Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

As a Christian church we want to look at Jesus because that is the reason why we are a church. When we look at Jesus, we look at Him coming to this earth with an object. Remember what He said when He came from the wilderness? He began to preach the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He came to launch out the kingdom of heaven on earth. He came to launch out a religion which when I look today has been dreadfully contorted. It is expressed in the words of Jesus to Nicodemus.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

A shallow reader will say what? I’m condemned because I don’t believe in the only begotten son of God? The reality is that we are condemned already. We are totally lost as a planet. This planet is condemned because it has turned away from the laws of life and because the laws of life are transgressed, the sure result is going to take place, death. Every human being on this earth is condemned to death.

That is a reality. People are trying to avoid that but they know and this subconscious stress syndrome is fear of death. Everyone is trying to avoid it but God so loved the world that he sees these poor human beings who have broken the laws of life and his heart goes out to them and says to them I want to help you. So He sends Jesus Christ to this earth to remove condemnation and the threat of death and stress as a consequence of sin.

Condemnation

Are you still experiencing condemnation in the subconscious mind of yourself? It is every humans object in life to shield himself of condemnation. This is the fundamental undercurrent of every human being. Anybody who studies psychology is aware of this. There is an underlying oppression in the life of human beings and they are forever striving to shield themselves from condemnation. You just have to say to a person, you are doing something wrong and what will they do straight away? Don’t they usually justify themselves for their action?

This is a natural consequence of human beings today. The justification of oneself because if they can’t feel justified, they feel condemned. No matter how long we want to justify our action, if I have done something wrong which we all have we are all condemned and hopelessly lost. While we try to shield ourselves successfully for a while from condemnation ultimately it will catch up. For a while we can get away with doing things wrong because we put our conscious to sleep and we think we are happy but ultimately;

Isaiah 59:12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions [are] with us; and [as for] our iniquities, we know them;

There is not a single human being that can clear their mind of sin and of errors and iniquities. We have all done it and we are all under a pall of accumulated sins. Every human being. We are trying to justify ourselves to get rid of this. We like to cover ourselves and free ourselves from the senses of error.

Luke 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

We like to cover ourselves and free ourselves from the senses of error.

12:3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

This is what mother often says to her children, be sure your sins will find you out. This is the horrifying blanket of discomfort that is rampant in humanity. We can’t get rid of this thing. It is this undercurrent in humanity among whom there are none righteous, no not one. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. There is this horrifying source of stress. Everybody is trying to get rid of stress and it gets worse and worse. The more they try to get rid of it the more the stress comes. The stress comes from two major actions of mind under condemnation. That is to shield yourself from detection. You might be doing something in secret and you don’t want anyone else to know and you are under stress as you are trying to protect yourself from protection. The other is you want to do everything right and perfect, all the laws and principles of life you do with all your energy so you will strive to do nothing wrong and that is the other source of stress as you’ve done so much wrong before and you want to stop doing it as you don’t want to live under this guilt anymore so you are ever striving to do exactly what the bible says and the laws of common sense are and there is a constant stressful effort. This is extenuated in religion, a religion that believes in the Ten Commandments. There is a constant undercurrent of fear of detection and rigid adherence to right. People find themselves in a straitjacket. They have to do everything right and there is total discomfort. It is this that Jesus religion has come to dispel. It is this whole dilemma of the human stress factor that Jesus has come to release us from.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world,

He didn’t abhor them because they were sinners. He loved them and He could see they were under stress and they couldn’t see their way out and He could see how hopeless and horrifying their end would be. So He has come in His love and He says here is Jesus. I have come not to condemn the world but to release them from condemnation. How did He do it?

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Bondage to Stress and Fear

Jesus Christ came to this earth not to condemn the world, but to partake with the people of this earth in their same flesh and blood which was what? Doomed to death. The very same reason for the death of every other human being Jesus took upon himself. He partook of the same flesh and blood as it says. This is so simply to be understood. What sort of flesh did He take? A flesh that could die because of what? The wages of sin is death. Sin. He took partook of the same flesh so he could die so that by his death he might destroy the power of death that is the death. It’s your knowledge of Jesus coming in sinful flesh and as a consequence of sinful letting the sinfulness take him into the grave. It is this that will take away our stress and remove the power of Satan’s condemnation. This is how Jesus did it.

