Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Church series: Leaven in the Church

In Luke 12:1-3 we have the account of Jesus approaching Jerusalem and eventually, Calvary. He warns His disciples of dangers of evil, which He likens to leaven or yeast.  As you know, yeast has a permeating affect on dough.  It gradually affects it completely.  As yeast permeates and affects dough, so evil in all ages seeks to permeate and affect God’s people.

Leaven Always Associated with Evil

It’s evident that the mention of leaven in the Bible  consistently refers to the permeating and defiling affect of evil.  Would you examine this assumption  with me? In Exodus 12:17-20 Israel is instructed to eat unleavened bread.  There was to be no leaven in the house.  Why were the Israelites to avoid leaven? Because the unleavened bread pictured Christ, our Passover.  Christ, the sinless one, had no trace of the leaven of sin in Him. See I Corinthians 5:7. 

In fact, read the entire 5th chapter of I Corinthians.  It’s all about the leaven of sin in the church. There we are clearly commanded to confront  unrepentant, rebellious Christians and remove them from the church rolls and from Christian fellowship with the hope that they will repent and turn back to Christ and then be lovingly restored to church fellowship.   Leaven here is clearly a picture of sin. 

In Luke 12:1  Jesus warns people to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is clearly identified as their hypocrisy.  Israel was warned to not be taken in by their superficial, false piety. 

In Matthew 16:6,12 Jesus warns Israel to beware of the leaven of the Sadduccees.  That evil leaven was their unbelief.  They were the liberals of Jesus’ day.  Again, would you note that the leaven of  both the Pharisees and the Sadduccees is a type of their sin. 

In Mark 8:15 once again Jesus warns of the leaven of Herod.  Again the leaven pictures the evil of Herod’s life. His evil led to the  beheading of John the Baptist.  Are you getting the picture?  Leaven consistently speaks of the influence of evil.

Leaven and the Kingdom of Christ

Now in Matthew 13, the chapter in which are recorded Jesus’ parables of His Kingdom, we see in verse 33 that leaven is related to Christ’s Kingdom. Let’s read the verse together.  “Another parable spake He unto them. The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”  Are we to believe that suddenly leaven is a picture of something good;  The Kingdom of Heaven?  Reformed Theology says yes.  It’s quite obvious, is it not? On the surface, yes.  Leaven seems to refer to the Kingdom of Heaven. But let’s think about this.  Why does God take something that consistently pictures evil and suddenly makes it a picture of something good?  Furthermore, is this the way the Kingdom comes?  Does it gradually infiltrate and permeate the world?  I don’t believe so.

Does Christ’s Kingdom Come by Permeation?

The Parable of the Sower in the earlier part of Matthew 13 teaches that the Kingdom comes as the Seed of the Gospel is sown.  Some falls on good ground and bears fruit.  Other seed falls in places where it cannot germinate and sprout.  Birds get some of the seed and much of the rest is unfruitful.  The point is that the Kingdom does not come by permeation.  The Church is not gradually permeating and changing society.  Rather this sinful world system is gradually permeating and affecting the church. 

The question is in the words of Jesus in Luke 18:8 “When the Son of Man comes shall He find faith on the earth?”  I doubt it.  If so, very little. 

What is the basic theme of the other parables of Matthew 13?  It’s just the opposite of the Gospel permeating and changing the whole world.  

See the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Matthew 13:24-33  Note that with the wheat there are tares, that which looks like wheat, but has no grain within.   They are to grow together until the return of Christ who will divide the wheat from the tares.  Note that the wheat is not gradually covering the field. The tares are there also right to the end of time. 

See the Parable of the Mustard Seed in Matthew 13:31-32.  The mustard seed, though small, grows into a tree wherein the birds lodge in the branches.  This speaks of the Tree of Christendom, wherein the birds of false teachers and false prophets cast their evil influence.  See Revelation 18:1-2 

If all the Parables of the Kingdom speak of the presence and the evil influence  of false teachers in Christendom right to the end of time, why should we suddenly take one verse in Matthew 13:33 and make it teach that the Kingdom of Christ is gradually and successfully infiltrating the whole world  and that when that is accomplished, Christ will return?  That is the teaching of Reformed Theology. Go to that link or to my Prophecy Series  for more on  this subject.  

A respectful disagreement

Many of those associated with Reformed Theology are genuine, mature Christians who love the Lord and are zealously serving Him.  But, when it comes to their view of Prophecy, I have to respectfully and lovingly disagree with them. The facts are that the true Church, is not gradually influencing and permeating this sinful world system to make it Christ-like.  In the fifty years that I have observed the church, just the opposite has taken place.  Satan is gradually  influencing the church to become more tolerant of false doctrine and a sinful life style.  

The church’s business is not to gradually bring about the Christianization of the world.  Rather the church’s business is to evangelize the world  and help the converts become  disciples of Christ .  The church’s business is to “preach the Word, be instant in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”  II Timothy 4:2-4  

So today God’s Word warns us of the danger of these three subtle, Satanic influences that can take root in our hearts and contaminate our testimonies.  If we  attempt to hide and cover our sins,  Proverbs 28:13 assures  us that we will not prosper.  Luke 12:2-3 warns us that the day will come when we will be publicly exposed.

Is the world getting better or worse?

The question Jesus asks in Luke 18:8  is worth pondering.  “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?  Just before the Flood in Noah’s day some five thousand years ago,  God looked down on the earth and found only one righteous man,  Noah and his family.  Jesus warns in Matthew 24:37-39  But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.”  Read the rest of that passage for more details of life on earth just before the return of Christ.  Are you ready for His return?  

May 7, 2006 - Posted by | Church Series

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