Parable of the Leaven

Pastor Matt Davis
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The Leaven Matthew Davis Parables of Christ / Mt 13:33; Luke 13:20–21 Introduction If you have your Bibles with you, please turn in them with me to Luke chapter thirteen, we will be reading verses twenty and twenty-one. I hope that each of you have had a wonderful Independence Day Weekend, and that you are enjoying your Forth of July. I appreciate you taking time out of this holiday to be here in church, and I hope to fill you with God’s Word tonight and get you back to your family holiday activities. Luke 13:20–21 KJV 1900 And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. As we continue through the parables tonight, we will be discussing the Parable of ‘The Leaven.’ Tonight’s message will be short, I’d like to say that is my generosity to get you back to your holiday, but rather, it’s just the message that was given me. It works out as a benefit given the holiday events. At the time Christ was engaged in His earthly ministry, people were still looking for the Kingdom of God to arrive. Christ had consistently taught, especially evident in the Gospel of Luke, that the Kingdom had already arrived, the Kingdom is now, and yet, those around Him were still missing it. Tonight’s parable will compare the Kingdom to leaven, which as we all know it, is truly a powerful substance. I would like to discuss tonight, two points of interest regarding the Kingdom of God that we can obtain from Christ’s short and simple, yet powerful parable. Kingdom Will Be Evident Christ consistently taught the Kingdom of God is now, it is here. Beginning from His early ministry, we can see the emphasis on being part of the Kingdom building, rather than waiting for the Kingdom to present itself. Luke 4:16–21 KJV 1900 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:27 PM July 2, 2021. 1 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. To quote my commentary on Luke chapter 4, for these last three verses: Verse 19 The acceptable year of the Lord – In the last verse, we discussed the day of the Lord’s vengeance being omitted with the idea that today is a day for salvation. The acceptable year of the Lord is another way of saying the good news of the kingdom of God. But this has a deadline. It will not always be a day of salvation, for there will be a day of judgement. So, the acceptable year of the Lord refers to the era of salvation. Verse 20 The eyes of everyone were fastened on Him – Jesus had just gotten the attention of those in the room with them. This phrasing is used positively and functions to get the attention of us, the readers, to pay attention to what Christ says next, in verse twenty-one. Verse 21 This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears – Jesus is announcing that the scriptures are being fulfilled, starting with the anointing of the Spirit at His baptism. Today does not mean, in the last twenty-four hours it has been completed, but that it has started. Salvation is accessible to anyone who would call upon the Lord. It was expected of the religious that God’s kingdom would come someday, but Christ taught that it was actively being worked by God in the present, and not some future date. Even today, the Kingdom of God is here, all around us. The biggest issue, then and today, is not whether the kingdom has come, but whether we perceive the Kingdom. When pressed of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come in Luke seventeen, Christ answered: Luke 17:20–21 KJV 1900 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:27 PM July 2, 2021. 2 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And so, we find ourselves today, with the Parable of the Leaven, in which the Kingdom of God is likened unto the leaven, of which the women took three measures and hid it until the entire lump had been leavened. Three measures, by the way, is likely an exaggeration of how much dough the women hid away. Three measures, is roughly, by our measurements today, nearly a bushel of flour. Three measures weighed about fifty pounds, where a modern bushel weighs about sixty pounds. Fully leavened, there would have been enough bread to feed a hundred and fifty men. Leaven, yeast to us, is a powerful substance in which a little amount dramatically changes the entire substance of which it has been added. Galatians tells of the power in leaven: Galatians 5:9 KJV 1900 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. And so, the same is true of the leaven that is the Kingdom of God. Did you know, this is the exception in the Bible, in which leaven is viewed in a positive manner? Throughout the Bible, leaven is viewed as evil, as corrupting whatever contains it therein. But just as a small amount of leaven can turn a lump of dough into a full loaf of bread, a small amount of leaven can turn the church, the Kingdom of God into something big. Think about this - how did Christianity begin? How did the grace dispensation begin? What events, who, brought the Kingdom of God? Christ did - a single person brought the Kingdom near. Thing about this, from Christ, and twelve men, did the gospel and Kingdom spread to millions of people, to today, where each of us are still receiving and spreading that same message. A little leaven goes a long way. To quote Trent Butler: Luke (C. Dedication to the Kingdom: See How It Grows (13:18–21)) Once started, the kingdom will grow by virtue of its own contents. You can no more stop kingdom growth than you can keep yeast from making dough rise and expand. In Jesus the kingdom has come near where people can see it, but the kingdom is still so small it is not obvious. One must have ears to hear and eyes to see. A person must listen for the word of the kingdom. One must begin practicing the word of the kingdom. Soon, this almost invisible nucleus will expand into the grand structure no one can miss—a structure that will eventually determine salvation or eternal punishment for the entire world. And Robert Stein Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:27 PM July 2, 2021. 