Beware the Yeast of These

Today’s reading is Luke 12.

Jesus warns against the yeast of the Pharisees. Exposure to their hypocrisy is subtly influential. A Pharisaic influence even suckered Peter and Barnabas in Galatians 2:11-13. We’ve often heard about the leaven of the Pharisees. However, I can’t help but think about this concept of leaven or yeast as influence in general. This leavening effect is not exclusive to the Pharisees. After all, in Matthew 16:6, 11, 12 it was also applied to the Sadducees. In other words, we need to beware who and what are influencing us. Whether we are considering false teachers, secular worldviews, ungodly outlooks, immoral examples, political strivings, cultural consensus, or any other person or perspective that runs counter to Christ, we must beware. Clearly, we can’t leave the world. We will always be surrounded by ideas, behaviors, worldviews, perspectives, and outlooks that oppose Jesus. We can’t isolate ourselves from or shut ourselves off to all the people around us. In fact, we don’t want to. How can we be the influence we are supposed to be if we do? However, we need to beware. The influence of the world is subtle. Like yeast that spreads imperceptibly through an entire lump of dough without even really knowing that it is happening, sin and sinfulness can alter our perception and perspective until what we consider faithfulness to Jesus Christ doesn’t look anything like Jesus at all. In fact, perhaps we should take a long hard look even today to make sure we are becoming like the Lord and not like a cultural caricature of Him. Beware the yeast. It is all around us.

Tomorrow’s reading is Luke 12.

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Our Household in God’s Household

Today’s reading is Titus 2.

Yesterday, we learned there were insubordinate, empty talking, deceivers who were upsetting whole families teaching for shameful gain what ought not be taught. At the beginning of today’s reading, Paul turns that around on Titus. “No matter what anyone else is doing, Titus, you teach what accords with sound, healthy, faithful teaching. Those other guys are upsetting households, you settle them.” And then he talks about how everyone in a household should behave, whether male or female, whether old or young. But keep this in the context. Paul didn’t write this here so when we are preaching a series through Titus we could preach some lessons on the home. He is actually describing the battle in the vile culture of Crete. Please see, the battle isn’t won on Facebook. It isn’t won in a courthouse. It isn’t won on the floors of Congress. It is won in our households. Sure, it is great when laws get passed that support truth. But in the midst of Crete, Christians fight the good fight of faith not by conducting political battles but by living in their own households distinctly and differently, living soberly, steadfastly, lovingly, self-controlled, exemplary lives in a way that the ungodly are put to shame as they try to find some way to make an accusation against us. I think this may be a needed teaching for us today as well.

Tomorrow’s reading is Titus 3 .

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Whose Leaven?

Today’s reading is Matthew 16.

If I were a betting man (which I’m not, but that is a different post entirely), I would bet my last dollar you have heard about, thought about, even talked about the leaven of the Pharisees. We know those jokers. Hypocrites, legalists, loophole seekers, all around jerks. But that isn’t the only one Jesus mentions. He also says we are to beware the leaven of the Sadducees. Now, I wouldn’t bet my last dollar on this next one, but pretty close. If I were a betting man, I would bet you haven’t spent any time contemplating the leaven of the Sadducees. Of course, with you individually, I might be incorrect. However, ask around. See how many people have thought about that at all. My point today is not to define the leaven of the Sadducees for you. Rather, it is to highlight something we all need to be careful about. We all do it sometimes. We all skip bits on occasion. We all gravitate to the easy part we’ve heard about a lot and read past the parts that don’t get discussed much. For many people. This is one of those things. Granted, it is probably not essential to your salvation to know exactly who the Sadducees were or what their leaven and influence might specifically be. Well, not anymore than knowing the leaven of the Pharisees. But, of course, we won’t know how essential it is until we ask the question. My encouragement: keep your eyes open while reading. What are the questions you haven’t asked about the verse, paragraph, chapter, book you are reading right now? Why not ask that question and see what you learn?

Tomorrow’s reading is Matthew 17.

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