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Summary: The Essence of The Lesson The “leaven of the Pharisees” is the spirit of this world that will blind the hearts of both evil men AND Christ’s followers, and keep them from the proper focus on the spiritual realm! Prelim thoughts, key concepts: “Leav

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Don’t Forget The Bread

A Lesson from, Mark 8:11-21 parallel in Matthew 16:1-12

The Essence of The Lesson

The “leaven of the Pharisees” is the spirit of this world that will blind the hearts of both evil men AND Christ’s followers, and keep them from the proper focus on the spiritual realm!

Prelim thoughts, key concepts:

“Leaven” will obscure His glory, sovereignty and total reign in our lives.

Leaven is a scriptural picture of sin and its growth pattern. It begins as a small, almost inconsequential measure. It replicates itself over and over, and eventually permeates the entire batch. Another good metaphor is a tiny cancerous cell that very quickly spreads throughout the body.

Rather than specific sin, I believe that leaven typifies attitudes and world-views.

BEGIN SERMON

How many of us are looking for a sign from God? So many times we find ourselves asking God to “just give me a sign Lord.”

Well, I have a surprise for you tonight. Whatever it is you are seeking in your life, God has sent a sign for you tonight!

Show picture…so here’s your sign from God!

You know, I love signs and wonders that follow and confirm the Word of the Lord. We Pentecostals and Charismatics love signs and wonders! Often God surprises us and will do incredible things in our lives to show us that He is there, and He guiding our steps.

Thank God for signs that come from Him!

But we must remember, the sign belongs to Him. He is Lord, and He is Sovereign.

He knows the intimate details of our hearts. His very word judges the thoughts and the intents of our hearts according to Hebrews 4:12. He looks to the inward parts.

He loves to do miracles in lives. He loves to reward great faith in His promise and in His Person.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that

“without faith it is impossible to please Him, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

But we must ask ourselves, do we seek His face or His hand? There is a world of difference, it is night and day, life and death.

If we seek His hand, we seek a sign…if we seek His heart, His face…we seek HIM!

Consider the case of Cain and Abel:

Hebrews 11:4 speaks of the differences in the sacrifice of Abel and Cain.

Abel was obedient to the command of God, and brought the bloody sacrifice that He required. Cain, on the other hand, was an advocate of a bloodless, convenient and ultimately faithless religion.

Cain demanded a sign from God; he had fooled himself with the notion that God would consume his sacrifice on Cain’s terms.

The result was raging confusion, ending in death and separation from God.

Cain had left the spiritual realm, and entered into the fleshly realm, as he dictated to God his own terms.

Abel chose to remain in the spiritual realm, and he sought the very heart of God as he obeyed His command, and offered the bloody sacrifice of the finest animal from his flock.

Consider the Case of Noah:

Hebrews 11: 7 tells us that

“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”

The godless crowd around Noah demanded a sign. “Where’s the rain, Noah-boy?”

“We will believe in you and your big boat when we see some rain, you fool!”

Jesus warned us in the gospels time and again about those who demand signs.

In Matthew 16, the parallel passage of our main text tonight, Jesus declared to those scoffing Pharisees who were demanding a sign, , that NO sign would be given to them, except the Sign of Jonah, referring to His resurrection!

But, did the Pharisees believe the Sign of Jonah? Did they believe the empty tomb or the over five hundred eyewitnesses who saw the Risen Christ? The bottom line is that Jesus himself told us, in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, that not even a resurrection from the dead would turn the heart of a man who is cold towards God and void of spiritual understanding.

A sign can be a confirmation and a blessing, or it can be a noose around the neck and an element of judgment.

It all comes down to the heart of the one seeking.

Tonight beloved, are we seeking His face and heart, or are we seeking for Him to do OUR will?

Jesus called the demand for a sign, the “Leaven Of The Pharisees”…and gave us a sobering warning to BEWARE.

Why would the Messiah, the Mighty Son of God, God in the flesh, issue such a strong warning and preserve it within His Word for our generation?

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