3 Luke (The Lukan Message) Luke emphasized this theme more than any other Synoptic writer. See Introduction 8 (2). Yet the kingdom’s arrival, while evident to all whose hearts were right (Luke 8:15), had not been as expected. While the demonic powers had been shaken and defeated, this world’s rulers were oblivious to its arrival. They did not see that in the person of Jesus (and for Luke’s readers in the Spirit’s work in the life of the church) the kingdom was “now.” When the consummation comes, however, the kingdom will be obvious for all to see, for it will be “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). In that day what now appears to be as small as a mustard seed will be a great tree; what appears to be a little speck of yeast will be a large leavened mass. For Luke’s readers these parables provided assurance that the already “now” had arrived as well as assurance that the “not yet” would soon come. God Can Use Sinners to Build His Kingdom As God’s Kingdom will soon be unhidden in all it’s glory, so too must we understand how and whom God uses in His Kingdom building. Leaven is significant, only in it’s power to multiply and take something small turning it into something much. Apart from that, leaven is neither good nor evil, but the use of leaven is the determining factor. So what does the parable reveal to us? In the world of the Pharisees, leaven was always viewed in a negative light. Even Paul viewed leaven negatively, as we can see in 1 Cor 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6–8 KJV 1900 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. However, I urge to pay attention to the light in which leaven is used. Leaven is used here as a representative of sin. We see the same said by Christ regarding Herod and the Pharisees: Mark 8:15 KJV 1900 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. In this way, leaven is frequently identified with evil, corruption. It is identified with sin. I Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:27 PM July 2, 2021. 4 love the meaning in context of the Gospel of Luke… Look at the Pharisees statements to Christ in Chapter seven: Luke 7:36–39 KJV 1900 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. Look at the manner of people whom Christ surrounded Himself with. Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John, all four fishermen. Seen as both ceremonially unclean. Levi Matthew, a tax collector. He was seen as one of the worst sinners. Christ demonstrates that He can take what is seen as unclean, and not only make it clean, but He can use you to build the Kingdom of God. So as we find the Kingdom of Heaven is like the leaven, which begins small and grows large, we find the Kingdom is as the leaven as God builds His Kingdom using those who began as corrupted and unclean vessels. I was reminded of a previous sermon I gave last year, “Room for Me,” in which we discussed the depth of God’s love, and the room in His heart for all who love Him. The magnificence of our Lord is that, regardless of how long you have been leavened, how much the sin has grown in your life, that can be taken and you can be used of God. You will find there is plenty of room for you in His Kingdom. Summary In summary, and the message was quite small, I don’t know we need a summary. But as we wrap up, let us take comfort in the Kingdom of God. Though it does seem small today. Though we may, in our own isolations, in our own areas of the world, those of us in mission fields, or in areas that have few Christians… Though we may feel as if the Kingdom is not here, take comfort. The Kingdom of God is now, and the Kingdom will be. What is small now, to us, I could hardly imagine the first few Christians envisioned. What is small to us will one day be revealed. The Kingdom of God that is difficult to see at this time will be seen by all. It will be revealed. Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:27 PM July 2, 2021. 5 And take comfort, that we can be used of God to assist in the building of that great and marvelous Kingdom. And take comfort, how little or much leavened you’ve become. Paul tells us to clean the old leaven out! When you make dough, you cannot separate the leaven from the flour, once that process has begun. Be of good cheer, because you can separate the leaven from the body. We can take the corruption and put it out, because Christ made that possible. Invitation Right now you may look at the world and question if there is a God, or if His Kingdom is really coming. Or perhaps, you do have that belief deep down, and you’ve suppressed it because you don’t see it happening, you don’t see it coming, or because you don’t see yourself as valuable to, or helpful to God. I’m telling you now, the Kingdom is here. It is all around us, everywhere, every day. The kingdom is in us, and we are in the Kingdom. And whether you see the Kingdom or not, the Kingdom is also coming, and will be revealed fully. Just as the bread that you put the yeast in, eventually rises. Like the women used in the text today, who hid away the dough, by the time it was leavened there was nothing to hide. The Kingdom will not be hidden. Luke 8:17 KJV 1900 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. So I urge you today, right now, to receive the Kingdom of God. To become as a child. I urge this frequently, because it is true. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. To receive the Kingdom of God, you must be born again. You must believe that Christ is God in the flesh, the only begotten. You must believe that He lived a perfect, sinless life, died on the cross, and rose from the grave to pay for your sins of which you could not save yourself. And you must be willing to confess Him as such, declaring Him Lord before your fellowmen. Romans 10:9 KJV 1900 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. If you are ready to do that, let me help you today. It begins in our closing prayer, where you will confess to God and ask Him into your heart. Then you will confess Him before men and submit to the will of God. ***Prayer*** Exported from Logos Bible Software, 3:27 PM July 2, 2021. 6
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