"BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES"
Matt. 16:1- 12.
1. They didn't understand because they were thinking physically and literally instead of spiritually and figuratively.
2. This is one of OUR great problems even today.
3. He was saying: "Beware of the DOCTRINE of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
I. DOCTRINAL ERROR SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AS A THREAT TO OUR SPIRITUAL WELL-BEING.
A. Most of us can see the blatant sins of adultery, fornication, pornography, drugs, stealing, drunkenness, murder, etc. as a real threat.
B. But, false doctrine, you know that's not going to corrupt anyone very much!
1. To illustrate: Look at 1 Cor. 15:33.
a. Most of us use this verse to teach our children and others not to associate with people that are involved in drinking, smoking, dancing, cursing, and that hang out at bad places.
1) But if you will look at the context of this verse, you will see that it has application to the false doctrine concerning the resurrection.
C. Brother Irven Lee, in a sermon, said: "There is more said in the Bible about false teaching than about all the immoral sins combined."
1. He went on to say: "You show me a verse against lying and I'll show you one against false teaching. You show me a verse against murder and I will show you one against false doctrine. You show me a verse against every immoral sin that you can think of and I will show you one against false doctrine for everyone that you show me and when it is over and you have shown every verse you can find I will still have verses that I have not yet shown against false doctrine."
D. There are whole books in the Bible that deal primarily with false doctrine: Romans, Galatians, 2 Peter, 1 John, Jude. 1. Then, there are many, many individual verses: Rom. 16:17; 2 Jno. 9.
E. Can't we see by this that the major teaching in the Bible is against false doctrine?
1. So, the next time a preacher spends his whole sermon exposing false doctrine or using the truth to expose error, please don't yawn and seem bored. But sit up and pay close attention.
a. Such is absolutely essential to the saving of congregations and individual Christians.
II. DOCTRINAL ERROR IS A THREAT BECAUSE IT WORKS LIKE LEAVEN.
A. Do you know what leaven is or how it works?
1. You don't hear it working, nor do you quickly see it.
a. But it is silently and imperceptively working all the time.
B. This is the way false teaching works.
1. A good example of this is the Judaizing teachers of the first century. Acts 15:1, 23-31.
2. After the meeting and the letter, was all over?
a. No! Now the leaven began to work. They now set about to undermine the apostleship of Paul. Gal. 1:1,6; 5:4.
3. Galatia was a whole province full of churches.
4. Leaven works like the proverbial boiling of a frog.
a. Churches nor individuals just PLUNGE into error.
5. Nothing is established as truth upon the basis of accepted practice. Note: Exo. 23:2.
6. There is only one way. Go to the Word of God!
7. Yes, what happens to churches also happens to individuals. They slip little by little, step by step.
8. A family, several years ago, quit attending the congregation where they had been members.
a. In other words, they left the church.
b. Fifteen years later, they considered the error of their ways and returned to the congregation and confessed their faults.
c. After they had been back a few weeks, they saw that the church was not the same as when they had left. Things were being done that they would have never dreamed of 15 years before.
d. When questions were asked concerning these things, the other brethren did not even realize anything had changed.
e. The activities were so noticeable to the ones who had left until they could see that they would have to look elsewhere to find a congregation like the one they had left years before.
III. JESUS SAID: "BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES."
A. What did Jesus mean by "BEWARE"?
1. Do you suppose He meant "spend all the time you can with the Pharisees and Sadducees"?
2. Or, do you suppose He meant: "Buy all the books you can find that give a favorable light to the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees"?
3. He no doubt meant: "Mark them, observe them, avoid them." Rom. 16:17.
B. You don't fortify yourself against the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees by spending more and more time with them.
1. You fortify yourself against the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees by spending more and more time with the Lord.
C. You don't fortify yourself against the Moslem Religion by spending two years in a Moslem Mosque.
1. You fortify yourself against the Moslem Religion by spending more and more time with Jesus and His Word.
D. Whatever the false religion may be, you don't fortify yourself against it by buying up and reading all the books that picture that religion in a favorable light.
1. You fortify yourself against all false doctrines and religions by studying God's Word. "Give Me The Bible."
E. I have said all of that to say this:
1. I am very concerned about what I see happening among brethren, many of them close friends of mine.
a. I am not doubting their sincerety, but, when I see them spending much time feasting upon books that have been written by denominationalists and Calvinists, it worries me about their future.
b. A lot of people are reading book after book, written by worldly people, trying to learn how to rear their children.
c. Many people are spending many hours watching the so-called TV Evangelists. Absorbing what they say without realizing the leavening affect it will finally have upon them.
d. Then, there are those that spend hour upon hour reading the books of positive mental attitudes.
1) These books tell you to assert yourself, that you are number one, that you can do anything that you want to do, and that you are the greatest. Grab a hold on life with gusto.
e. People are being tainted by all of this, the leaven is working.
1) Such are going to drift further and further away from the Lord and they will never realize what is happening until it is too late.
f. Brethren, there is a mountain of junk out there. It is mind corrupting. Beware the leaven.
F. But, what is the solution to all of this?
1. Do you want to be a good husband, wife, parent, child, citizen, Christian?
a. Then get your Bible down and spend more time learning its precepts.
2. I am not saying that we should never read anything by the Bible.
a. There are some good, helpful, books and periodicals that we can read.
3. I am saying, be careful about your reading and your TV viewing.
a. Always keep the Word of God first and foremost in your mind and in your heart.
G. The Word of God is the only dependable source of authority for all matter concerning our soul.
1. Let's take time just here to read a few passages of Scripture: Psa. 1:1,2; 119:11, 97,105.
a. It was said of a gospel preacher: "He doesn't have any idea of what's going on in the world, but he sure knows the Book".
1) Wouldn't you like to know the Book?
2. Someone says: "What does Barnes say? What did Clarke say? What is McGarvey's position on this?
a. Such things as this might be good to know, but it is more important to know what the Book says.
b. No commentator nor scholar is to be "a lamp to our path and light to our feet."
3. Look at: Jos. 1:8; 2 Tim. 3:16,17.
Yes, Beware of all leaven!
by Jim Sasser
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