Faith is Not a Commodity

October 9, 2018

I was reading a book review today in a Christian magazine to which I have subscribed for years and the reviewer voiced his approval of the writer(s) of a book with these words:

 

“…believing the Christian faith is a good product, just one that’s been marketed poorly.”

 

I don’t have a problem with sales people marketing “products”. I’m all for a free market in which products are bought and sold.

 

Toothpaste and hair spray and other items should be advertised and sold.

 

It DOES, however, irritate me to no end to see faith in Jesus treated like a product.

 

Faith is not a commodity.

 

Belief in Jesus is not something to be bought and sold, yet, we see people in the RELIGION known in the world as Christianity advertising what is supposed to be utter trust in our Lord as if it is something to be bought and sold.

 

“…believing the Christian faith is a good product, just one that’s been marketed poorly.”

 

How did the first century Church “market” Christian faith?

 

IT DID NOT.

 

Christians stood out because the Holy Spirit of Christ changed them. They ceased to look like the world around them.

 

This caused people in charge of the world systems of the day to want to jail, beat, and kill them.

 

It caused MANY to want what they had.

 

Why?

 

Lost people wanted the Jesus that believers had precisely because they were different.

 

When I was still lost, I watched how my wife Laurie lived and I thought, “I want what she has.”

 

What she had was not a product. In fact, she didn’t have a thing OR a belief system.

 

Laurie had a SOMEONE that I did NOT have.

 

She was IN Jesus having been baptized into Him the instant she received Jesus as her Lord. And, because she was in Jesus, what is known as the “Godhead” (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) was dwelling inside her.

 

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…” (Colossians 2:9)

 

What far too many Christian leaders consider to be a “good product” (Christianity) was not attractive to me.

 

(It still isn’t attractive to me nor, I believe, is this man-made “product” attractive to our God.)

 

I was attracted to the Jesus in Laurie that made her different than me…and the rest of the world.

 

When the Apostle Paul was in Athens he addressed the men standing in the Areopagus:

 

“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.” Acts 17:24-29 – KJV)

 

The words “man’s device” is the Greek “anthropos enthumesis”. It literally means “things contrived by human thinking.”

 

Paul said, “…we ought not to think that the Godhead is like….things contrived by human thinking.”

 

I suppose that since the events and earthly organizations that are marketed in modern Christianity, bearing little to no resemblance to the Church described in the Word of God, are “things contrived by human thinking” – it’s ok to market those things.

 

Why? Because that sort of version of “the Christian faith is a good product, just one that’s been marketed poorly.”

 

I think that it wasn’t that statement in that magazine that rankled me so.

 

What bothered me was knowing that not always, but so often, the Christian faith has been reduced to a mere human product that needs to be marketed like some sort of a glorified self-help program.

 

It cheapens God’s intentions so much but that’s not the worst effect.

 

The worst effect is that, in a world filled with lost people that are so desperate to experience REAL LIFE, what they are all too often exposed to in the name of Jesus is something that is as worldly as they already are.

 

There is no salvation in that.

 

In AD. 33 Jesus told the Church to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

 

When He said that He wasn’t tell them to go all over the globe with the good news as much as He was telling them to take a HEAVENLY idea (the gospel), a FOREIGN concept, into something completely different than itself (the world), a system controlled by satan.

 

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God had been brought to the earthly system to DISPLACE it.

 

This terrified the devil so, he moved against it.

 

Sometime between 33 A.D. and now the ruler of this world (the devil – John 12:31), threatened by the heavenly nature of the Church, set out to saturate the Body of Christ with his ideas. 

 

THAT’S why the incomparable beauty of the Lord’s Church has stooped to using marketing schemes to sell the Christian faith or mini Christian kingdoms, or both, like some man-made product.

 

That’s why statements like this one: “the Christian faith is a good product, just one that’s been marketed poorly….” are so common no one even seems to notice them when they are used.

 

Jesus told us to preach the Gospel to every creature….not to market it as a product.

 

The word “preach” literally means to “herald” or to “proclaim” and the very best way to proclaim the good news of the Gospel….is to quite simply….LIVE IT.

 

It is good to gather with other believers in many formats…but when the first century Church spread like it did…it wasn’t because of HOW they met in terms of format as much as it was about HOW those people WERE in their everyday lives. They were DIFFERENT.  

 

It wasn’t their marketing schemes that caught the notice of the people. It was what they, in Christ, accomplished:

 

“But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, ‘These who have turned the world (the system known as “the world”) upside down have come here too.’” (Acts 17:6)

 

They were DIFFERENT

 

In this season of human existence Jesus is purifying His Church of all earthly entanglements. He is calling us back to His intentions for His Body.

 

Let’s ask the Holy Spirit of God to quicken our minds so that we will not be so easily led astray by satan’s systems of the world.

 

Let’s commit to cooperate with the Lord. We CAN overcome the world system but we cannot overcome it on our own.

 

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the worldour faith.” (1 John 5:4)

 

It HAS to be our “faith” – our utter dependency upon our Lord. THAT’S why we must reject marketing the Christian faith as if it were some human product.

 

“…we ought not to think that the Godhead is like….things contrived by human thinking.” (Acts 17:29)

 

Let’s commit to entrusting ourselves to Jesus…and nothing and no one else.

 

Then Jesus WILL “turn the world (system) upside down” through us again.

 

 

 

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, Texas

© October 9, 2018

 

"Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things."     (2 Timothy 2:7)

 

 

 

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