Beware the Leaven!

Luke 12:1-3 ESV

In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

So, I looked up the word “leaven,” and I got a surprise. The definition in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary said, “Something that modifies or lightens.” I had never thought of leaven in that way before. But, that fits perfectly!

For, I also looked at the word “leaven” in a Greek Interlinear. And, it said that it is figurative for “the spreading influence of what is typically concealed;” “a symbol of the spreading nature of evil” (1).

So, this leaven is a word that is used to symbolize the spreading influence of evil, but an evil which is hidden from sight, so this is speaking of deception. But, this evil and this deception, which are being spread, lighten and modify what they touch (influence). And, leaven is something you put in bread, and bread is symbolic for the Word of God. So, this is about lightening and modifying the Word of God for evil purposes and in order to deceive.

So, then this goes to the issue of hypocrisy, which is “a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not: behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel; the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion” (M-W).

For, to “feign” is to fake and to pretend one thing while doing the opposite. It is to pretend something is true when they know it is a lie. And, the purpose is to deceive, and it is to trap, and it is to destroy human lives.

So, what this is all about is the cheap grace gospel which is “a spreading influence of evil,” and it is also what lightens and what modifies the gospel message of our salvation. For, it is a flesh-driven gospel instead of the Spirit-driven gospel taught by Jesus, and by his NT apostles.

For, this cheap grace gospel teaches people that they can repeat some words after someone and they can then be congratulated that they are now part of God’s family and that heaven is guaranteed them no matter what. Or, they are told that they can merely acknowledge what Jesus did for us in dying for us on a cross to save us from our sins, or they can accept his forgiveness for their sins, and that secures them heaven, too.

And, those who teach this cheap grace deception also either imply or they say outright that you can “believe” in Jesus and heaven secured for you, but that it doesn’t have to alter your lifestyle. In fact, some take it to the point to where they literally declare that God does not require repentance, obedience, or submission to his Lordship for your salvation.

So, we need to beware this “leaven” so that we don’t buy into this cheap grace and think that heaven is secured us while we go on living for sin and self, still dead in our sins, and still bound for hell. For, scripture says that if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh that we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Luke 12:4-7 ESV

“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

One of the big things about this cheap grace gospel is that it does not teach the fear of the Lord. It does not teach that we must honor, respect and obey God, our Lord. In fact, it gives an image of God as a doting grandfather in the sky there to grant one’s every request and to pamper people even while they are willfully living in habitual sin, and while they do so in God’s face.

The whole premise of this cheap grace gospel is a slight on God’s divine character and will. It assumes that God just does everything for us but that we don’t have to do anything in return, and that we can keep on in our sinful practices without guilt or remorse, and then they call that “grace.”

But, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (fleshly lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. So, don’t take God’s grace for granted. Don’t treat it lightly. For, he does have the authority to cast into hell those who refuse to bow to him as their only Lord and master.

[Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8]

Luke 12:8-9 ESV

“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”

Acknowledging or denying Jesus Christ before other people is not something we merely do with our lips. For, there are many people who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, but by their lifestyles they deny him. For, how we truly demonstrate that we accept (receive) Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior is by our actions. Our behaviors are what reveal whether or not we truly believe what we say we believe.

For, if we say that we believe that Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins, and yet we feel that we have the right to continue on in our sinful addictions, then we don’t really believe what we say we do. For, Jesus died on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, but that we might die with him to sin and that we might live with him to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

Jesus died on that cross, and he rose from the dead, not merely to deliver us from the punishment of sin, but to deliver us from our slavery (addiction) to sin, and so that we might now become slaves of his righteousness. For, he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

Thus, scripture teaches us that it is those who are walking (in practice, in lifestyle) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God who have eternal life with God, not those who merely make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For, if we merely profess Christ as Savior, but we don’t do what he says, then we are hypocrites. For, with our lips we profess him, but by our lifestyles we deny him.

So, please know that if you deny Jesus by how you live your life, that he will deny you. If you live to please the flesh, from the flesh you will reap destruction (decay, death). But, if by the Spirit you live to please the Spirit, then you will reap eternal life with God (Gal. 6:7-8; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!


3 thoughts on “Beware the Leaven!

  1. In 2001 I backslid. And I backslid hard! I got into a lot of bad stuff! But through those years I felt the Lord calling me back. I surrendered in 2011. But I got tripped up on Hebrews 6:4-6.. which if you take at face value, sounds like if you ever fall, you’re done! And I talked to several pastors and bible organizations and they said I was fine and they spoke of God’s mercy and grace but they couldn’t give any real answers to the scripture. I knew in my heart that if anything would have happened in those years I ways guilty of sin.

    The Lord revealed to me that Hebrews 6:4-6 means that those Jews who were believing in Jesus for salvation were being led astray by leaven and fein doctrine that told them they were required to keep Old Testament mosaic laws for salvation. The Hebrews scriptures were saying that if we leave Jesus seeking another way, we are denying salvation by putting Him back on that cross. And there is no other way of salvation. Other than Him.

    Those doctrines that were being used to trip up those Jews in the book of Hebrews are still being used today, but just like leaven… modified for modernity.

    Liked by 1 person

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