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Mark of the Yeast

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Mark of the Yeast

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Mark of the Yeast

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In this Days of Unleavened Bread sermon, we will examine and understand the attitudes that God wants us to have to help us to root out and to come to see what leaven represents. Jesus Christ even used leaven to talk about the kingdom of God and we'll take a look at that. Then we need to focus on the attitude that God wants us to have that will help us to maintain an unleavened life throughout this coming year.

Transcript

 

Well this is the final day of the Days of Unleavened Bread, however this is not the final day that we put leavening or sin or the wrong attitude out of our lives as we heard from the sermonette, that this is something that we should be doing throughout the whole year. God has given us a whole week to focus on putting leavening out and becoming unleavened and putting righteousness in. I think God, obviously by the length of time that He’s given us, a whole week to focus on this, that it’s something that He wants us to do for our spiritual condition. It’s not just one day that comes and goes and O.K., you’ve thought about it for that day and then it’s gone. No, He gives you a whole week. Not only is it a whole week, but you have to deleaven  your house ahead of time and then you’ve got to eat unleavened bread during that whole time and every time you eat unleavened bread, you’re reminded that this is the way I’m supposed to be, I’m supposed to be unleavened. And the fact that you did a hunt and search and tried to get all the leavening out, shows the diligence that we should have.

Apparently it took Israel a week to come out of Egypt across the Red Sea. God had to teach them a lesson, you know they came out, the Bible says, with a high hand on what we call the Night to Be Much Observed. And they started out of Egypt and finally they came to the spot where they were at the Red Sea, Pharaoh and his armies were behind them, mountains on each side of them and where were they going to go?

Well God had to teach them a lesson that finally, final victory over sin is not by something we do, they had to march out, I mean they had their effort, they couldn’t just stay there in Egypt and say, O.K. God, take us to the Promised Land and God picked them all up and took them over here to the Promised Land! It didn’t work that way, they had to walk. Now you find that they had to learn that ultimate deliverance, ultimate salvation comes from God, not from what we do. They had no part in parting the Red Sea, that was God’s doing – they had no part in destroying the Pharaoh’s army, chariots, that’s what God did. And I think when you turn that around and look at it, we must learn that ultimately overcoming, growing, changing, changing the self, overcoming the devil, overcoming this world, this is through the power of God. It’s not something that we just do.

Many times we’re like the Israelites, we fall on our faces, we rely upon ourselves and we don’t rely upon the spirit of God to the degree that we should. And we finally learn the lesson after many failures that it’s got to be of God if we’re going to succeed. It’s got to be by His power, by His strength. We cannot save ourselves.

Now as you and I march into the future just like the Israelites, we need to have firmly planted in our mind what are leaven attitudes and what are unleavened attitudes and approaches. We need to know the characteristics of each. So as we go through the next 365 days of the year, that we can see, we can spot, we can know if something is transpiring in our life – is that leaven? Is that unleaven? Is that right? Is this wrong? Is this good or is that evil?

When leaven is put out, it’s got to be replaced by something else, God didn’t just say put the leavening out, He said you’ve got to eat the unleavened bread. Let’s notice again 1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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.
American King James Version×
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1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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.
American King James Version×
Therefore let us keep the Feast …O.K., that’s a command, he didn’t say, Well maybe if you want to, you Gentiles might think about it, the Jews do it, no, he said… let us keep the Feast . Now how do we keep the Feast? Not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

So what is the old leaven? What is the leaven of malice and wickedness? We’ve got to put in its place habitually, meaning we have to live that way, the unleavened bread attitude of sincerity and truth.

