The Leaven of the Pharisees

Recall these scriptures:

…Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees…
–  Matthew 16:5-12

A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
–  Galatians 5:9

You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
–  Deuteronomy 4:2

…you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
–  Matthew 15:6

‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’
–  Mark 7:7 (quoting Isaiah 29:13)

Note in the following exchange (which originated here) how the commenter’s view invalidates the word of God by the assertion of man-made additions to the word of God:

Yes, mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13), but the Lord will still decide who He blesses with eternal life and who doesn’t find a place of repentance.

Eternal life and places of repentance are on offer here and now.

Yes, His favour outlasts His anger (Psalm 30:5), but there is coming a day of wrath.

As with eternal life and repentance, so the day of wrath is upon us here and now.

Shall not those who are not called sons be called sons? (Hosea 1:10)  Yes, those who are not called sons will be called sons. This is because of Our Lord’s perfect, atoning sacrifice, but if people are unwilling to allow Our Heavenly Father to draw them to His Beloved, sinless Son it will not happen.

To believe this we’d have to believe that the will of the creature is stronger than the will of the Creator.  God is not impotent.  The resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrates in the most dramatic and profound fashion that even when it appears that God is thwarted, He is not.

*****

James 2:13, Psalm 30:5, and Hosea 1:10 all speak clearly.  It’s only Christian traditions – accretions to Scripture –  that cause people to say otherwise.  We need to scrape away the barnacles that have attached themselves over the centuries to the hull of the Scriptures of God’s prophets and apostles.  The word of God is pure (Psalm 12:6); let us add nothing to it, lest we be like the Pharisees who leavened the loaf with “yes, but’s…”

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BSO: Witnesses Against Worry

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

Consider these four New Testament voices (of course, the second, third, and fourth are all echoes of the first) and how firm and united are these voices against any quantity of worry, anxiety, or fear.

Jesus:  John 14:27  (“…Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”)

Paul:  Philippians 4:6  (“Be anxious for nothing…”)

Peter:  1 Peter 5:7  (“casting all your anxiety on Him…”)

John:  1 John 4:18  (“There is no fear in love…”)

 

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BSO: Understanding the will of God by its alternative

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

We are helped in discerning the will of God by recognizing that it is often not what we personally would desire to do.  Ponder these references and what they have to do with each other.

Matthew 16:23

Matthew 26:39

1 Peter 4:2

1 John 2:17

See also 1 Peter 1:14-16

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BSO: Authoritative Teaching from Jesus

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

Do you recognize the same two ideas present in each of these five verses?

Matthew 7:29

Mark 6:34

John 13:13

Acts 13:12

2 John 1:9

In each verse there is a reference 1) to Jesus’ teaching and 2) to His authority (e.g. “Lord” and “shepherd”).  Thus Jesus relates to us as an authoritative teacher.  Or we could say that He exercises His lordship through His teaching.

Look for themes when you read the Bible and let a verse here be commentary on a verse there.

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BSO: What sort of people hear Jesus?

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

Both of these statements were made by Jesus.  Think about what they together say about those who hear His voice.

John 10:27  –  “My sheep hear My voice…”

John 18:37  –  “…Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

The best way to be “of the truth” is to be honest before God.

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BSO: The Light of Knowledge

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

Let each of these verses be commentary on the other two.

John 8:12

Psalm 27:1

2 Corinthians 4:6

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BSO: From Flesh to Spirit, From Outward to Inward, From Ethnicity to Spirituality

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

Consider these four passages.  The first three are teachings from Jesus; the fourth is from Paul.  Note that even though the various passages use different terms, they are talking about the same central idea.  See if you can identify what that idea is.

Matthew 21:43

Luke 8:19-21

Luke 11:27-28

Romans 2:25-29

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The Body of Christ Versus the Body of Christendom

Do not think that the body of Christ is the same thing as the number of people participating in organized Christianity.

Do not think that the body of Christ is the same thing as the number of people who identify as Christians.

The true body of Christ are those who are currently connected to the head – Jesus Christ.

Do not preach so that people will connect with you, your church, or your ministry.  Preach so that they will connect with Jesus.

The body of Christ in the earth today is much smaller than Christendom.  Much smaller.  Christendom is ruled by men.  The kingdom of God is ruled by Christ.

Preach Christ.

We don’t need Christendom to grow.  We need the kingdom of God – the body of Christ – to grow.

Preach Christ.

Christians don’t need a relationship with more Christians or different Christians.  They need a relationship with Christ and they need that relationship to be growing.

Preach Christ.

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BSO: Meditation Times

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

During which times of the day should we meditate on the law of the Lord?  (The “law of the Lord” is, course, love – first for God and then for each other.)

Psalm 119:97

Psalm 119:148

Psalm 1:2  –  Given the answers we found in the two verses above, this answer is to be expected.

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BSO: Definitions and Paraphrases for Love

(“BSO” stands for Bible study outline.  For an explanation of what I mean by that, see here.)

Consider these verses as definitions or paraphrases for the verb “to love.”

John 15:13

Romans 13:10

1 Corinthians 10:24

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

To what extent do these verses deepen your understanding of what God means when He tells us to love one another?

For an extended study on this subject, see Defining Love which contains these scriptures and more.

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