When you submit yourself to a certain church, their focus will most likely become your focus. That's a good thing when they are teaching the Bible and pointing people to Jesus, but sometimes there are things being taught that aren't in line with the Bible. There are those who pull scriptures out of context and try to make doctrines out of them. People stand up and say, "God told me this," and everyone automatically believes it. I don't care who it is - when someone says that God spoke to them about something we should not accept it until we find it in the Bible. There are many differing teachings out there in the world and we are responsible to find out which ones are right. You can go to 2 different churches and hear 2 different teachings on the same subject, but how will you know which to believe? The only thing you should take at face value is the Bible. Make sure the Bible supports it before you base your life on it.
The truth is plain and simple. When it starts to become hard to understand we need to take a step back. I remember when I first got saved I loved to read my Bible. I was learning all about God and what I needed to do to please Him. Things over the years seemed to get more difficult to understand because people were teaching their "deep revelations" and they got away from the simple truths like:
*Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. (Matthew 5:6)
*Let your light so shine before men. (Matthew 5:16)
*Seek ye first the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33)
*The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray that the Lord will send laborers into His harvest. (Matthew 9:9)
*Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22:37)
*Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39)
*Go into all the world, and preach the gospel. (Mark 16:15)
*Rejoice because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)
*For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son. (John 3:16)
*Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)
*The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. (Romans 5:5)
*I will never leave you or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
I could go on and on, but I'm sure that many of you can relate to what I am saying. These are the scriptures we began to learn in the beginning. We can't get away from these simple truths. I have been going back and reading these scriptures and I feel like I am newly saved.
There are some teachings out there on money, tithing, and increase that people seem to be placing above everything else. There are a lot of new believers coming into churches and they aren't being taught simple foundational truths like the ones I listed above. Statements are being made in some churches that seem to say that everything good in a person's life hinges on the tithe. I do not believe that God withholds things from people that Jesus already provided just because they don't tithe. I cannot find in the Bible where it says that your healing is based on whether or not you tithe. I Peter 2:24 says, "By the stripes of Jesus you are healed." This verse is so clear about what brings about healing. It doesn't say that it's by the tithe you are healed. To say that you need to be a tither to receive from God brings works into the picture, but we are not under works, we are under grace! God does things for us because He loves us! When things like this are taught it makes people put their trust in their tithe instead of putting their trust in the Lord and His love for them.I have heard teaching for years on I Corinthians 3:6 which says, "I, Paul, planted, and Apollos watered, but it was God who gave the increase." These verses have been taught in reference to financial increase. Just because the word 'increase' is used does not automatically mean that God is talking about money. I looked this up in a Bible commentary and it was not referring to money at all. I thought what it says is quiet ironic. Look at what it says.....
"Paul was reminding them that the ministers about who they contended were but ministers, mere instruments used by the God of all grace. Some of the people in Corinth seem to have made more of them, as if they were lords of their faith, authors of their religion. Note, we should take care not to deify ministers, not put them into the place of God. Apostles were not the authors of our faith and religion. Observe, all the gifts and powers that even apostles discovered and exerted in the work of the ministry were from God. The success of the ministry must be derived from the divine blessing. Ministers are nothing of themselves, can do nothing with effectiveness and success unless God give the increase. The best qualified and most faithful ministers have a just sense of their own insufficiency, and are very desirous that God should have all the glory of their success. Paul and Apollos are nothing at all in their own account, but God is all in all."
I have looked at certain scriptures for years and wondered why I didn't read it the same as some ministers do. I guess I just thought I wasn't getting the same big revelations that others were, but now I see that I wasn't supposed to. I want to have financial increase throughout my life. I think almost everyone probably does! But I don't think people should use a scripture that really doesn't even apply to try to make a point. It says what it says and that is what God meant!
Matthew 6:33 says, "Seek first the kingdom of God and He will give you everything you need." God tells us in this verse how to bring blessing into our lives and it's by putting Him first. A few verses up, Matthew 6:24 says, "No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and money." Money is a tool we can use to do many things, but it can never become the main priority in our lives. I Timothy 6:17-18 says, "Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others." The things that should be taught are found in this verse - don't put your trust in money. Put your trust in God and the simple truths in His Word!