So today we want to take a look and examine, understand the attitudes that God wants us to have, to help us to root out and to come to see what leaven represents. You know Jesus Christ even used leaven, if you’ll remember, once, to talk about the kingdom of God and we’ll take a look at that. Then we need to focus on the attitude that God wants us to have that will help us to maintain an unleavened life throughout this coming year. Let’s back up to verse 7 here and let’s take a look at verse 7:

1 Corinthians 5:7 1 Corinthians 5:7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
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Therefore purge out the old leaven that you may be a new lump …then he goes on to say… since you truly are unleavened . For indeed Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the Feast not with the old leaven

So my question is this – what’s wrong with old leaven? Anything wrong with old leaven? Well the Bible is using old leaven as a type of the old man, the old way of life, pre-conversion, sins that hang on from year to year. Now you and I are all dogged, maybe that’s not the best term, we’re all plagued by problems, habits, things that we seem to think, well I’ve gotten over that and yet they seem to come back again and again, and we struggle with them and we wonder why we can’t overcome.

When God calls us and we start obeying Him, you know what happens? Many of the commandments of God, those changes take place very quickly, you start keeping the Sabbath, you start tithing, you start obeying the things that you know but most of those, when you look at them, are on the physical level. As years roll by, you have to learn to blast away what’s underneath because sometimes underneath is a lot more. This is something we found out this past week with the funeral we had for Mr. Cowan,  we found that the cemetery where he is buried and Francis is buried, you dig down a couple of inches and there’s nothing but rock and it goes down who knows how far. They have to come in with dynamite and blast, so they had to move the tombstone and blast through and then get a backhoe and try to dig out and do all of that.

But you know, that’s the way we are, we start off and hey, things look fairly good, we dig away, we throw out the dirt, everything looks good and all at once we hit granite and we’re stuck right there, how do we get rid of this? And then we have to begin blasting away what’s underneath. Now what’s underneath? It’s our attitudes, our approaches, our thoughts, our motives, our responses, our needs, our addictions. All of these things that we have to come to deal with that make up who we are, that you know, this is the way we’ve grown up, this is how we’ve been shaped, fashioned and formed. And some problems that seem to hang on year after year, and we think we’ve got them conquered and their ugly heads pop up again, we’ve got to fight against them.

Now there’s another reason why God told them to get rid of the old leavening. Old leavening can sometimes become contaminated. The way they had leavening was more what we would call sourdough bread. They would start a batch and they would take the starter and put it in a batch of flour and as it began to ferment and to expand the flour and have the gases in it, they would take part of it out and put it over here for the next batch. You do that week after week, month after month. If some type of contamination gets into it, guess what, it’s passed on from one batch of bread to the next batch of bread if it somehow has become contaminated or tainted. It could be harmful or poisonous.

So you have a situation where every year, all the old leaven is gotten rid of and so you start out anew. And you start out, supposedly without something that is contaminated or tainted. And symbolically that’s a picture of some things that we have to struggle with. If we don’t overcome them, they’re really poisonous to your approach and your life.

Reflect on the following quote, this is taken from several different sources, Baker’s Encyclopedia, it says: “ Various substances were known to have fermenting qualities but the ordinary leaven consisted of a lump of old dough and a high state of fermentation which was mixed into the mass of dough prepared for baking .” So once a year all of this leavening was cleared from the land and a new batch had to be started.

Now there are five characteristics of leavening that, when you understand them, help to explain why Christ chose this to explain what you and I need to be doing. So let’s look at these five characteristics of leavening.

1. It’s a source that comes from without .

In other words, you can have the flour and it’s all mixed up and it’s sitting there with some water in it, it’s not going to do anything. You take the fermented lump and stick it in it and guess what, well within a little while it begins to, the gas, the alcohol begins to work within it and it begins to rise up, it will come over the edge of the pan and you push it back down and it will rise up again, that’s just the way that it works. So the leaven is placed into the bread. Now by saying that, I’m not saying, please understand, that we don’t have human nature. You and I have human nature that we have to work against and overcome, we understand that and we have this world. But we have to realize that there are influences outside of us that we want to, what I’m focusing on here, that we either respond to God or to the influence of Satan the devil. Satan the devil is out there and he is all the time broadcasting leaven, wrong attitudes, wrong approaches into the minds and the hearts of society and of us if we’re not careful. The book of Galatians tells us this, in chapter 5:16:

Galatians 5:16 Galatians 5:16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
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I say then: Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh .

So you and I have to walk or live, you know, we have to walk as Christ walked, as 1 John 2:6 1 John 2:6He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
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tells us. So we’ve got to walk in the spirit.  Number one, we have to have God’s spirit if you’re going to walk in it and then you let that spirit lead you and guide you and direct you.

Galatians 5:17 Galatians 5:17For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.
American King James Version×
For the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh; these are contrary one to another, so that you do not do the things that you wish .

See a little baby when it’s born is born neutral. It’s not born hating God at that point, it’s not born loving God either, it’s just neutral, it can be influenced one way or the other. So depending on how that child is reared, the influences it comes in contact with is going to shape the personality, the character and the direction that child will go in. And so Satan is able to get to children at a very early age and it doesn’t take too long to see a child exhibiting selfishness or exhibiting certain characteristics. Why do we use the expression today, the terrible twos? By two years old some parents throw their hands up and say, you take him! I don’t want him! Because they run into this problem with the child. So Satan the devil is out there trying to work on us, we know that we are human, we have certain drives, certain needs but what he does is to try to get us to pervert those drives and needs, to use them in a wrong way. Secondarily about leavening, five characteristics of leavening:

2. It is secret in its operation .

 It has secretly penetrating and defusing power and in this respect, when you begin to look at       it, it’s emblematic of moral influence, whether good or bad. So you can be influenced for good, you can be influenced for bad. Hence Jesus Christ, on one occasion, let’s go over there and look at it – Luke 13:18 Luke 13:18Then said he, To what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
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compared the kingdom of God to leavening. Now we also know the Bible uses leavening predominately as a sign of sin. But let’s notice why, what we’re talking about here. He uses this as an illustration of the growth of the kingdom of heaven and the individual and the world. In verse 18 He gives two parables that have the same teaching.

Luke 13:18 Luke 13:18Then said he, To what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
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– “ What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? Christ said. “It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew into a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.” And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal …so you stick it in there, you know work it around and nobody knows that it’s in there, it might be hidden… until it was all leavened.”

But you can tell after a while that the leavening is there because of what it produces. So the New Testament, figuratively, refers to the fact that you can have leaven in the mind, it can be small, might seem insignificant, but eventually it can have some very great consequences.

How do resentments grow? How does bitterness come about? As Mr. Cowan was talking about this morning, how can you have someone like Judas who was around Jesus Christ, who was sent out and he was among the twelve who went out and preached about the kingdom of God, healed the sick and all of the things that he was exposed to, he saw what Christ did, all the miracles, signs and wonders and yet, there was a resentment that developed. How do these things start? Well they don’t start just boom, real big, they start small and they grow and they develop. So morally, if you’re the right influence, you can morally influence somebody in the right way. If you’re the wrong influence, you influence them in the wrong way. Third characteristic, it’s from without, it can be hidden or secret in its operation and:

3. It spreads by contact from particle to particle, one particle to the next particle.

This is the way leaven works, it grows and grows and spreads and spreads. A rotten apple, we’ve always heard, in the barrel, will cause all the other apples to be rotten if you don’t get rid of it. Let’s notice Galatians 5:9 Galatians 5:9A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
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, Paul summarizes this principle in this way:

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

So just a little bit, doesn’t take much to leaven the whole lump. And so does sin it can spread from one person to another. Gossip is an example, it’s something that can spread from one person to another, or as I said, even within our own minds it can grow and something that is very small can all at once take on a life of its own and it becomes a huge problem. Now fourthly, and ties right in with this is

4. Leavening is widely diffusive. One particle of leaven being able to change any number of particles of flour.

In other words, it actually changes the flour, it makes it grow and expand. 1 Corinthians 15:33 1 Corinthians 15:33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
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tells us how this works, let’s notice, that attitudes can rub off on others.

1 Corinthians 15:33 1 Corinthians 15:33Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
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Do not be deceived, “Evil company corrupts good habits .”

