Beware The Leaven
“And when His disciples were come together to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” Mathew 16:5-6. After reasoning amongst themselves and a short discource between the disciples and the Master, Jesus finally gets through to them in verse 12. “Then understood they how he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” The Pharisees were sticklers for the Law in doctrine though they rarely practiced what they preached. They put strong burdens on people. The Law was meant to show people their inability to keep it, their sinful condition and point them to the Savior. The Sadducees were more political though they did believe that the books of Moses were the only true Scriptures and that there was no resurrection of the dead. The point is that Jesus warned His disciples about wrong doctrine, to beware of it.
In John 8:31-32, 36, “Then Jesus said to the Jews which believed on Him, if you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed: And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” If the truth makes us free, then how come Christians are not free today? Either we don’t have the truth or we have it and are not willing to act on it. I believe it is a combination of both. Let’s consider first the words of Jesus, “beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” There is no freedom in the Law of Moses. The majority of teaching in America today is focused on three things: 1) The Law of Moses 2) The nation of Israel 3) Self.
I want to say this: you can enforce every Old Testament feast in order to get God to bless you or wear your prayer shawl every day or abstain from certain foods forbidden under the Law of Moses and all that does is put you under a curse and take you out of grace if you are trying to move God or get blessed or please God or be righteous in any of that. Galatians 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law: you are fallen from grace.” Friends, it’s either all Law or all grace. There is no mixture. I an either blessed and made complete by the finished work of Jesus at Calvary or that work at Calvary was not enough. And Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit said it is enough! Jesus said “It is finished!” It is complete. He has made all things perfectly perfect. Any time we go searching for what I did wrong or what else we have to do or how come it’s not working, that is an inclination that we are still thinking under the law and not grace.
Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew not Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. It’s not Christian, Jew or Gentile. It’s either saved or unsaved! There is no such thing as a Messianic Jew just like there is no such thing as a Messianic Italian or German or Chinese or African American. The church is Zion. Hebrews 12:22-23 says that. We are His body, the FULLNESS OF HIM that fills all in all. And that body is made up of whosoever will come and believe on Him.
Finally, our focus needs to be on Christ and the Kingdom of God. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith….” Jesus never fails. His work is complete. We are complete in Him. And that is the truth that makes you free.