WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT SELLING IN CHURCH?
The first Scriptures that come to mind regarding selling in church are Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-17; and Luke 19:45-46. These three passages describe the two times when Jesus “cleansed” the Temple. When He saw the activities that were being carried on in His Father’s house, He became very angry. Clearly, this was not what the temple was built for.
Jesus regarded merchants and customers as guilty of desecrating the temple. Items being bought and sold included doves and other animals for sacrifice (John 2:14). Also present were those who exchanged one currency for another. This money-changing service was needed because Roman coins and other forms of currency were deemed unacceptable for temple offerings. Evidently, both merchants and money changers were charging such excessive rates that the temple marketplace took on the atmosphere of a thieves’ den (verse 13).
Obviously, selling books, hosting a raffle, doing fundraising, etc., are different than what was going on in the temple. Jesus was not necessarily angry that people were selling in the temple; He was angry because people were focused on selling, not on God. Jesus was also angry that the moneychangers were taking advantage of people, many of whom were poor and needed these services. Doves and other animals were required for offerings, and tithes in acceptable currency was also a requirement.
Such is not the case in today’s churches. Purchases in a church bookstore, for example, are entirely voluntary. No purchase is necessary to attend worship. If a church does decide to sell something inside the church building, it should make sure that the selling does not receive undue attention; does not distract people from worship and the teaching of God’s Word; and does not break the sacredness of the Sabbath hours. Selling should never be a high-pressure activity.
WHY IS CHURCH ATTENDANCE IMPORTANT?
The Bible tells us that we need to attend church so we can worship God with other believers and be taught His Word for our spiritual growth (Acts 2:42; Heb. 10:25). Church is the place where believers can love one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another (Heb. 3:13), consider one another (Heb. 10:24), serve one another (Gal. 5:13), instruct one another (Rom. 15:14), honor one another (Rom. 12:10), and be kind and compassionate to one another (Eph. 4:32).
When a person trusts Jesus Christ for salvation, he or she is made a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27). For a church body to function properly, all of its “parts” need to be present (1 Cor. 12:14-20). Likewise, a believer will never reach full spiritual maturity without the assistance and encouragement of other believers (1 Cor. 12:21-26). For these reasons, church attendance, participation, and fellowship should be regular aspects of a believer’s life. Weekly church attendance is not required for believers, but someone who trusts Christ should have a desire to worship God, learn from His Word, and fellowship with other believers.