In the Bible there are two types of leaven mentioned that affects us spiritually:
- Leaven with evil intent—the leaven of the Pharisees
- Leaven of the Kingdom of God
In all circumstance leaven make changes in whatever it is introduced into. In baking, leaven changes the product from a flat condensed product to a light, airy product.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Air—eggs whites
- Steam—puff pastry
First, I will talk about the Leaven of the Kingdom of God. Jesus talks about leaven in Matthew 12:33 “He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” As leaven changes the flour or dough in which it is mixed, so does the grace of Christ change the whole soul into Christ’s own likeness. God’s desire is the leaven so penetrate the soul that the whole of soul bear the image of Christ. As we change into the image of Christ, we should and will affect the world around us. This is a gradual change, a day by day walk with Christ.
Paul tells us in the book of Ephesians we are to become imitators of Christ. Ephesians 5:1, 2: “1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” By being imitators of Christ, we are showing that we are the children of God. As we walk out the way of Christ, the love of God will be evident in our lives. Again, in the book Romans Paul reminds us of the importance of being a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1-2: “1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul is appealing to the followers of Christ of realizing the importance of walking out their lives in a way that will give Abba Father all the glory and honor. It is not about seeking the desires of our own hearts. Instead, it is about seeking what the heart’s desire of the Father’s heart. Truth is, when we surrender our beings to Christ as a living sacrifice our heart’s desires change markedly.
How do we achieve being more like Christ every day?
- Showing the Love of God
- A life of Prayer
- Being willing to Forgive
- Being Humble
- Studying the Word of God
- Being Compassionate
- Seeking First the Kingdom of God
- Practicing Self-Control
- Walking in the Authority of Jesus Christ
- Being Obedience to the Word
All these actions of humility and being a living sacrifice will bring forth the good fruit of the Spirit. The list of the fruit of the Spirit are found in Galatians 5:22, 23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” As we walk out this beautiful way that Christ has already set the example for, we will gradually see the good fruit of the Spirit evident in our lives not the fruit of the flesh that is listed in the previous verses in Galatians chapter 5. This love, grace, mercy, beautiful life that has been given us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ is not just that we have our ticket to Heaven. It is not just about being home free, but is a message to be shared.
There was another type of leaven that Jesus talked about, the Evil leaven also known as the leaven of the Pharisees. In Matthew 16:6, Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” If we look back to the Matthew 16:1, we see the Pharisees and Sadducees were not there to learn more from Christ but to test Him. They were troublemakers, always looking after their own interest and taking advantage of the people of God. In Matthew 16:1, they are demanding to see a sign in order to test Jesus. Matthew 16:1, “And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven.” Pride, hypocrisy, and worldly-mindedness of the Pharisees and Sadducees produced leaven that brought the people of God to ruin. The leaven of the Pharisees just as with many others that are teaching the Word of God today was full of half-truths and feel-good messages full of evil leaven to deceive the people of God. Evil leaven invades secretly, silently, but certainly through your thought processes just like the leaven infiltrates the dough or flour that we use in our recipes. We do not notice the progress of evil invading our life until the damage is done. So, it was with the doctrines of the Pharisees. So, the same is true today with the false doctrine of hyper-grace that tells us that anything goes, and you will still make it to a heavenly home. There are many doctrines that taught today that do not line up with the Word of God. The doctrine that they teach is artfully presented in a way that appears plausible and makes sense to us. The Pharisees of past and the modern-day Pharisees conceal the real tendency of their doctrines; they instill them secretly into the mind, until it changes a person’s spiritual life like leaven changes bread. Many people are being deceived today by these same principles. We should always be praying, “lord help me not be deceived by any of the deceits of the enemy of our souls, satan.
Matthew 3:7-10: 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
John tells that if we are not producing the fruit of the Spirit that is the evidence that we are truly a follower of Christ that we will be uprooted, the axe is laid on the root of our trees. He says if we do not bear good fruit, we will be cut down and then thrown into the fire. This can be prevented by allowing the Holy Spirit to prune away the branches that are causing us to be weak, ineffective followers of Christ. We need to be careful not to make excuses for our sins, wrong habits, our failings, or our motives. Yes, we live in human bodies that fail and sin often. At the same time, we need to be careful that we do not take on the attitude that we “are only human”. As result we fell to take time to humble ourselves before a Holy God and repent of our sins. When we do not repent of our sins, we are in error. When we make excuses for our sins or blame another for our sins, we have taken on a spirit of pride and rebellion just as Lucifer did when he was cast down out of Heaven. When we allow the leaven of the Pharisees take hold in our lives, we in effect become luke-warm Christians. Revelation 3:14-16: 14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. If we become lukewarm, He will spew us out of His mouth. Meaning we are no longer dwelling or in fellowship with Him. We are no longer abiding in Him or Him in us. The evil leaven has gradually taken over our lives. We have chosen the ways of the world instead of the way of the cross. We have chosen to make idols of the things that are most important to us, more important than obeying God and His commandments. Whatever come first in your life is a god in your life.
We need to be watchful always so that we are not deceived. Matthew 24 talks about that the followers of Christ can be deceived. Matthew 24:23, 24: 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. We need to always be on guard, praying often for discernment and wisdom. The enemy of our souls is very cunning and will throw in a bit of truth to deceive the followers of Christ. Pray over every book that you read, pray over every message you listen to, so that you will not be deceived. Jesus tells us in John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Abba Father, I pray for each person that reads this message that they will not be deceived. I pray that You will open their Spiritual eyes to see what You see and their Spiritual ears to hear what You hear. Reveal in them the thing that is keeping them bound from a deeper and richer relationship with You. Lord, I ask that You reveal Yourself to them and that Your Manifest Presence will be with them right where they are right now. Set them free now in the Name of Jesus! Place a radical love for Your Word within them that they will not be able to resist. Praying that Your Word will be real to them and alive in them. Draw them to You Lord!