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.

4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

Just as He is so are we in the world and as we are in the world so is he. He was made in the same situation. He loved us so much that he came and dwelt with us in this body temple of ours and He had to die with it. What a love and as we behold that, that love does what? It casteth out all fear because fear hath torment. Stress is another word for it. you are tormented inside. Fear is a stress factor which God has in his love has revealed to us he can remove entirely. You can have such a wonderful response of beholding what God has done for you that you don’t need any more stress, it’s gone finished. I am so disappointed to see so many Christians stressed. Why should we be stressed out when we understand the beautiful love that removes all stress. A peace that passes understanding is all there for the taking but people will be stressed. I find it very bewildering. To those who believe stress because of condemnation is removed. Oh that we would believe it. He who believes in the son of God will no longer be stressed. To really believe, it is not to just acknowledge.

Romans 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

He was made the same so he could take away the stress of sin and condemnation so those who are in Jesus Christ will be free of condemnation. I wonder whether we really believe that. I am no longer condemned. We need to be free in our heart from this horrible undercurrent of stress. It can be done by believing the word of God and then you can think straight and you can acknowledge what the realities of your opportunities are and understand how to be saved and how to do what is right as you are no longer under stress. How many can remember their school years of being stressed of not passing a test? There are so many things that we need to understand in the kingdom of heaven but when we are stressed we can’t. God says I love you even though you have sinned and I’m going to take away your stress and condemnation. Accept Jesus as your personal saviour. You are sinful but not with condemnation. The beautiful story of the love of God releases me from stress, fear and torment.

Romans 10:4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

What does the law of the Ten Commandments and the principles of life do to you? They always condemn you as you discover you are not doing them. If you look to the law for righteousness, will you feel righteous? Never. If you look to the law for freedom of guilt will you feel free of guilt? Never. If you look to any of the commandments and directions of God’s word in reform principles and all the statements from Sr White about the dress and health reform, and whatever it is, if you look to that for your sense of righteousness, will you feel righteous and free of condemnation? Never.

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

What did Jesus do? What does the devil do with regards to your breaking of Gods laws? Doesn’t he say look what a sinner you are? Look, the Ten Commandments. God can’t be just and justify you, you have broken the law, look, look. Jesus heals us that were oppressed by the devil. The devil keeps putting you under stress. Next time you feel stressed don’t think for a moment that it’s your religion, it’s the devil. Don’t get confused, it’s the devil. I have to keep the Sabbath right, I have to do proper health reform and I have to watch every little statement of God’s word and I have to do it right because if I don’t do it right, I’m condemned. That’s of the devil because the service of God doesn’t come from that motive.

The Service of God

The angels of heaven attain unto no higher knowledge than to know the will of God, and to do His will is the highest service that can engage their powers. {MB 109.1}

But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. {MB 109.2}

How do the angels serve? No consideration of law, none whatsoever. They are serving God because they are looking to him just to be ready to do whatever he says. Do they have to worry about the first four commandments? Not at all. Then as they relate with one another they are just all looking to God to assist each other. Do they have to worry about the last six? Not at all. Thy law is within my heart, I naturally respond in love. Love is the fulfilling of the law. Love removes stress. There is no fear in love. This is the religion of Jesus Christ. The church of Jesus Christ is a community where pure love is instilled by Jesus and Jesus speaks of it. This is what Jesus came to establish. What is the kingdom of heaven like?

Matthew 13:33 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.

What is the kingdom of heaven? It is leaven. It comes into the church and it leavens it. It affects it through and through until it bubbles. Do you make bread? Do you know what yeast does to a measure of flour? It is a tiny lump and it gets bigger and bigger. When you cut it in half you can see a lot of bubbles coming up through the dough. That is likened to the kingdom of heaven. It is a leaven that bubbles through the system. It is the leaven of love and freedom of condemnation. The leaven of total appreciation of God in my life. That is all the kingdom of heaven. The old frame of mind becomes dispelled. It changes the whole lump this new leaven.

1 Corinthians 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Get rid of the old frame of mind. The mind that was looking at the law and the principles and the standards and feverishly tries to keep them and fails all the time and is stressed out. Get rid of the old lump and start off with a new lump with a different kind of ingredient in it. The love that dispels all fear.

