Matthew 16:1-12 – Not all Growth is Good!
In Matthew 16 Jesus warns his disciples about “the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees”? They didn’t understand straight away, but they eventually got the point that we need to be careful following the teachings of these groups of religious leaders, because what those teachings produce is not the sort of growth that the good news about Jesus produces. Their stubborn rejection of Jesus (despite all the evidence) and promotion of human rules and traditions is something that we can fall into today – which is why the New Testament repeatedly warns us about it.
We take a look at just one of the areas of life where Jesus’ rejection of their rules played a part in their rejection of Him as the Messiah – His treatment of women. We trace how the traditions of Judaism were affected by both following along with popular culture as well as trying to protect themselves from popular culture. In both cases it was all about maintaining traditions that seemed right to people instead of continuously evaluating themselves according to what God says.
Christians are people who are being transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can test and approve what God’s will for us is – His good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom 12:2). As the people of God come together through the Spirit of God under the Word of God, we can be communities of transformation which bless the world. We need to be careful of being like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who only used Scripture to defend their particular traditions. For those more inclined to follow popular culture, we need to watch out that we don’t accuse our brothers and sisters of being legalistic and traditional when they want to address those patterns through God’s Word. For those who tend to resist popular culture and stick with long-standing traditions, we need to be careful we don’t accuse others of caving into culture when they want to challenge those things under God’s Word. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we grow.
The yeast of the Pharisees causes problems and wounds to grow. The Kingdom of Heaven is also like yeast, but causes the blessing of God to be multiplied in His people and shared with the world.
We need to choose which we’ll allow into our lives. Not all growth is good.
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