Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Synergism: Opening The Door to God’s Indwelling Power

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Synergism: Opening The Door to God’s Indwelling Power

Chapter Nine
The Four Leavens of the Defilement of Spiritual Empowerment

“Another parable spake he unto them; 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).

“5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:5-12).

“14 Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. 15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. 17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand” (Mark 8:14-21)?

The word “leaven” in the Word of God is always used to represent some form of spiritual corruption (defilement or uncleanness before God). Any form of leaven must be removed or cleansed from our lives before God can use us or empower us spiritually. The first instance of spiritual corruption began with the fall of Lucifer due to his own corruption through arrogance and pride.

“12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

However, like all fallen beings, misery loves company. Lucifer, once fallen, set out to corrupt or “leaven” all of God’s creation. In his fall, he led one third of the angelic host into his rebellion against God’s appointed order and against God plan of redemption.

“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven {angels}, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon {Satan} stood before the woman {Israel} which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child {Messiah} as soon as it was born” (Revelation 12:4).

Then Satan introduced the “leaven” of his sin into mankind through the deception of Eve by using the attribute of love against mankind. In Satan’s deception of Eve, he introduced more spiritual death into God’s creation of mankind. Adam loved Eve more than he loved God and willfully sinned against God bringing the “leaven” of the corruption of sin into mankind seminally (Rom 5:12).

However, God had a plan of redemption and reconciliation in place before the “foundation of the world.” He would become a man to die in the sinner’s place to pay the death penalty of the curse that His holiness necessitated. This was God’s promise to mankind in the words of God’s curse upon Satan and his forces of evil.

“14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).

In Genesis 3:15, we have the Protevangelum; the first mention of the good news of the promised coming One. This was the gospel in the Promised One that Adam and Eve trusted in order to be saved. Immediately, Satan sought to instill the “leaven” of corruption to distort the simple message of redemption and reconciliation through the coming Promised One. Very shortly after the fall, we find Cain and Abel where Cain rises up in insurrection, rebellion, and jealousy against his brother Abel because Abel offered an acceptable sacrifice of a Lamb while Cain offered the work of his own hands to God. Cain believed Satan’s leaven of spiritual corruption of the good news that any avenue to restored fellowship with God is acceptable as long as we are sincere. In Cain deception, Satan introduced the “leaven” of corruption of false doctrine regarding a way to restored fellowship with God through “works” rather than “by grace through faith.”

We must never forget, this world has two Gods. There is thee One and Only True God with a capital “G” and there is the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4) with a small, tiny, itsy-bitsy “g.” The “god of this world” is the “god” and author of the leaven of spiritual corruption intent upon defiling everything and everyone before God. For the believer, any defilement equals the loss of spiritual empowerment.

There are four types of “leaven” (spiritual corruption) mentioned in these three portions of Scripture. Satan’s “leaven” of defilement comes at us from many different angles taking numerous avenues of subtleness. If he can infect us with any one of these forms of leaven, we will be defiled before God and unusable for the purposes God has saved us for.

1. The leaven of Sin (the corruption of spiritual seduction)
2. The leaven of the Pharisees (the corruption of spiritual hypocrisy)
3. The leaven of the Sadducees (the corruption of spiritual existence)
4. The leaven of the Herodians (the corruption of Politicalism)

First, let’s talk about the corruption of the leaven of sin. Sin is more than acts contrary to the will of God in either disobedience or rebellion. Sin is really the very essence of our existence apart from the inward supernatural enabling of the indwelling Spirit of God. Sin is descriptive of our very nature of thought, desires, and actions apart from God’s supernatural inward workings. Sin is a fountain that corrupts everything that comes from our lives.

“10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. 15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. 16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:10-20).

The “leaven of the Pharisees” is the hypocrisy of religious externalism and spiritual pretentiousness. This comes in the form of self-righteousness manifested primarily through contempt for sinners. The defiling leaven of spiritual hypocrisy looks at others in their sinfulness and presumptuously passes a sentence upon them. The spiritual hypocrite infected with the leaven of pretense creates a level of expectation for others that he knows that even he does not keep. He does not even consider the sins of the heart and the sins of the thought life. Nonetheless, he is defiled before God (and maybe not even saved).

“In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1).

“14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. . . 16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. . . 18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty” (Matthew 23:14,16 & 18).

The “leaven of the Sadducees” is the denial of supernatural powers or an eternal state of existence for believers (Heaven or Hell). The is the “leaven” of false theology through human rationalism. The Sadducees denied the resurrection from the dead, and the eternal state of existence of those resurrected. The Sadducees were one of the earliest form of Deism due to the influence of the Greek culture upon them (Hellenization). They did not believe that God interfered in the world in any supernatural way. The simplest way to explain Deism is the idea that God’s creation was like a man throwing a bowling ball down the lane. Once the ball has left his hand, he does not interfere in any way. In Deism, God is always transcendent (separate from and completely independent of the physical existence) and never immanent (meaning to remain within). The point of the “leaven of the Sadducees” is that bad theology or false beliefs about God’s involvement within His creation certainly is contradictory to synergism with God in spiritual empowerment of a believer.

“23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine” (Matthew 22:23).

The “leaven of the Herodians” is a worldly compromise of absolutes for political and sociological advancements through political activism.
The Herodians sought to integrate Roman political policies and culture into the nation of Israel. However, there is a more serious heresy in the “leaven of the Herodians. They looked to the Herods, Herod the Great, Antipus, and Agrippa successively as their Messiah. Therefore, they were in alignment with the Sadducees regarding their Deism and the Kingdom being merely temporal and earthly. They merely placated the Pharisees regarding Jewish government polity doing all they could to gain acceptance from Rome. Their compromises mirror the philosophy of the Emerging Church of today. We must always remember that the words politics and compromise are directly connected and almost synonymous practically.

“15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way” (Matthew 22:16-22).

“Leaven” is any form of false doctrine (heterodoxy) or false practices (heteropraxy) that result in false allegiances, alliances, and practices. The outcome of any one of these forms of “leaven” in a believer’s life is the breech of fellowship (synergism) with God. When this happens there is no possibility for spiritual empowerment until the believer is restored to fellowship with God by repentance of the sin, of pretentiousness/hypocrisy/self-righteousness, false doctrine, and/or false allegiances that compromises a believers separation from worldliness and unto God.

“Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven; neither shall the sacrifice of the feast of the passover be left unto the morning” (Exodus 34:25).

“No meat-offering, which ye shall bring unto the LORD, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the LORD made by fire” (Leviticus 2:11).

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