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Birthdays: Mason Flynn – May 16th – Nicki Jones – May 18th
"Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6). We are familiar with leaven which, when added to dough, causes expansion of the batter. It has an altering or transforming influence on the mixture, making it rise. When someone prepares bread, they don’t bake leaven alone - who in their right mind would eat that? Rather, a small amount of leaven must be added to dough, in a skillful way, and so a delicious product is created.
When our Lord warned of "the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees," He was referring to their erroneous teaching. "How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (vv. 11-12). He was warning His disciples of the corrupt message of the leaders of Judaism. What did these religious bakers do? They subtly mixed a little error with Biblical truths. They did not openly deny the Word of God, for then their doctrine would not have been received, but they cleverly added a small amount of leaven to the gospel so that their unsuspecting hearers would receive the altered teachings.
Satan has many religious bakers today, and they are proficient in blending leaven with truth so as to make their false gospel palatable to the natural man. Rarely do they oppose the scriptures outright, else most would refuse their doctrine. What they do is blend a small amount of error with the the Word of God. They talk about salvation by divine grace, but make salvation hinge upon man’s decision or works. They declare the sacrifice of Christ, but make the success of that sacrifice rest upon the belief or repentance of the sinner. They preach justification by faith, but make man’s faith to be the cause, the reason or the basis for justification, rather than the result, the effect, or the evidence of justification. They preach the necessity of the new birth by the Holy Spirit and then make the new birth to be the result of man’s free-will. In short, they always set forth the salvation of sinners as being dependent upon something man must contribute, rather than solely conditioned upon the blood and righteousness of Christ.
How much leaven must be added by a religious baker to transform the true gospel into a false gospel? "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9).
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
GOD AND GRACE UNCHANGEABLE
It is important for us to remember that God never changes! “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) Though He speaks of His people as they are in Adam by nature, that does not change His relationship toward them in Christ by His grace. Also, what they show themselves to be toward Him does not change how He always is toward them. An example of this is shown in reconciliation. God does not need to be reconciled to His people; He hasn’t changed or done anything to them that requires it. But they have sinned, rebelled against Him and they must be reconciled to Him. Thus, God was in Christ reconciling them unto Himself. Though they act as enemies against Him, they are always His friends. Paul writes, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:10) We were enemies. We needed to be reconciled to God. But how were we so? “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” (Colossians 1:21). We were enemies in our minds and demonstrated that enmity by relying upon our own works (all of which are “wicked works”) rather than Christ and His work! But though this is the case, from Christ’s side, He lays down His life for His “friends.” Christ’s sheep were always and are presently sheep, even if they be yet in their experience “lost sheep.” As the “everlasting Father,” they were always His children and not the children of the devil. What they became in Adam did not alter what they are in Christ! Grace preceded all that they became and made them one with Christ and thus saving them by His cross death with an eternal salvation before they fell in Adam. They were safe in Christ through His blood, the blood of the everlasting covenant! God never changes His relationship or His affections toward them since He always viewed them in their Covenant Head who is the same yesterday, today and forever! None become His people because He died for them or because they believe on Him. He died for them and gives them faith to believe on Him because of what God in grace made them in Him before the world began!