Summary: As a church, as Christians we may wonder what influence we have or can have in the world today. What difference do we make.
1. Sometimes I feel that I am living in two completely different, unattached worlds.
a. I live in God’ world or kingdom. I read His word, hear His promises and see that he is a work in my life and in the lives of others. See Him answer prayer, and offer comfort to those who are suffering.
b. There is another world I live in. A world that does not even acknowledge let alone recognize God. Doing its own thing and often that thing is disgusting to the way of the Lord. See it in the world and individuals who may even acknowledge God but who seem more influenced by the world than by God.
c. See it in some I try to minister to (eg. Ted - alcoholic). Fred seems to have no idea what I am talking about.
2. Are these two worlds or realities unattached? Is there any connection between the world or kingdom of God and the kingdom of man or the evil one?
3. If there is not, then I would be very discouraged. What is use of seeking to reach out to this world and those who dwell in it? What is use of trying to work against the evil with man’s heart and throughout our society? To be honest, these are questions that I do sometimes ask myself.
1. Today in one verse Jesus says to you and to me "There is a connection". "There is a use in trying to bring forth my word into this other world". By saying this Jesus offers you and me a word of encouragement to not grow weary.
2. This evening we consider the parable of "the leaven" or "yeast".
3. While the working of yeast is somewhat of a mystery to me, it is an amazing thing. It is a is a substance that promotes fermentation. It makes something undergo a radical change. A chemical activity or breakdown that affects or permeates all of that in which it is found.
4. Make some dough for pizza and leave out the yeast - nothing happens. When yeast is added, may not see change for a while - but soon the whole batter or dough comes to life and grows.
5. Yeast is often used in Scripture as a image of evil or unrighteousness. In Mat 16:5-12, Jesus warns us of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees which included their teaching and hypocrisy. In 1Cor 5, Paul of the need to withdraw from the unrepentant brother because "a little leaven leavens the whole lump"
a. Beware of evil before it takes you over.
b. For this reason only unleavened bread was to be eaten at the passover feast.
6. But this is not how leaven or yeast is used here. Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into more than a bushel of flour.
7. As we said leaven changed the character of the bread. Unleavened bread was like a water biscuit - hard, dry, unappetizing and uninteresting. Leavened bread was soft, porous and spongy, tasty and good to eat.
8. Jesus tells us that his kingdom , His rule and His will is like leaven that is added to this world and which works through it to change it.
9. How? It begins with the individual as he or she takes in God’s word and studies it and is transformed by the Holy Spirit.
a. Just as nature of dough is changed so are you and I.
b. Affects us not just on Sunday but in every aspect of our lives.
c. A process but we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another. (1Cor 6:9-11)
d. This is how the kingdom grows in the individual.
10. As we are changed by the leaven so we become leaven. In Israel some of dough set aside to be used again in new batch.
a. As we are change we become agents of change in the world. As believers we represent the kingdom - we are part of it. (Mat 5:16)
11. Our purpose is not just to get to heaven or to get others to heaven, but to be an instrument of God’s hand to bring every though of whatever kind into submission to the mind and will of Christ.
a. We pray "Thy kingdom come" and we are to actively bring God’s kingdom into this world.
b. Means how we live our lives. Means guiding and teaching others to let Christ rule.
c. Means bringing society under the will of God even those who do not believe in God.
12. The early church taught a much different way of treating, women, the weak, the elderly and children than society did. Today as well we must speak out and fight for issues such as abortion.