Fairview Baptist Tabernacle
Friday, September 22, 2017
Staying Connected
 Archived Pastor's Desk 2017.03.05
 March 5 – March 11 


Scripture Passage:  And he charged them saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, (and Sadducees – Mt. 16:6) and of the leaven of Herod.”   Mark 8:15


Dear Friends,


     Leaven is a substance used to produce fermentation in dough and make it rise.  Leaven is often used metaphorically as an influence that permeates whatever it touches.  For this reason leaven can be good, or it can be bad.  Many times in the New Testament, leaven is a symbol of sin.  There was a song written many years ago that said, “Sin will take you farther than you ever wanted to go, keep you longer that you ever wanted to stay, and cost you more than you ever wanted to pay.”  I have found this to be true every time I have gotten wrapped up in something I should not be doing. Anyone who has an addiction will tell you there was a first time for everything.  If they had never took that first drink, smoked that first smoke, took that first drug or looked at that first porn, they wouldn’t be in the mess they are in today.  It only takes a little bit of leaven (sin) to get you hooked and then it snowballs into a huge problem. 


     There were three types of leaven Jesus warned us of.  The first was the leaven of the Pharisees.  The Pharisees became prominent sometime during the time of the Maccabees.  They believed the law was not being kept as it should be so they determined and appointed themselves as the keepers of the law.  They took the original Ten Commandments and added some 600 more oral traditional laws they considered as important, and binding, as the original ten. They became so legalistic that the very things that should have been a guideline for receiving blessings became a burden that could not be kept.  Therefore instead of freedom, it brought condemnation.  The original intent was good – to honor and obey God’s commandments.  The result was spiritual bondage. I am a person who likes and lives by rules.  I was brought up in a strict family where rules were not broken without painful consequences.  I raised my children the same way and often lead my church by the same mindset.  This is good when those rules apply to Biblical truths to be observed and lived by.  It is bad when they apply to oral traditions passed down from generation to generation.  These things are the leaven that brings spiritual bondage instead of the leaven that brings liberty in Christ. 


     The second type of leaven was the leaven of the Sadducees. This group was made up of more of the wealthy merchants who enjoyed the liberalism that financial freedom provided.  They made money from the holy days and Tabernacle worship.  They made money by being representatives of the Romans.  Their moral compass was affected more by the motto to live and let live than it was by Scripture and the law.  They were more apt to think that only the first five books of the Tanak were authentic and that there was no such thing as miracles, angels, or life after death.  Since there was no judgement or afterlife it was important to make this life Heaven.  This reminds me of the liberalism rampant today in our country. The majority of our country live with no fear or respect of God.  If they do believe in Heaven, they seem to not believe in Hell.  They believe in a God of love, but not a God of judgement. They do not want to be restricted by any rules – Biblical or secular, and have little moral sense of right or wrong.  They have a “hands off” attitude until someone does them “wrong.”  The main problem I see with liberalism is that they want to make the rules and then change them as the circumstances warrant change and those changes benefit them.  There is literally nothing to use as a rubric or moral standard of right and wrong.  Because this is the prominent mindset of society it is also the leaven that has permeated the church. 


     Finally there is the leaven of Herod.  This is the leaven of licentiousness.   It is the sin of becoming worldly and materialistic. I personally believe it is the greatest sin in Southern Baptist Churches today.  Most SBC churches preach and stand against what we call legalism.  We realize that some traditions of the past have so bound our churches that a sinner could not find a welcome and a place of refuge.  We preach and stand against liberalism that questions the authenticity of Scripture and advocates moral compromise.  We are a denomination of sound doctrine and Gospel emphasis.  Battles have been waged and won concerning these issues.  The silent killer is materialism.  More money is spent today on our programs, properties and physical buildings than is spent on missions.  More money and time is spent on fun things and social engagements than all our tithes, offerings, and charitable contributions COMBINED.  The God of materialism is us. Everything we do and everything we own is first and foremost for our benefit.  If we are a believer, we dibble out crumbs of time and money as a sacrifice to a Savior who has given everything for us.  I am convinced that the Christian of today serves, sacrifices, and worships according to convenience. If there is nothing else vying for our time, money or attention we will contribute to the Kingdom, but do not ask me to surrender to the Lordship of Christ.  No wonder Jesus included this in his list of leavens to beware of.


    In each of these leavens I have found something I am guilty of.  I am consciously repenting of them before God.  Churches today seem to respond to what they want to hear, but reject anything that questions their actions.  People groups that have nothing seem to be stronger Christians  than we who have everything.  I do not want God to have to take everything away from us before we realize our sin.  Repent and set your eyes on Jesus. 


In Christ,


Pastor Johnny