33: Gal. 5:7-12
did run well; who did
ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of
that calleth you. A
little leaven leaveneth the whole
I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none
otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment,
whosoever he be. And I, brethren, if I yet preach
why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the
ceased I would they were even cut
off which trouble you.
We looked in the previous study at 'the
now turn to another word Paul uses: leaven. Leaven was used, in Bible
days, in bread making, particularly in the fermentation process, so
that the bread would rise. This process takes time, and so when
the children of Israel remembered the Exodus it was with
unleavened bread, in order that they would not forget that is was all
Once we get into the NT we see that leaven represents (typifies) a
spiritual principle, which Paul now uses in connection to the
situation. Paul uses this word in another epistle in relation
to a particular problem in Corinth.
1. .. of wickedness
commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as
is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his
father’s wife. And ye are puffed up, and
rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away
from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present
spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him
that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of
our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for
destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of
the Lord Jesus. 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
of sincerity and truth. I wrote unto
you in an epistle
not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the
fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or
with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is
called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a
railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to
eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are
do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are
God judgeth. Therefore
put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
I Cor. 5:1-13
In the Corinthian Church there was
man who had fallen into sexual immorality, and Paul was
writing in order to apply the required discipline. His judgement was to
put away that wicked person from the fellowship. Before
proceeding it will be instructive to note that in
second epistle, Paul calls for his restoration after having come to
repentance; the point being that discipline is meant to bring
restoration to the one who has fallen. II Cor.
Apart from being a tool of restoration for the fallen
believer discipline is also for the sake
of the fellowship. Know ye not that a little
leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Leaven
makes the bread to rise and the sin of this person would, if
allowed, have spread and infected the whole assembly. Hence the need to
cast out the wicked one.
We are to keep our passover as the Jews did theirs. This does not mean
that we engage in the Jewish ritual of Passover, as some would
have us do, but rather apply the spiritual
principals that the Jewish feast represents. We are told clearly here
that Jesus is
our Passover and our keeping it is to
do with that fact.
When the Jews had the Passover they would search
their houses diligently to cast out all the leaven that was in it. So
likewise we are to partake of our Passover, that is JESUS, not
with the leaven of malice and wickedness. In other words we
are not to allow any evil to be part of our life in Christ. We are
delivered by new birth from sin, but we are responsible not
to introduce any sin back in. And just as the Jews
kept their Passover without leaven so we are to keeps ours in sincerity
2. ... of the
Pharisees & Sadducees
And when his disciples were
come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
Then Jesus said unto them, Take
heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken
no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye
little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought
no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five
loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?
Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye
took up? How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it
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.
Jesus also refers to leaven, but this time
in connection with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Reading the
above account the conclusion we are brought to is that this leaven is
that of doctrine. But what was the doctrine of the Pharisees and
Sadducees? The NT leaves us in no doubt as to what these are:
|Then spake Jesus to the
multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the
Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore
whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye
after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind
heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s
shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their
fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men:
they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their
garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the
chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets,
and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
For the Sadducees
say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the
Pharisees confess both.
The Pharisees had the reputation for adding
to the Mosaic law. Here Jesus says that they were heavy burdens and
they were grievous to be borne, laying heavy weights on the
shoulders of men and women, yet not helping to move the weights
contrast to Jesus' burden, which is light and easy! Matt.
11:28-29 Later in Galatians Paul also mentions
the fact that these false brethren care nothing for the law and
regulations they seek to impose on people, but rather to glory in those
whom they seek to control, Gal.6:12-13.
If the Pharisees' doctrine was to add to the law
and burden people with regulations, the Sadducees
subtracted. About the only thing we are told of them in
scripture is that they denied angel, spirit and resurrection. They
appear to have been the sceptics of the day. Thus
we see that the Pharisees' doctrine leads to legalism and that of the
Sadducees to unbelief
So why does it matter? Surely a 'small' sin
won't be harmful to a large congregation, nor a small error in doctrine
be that important will it? As to the so called
small sin, once allowed a sinful practice will spread, and
eventually, if allowed, be
accepted as normal. Thus an assembly, instead of being an expression of
the beauty and holiness of Her Lord, becomes a defiled temple full of
wickedness. The Lord wants a Bride that is holy and without
wrinkle, whilst we have no power to cleanse the body we do
have the responsibility to see that sin is not allowed in,
and apply discipline if necessary. Take for example, Peter's dealings
with Ananias and Sapphira Acts.5:1-11
But what about doctrine, surely a bit of error here or there is not
going to harm anyone, is it
of all we are talking here, not of peripheral issues but
rather the basics, the fundamentals, the
essentials of the
Faith. and anyway why call it leaven?
God be thanked, that ye were the servants of
sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was
have, at least part of the answer. When writing to the Romans
Paul says that they had obeyed the form of doctrine that was delivered
them. The teaching they had received had turn into practice,
in their case obedience to the truth. Teaching leads to some form
of practice. False
teaching will lead to false practice. The smallest tendency to err will
lead to larger errors in time; as the old Chinese proverb
journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.
Let it also be understood that we are here talking of the
basics, the fundamentals of the Faith, and not the non
essential peripherals about which men seem to endlessly argue, to the
detriment of many and benefit of no one.
takes a little
leaven to leaven the whole lump. Whether it be sin in
in doctrine, both will cause the whole lump to be
infected. Once a
small point is conceded then it is only a
time before the next step, and so on until false doctrine and practice
is rife amongst the believers. Take our previous example of believers
insisting that Christians ought to partake of the Jewish Passover
(despite of what we have said about it above) If believers did so, what
next? The feast of Dedication? Atonement? And then what? Circumcision?
One step leads to another , so let us not take even the smallest of
smallest first steps.
Let us then be single minded and not allow any leaven, whether it be
a practice or doctrine to creep in. In Jude's words.
Beloved, when I gave all
diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for
me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend
for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
But ye, beloved, building up
yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy
Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude vv. 3
& 20 - 21