The Leaven of the Pharisees

Our mind can begin to comprehend this topic. What did Jesus mean in Luke 12?

Luke 12:1 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.

When you have a company of believers in Jesus Christ, true believers, with love of Jesus actuating every heart, the old way of fear has been removed, they have really understood the love of Jesus and they love him dearly and there is no stress motivating their life, none whatsoever, no condemnation, what is it that spoil that blessed harmony? What is it? leaven? A different kind of leaven that was leavening through the beauty of Jesus/ the leaven of what? The Pharisee? What is that? What is the characteristic of the Pharisee that Jesus warns his beloved company of whom he has come to remove condemnation from? The apostle Paul knows something about this because who was he? A Pharisee. He is the best capable of telling us of what we must be aware of in regards to the leaven of the Pharisee.

Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe.

He says rejoice in the Lord, you don’t have to feel under stress, rejoice.

3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

What is concision? It comes from the word concise, from the word of being exact.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

3:4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:

3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;

3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

That is what the flesh did to him. He was covering himself with his wonderful sense of keeping that law according to the letter and flesh. He was shielding himself in the psychology of man’s self-protection. He was keeping those ten commandments and he was blameless. Was he going to be destroyed at the coming of Jesus if he didn’t change? Absolutely. Recall when the Pharisees brought Mary the harlot before Jesus and they said stone her. Mustn’t they stone her she has committed adultery? What happened after a little while as he was writing in the dust? He said those who are without sin cast the first stone. They looked to see what he was writing and they suddenly discovered he knows something about me and they slunk off as they had guilt and condemnation. They sensed there were things they weren’t blameless about and they hated him for it and they wanted to live in darkness. Those that hide from light, they hate the light as it shows up their evil. Apostle Paul said I was blameless according to the law. This is the concision being concise about the law according to the flesh, the letter. Apostle Paul knew all about it. the very thing Jesus saved us from, stressful life, a legalistic expectation, something reformers today are rampant with. I love the reform message but I hate how it’s been picked up by so many Christians and Seventh Day Adventists. They pick up all that I teach what is right and wrong and the next minute they are under stress. Because somehow they didn’t listen carefully to what I shared in the beginning of this sermon and then they hear the other things that tell them how wrong they are and begin to stress out instead of coming to the knowledge of their sins without this concision and flesh response instead of coming to it with no condemnation in Christ Jesus. When there is no condemnation I can acknowledge my sins and I don’t have to go and slink of. I can say Lord yes I am a terrible sinner but you love me so much thank you and I am at peace and there is no stress. This is what Jesus came to offer us and reformers must beware of the leaven of the Pharisee. Jesus said, beware of the leaven and apostle reveals this some more in Galatians 5. Many people misread the letters of the Galatians. They make it appear as though we don’t have to worry about the Ten Commandments anymore. It’s a paradox and this is why people get confused. Do we still teach the Ten Commandments? Of course we do but Apostle Paul was not talking about not teaching the Ten Commandments, he was preaching about freedom from the condemnation of the law and they went along and placed themselves back under the leaven of the Pharisee. Jesus came in the flesh so He could free us from the bondage of condemnation.

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

You believe in his death and resurrection for you as you have seen him take part of your sins and getting rid of them by death now stand free. Don’t let guilt and condemnation stress you out anymore and don’t become entangled in the yoke of bondage.

5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

There was an argument amongst them they should be circumcised according to the wonderful counsel of God in the Old Testament and they were making an issue of that.

Galatians 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

The wonderful gift of Jesus Christ is made of no effect when you start to pick up your path with him by ensuing a concision. That you are looking to every letter of the law, every concise item of the principles and looking at the principle itself, you are using your forceful mind to put this into practise. What an agony. Are you under that agony? Christ is made of none effect when that happens.

Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

The love in which there is no stress, the love that the angels have that keenly watch Jesus and God do what he says because they love him, that’s all. What happened?

5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

5:8 This persuasion [cometh] not of him that calleth you.