Who do you run around with? Whose the major influence in your life? What is the major influence? Sometimes it’s not a who, it’s a what. Is it your cell phone, is it your tablet, is it your computer, is it Facebook? What influences you the most? The book of Proverbs tells us you cannot take fire into your bosom without being burnt. If you’re going to take something that’s wrong, you will be burnt by it. Notice Hebrews 12:14 Hebrews 12:14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
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Hebrews 12:14 Hebrews 12:14Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
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Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.   So we won’t be in God’s kingdom unless we’re holy and we seek peace.

Hebrews 12:15 Hebrews 12:15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
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Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness spring up cause trouble… and notice… and by this many become defiled .

One person with a root of bitterness with hatred toward somebody else or being offended by somebody else, can begin to spread that attitude to others and the first thing you know is, well if he’s that way…and then they begin to spread it and it just spreads like a wild fire.

Now it can be the other way for the kingdom of God, an example of faith, courage, trust can rub off on other people. All of us have seen members in the Church that we’ve known who have faith, who have courage, who follow God’s ways and step out, who do what’s right and we talk to them. How many times have I gone to anoint somebody who was sick and I’m praying for them and I think, well God help me to encourage them and I walk away and I’m encouraged by that individual because they have faith and they have courage and I walk away and I’m encouraged and I’m inspired to follow God. If I were ever in this situation you know, I hope I would have the faith that they would have. Now point #5 here, because, and again, I’ve taken all of this from the Easton Bible Dictionary, Bakers Evangelical Dictionary and Townsends Topical Text book dealing with the topics of leavening.

5. Because it does not act like water, moistening a certain amount of flour, but is like a plant changing the particles it comes in contact with to its own nature and with like promulgating power .

What does that mean? Put a plant in the ground and what does it do? Well, it begins to put roots down and then it begins to what? Suck up ingredients, suck up moisture, but it’s taking food from the soil. Where do we get our “vitamins and minerals” and all of these things? Well it’s able to take it into itself just like a tree will absorb and it will grow and what it’s taking from the ground, from the air or it can be from the soil, is changed into and becomes a part of that plant. So you and I are the same way. We can become like somebody else, we can pass on right or wrong attitudes or information to another person and that person can pass it on to somebody else.

How do splits occur within a Church? How do political parties rise up within a nation? Why is it that labor and management are constantly against each other? Where does division come from? Where do all of these problems arise? Well they don’t just come out of the air, somebody is influencing someone else and they begin to take on the same approach or the same attitude. O.K., now with all of that in mind, those are just five characteristics. Let’s go back to 1 Corinthians 5 again. Basically I’ve been showing you about the old leavening, what’s wrong with it, why it was chosen, but let’s notice verse 8 here also says:

1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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.
American King James Version×
Let us keep the Feast, nor with the old leaven nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness.

What is malice? Malice is ill will or hatred toward another person, or a vicious intention or desire of one person to hurt another person. Titus 3:3 Titus 3:3For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
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. We might say, well I have never in my life been a person filled with malice, why would malice be chosen? Well let’s notice:

Titus 3:3 Titus 3:3For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
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For we ourselves were also once foolish …now sometimes it’s hard for us to admit that we were this way, you know brethren, if we truly repented – repentance is coming to acknowledge how we have lived, how we have thought, the way we have conducted ourselves… for we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived …the Bible says the whole world is deceived… living in malice …so we had lived in malice…and envy , hateful and hurting one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior towards men appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His grace. So it’s according to God’s grace.

So the principle is, we have lived in malice whether we realize it or not, it is something we still struggle with. Otherwise Paul would not have chosen it as one of the major signs of what leavening is all about. Malice is often irrational, many times it’s based on a false belief that the person against whom it is directed has the same intention. How often do we get upset with somebody else and we think, well they’re just the same way and we began to put them down or build up a big case in our mind. Notice Ephesians 4:31 Ephesians 4:31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
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– we’re told:

Ephesians 4:31 Ephesians 4:31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
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Let all bitterness, all wrath, all anger, all clamor, all evil speaking be put away from you with all malice .

Now I want you to notice who Paul is writing to, he’s not writing to unconverted people, he’s writing to those who are converted in the Church and he’s saying, look here, let’s put away all of this.

