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Scripture Reading: Matthew 16:5-12
Beware the Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees
1. The convincing power of Jesus was rolling through the hills of Galilee like a mighty storm. The multitudes were blessed and “glorified the God of Israel” (Matt 15:31).
2. But the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem came objecting to the teaching and obstructing the work of Christ (Matt 15:1).
3. Now, they also endeavor to ensnare and entice Jesus, Matt 16:1.
4. This gives Jesus a just reason to rebuke them and an occasion to warn His disciples (and us) of the danger of false teaching.
I. AN EVIL AND ADULTEROUS GENERATION SEEKS A SIGN, 16:1-4.
A. The Evil Motive of the Pharisees and Sadducees, 16:1.
1. The signs of Jesus were abundant and convincing; never one failure (that’s all it would have taken for enemies to exploit!).
2. Exposed by the Savior (Humans have the discernment to act upon available signs, 16:2-3).
3. God has not left Himself without witness: The sign of Jonah (Matt 12:38-40): The resurrection of Jesus.
B. Why Are You Following Jesus? Lord knows your motives…
1. To test Christ? Matt 16:1
2. To serve the flesh? Jno 6:26
3. To be seen and praised by others? Matt 6:1
4. To deflect criticism and/or hidden sins? 1 Pet 2:16
5. To escape persecution? Gal 6:12
6. To boast in your accomplishments? Gal 6:13
7. To criticize His disciples? Matt 15:1-2
-Lord will depart from those with such evil hearts. Matt 23:38
II. BEWARE THE LEAVEN OF PHARISEES AND SADDUCEES, 16:5-12.
A. The Doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees Included:
1. Denial of Jesus as the Christ (Matt 16:1, 13-16).
2. Binding of human traditions while hypocritically excluding themselves, Lk 12:1 (Matt 15:6-7; 23:4).
3. Sadducees denied immortality and resurrection (Acts 23:8).
A. Take Heed: Discernment is Essential, (perceive, know) 16:6; Phil 1:9-11.
1. We must know and hold the true doctrine in order to discern the “leaven” of false doctrine, 2 Tim 1:13; 3:14; 2 Ths 2:1-3.
2. Will to obey + hearing = Understanding, Jno 7:16-17.
B. Beware: Be Attentive to the Lord’s Warning, 16:6.
1. They forgot to take bread; they must never forget the leaven of error is at work; constant vigilance is required, Jude 3-4.
2. The threat of error is real, Eph 4:14; 2 Jno 7-9.
3. Apathy toward (the danger of) false doctrine is also a sin! Rev 2:14-16, 20
III. THE DANGERS OF FALSE DOCTRINE.
A. False Doctrines are like Leaven in the Following Ways: (Barnes)
1. They are at first slight and unimportant in appearance, just as leaven is small in quantity as compared with the mass that is to be leavened, cf. Matt 13:33; Rom 16:17-18 (discernment essential).
2. They are insinuated into the soul unawares and silently, and are difficult to detect, Jude 4; 2 Pet 2:1.
3. They act gradually until they finally corrupt and consume, 2 Tim 3:13.
4. They most certainly have an effect, 1 Cor 5:6; Gal 5:9.
5. They will permeate all the soul and bring all the faculties under their control, 2 Pet 2:19.
1. What we must do:
a. Beware: Be sober, be watchful (1 Pet 5:8).
b. Test what is taught (1 Jno 4:1).
c. Hold fast the pattern of sound words (2 Tim 1:13).
2. We cannot afford to eat the poisonous bread of false doctrine: it will kill us (destroy our life with Christ)!