members”?
7. Worship leaders and musicians will not play or sing in our “services” unless they are paid what they require.
It would be interesting to imagine what our “church services” would look like if the money each congregation collected was used only to help the poor, the needy and the widows among us. Imagine a ministry that purely ministered by faith. A ministry where the word voluntarily replaced the famous “letter of ministry requirements” sent ahead by Christian speakers, bands and entertainers.
This coming change will not come because it was mandated from the pulpit or even because it was preached by well-known and respected preachers. God himself is raising up both saints that are tired of being merchandized in the name of Jesus and servants who understand that the gift they have been given belongs to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember when I started I said I didn’t have the answer but I do have some recommendations. It’s the word donation or suggested donation. It’s the total surrender to believe that the Lord Jesus is our source not the people we minister to. It’s the giving away of those gifts that have been entrusted to us for his church freely and thereby administered equally. Equity or equality is a very popular concept in the New Testament. The words VIP’s and preferred seating don’t exist in the Kingdom.
How then is a Christian artist, speaker or author supposed to operate? How do we book worldly venues for our larger meetings and who is to pay for them if we do not charge at the door? In the current mess of the man-made system we now call “church” I see no answer for these difficult questions. My only prayer is to return to the scriptures to glean His truths from them.
I find in the whole New Testament that, while we may teach the saints that they should bless their teachers and help them with support to do the work, I find no place where a demand is placed prior to the service. Simply put, His servants are to model “the just shall live by faith”.
I see the Holy Spirit requiring His leaders that all the needy saints be blessed equally from the congregations coffers. Surely the idea that someone could not participate because they could not afford it is alien to the New Testament. So how did they do it? We know the food they passed to the widows was not free. There were costs like there are today.
Here is a missing element in modern Christianity which I believe was the secret to New Testament equality.
Acts 4:36-37 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet. NKJV
Today if the rich among us sells his land it is to build building with their names on them. The problem lies at the root of a system that spends 80 percent of buildings and only 20 percent on the work of the Kingdom. The problem lies at the foot of a system that teaches people to give God 10 percent and the rest is yours. There is a great need for personal responsibility on the part of believers. We still have many freeloaders who gladly take advantage of the sincere hearted people who give freely.
Another problem is a system that treats the poor and the needy as “missions” and “outreach” instead as our family. By the way, we make sure of that by building our buildings and homes away from the blighted areas of town. I remember when I sat to advise the now pastor of the largest non-denominational church is Jacksonville, Florida and the first question he asked me was to verify the demographic study he had made as to the location of the wealthiest part of the city so he could start his church there. I don’t have to tell you the knife I felt in my heart. Today, the majority of Christians would say that he is wise and I am a fool. The only problem with that is there is a day of reckoning, and misguided Christian models of success (Wall Street Based) will not be on the menu.
So to finalize, what am I doing to help rediscover the original way? In October I will be attending a meeting of Global apostolic leaders who will be tackling the questions related to Kingdom Economics. I am praying the Lord will speak and his servants will hear. I strongly believe that no one man has the answer unless it is the man Christ Jesus in His one body.
May the Lord give us wisdom as we each proceed to please the Lord with those things we do and approve by our participation.
Jose L. Bosque