Matthew 13:33, Galatians 5:1-10
1. Welcome our listening friends.
2. What a delight it is to know that you are there listening to this broadcast.
3. In this broadcast, we will discuss the third parable in our series called “The Point of the Story.”
4. The parable is known as the “Parable of the Leaven.”
5. But let me begin by speaking about power just for a minute.
6. Power and the pursuit of power has always intrigued most people.
7. There are those... who are impressed with power.
8. There are those... who pursue power.
9. And there are those... who have power.
10. But today I want to tell you about the power that you may not know that you have in you
11. The parable of the leaven is a parable about the transforming power of God
12. it is not the mirage power of this falling world
13. but real power with the God of the universe.
14. This parable is about the only real and lasting power... not the temporary power of our secular society.
15. If you are fascinated by power...
16. if you are intimidated by power...
17. listen carefully... for this message is about the real power.
18. Turn with me to Matthew 13:33.
19. Let’s read it
20. Jesus doesn’t give us an explanation of this parable.
21. But you can be certain that: The disciples knew exactly the things he described.
22. There was not a single home in ancient Palestine... in which the woman of the house did not bake bread.
23. They did not go and get bread from the bakery.
24. Women were constantly baking bread, and in large quantities.
25. because bread was their major food and sometimes their only food.
26. And the way they made bread is, they kept a portion of the leavened dough from the risen batch just before it was baked.
27. Modern-day bakers call it “starter.”
28. Then, when the next batch of dough was being mixed...
29. the woman would take the saved portion that has been kept... and put it in the middle of the new one.
30. That way... the leaven or the yeast would ferment the new batch of dough and make it rise.
31. The small piece of leaven or yeast... given enough time... it pervades the entire dough.
32. A small piece of leaven would penetrate every particle of the dough.
33. This small piece of leaven works silently and persistently to impact the entire dough.
34. The three measures that Jesus referred to is the normal amount of dough that a household would batch at a given time
35. It is sometimes called one ephah or one bushel of flour.
36. And, that was the amount used for the meal offerings which symbolize fellowship with God.
37. It symbolized service and dedication to God.
38. It symbolized the hospitality of the soul to the living God.
39. In Genesis, that was the portion of the wheat flour that Sarah baked for the Heavenly visitors.
40. In the Book of Judges, that was the portion that Gideon baked for the angel of the Lord.
41. So, what is the point of the parable?
42. The point is this:
43. God’s power working supernaturally and often invisibly... by faith... can do great and mighty things.
44. The power of the Kingdom of Heaven is far greater than its initial size or appearance would suggest.
45. The smallest part of the Kingdom... when it is placed in a conducive environment will have influence beyond its size
47. Because it is the power of God’s own spirit.
48. The power of Kingdom is the power of the King...
49. and the power of the King plus the least among us... equal a power house.
50. Jesus taught that when the power of God is being kneaded into the lives of those who are His own.
51. It will have power with God.
52. when His power is fermented in the lives of those who welcome Him and receive Him...
53. when His power has penetrated every area of the lives of those who seek Him.
54. when His power of His Holy Spirit is not grieved nor quenched by sin...
55. it will transform every particle of the dough.
56. This is how it works.
57. First of all, the Lord leavens us...
58. and then He uses us to leaven society.
59. First, His power transforms us...
60. then we have power to transform those around us
61. First His power is displayed in us...
62. and then we are able to display His power in the world.
63. First, He forgives us... then He tells us to forgive others.
64. First He comforts us... and then He uses us to comfort others.
65. And this is exactly how it works:
66. Through this parable, the Lord helped me to correct an error in my life.
67. Let me explain:
68. I have often prayed “Lord... get me out of the way.”
69. “Lord, move me out of your way in order that you may accomplish your purpose.”
70. But here is the error:
71. If I were the dough... then I must do the job of the dough.
72. As the leaven penetrates every area of the dough... Christ must penetrate every area of my life... so that I can be used.
73. Getting out of the way... may be a nice humble way to pray.
74. But, it is the wrong way to pray.
75. Here is what the Lord taught me.
76. Just as the leaven is so intermingled with the dough...
77. until the distinction between the two has become imperceptible.
78. Even so, I must allow the leaven to leaven every part of my life . . . if I am to serve His purpose.
79. God can do His work without any of us.
80. But that is not the way He works.
81. He chooses to work through individuals.
82. This is consistent with what Jesus said with John 15:4:
83. Abide in me, and I in you.
84. Some people see this parable this way:
85. Since leaven in the Bible often refers to evil and corruption...
86. therefore, Jesus must be referring to the corrupting influence of the world upon the church.
87. But this understanding undermines the positive influence of the leaven here.
88. Let me give you an illustration of how a negative figure of speech can be used positively.
89. In the Bible, the “serpent” usually symbolizes evil.
90. But, in the Book of Numbers chapter 21 verses 8 and 9 God told Moses to make a “serpent” of bronze and to lift it up high...
但在民数记 21：8-9 中，神要摩西造一条铜蛇，并要他高高把蛇挂起来，
91. and everyone who looks upon the “serpent” of bronze... will be healed.
92. Moses did and those who obeyed were healed.
93. In John 3:14, Jesus referring to His dying on the cross said the following
94. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the son of man be lifted up. That whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.
95. So this is how we understand this passage,
96. The context of any passage always determines the symbolic meaning.
97. And here, clearly, the leaven symbolizes the power of Christ in His Kingdom.
98. When Jesus said, in Luke 12:1:
99. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy.
100. He was saying that leaven has power.
101. The leaven of hypocrisy has negative and powerful and pervasive influence too.
102. In Galatians 5:9, Paul said that leaven has a powerful and pervasive influence.
103. He said: “A little leaven, leavens the whole lump of dough.”
104. He said the same thing in I Corinthians 5:6:
105. “Evil leaven has evil influence.”
106. But Godly leaven has Godly influence.
107. In fact, Israel was asked to eat unleavened bread only for one week a year,
108. in order to remind them of their past slavery in Egypt...
109. but for the rest of the year they eat leavened bread.
110. And, because of the pervasive power of leaven they were not allowed to bring any of it out of Egypt.
111. In the ancient days,
112. When a Jewish girl gets married...
113. her mother would give her a small piece of leavened dough from a batch that was mixed just before the wedding.
114. Back then, leavened dough... was a very special gift to the bride from her mother.
115. From that gift of leaven... the bride would batch bread for her household throughout her married life.
116. To the bride... that gift represents the love and the blessedness of the household in which she grew up.
117. One of the greatest joys for a committed follower of the Lord, Jesus Christ is to see how his, or her leaven... is transformed into somebody else’s life... and produces a new life in Christ.
118. It is sheer delight to watch people rid themselves of the leaven of malice... bitterness... and anger...
119. and they become filled with the leaven of love and joy and peace.
120. The greatest blessings that a father or a mother has... is when they see their children receive the leaven of the Kingdom of God into their lives…
121. My listening friends, listen very carefully as I conclude this message
122. Whether you like it or not, your life is a leaven.
123. Your life has the leavening influence and power,
124. Only sour leaven makes sour bread.
125. Christ-centered personalities will produce Christ-centered influence.
126. Christ-centered life will produce Christ-centered lives.
127. And that is the real power that Jesus gives his followers.
128. What do you do with that power?
129. God wants you to have power with him,
130. And no one can take that away from you.
131. Nothing in the world can take that away from you.
132. Will you claim this power today?
133. It is my prayer that you do.
134. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.