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Summary: I preached this sermon after serving Communion. We always use unleavened bread for Communion because that is what was served at the Last Supper. The sermon deals with what Jesus described as leaven beliefs.

The Leaven

Mark 8:14-16

14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat.

[15] Then He charged them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

[16] And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have no bread."

Here in Mark chapter 14, we read about Jesus feeding the 4,000.

That was a fantastic miracle performed by Jesus.

Then the Pharisees come to Jesus

demanding that He give them a miraculous sign,

but He refuses.

Jesus warns the disciples

to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod,

Just what is leaven?

Leaven is bread dough in a high state of fermentation.

Leaven is the ingredient that was used to cause bread to rise.

Throughout the New Testament,

leaven always has a negative meaning.

Leaven is the added ingredient

that ferments and corrupts the mixture to which it is added.

In today’s Bible text, it is used to describe false doctrine

that becomes mixed with good doctrine,

corrupting good doctrine.

For example, Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."

Matthew 16:11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?--but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

Mark 8:15 Then He charged them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

Luke 12:1 In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

Leaven is also symbolic

of the influence of disobedient church members.

For example,1 Corinthians 5:6-8

Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? [7] Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Galatians 5:9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.

We don’t use leaven these days.

We use yeast which is the same as leaven.

My wife Pat had a bread machine.

On Sunday morning, she put ingredients in that machine.

Then she would start it before leaving for church.

When we got home, we had a loaf of homemade bread.

I found her recipe.

To make a 2 pound loaf of bread, she put in 4 cups of flour.

In order to raise that amount of flour,

she put in about 2 teaspoons of yeast, or leaven.

So it doesn’t take much yeast or leaven

for an entire lump of dough.

Neither does it take a whole lot of the world

to corrupt a good Christian.

Jesus spoke of 3 kinds of leaven that we should beware of.

First, The leaven of the Pharisees.

Mark 8:15 Then He charged them, saying, "Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod."

That is the leaven of hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is the practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues

that you do not hold or possess.

It is a life of falseness, pretense, and play acting.

It is pretending you are one thing while being something else.

The Pharisees pretended to be spiritual leaders

but were nothing more than blind guides.

The worst kind of hypocrisy

is not when you pretend to be something or someone you are not.

It’s when you do not live what you really are, a child of God!

Christians fall into this leaven of the Pharisees all-too-often.

Instead of living like the children of God,

they live like the children of the Devil.

James 4:4 says, Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1 John 2:15

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

If you are a worldly Christian,

then you have the leaven of the Pharisees in your life.

Second, The leaven of the Sadducees.

Matthew 16:11-12

How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?--but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." [12] Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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