(1 Corinthians 5:6-8)
The way to life cannot and must not be compromised. There is no place for compromise in seeking the truth and the ways of God, for truth is not compromised.
What is leaven? In a baking sense it is an agent, such as yeast, that causes batter or dough to rise, especially by fermentation. In a more general sense it is an element, influence, or agent that works subtly to lighten, enliven, or modify a whole by permeating through the substance to which it is added.
From a spiritual perspective, and what this teaching is trying to tell us, is that some things can permeate what we believe and like leaven can subtly modify our beliefs from a strict adherence to the truth. This is the issue with leaven in the spiritual sense because it pollutes the truth, and it is a great problem in the church today.
There is only one path and one truth by which we can come into the kingdom of God, and that is the path of faith in Jesus Christ. There is no other way apart from Christ by which anyone can be saved.
In the early church, as we see Paul admonishing the Corinthians and as he did in a number of his other letters, the problems of false and perverted teachings were already occurring. The early church had the benefit of those who first received the truth directly from Jesus Christ to confer with so as to get back on the right path.
We too have the benefit of those early teachers, preachers, apostles and prophets to guide us through the words of the bible. And make no mistake, the bible has been put together by the work and the will of God so that we do have full access to the truth.
However in the last two thousand years, especially after those early disciples all passed away, the message being preached in the church has become leavened with lies, falsehoods and untruths with perverse and diverse teachings that bear little or no resemblance to the truth of the gospel as taught by Jesus and His early disciples.
In many places the true gospel of Jesus Christ has been leavened with false teachings so that it no longer resembles the truth as Jesus taught it. Many things being taught today have no basis in the bible and should be rejected by Christians everywhere.
Unfortunately what I see is that not only are they NOT rejected, many church people embrace these false teachings, defend them vehemently and become agitated when or if anyone opposes these false teachings. They have been truly leavened so that their knowledge of the truth is warped as they accept lies in place of truth.
Let me give an example. Recently there has been a furore amongst Christians in the USA over the fact that a major coffee house chain is not printing Christmas scenes or mentioning Christmas in any of its stores. This has caused an uproar and great indignation amongst Christians who feel affronted that the store is not celebrating this Christian season for fear of upsetting members of other religions, such as Jews, Muslims and so on.
So what is the problem here? The REAL problem is that these affronted Christians are not believing the truth but have accepted a lie.
Christmas is not a Christian holiday. Nowhere in the bible are we told to commemorate the birth of Jesus with Christmas trees, Yuletide logs, the giving of gifts, mistletoe and the whole host of other things that Christians do at this time of year.
First of all, Jesus could not have been born on December 25th because the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks and this does not occur in December as it is too cold in that region of the world. In actual fact December 25th was the date of a pagan holiday that was brought into Christianity to entice pagans to convert to Christianity. It was a compromise by the early church that allowed pagans to continue to worship as they had done while compromising the truth of Christ by stating that this date was the birthdate of Jesus.
And this is just one example of the compromises made and the way the truth has been leavened with lies that effectively cause Christians to follow pagan practices in the guise of worshiping Jesus. They have been fooled and succumb to lies.
So where will we find the truth? This is one of a great many examples I could quote that are false teachings of the modern church. Others are even more insidious than this one and less obvious, especially those that are based on twisted versions of the scriptures. These are harder to recognise because scripture is used to defend falsehoods.
Is this surprising? Not at all. Even Satan twisted scripture when he opposed Jesus during the forty days in the wilderness. So if he twisted scripture then, he will d it with us and attempt to overthrow the truth at every opportunity.
The truth is found only one place. In Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” There is no truth other than what we will find in Christ and there is no other way to life.
And just as Jesus warned the disciples to bearer of the leaven of the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders in Jerusalem at that time, so too we need to beware the leaven of the false teachers in some churches today.
How will we know what is truth or not? Jesus gave us the test and the answer. He said, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – (John 8:31-32)
So if we 1) abide in His word we will know th truth, and 2) recognise that the truth makes you free, then we can t st the words of anyone who teaches in the name of the lord to see if they are speaking truth or not. Let's look at these two point and see how they help.
If what they teach does not accord and align with the word of the bible, then it is false and should be rejected. But then if they are using scripture but the way they teach it will bring you into ANY form of bondage and take away your freedom in Jesus Christ, then they are not using the scripture correctly and the teaching should be rejected.
But if they teach scripture correctly and it offers true freedom in Jesus Christ, then accept it and learn and grow.
It is imperative, today more than ever that we find and hold fast to the truth. We cannot allow the leaven of lies, falsehoods and false teaching to come in and corrupt the truth we find in Christ. Hold fast to what you know is truth and ask the lord to open your mind and heart to know and apply it in your life as you walk and grow in Him.
(Photo sourced from freeimages.com provided by Alex Ringer)
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