5:9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

5:10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

Now that you are free, don’t think that your flesh can have its way again, but love, you are free now so that love will actuate you. Because if you do it the other way it’s the flesh as well if you do it the Pharisees way. According to the flesh he was a Pharisee. That is a fleshy way as breaking the law, it is all flesh so Jesus said beware of this. When you lose sight of Jesus and you become concision and fastidious like the Pharisee, then what will happen? The typical pharisaic quality of I’m blameless. What is that?

1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying [is] not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.

He says the leaven is the glorying of being good Christians. You are keeping the commandments, you are good seventh day Adventists, you are paying your tithe and you are watching carefully like the Pharisees usually do. Tithing of mint and anise and forsaking the loftier things. Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. We can be so careful about doing everything right in dress reform and training our children absolutely perfectly that the next minute we lose mercy and compassion for others and we protect ourselves in such a way as we shove the others away as depart from me as I’m holier than you. This is the leaven of the Pharisee. Under Jesus Christ we can be free and help our children and ourselves to be free of the flesh if we will uphold the love and the beauty of Jesus in our ranks. The greatest destruction in young people’s lives is that we are trying to protect them from the world and they have an eye for the world and we say turn around and don’t do this and that and how do the young people feel? No love, you lose them. We lose our young people when under this beautiful message of reformation we oppress them with do’s and don’ts. They need to see love, they need to see love that removes condemnation not be sure your sin will find you our and the child shrivels as they are always being watched. This is a very sad experience that we see in our ranks of Seventh Day Adventists. We must be leavened with a new lump.

Something Dangerous

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

What righteousness is that? It is righteousness that you are justified for all your sins in Jesus Christ. If the righteousness that does things by love and that is what they didn’t have. They were ignorant of Gods righteousness and went about establishing their own righteousness.

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

If our righteousness does not exceed the concision, conciseness, if it doesn’t exceed that we will in no way enter the kingdom of heaven. The only way we will enter there is when love governs my action instead of fastidious zeal to do it exactly concisely right. This will spoil our joyful rejoicing experience. The effect of this on the church is leaven because it is a strain of righteousness that precisely pursues the laws and regulations written in the letter but without the balance of Gods Holy Spirit and the following results. It is not good that you glory that you do. If our life is like that we will automatically fall into looking to others around me and saying like the Pharisee with the publican, I am not like him. This is how it happens in the church. There are people in my church that are not like me and I have to avoid them. It is strange to avoid those who are sinful. There is a difference between avoiding a Pharisee and the avoiding the weak sinner. Make a difference between the one you keep away from and the one you don’t.

In the work of soul-winning, great tact and wisdom are needed. The Saviour never suppressed the truth, but He uttered it always in love. In His intercourse with others, He exercised the greatest tact, and He was always kind and thoughtful. {GW 117.1}

We can be so rude about another person’s blindness. He was never rude.

He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave unnecessary pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. {GW 117.1}

Why? He didn’t say go away from me you are a sinful person.

He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. {GW 117.1}

Who did He denounce? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisee. Hypocrisy and he called them vipers seed, have nothing to do with them. But when you see people who are not able to keep up with the high standards of the message, don’t say I can’t be with them as we want to help one another. We want to enrich one another in love so that from love we will wake up to our conditions and change our ways. So different a frame of mind and if we do this, if we do not follow this principle but follow that sort of leaven, what is the result?

Many have so beclouded their own minds with self-importance, that they have been very confident, where they would do well to be distrustful and cautious. {UL 95.4}

Remember, the Pharisee? Blameless, very confident.

If men could see how easily self and spiritual pride become woven with supposed devotion to the work of God, and how, when this takes place, they are left to mar the work, and set the weaver’s pattern all awry, they would pray, “Anoint mine eyes with the heavenly eyesalve, that I may see all things correctly.” {UL 95.4}

Spiritual pride comes in like a leaven ever so gently. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.

Unless there is increased humility of heart and purity of action, things will be done that will lead to a whole train of mistakes. One mis-move, because of a lack of faith, has led to many disastrous circumstances. It does not appear such a great evil to let Satan rule and obtain the victory in little things, even when eternal interests are involved. But one misstep leads to a succession of missteps, and then to jealousy, and evil surmisings of the very one and the very things that God would have succeed. {UL 95.5}

What happens with this pride attitude, this leaven? It leavens. It starts with pride and it leads to jealousy and evil surmising. I have seen this happen. The mind that is alerted to fastidious concision will begin to scrutinise your brother or sister and will look into their gardens. The rules are all taught and we see them all in their correct approach and we begin to practise self-protection. How?

