In the years preceding the Civil War Daniel Webster, the illustrious Massachusetts Senator, was a hero to abolitionists, especially to those who opposed the spread of slavery into new states coming into the Union. In 1831 the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the following lines in praise of Webster.
Let Webster’s lofty face
Ever on thousands shine;
A beacon set, that freedom’s race
Might gather omens from that radiant sign.
In 1852, however, Webster decided he wanted to be President and gave a speech attacking abolitionists for being uncompromising, hoping this would boost his political aspirations. Those who had looked on him as a hero were now disillusioned with Senator Webster. In fact, in 1854 Emerson wrote another poem about Webster that vividly demonstrated his disappointment.
Why did all manly gifts in Webster fail?
He wrote on nature’s grandest brow, For Sale!
How sad and how pathetic that a man would sell out for political advantage. But, of course, that is what politicians have always done – and still do! How much sadder still is when Christians are for sale. May the Lord grant us the courage to ever say to the Devil and to the world, “Not for sale!” Note with me some Bible Heroes who refused to sell out.
Peter and John
Peter and John were offered a great sum of money if they would sell the gift they had been given as Apostles. In Acts 8 Philip went into Samaria and preached Christ unto them. Men and women heard the message, believed and were baptized. (Acts 8:12) There was a sorcerer named Simon who, when he saw the miracles Philip was able to perform believed and was baptized himself. The Apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to Samaria and the two Apostles began to lay their hands on the new converts so that they could receive the Holy Spirit and miraculous gifts. The Bible says “When Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostle’s hands the Holy Spirit was given he offered them money.” (Acts 8:18) He wanted to purchase the power these men had to be able to lay hands on others and give them the Holy Spirit. By the way, Simon clearly saw that the miraculous measure of the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on of the Apostle’s hands. When people tell me they can speak in tongues, heal the sick, and perform the other miraculous gifts of the Spirit today I ask them, “Give me the name of the Apostle who laid hands on you.” There are no living Apostles today and hence the miraculous gifts that existed in the early days of the church have ceased as I Corinthians 13:8-10 plainly teaches.
When Simon offers to purchase the gift of God Peter bluntly and forcefully tells him he is in danger of losing his soul. “Your money perish with you because you thought the gift of God could be purchased with money!” (Acts 8:20) Peter is bluntly telling him that he is going to perish in hell, and his money with him! Amazingly, Simon does not get mad and quit the church after receiving such a harsh rebuke (as many have and do) but he repents and asks Peter to pray for him. Peter’s answer to Simon can really be boiled down to three words, not for sale! Not only was the gift not for sale, but neither were Peter and John. That is what is needed today – preachers like Peter and John who are not for sale no matter the price or the accolades. Yes, we need more preachers in the brotherhood, but not just any preachers. We need men who are not nor sale!
Naboth had a lovely piece of property with a vineyard on it. Unfortunately, however, it bordered the grounds of the palace of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Ahab decided that he wanted to purchase the property, plow under the vines, and plant a kitchen garden. He approached Naboth and offered him a premium deal. “I’ll pay whatever amount of money you want,” declared Ahab, “Or if you prefer we can trade. I will give you a better piece of land. Name your price!” I Kings 21:3 records Naboth’s answer, “The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” Those fourteen words (the only recorded words of this good man) can be reduced to three words – Not for sale! It must be understood that Naboth did not refuse to sell just because of some sentimental attachment to the land he had received from his fathers. It was much more substantial than that. When Moses had given each family an inheritance in the land they were enjoined to never sell their inheritance throughout their generations. Ahab cared little for God’s Word, but Naboth was a man who would not sell out, even to the King! “The Lord forbid that I sell out! Not for sale!” Ahab takes to his bed and sulks like a spoiled child until Jezebel comes to his rescue and has Naboth murdered so Ahab can have his kitchen garden. Of course, in the end both Ahab and Jezebel end up as food for the dogs because of their blatant brutality and mockery of God’s justice. Nevertheless, thank God for men like Naboth. May we have the courage to never sell our inheritance. Our forefathers sacrificed their fortunes, their good names, and even their lives so we could have the scriptural pattern for the church, worship, and salvation. How can we give up what they have passed on to us from God’s Word? Let us declare as boldly as did they, not for sale!
Jesus, I declare as reverently as I can, is our ultimate hero because he was not for sale at any price. According to one of the accounts the last temptation of Jesus in the wilderness consisted of Satan taking Jesus up on an exceedingly high mountain. He shows the Lord all the kingdoms of the world in a moment and then bids Jesus to fall down and worship him. “All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me,” Satan tempts. Jesus answers, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:9,10) In a nutshell what Jesus told the Devil was, Not for sale! Later, just a little while before his death on the cross, Jesus took the disciples up to a high mountain and told them for the first time that he was going to be put to death, buried, and then raised from the dead. Peter took Jesus aside and rebuked him saying, “Not so Lord!” Jesus rebukes Peter with the surprising words, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33) Jesus addresses Peter, but the Lord recognized that Satan was working through Peter still trying to get him to sell out and not fulfill the Father’s will. Jesus tells Satan again, not for sale! Jesus would not sell out but went to the cross, thus making a way for our salvation. Thank God Jesus was not for sale. May the examples of the heroes we have reviewed today, along with many other examples in the Scriptures inspire and motivate us in our dealing with the world and the Devil. Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 6:19-20 that we are not our own, for we were bought with the price of the precious blood of Jesus. Let us then, since we are bought and paid for, boldly declare to all who would tempt us with worldly riches or accolades, not for sale!
Article by: Jerry Dickinson