Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Is Heaven Like Yeast?

The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till the whole was leavened. – Matthew 13:33

Jesus spent a great deal of time talking about “the Kingdom of Heaven”. This is one of the shortest stories he told about it. You might ask what “the Kingdom of Heaven” is. The best I can tell, the Kingdom of Heaven is closely related to what many people call “the church” today. It seems to be all the Christians in the entire world. This is different from what Jesus called the church or the assembly, which is a local body that assembles together for worship and service. Even so, “the Kingdom” includes us.

In the Bible leaven is symbolic of some evil. It is the nature of sin to start small and grow into something big. The same is true of leaven. In this case, we see a small amount leavening three measures of meal. The Jews Jesus was speaking to would have recognized the three measures as being the amount needed for the feast of unleavened bread. The irony is that this woman tried hiding the leaven in the meal that was to be used for unleavened bread. When dealing with symbolism, the Bible often uses women to represent false leadership. So what does that tell us about the Kingdom of Heaven?

With this very short statement, Jesus is warning of the problem of church leaders hiding sin. I don’t believe he is talking to women only. If anything, I suspect he was talking primarily to men, but the problem is the same. Today, we see church leaders who are hiding sin in various ways. I’m not saying they are having an affair or something like that, though that would be one example. It could be as simple as them ignoring Bible passages that talk about sin because they’re afraid they might scare their church members away. Let’s all smile with big teeth and love one another and not talk about sin and doctrine. By doing that, they hide sin that is in their churches.

What starts out as one sin that a pastor chooses to ignore can grow into many sins committed by many different church members. What one person gets by with, everyone gets by with. Soon, a church is good for nothing because it is full of sin. Unfortunately, there are far too many churches that ignore sin and the whole church is full of it, all because they’ve allowed bad leadership to lead them astray.