Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 2:17a “For we are not, as so many peddling the word of God…”
A relative of mine, who is a television producer, called me recently from Washington D.C. He’d been watching 100 Huntley Street in Boston a few days earlier. “Your program is so unlike typical televangelism,” he said. “Sometimes I get the impression that televangelism is just another version of the home-marketing channel. They’re not presenting the gospel as much as selling themselves and hoping to entice the viewer to ‘buy’ into their ministry.”
I guess there’s very little new under the sun. Even in Paul’s day, there were evangelists peddling “the word of God for profit” (NIV).
So why didn’t Paul yield to the temptation of making money by marketing Jesus? Perhaps 2 Corinthians 5:10 provides the answer, “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
The word is “accountability.” Paul had a world view which included not only a personal God, but also heaven, hell, and giving account for one’s choices. The judge, of course, was/is God Himself. As Paul saw it, our choices are indelibly entered into the “computer program” of our lives, and there’s coming a day when there will be a complete print-out. When the record is read, there will then follow a judgment on the evidence. Scary stuff!
That’s why Paul could never allow himself to reduce the gospel to a means to a worldly end. He knew that if profit was his motive, Jesus would be lost. And if Jesus wasn’t preached then the gospel would be lost. Paul saw himself as a steward of the gospel. He knew the day would come when the only profit of any value would be souls won to Christ.