“Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God
like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? It is like a grain of mustard seed,
which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree;
and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. And again he said,
Whereunto shall I liken the
of God? It is like leaven,
which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was
leavened.” Luke 13:18-21
It’s important to see that Jesus, speaking of what the Kingdom of God is like, follows up the large tree
and birds of the air parable above with a lesson on leaven. First of all mustard
seeds don’t morph into huge trees, they only grow as small bushes. In this
parable Jesus is exaggerating the growth of the mustard seed to instill in the
reader a reality of massive proportions.
Many see this parable as an explanation of the ever
expanding influence of the Church around the world. Some actually preach that
the Church will be the all encompassing world influence
before the end. But in these same verses Jesus tells us the birds of the air are
nested in its branches. In Jesus’ parables,the
birds of the air consistently refer to an evil presence, and this evil presence
has made their homes in the branches of this huge tree. Certainly we see Jesus
referring to something much more sinister in this parable. After all, He
commanded us to spread the Gospel around the world, and in that respect His
Gospel has been and is being expanded worldwide. What do all the birds of the
air and the leaven have to do with the Kingdom of God?
Is there something evil lurking in the Church?
concept of leaven, which is a reference to sin, Jesus has just given us a
glimpse of what He saw happening as the enormity of His church became manifest.
The birds of the air and the leaven refer to the corruption of His Church. False
religions have been around and flourishing since the tower of Babel.
As the Church became established it has been bombarded with false teachings to
lure people away from the truth.The
birds of the air are infiltrators adding infusions of false teachings to the
body of Christ’s Church. Our Lord is providing us with a picture of something
very disturbing coming upon the body, His very Church, in the last days.
It began with just
a small amount of untruth. An insignificant amount of leaven added to the dough
and after a while it encompasses the entire mix. Sound doctrine becomes flawed
as tiny bits of erroneous teachings begin to spread through the Church.
Eventually major doctrinal flaws develop. Consequently these flaws begin to
become established as truth all co-habituating in the Church.
The woman has three
measures of meal which was a normal grain offering to God in those days. She
hides leaven within the grain offering thereby corrupting the whole offering.
Leaders and others
in the Church who have been taught through corrupt sources, such as their
liberal professors in seminaries,that
the Bible is in error try almost with abandon to ingratiate themselves to
their flocks so they may teach as experts on the fallacies of the Bible. They
will use allegory or twist words, even go as far as to say the Bible has never
really been the inerrant word of God. In this way these false teachers can
substitute their message for the truth. Their message will be one of deceit,completely
untrustworthy,but it will sound as
though it weredoctrinal,even
biblical. Jesus saw His Church growing into a massive gathering of believers,
but becoming corrupted from within. As sad as this reality seems, Jesus tells usit
will happen and it is.
Many heresies permeate our Churches today and it’s hard to
completely identify them and expose them before they’ve actually gained a strong
foothold and accomplished their evil goal. It’s Satan’s agenda to corrupt from
within and to lead astray whole congregations. Many falsehoods have crept in
unawares and like leaven have now corrupted to a point that many of these once
sound doctrinal congregations may be un-salvageable.
You’ve all heard the old adage “If you can’t beat ‘em, join
‘em”. Satan has joined the Church. Why? It’s much easier for Satan and his
minions of evil to instill their corrupt ideas into an established community of
believers who won’t study their Bibles. Especially since many now believe the
Bible to be erroneous. All Christian cults began with a smidgen of truth. They
continue because they’ve convinced masses of people they’re right and the Bible
Satan, for the most part, was hitting a brick wall in his
deceptive practices against the established Church until he joined it. Just like
the leaven in the above verse, little by little these satanic lies spread among
the saints. It’s not difficult to recognize those who have been deceived by his
lies. Those who are deceived and leading congregations are the ones taking
Satan’s lies to the next level. These are folks who are well trusted by the
flock, and thus they are doing Satan’s biding and leading whole congregations
down that slippery slope to destruction.
How is it this possible to
deceive from within you might ask? It’s really quite simple in these days of
self importance and time limitations and constraints. Satan knows many won’t
take time out of their busy schedules to read their Bibles. How many will spend
a few hours watching an ungodly movie and then turn right around and say they
have no time to study their Bibles?Satan
knows of the apathetic attitude towards God’s word because he has been the major
source leading to that apathy. Satan’s influence in the Church is apparent. The
Bible which was once revered and looked upon as God’s truth and sought after,
has now, become to many as just an old, antiquated, mythological nuisance.some have even re-written the Bible so it will adhere
to his agenda. He’ll use any means to show the Bible to be of little or no
consequence spiritually or truthfully. Many have fallen for his deception and
many more continue to allow themselves to be led in that direction.
As we watch the growth of the mega-church we can see, in
many cases,a shift away from being a
Christ centered community of believers to a worldly outreach center. Just like
the exaggerated results of a mustard seed in the above Scripture verse, we watch
the growth of the mega-church with astonishment. Corruption is there as those
with discernmentwatch the “birds of
the air” – Satan’s minions of evil – landing in those branches spreading their
evil influence throughout.