Ephesians 4:32 Ephesians 4:32And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.
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Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God and Christ forgave you .

So we find here that Christians are to rid their lives of malice. Now this is something that we all strive with. Now let me give you a Bible example of malice in action. In other words, a personal example so that we can see what we are talking about. Luke 12:1 Luke 12:1In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
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, we’ll read this first.

Luke 12:1 Luke 12:1In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, so that they stepped one on another, he began to say to his disciples first of all, Beware you of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
American King James Version×
In the meantime, when all of the innumerable multitude of people had gathered together so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”

So one part of the leavening that the Pharisees had was hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the opposite of sincerity and truth, total opposite. The word “hypocrisy” means to pretend, act, playacting and just pretending. In 1 John 3: 10 , we’ll come to our example I mentioned. Let’s notice in verse 10 – John is very explicit here when he says, notice:

1 John 3:10 1 John 3:10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.
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In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifested …so he divides mankind into two different categories, children of God, children of the devil. So how are they manifested ? Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God …if you’re not doing what is right, you’re not of God… nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning …now the question is, the beginning of what? The very beginning, the beginning of the creation of the Church? Or Christ, when He came, His message? But he goes on to say, whichever the beginning is… that we should love one another; not as Cain …now notice, here is an example we want to look at… who was of the wicked one …so where did the leavening come into his life from? It came from the wicked one… and murdered his brother. Why did he murder him? Why did he kill Abel? Because his works were evil …that’s why… and his brother’s righteous.

1 John 3:13 1 John 3:13Marvel not, my brothers, if the world hate you.
American King James Version×
Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you .

In other words, Cain hated Abel, he murdered him, his deeds were evil, his brothers were righteous. But don’t miss the point though of this, that Cain acted because he first had evil thoughts, he had jealousy, he had malice, he had hypocrisy, leaven spreads, it begins to change a person’s mind, attitude and approach, ill will will beget ill will. Let’s go back to Genesis 4 , let’s analyze the malice of Cain. Genesis 4 and notice:

Genesis 4:1 Genesis 4:1And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
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– Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, Cain was a tiller of the ground. Now as we’ve said before, very possibly they could have been twins, because it doesn’t say here that she conceived again, it just says she bore again.

Genesis 4:3 Genesis 4:3And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD.
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Now in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat . Now who told him that it should be a firstborn, who told him to bring the fat? And the Lord respected Abel …so number one, He respected Abel, why? Because Abel was righteous, he was doing what was right and He also respected his offering. But He did not respect Cain …now why? Cain was evil, that’s why, he was wicked… and his offering . Didn’t respect his offering.

You can’t expect to come before God and do religious acts and think that God will accept that when you are living an unrighteous life and that’s where Cain was coming from. Now notice Cain’s reaction:

Genesis 4:5 Genesis 4:5But to Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
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Cain was very angry and his countenance fell …you know, you can’t do this to me, I offer up an offering, he offers up a offering, You respect his and You don’t respect mine, what’s the big deal here? So now you have a controversy. But I want you to notice God, God gave Cain a chance to repent, He didn’t come and smack him down, He said:

Genesis 4:6 Genesis 4:6And the LORD said to Cain, Why are you wroth? and why is your countenance fallen?
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So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? What’s wrong with you? “ Why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? If you do not do well …notice the problem… sin lies at the door .” This problem was a sin problem. “ And its desire’s  for you but you should rule over it.

So God clearly explained to him what the problem was, you’ve got to come to grips with your sin. He had a chance to control his emotions, to master his evil thoughts, to overcome. But let’s notice what happened in verse 8:

Genesis 4:8 Genesis 4:8And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
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Now Cain talked with Abel his brother and it came to pass, when they were in the field that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him . This wasn’t just a whim, this is something you thought about, meditated on and he was moved. So instead of repenting and changing, he had malice, ill-will, hatred, all of this built up in Cain toward his brother. Now in verse 9 notice where hypocrisy comes in:

Genesis 4:9 Genesis 4:9And the LORD said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
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Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel, where’s your brother?” And he said, “I do not know, am I my brother’s keeper?”

