The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees
“When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, “We brought no bread.” But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered. How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” – Matthew 16:5-12
The Pharisees and Sadducees were the religious leaders of the entire nation of Israel and were entrusted with the task of leading the nation to follow the Lord their God. So, why did Jesus warn the disciples of them? He warned them to beware of their teaching! Implied in this warning is this truth: Their teaching was false!
Leaven has several qualities:
- It takes only a very small amount to cause dough to rise.
- It will eventually work its way through the entire batch of dough.
- As it grows, it changes or alters whatever it comes in contact with, which in this case is the dough.
This is what happens with false teaching and what makes it so dangerous. Like leaven, false teaching begins very small. In the beginning, it is unnoticed. But, over the course of time, it works its way through entire churches and denominations. And finally, in the end, it changes all who continue to feast upon it.
Paul warned in Galatians 5:9, “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
In the upcoming weeks, I will share with you several red flags that will serve as warning signs concerning the leaven of false teaching that has swept through mainline denominations in America since the early 1900’s. Stay tuned and beware!