What exactly is the deceitfulness of riches? It could be.......choosing to keep all your riches and not giving to God...... or ......thinking that the measure of riches you posses shows your faith.
In the parable of the sower(Matt.13), Jesus speaks of the Word of God being sown in peoples' hearts. In one verse He talks about the seed that is sown among the thorns and the deceitfulness of riches that chokes out the Word and makes it unfruitful in their lives.
I have always heard this taught by preachers. They say that the deceitfulness of riches is what occurs when we begin to desire things to the degree that we withhold the tithe and spend it on ourselves, something we want, or, when we use the tithe to pay our bills because we don't have enough faith to give our tithe first and know that God will somehow get our bills paid because we tithed first. This breaking of the letter of the law brings the curse on us and on our finances and chokes the Word that has been sown in our hearts out.
What if that is not what the deceitfulness of riches is at all. What if the deceitfulness of riches is distorting the Word of God where money is concerned.
Many preachers believe that God's people are entitled to be rich, wealthy with money, especially the preachers. They spend and enormous amount of time teaching the letter of the law on tithing. They teach their congregation to focus on money. Calling it in, talking to it, and using their faith to get it. They place much more importance on tithe, giving and money than they do on love, repentance, joy, giving to the poor, helping those in need, loving your enemy, praying for others, reaching the lost, the cross, the resurrection, salvation and countless other aspects of the gospel. Everyone is focused on money. The Word of God is choked out.
1Timothy3-10 in the Amplified says: But if anyone teaches otherwise and does not assent to the sound and wholesome messages of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and the teaching which is in agreement with godliness (piety toward God) He is puffed up with pride and stupefied with conceit,(although he is) woefully ignorant. He has a morbid fondness for controversy and disputes and strife about words which result in (produce) envy and jealousy, quarrels and dissension, abuse and insults and slander, and base suspicions. And protracted wrangling and wearing discussion and perpetual friction among men who are corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, who imagine that godliness or righteousness is a source of profit (a moneymaking business, a means of livelihood). From such withdraw. (And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for) godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and obviously we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content (satisfied). But those who crave to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish (useless, godless) and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction and miserable perishing. For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute (mental) pangs.
The Bible says to seek first the kingdom of God and all these things (material things) will be added unto you. Yet churches have service after service and preachers have sermon after sermon based on getting material things. They claim that this is to get the work of God done yet the work of God is not getting done using the finances they already have available. The Word of God is not only being choked out of the congregations' lives, but the Word is so choked out of the pastors lives to the degree that only a tiny amount of the Word is being sown into the people.
If the letter of the law on tithing is not what we are supposed to do as the New Testament church. If true new testament giving is cheerful and as each has purposed in his own heart (2 Cor.9:7), then it will be more than enough to supply all the need of the church. New Testament giving would be more than the tithe. It shows such a lack of faith on the preachers' part to constantly harp on tithing and giving, trying by manipulation to pull every cent out of churchgoers. It shows that they do not think God is capable of speaking to His children's hearts and prompting them to give out of a heart of love. Not only do they lack the faith for God to supply their need, they keep the word "tithe" in front of the people so much by beating them over the head with the law that they are supposed to be redeemed from, that they feel once they have given their ten percent, they don't want to think of giving anymore. They have had it forced on them by a law enforcer till they don't want to think about it anymore.
Matthew 23:23-24 says: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
There is rampant sin in the church among some leadership. Many come to churches every week and never hear the weightier matters taught. Many never hear repentance taught. They are told they need to be saved but are never explained what happened at the cross and what it meant. They are just told to repeat a prayer that they don't understand. The gospel is the good news about Jesus, not about money.
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