Now am I supposed to keep up with my brother? In a sense this is a very smart aleck type of response. In a sense he is saying, Am I the shepherd’s shepherd? Or what am I supposed to do, watch him, am I supposed to shepherd the shepherd? I don’t know where he is. He didn’t admit what he had done, he was trying to cover it up, I don’t know! Did you ever ask your children who got in the cookie jar? I don’t know! Do we do that as adults? Well sure we do, we sometimes try to cover our tracks by you playing dumb. So in verse 10:

Genesis 4:10 Genesis 4:10And he said, What have you done? the voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.
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He said, “What have you done …so He knew what he had done… the voice of your brothers blood cries out to Me from the ground.”

So in a sense, in figurative language, your brother’s blood is crying out from the ground. Why? Well for vengeance. So, verse 11, notice:

Genesis 4:11 Genesis 4:11And now are you cursed from the earth, which has opened her mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand;
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– “ So now you are cursed from the earth which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand .” Remember, Cain was the farmer. When you till the ground it shall no longer yield its strength to you. So God’s saying, look, you can try and be a farmer, but it’s not going to work anymore, it won’t yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.

Genesis 4:13 Genesis 4:13And Cain said to the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
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– And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground and I shall be hidden from your face …in other words, I will no longer have contact with you, I’ll be hidden from your face… I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me .

So he’s going to be driven away from his occupation as a farmer, he was not going to be able to stay close to Eden where God was at this time and I want you to notice something – Cain is given another chance here. God did not kill Cain; think about it, the first murderer in history was allowed to live and influence others, God didn’t kill him. But notice in verse 15 what God did:

Genesis 4:15 Genesis 4:15And the LORD said to him, Therefore whoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
American King James Version×
The Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.

So God placed a mark on Cain so that no one would kill him. He was marked as a rebel by God, that he was against everything that God stood for. However, as we know from the New Testament, the way of Cain is still practiced, was practiced before the flood. In Genesis 6:5 Genesis 6:5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
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notice how bad things got before the flood:

Genesis 6:5 Genesis 6:5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
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The Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, that every intention of the thought of the heart was only evil continually .

Part of that was the influence of Cain and his descendants because you find that there were two lines developed. The lineage of Seth and the lineage of Cain, one followed God, one did not. So the wickedness of man and his corrupt thoughts and intent. In essence what you had here was Cain and Abel had a religious argument between the two of them, or competition and as such Cain said in effect, your sacrifice was accepted by God, mine wasn’t, I hate you, you showed me up, I hate you because in other words, I want to get close to God. He was envious of Abel, he was evil but he wanted to be considered righteous, he did not do what God asked him to do, he wanted God’s favor but he was not willing to do what God said. And so consequently, he was driven out and he had a mark placed on him. Now in Hebrews 12:24 Hebrews 12:24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that that of Abel.
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I want you to notice, Abel’s blood cried out, probably for vengeance, for the murder that took place but I want you to notice there was one who came later whose blood was shed. And His blood, notice, we see here that we were to come:

Hebrews 12:24 Hebrews 12:24And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things that that of Abel.
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– … to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel’s …it speaks better things than what Abel did… and Jesus Christ’s blood and through His blood we find that there is peace. Not malice but peace . Colossians 1:20 Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
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, notice here:

Colossians 1:20 Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
American King James Version×
And by Him… by Christ …to reconcile all things to Himself and by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross . So through Christ’s blood we can have peace, we can tear down the barriers, the hostilities, the things that separate us. And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled. And in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in His spirit.

Now notice 1 Peter 2:1-2 1 Peter 2:1-2 1 Why laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby:
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here, it says:

1 Peter 2:1 1 Peter 2:1Why laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings,
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Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word that you might grow thereby.

