Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A study of the Gospel of Luke 13: 20 – 21

Luke 13: 20 – 21

A Tale of Two Churches

20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

The first Gospel written came from the pen of the apostle Matthew. He made a comment regarding our Lord’s words which ultimately Luke also picked up on. So, let us also see what Matthew wrote down in chapter 13, “33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.”

Whoa! - Major differences in just a few verses. Please remain calm. All is well. Nothing is wrong. If we just slow down to the speed of life and take a look at these verses we will see the continued wonders of our Great God.

Having revealed how our Lord Jesus can loose men from Satan’s power, and can make the crooked straight, Luke gives us two parables of our Lord Jesus which illustrate how that is going to come into effect by the spread of the Kingly Rule of God, not by a sudden eruption of force, but by the gradual spreading of its growth and influence. They bring home a slightly different message from the parable of the fig tree which illustrated the fact that men will be judged by the fruit they bear. Both, however, connect with fruit bearing.

Please take note here how Luke, in his typical way, introduces one example where a man is involved and one where a woman is involved. All, both men and women, are to be involved in the spreading the Good News. But they represent two slightly differing angles. The mustard seed growing to become a large bush emphasizes its gradual growth to large proportions. The leaven working throughout the flour emphasizes the influence that spreads from man to man and woman to woman until all are reached. But just as the church growth turned out to be bad, so is leaven. It represents sin. We will see how our Lord applies His message of warning.

20 And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?

I love how our Lord Jesus makes His points by asking the question a second time. Among the Jews something vouched for a second time was seen as certain and secure.

But He has another purpose in the second illustration and that is to introduce women into the equation. So He selects as His second example a woman’s occupation, bread-making. The woman puts a little leaven in the flour and soon it spreads throughout the whole.

It is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until it was all leavened.”

Leaven is a piece of dough kept back from the previous batch which has fermented. It is put within the new dough and ferments the whole, until the whole is affected.

Many teachers say that this Parable is talking about a good thing. A major thing we all need to remember is that Scripture does not conflict with any other verses of Scripture. With this truth, let us look at what the apostle Paul teaches about leaven in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 5, “6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Three measures of meal indicate a large amount of meal sufficient for over one hundred people. So there, like the example of the Mustard Seed, is again the repetition of the idea of large results from small beginnings. Leaven represents teaching, with its consequent influence. It began with the teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees and then after the church was established grew into all forms of heresy.

We looked at both the Gospel of Matthew and of Luke in regards to this teaching and which looks like they are not the same. Let me say that they are and yet they are not. What? It is talking about the church and the church. I see Matthew using this reference of our Lord to talk about the Christian Church as a whole, therefore this is why he used the startling amount of ingredients - The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Do a little research on how our Lord’s church grew. It started out great and began to spread around the world. However, when Satan joined the church during the time of Constantine the Roman Emperor the leaven was added and then all kinds of mayhem began to rot away the beauty and simplicity of our Lord’s Holy Word. Traditions began replacing God’s Holy Word. So now we see all kinds of so called Christian Denominations that allow all kinds of filth to take place.

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