From the time Jesus walked upon the earth and began teaching his disciples, the enemy has been hard at work to thwart the truth of God’s Word. False Teachers, false doctrines, twisting the truth, and manipulating the Word of God for one’s own agenda has most tragically echoed down the corridors of the New Testament’s Church’s history.
When reading Matthew 16:5-12, notice Christ’s implicit warning to His followers:
“Later, after they crossed to the other side of the lake, the disciples discovered they had forgotten to bring any bread. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Yeast, or leaven, in biblical discourse always points to sin and most often it represents the sin of pride.
Pride… it was Satan’s chief downfall and its very nature, is to cause that which it enters, to puff up, to inflate beyond its original stature. In bread, yeast causes the bread to rise. In man, it seeks to elevate oneself above other people.
In many instances, the yeast in the life of another person will manifest itself with the identifiable characteristics of an inflated ego, talking downward to others, having an un-teachable spirit, and an unwillingness to listen to truth. Such was the pathetic and prominent case of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus, the Messiah the very One, they so longed to see. He was right there front and center in their midst, yet the yeast within them caused them to be blind and deaf.
For nearly 2,000 years, there has never been an absence of yeast within the body of believers. From the very beginnings of the Church, countless numbers of false teachers with deceptive doctrines and their prideful precepts have worked at the bidding of the enemy, to chip away at the foundation upon which Christ built His church.
Let’s consider the following unmistakable warnings:
2 Peter 1:20-2:3 “Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money…”
1 Timothy 4:1 “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.”
Now more than ever in the history of the Church, we as followers of Christ Jesus must guard against those who would present a deceptive message of the gospel. We must renew our minds in the truth of God’s Word and through unceasing prayer, ask God for both wisdom and discernment to see the yeast of those who would present anything but God’s whole truth.
Joshua 1:8 “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”