So the opposite of deceit is truth and honesty. Now it says here, “all malice, all deceit” – if you and I are practicing the truth, and we’re sincere, that’s the opposite of malice, of deceit. Hypocrisy is being insincere, acting or being two-faced. Now we know brethren that in the future, there’s going to come along the beast power that has a mark, it’s called the mark of the beast and this will show those that belong to the beast, those that go along with the beast, those that follow the beast, those who are loyal to the beast, they will want his favor and protection and the Bible says you’ll not be able to buy and sell without a mark.

Do you realize that sin or leavening in a morally corrupt way leaves a mark upon us? I’ll call it the mark of the yeast! You and I have the mark of the yeast upon us when we sin, when we go against God’s way. We can be tainted or polluted by the wrong attitude and approach, God put a mark on Cain. Cain thought God was unfair. Now why do I say there’s a mark? When leavening has really done it’s work, you add leavening. Norma has baked many a loaves of bread, I’ve told you about the fact that we had our boys at home, she would bake four or five, six loaves of bread at a time and they’d come in from school and devour a couple before dinner, they would disappear.

Well you put leavening and you put yeast into the dough and after a while there can be no question as to the outward result, is there? The loaf of bread cannot conceal what has been done to it. You put it in the oven and you bake it and guess what? Baking would be a symbol of going through trials, tests, problems, difficulties and guess what happens? It comes out and it has risen. And you know that that loaf of bread contains yeast. Now Norma also made flatbread, we’ll call it unleavened bread for the Passover and she rolled and rolled that and it was very thin and you know that that bread didn’t have yeast in it because it was flat as a pancake, some pancakes aren’t too flat! But it was very very thin.

And so the point is, we can conceal wrong attitudes and approaches but eventually, guess what? They’re going to come out, they’ll bubble to the surface, we can’t hide them and just like that loaf of bread, the final result is, you’re going to see what’s been done, it displays our attitude. Let’s read again back in 1 John 3:10-11 1 John 3:10-11 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
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.

1 John 3:10 1 John 3:10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whoever does not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.
American King James Version×
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifested, whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother .

So the children of God and the children of the devil are manifested and one way to tell who they are: # 1 – They practice righteousness, they do what is right, according to God’s standard, not human standards and they love the brethren. Those who don’t are not of God. Now the word “wickedness,” notice the word “malice and wickedness” in 1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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.
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are used together and actually, one of the definitions here for wickedness is, when you look at the Complete Word Study of the Dictionary of the New Testament, is the fact of being filled with malice, evil disposition in a moral sense, the opposite of being good and kind. Both of these words, actually many times go together you’ll find in the bible. We’ve already read once or twice where malice and wickedness, malice and deceit, malice and hypocrisy, all of these things seem to work together.

Let’s flip the coin over and in 1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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.
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we find:

1 Corinthians 5:8 1 Corinthians 5:8Therefore 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.
American King James Version×
Therefore let us keep the Feast not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth .

The word “sincerity” means “a quality or an expression of pure, unadulterated motives.” A person who is sincere is not putting on, has pure unadulterated motives, purity of motives. In essence, as the Louw Nida Dictionary says, a Greek Lexicon says about it, that it has no yeast, it’s the bread of sincerity and truth, bread without yeast, representing the fact that it is sincere. Brethren if we truly are sincere in our approach, our approach toward God, we’re not trying to hide things from God, not trying to pretend with God, we’re not trying to pretend with one another, we’re sincere, we’re open. Sincerity and truth actually go together. Let me show you back in Joshua 24:14 Joshua 24:14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve you the LORD.
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. Where did Paul get the expression, “sincerity and truth?” Well they’re in the Promised Land here, he says:

Joshua 24:14 Joshua 24:14Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve you the LORD.
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– “ Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him …how… in sincerity and in truth and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the river