Although we do not acknowledge that the object of defaming another is to exalt self, self-exaltation is behind the practice of noting the shortcomings of others. {LHU 110.2}

You begin to surmise about another and say I can do better than that. This is the leaven of the Pharisee because we know what is right and we want to do everything perfectly right and we begin to look at things from the perspective of the Pharisee instead of just freeing ourselves from this censuring, surmising, jealously activity. It grows on you. It begins to spoil your joy and the church wonders why it loses something.

It is the one who has every reason to distrust His own principles who is keenly alive to the failings of others. {UL 366.4}

You are distrustful of your own principles and you are keenly alive to the failings of others.

If there were not some lack in our own experience, we would not be so suspicious of our brethren. It is he whose conscience condemns him who passes judgment so readily. Let everyone tremble and be afraid of himself. Let him see that his own heart is right with God. Let him weed his own garden; he will find enough to keep him busily employed. If he does this work faithfully [he] will not have time to find fault with the gardens of others. Instead of judging others, let us judge ourselves. Let us make sure that we are among the number who are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:2).. . {UL 366.4}

We see how the leaven starts to permeate. It starts to bubble up through pride of my convictions and beliefs to jealously and fault finding to protect myself again or to make myself feel better and then it continues to bubble like leaven to the next point.

Some are in danger of making the externals all-important, of overestimating the value of mere conventionalities. The results will not warrant the expenditure of time and thought given to these matters. Some who are trained to give much attention to these things, will manifest little true respect or sympathy for anything, however excellent, that in any way fails to meet their standard of conventionality. Anything that would encourage ungenerous criticism, a disposition to notice and expose every defect or error, is wrong. It fosters distrust and suspicion, which are contrary to the character of Christ, and detrimental to the mind thus exercised. Those who are engaged in this work, gradually depart from the true spirit of Christianity. {GW92 317.4}

See how it works? with such a sharp mind of being right in everything, you finally become ungenerous in criticism. You fall away from the beautiful freedom of true Christianity. A leaven that really ferments because that it does, it is really fermenting, what will finally be revealed?

A hard, unjust, critical spirit has been indulged among those who have held positions of trust in the work of God. {TM 185.3}

Where did it come from? The leaven of the Pharisee.

Wrong prevails, man is made an offender for a word, and suspicion, distrust, jealousy, evil-surmising, evilspeaking, and injustice reproduce themselves even in connection with the cause of God. {TM 185.3}

All the things we have been studying up the ladder it finally ends up with evil speaking through the ranks and everyone is doing it. Something is lost. What is lost? If this happened to the early church or any other church that started off right the candlestick is removed.

Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have [somewhat] against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

The Apostles and the early Christian church did exactly what we have studied.

But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, encouraging suspicion and doubt, giving way to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour, and of the great love he had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others, they themselves erred. They forgot the lessons of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts. {RH, February 25, 1904 par. 4}

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisee. May God grant us to lead our minds on the precious life and light of Jesus Christ. Let us be free of condemnation in our own hearts as we seek to do everything revealed to us that we see it not as a set of legal requirements but as wonderful exercise of love to God. Then we will never be judgemental on anyone else. We will just keep on sharing with them what I have found. Look at the joy I have found with my dress, food, Sabbath and with the church and organisation. Look at it all, it is wonderful, it is love, not you have to be organised otherwise you are not Gods church or if you are not dressed right you are not going to get to heaven because the outside of the dress reflects the condition of your heart. The heart may have already been touched by the love of God and they are already changing. Give them space to change. Love changes us step by step slowly and when we see each other doing all sorts of things that we might feel alarmed about, let the love of God continue to rule and the truth continue to be upheld as Gods will in my life and it will have its way. We are changing slowly and we have to change a bit faster but we don’t have to become pharisaic about it. my God grant us the liberty and freedom by which we have been set free to continue with us that we do not end up with the statement that Jesus said, I have somewhat against thee that thou hast left thy first love. God grant us this.

Amen.

Posted on November 14, 2011, in Divine Service Sermons, Fanaticism, Sermons by John Thiel, The Leaven of the Pharisees and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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