Why are so many weekend Christians attracted to these
mega-churches? Could it be because they offer so much in the way of worldly
pleasures? Coffee shops, book stores, bowling alleys, really, the list goes on
and on. Is Christ the attraction or has He been relegated to a back room where
no one really needs to be bothered by Him? Are these weekenders attending so
they can return home with the knowledge they paid tribute to their god and his
huge new pleasure dome?
There are many pastors, some
from the mega-church and some not, who have a skewed view of the Bible. In some
cases we seethese
pastors teaching non-biblical self-reliance and prosperity gospels, writing
books and becoming themselves more popular to their congregations than Jesus
Himself. Is it the Gospel and Christ that’s being promoted, or is it the pastor
who is promoting himself? Many are only tickling the ears of their parishioners
to the exclusion of the core teachings found in the Bible. What’s worse, this is
exactly what many weekend Christians want to hear. “For the turning away of
the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.”
Convicting messages from pastors are also on the way out
these days, and feel good messages are in. Passive messages from pastors that
will bring people back to fill pews week in and week
out are the current rage, whether or not these folks receive any edifying truths
is certainly in question. Church growth at any cost now seems to be the norm.
God loves us, no debate there, but neglecting core Christian issues is not
preaching the whole truth.
If we need to supply people with creative nuances within
our church buildings to draw them in,then
we’ve traded the truth of the Gospel for a lie. We’re never told to entertain
the masses to achieve high number results, we’re to preach and teach Christ and
His doctrine. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the key teaching that will lead a
soul to God. We are to pray the Holy Spirit’s conviction upon hearts of the lost
people as they sit in those pews.
Jesus tells us that many will hear the message (receive an
invitation to the feast) but will come up with many excuses as to why they can’t
commit. In Churches where the Gospel message is made fluffand
of no significance, many will never come to understand that becoming a born
again believer in Christ is a life change and a full life commitment to the One
who paid the price “In full” for our salvation and who now owns us.
Jesus tells us in Luke’s Gospel to count the cost before
deciding to commit our lives to Him. “For which of you, intending to build a
tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient
to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to
finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to
build, and was not able to finish. Luke 14:28-30. If this
message never gets preached many will never come to a full understand of just
what it means to “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother,
and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also,
he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after
me, cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26-27. Hate is a harsh
word used here by our Lord. No, He’s not telling us to hate anyone. Jesus is
telling us to be prepared for the cost of following Him. Many, even in our own
families will believe we hate them because we put Jesus first before anyone
else. Is this a part of the teachings in those feel good, Church growth centered
Brood of vipers, serpents,
(Mat 12:34, 23:33), woe to you hypocrites, (Mat 6:2, 5, 16, 15:7, 16:3, 22:18,
23:14, 15, 23, 25, 27, 29, 24:51, Mar 7:6, Luke 11:44, 12:46), blind
Pharisees, (Jhn 9:40), fools, (Mat 23:17, 23:19, Luke 11:40, 24:25), did Jesus
pull any punches when He addressed the Pharisees in the midst of the crowds with
those words? Most pastors, when addressing their congregations, would not go
near those terms today avoiding them like the plague.
By using the words “brood of vipers” and
“serpents”, Jesus was referring to those whom he was addressing as “the children
of Satan”. By using the word “hypocrite”, it would be the same as referring to
someone today as “two faced”.
Would it not be appropriate for us to teach and preach as
Jesus taught using the same methods as He? Many pastors today could take a
lesson from Jesus on how He built His ministry. What truths did He use to
convict the hearts of those who listened to Him and followed Him all around Galilee? Can we not assume that, not just occasionally but
constantly, we must proclaim the whole truth of God’s word, just as Jesus did?
“For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and
understanding.” Proverbs 2:6.
Pastors should be speaking to the heart of every lost soul that sits
performed many miracles and through the public viewing of most of those healings
He established His ministry. But it was His words that actually brought the
people to Him and left them in wonderment. We have those words written within
the pages of our Bibles. He wants us to learn His words and to teach others
those words. We aren’t to proclaim a new message to the masses. We stand
on the truth of the Gospel. We believers are admonished to spread the message,
His message which is the truth. That’s our job and it’s been our job for almost
two-thousand years now. It’s never changing, it’s ever powerful, and it’s more
than adequate for producing the miraculous.
Jesus Christ spoke the truth no matter to whom He spoke or
what He encountered. Everywhere He went He had to confront obstacles such as
doubt, hatred, even attempted murder, and He always used truth to establish His
footing. He never relied on entertainment to pull in a crowd,as
a matter of fact Jesus, for the most part, tried to distract those viewing the
miracles He preformed,even telling those who were involved to keep silent about
them. Most who heard Him speak loved His words which were and still are the core
of His ministry. Those same words should be the core of our ministries also.
As I watch in astonishment where the Church heading today,
I must ask the question:Isn’t it about
time for some old time Gospel preaching? A little hellfire and brimstone
Jonathan Edwards’s style couldn’t hurt in these times of political correctness
where everything has been watered down through the delivery of milk to the
parishioners instead of meat. Think about it.
God bless you all,
All scripture is from the