So you and I are to serve God in sincerity and truth. Now I won’t turn there but in Judges 9:16 Judges 9:16Now therefore, if you have done truly and sincerely, in that you have made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him according to the deserving of his hands;
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,19
it shows that they were to act in sincerity and truth. So God expects action – if we are going to be sincere, that sincerity must be reflected in our motives, our thinking, our approach to God, our approach to others. Sincerity begins to deal with motives, deals with reason, deals with intention, it has to do with the reason for doing something or behaving in a specific way, that’s what sincerity is all about. If you say well somebody is sincere, now we know Mr. Armstrong used to say, somebody can be sincere but they can be wrong. Sincerity is not the final criteria – what is? Sincerity and truth, that’s why truth is mentioned along with sincerity, the two go hand in hand. The word “truth” means “reality, the unveiled reality lying at the bases of and green with appearance. It speaks of what is true in itself, purity from all error or falsehood.” In other words, if somebody claims to have the truth and they don’t keep the Sabbath, they don’t observe the holy days, they’re not tithing, maybe they’re committing adultery or living in sin, you know that they’re not, they might think they’re sincere but it’s not according to truth. What you see outwardly in a person should be what is inside the person. Christianity is inside out, not outside in. It’s how we are in here (heart) and that’s going to be reflected outward in how we treat others, how we respond to others. Notice Matthew 23, Bill referred to this in his sermon this morning but let’s notice quickly Matthew 23:23 Matthew 23:23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
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, the whole chapter, how would you like to have a whole chapter written about you, Pharisees here?

Matthew 23:23 Matthew 23:23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
American King James Version×
– “ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You pay tithe of mint, anise and cumin, have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the other undone. Blind guides… now notice what He calls them, you think they got a little upset and offended… blind guides who strains out a gnat, swallows a camel! Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup …see everything looks hunky dory outside, looks right… and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortions and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees, first clean the inside of the cup and the dish that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are liken to whitewashed tombs that have indeed the appearance of beauty outward but inwardly are full  of dead men’s bones and uncleanness. ” And then He goes on:

Matthew 23:28 Matthew 23:28Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
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– “ Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men …see here, they wanted to appear righteous, so they would for a pretense make long prayers in public, they would drop a coin, beggar out begging, they’d toot a horn and everybody would look and they would drop the coins so everybody would know how righteous they were. But He said, inside you’re full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

So you see, what God is looking for in us is that we obey Him, according to the truth and that we are sincere in our approach. Now in chapter 23, you might just want to read this whole chapter, especially verses 5-14 shows how the lack of truth was manifested in their lives. Again, what do we see on them? The mark of the yeast! They were living according to the approach of leavening and not according to sincerity and truth. In John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
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we read this:

John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
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– “ It is the spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

Now the words that Christ spoke are written down for us in the gospels, they’re called the words of life. John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
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says, “Thy Word is truth.” When you put these two scriptures together, the Words that I speak to you, the Words are truth, these words that I speak to you, they are spirit, they are spiritual principles and they are life. It’s how we will have eternal life if we live by those principles. You might remember, if you back up to chapter 4 here in the book of John, verse 23.

John 4:23 John 4:23But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.
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– “ The hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

So brethren, God’s Word is truth. Now you and I have to obey the truth. Back up here to John 3, we’ll just progress backwards in the book of John! Verse 20, I read this the other day, verses 20 and 21:

John 3:20 John 3:20For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
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– “ For everyone practicing evil hates the light …in other words, hates the truth which light stands for… and does not come to the light …or does not come to the truth, why… lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth …see notice, not just agree with the truth, it goes beyond that, we have to do the truth, we come to the light, we come to the Word of God, to the light, to Christ… that his deeds may be clearly seen ….we want to clearly see if what we’re doing is right and wrong… that they have been done in God .”

We want to see if our deeds are truly done in God. So our change must begin within our heart and our mind, it’s not a matter of changing a few bad habits or physical things that we do, it’s a matter of changing the heart.  Mere knowledge of the truth is not enough, it has to be put into practice. See, like yeast, hypocrisy, insincerity is something that will grow and grow until it overtakes us and we become puffed up with pride. Remember back with the problem with the church in Corinth was they were puffed up, Paul said in Verse 2.

So leavening is going to disappear or be removed, it requires action on our part. How many of you got leavening out of your homes by wishing it would go? That it would just disappear? No, it doesn’t disappear that way, it requires action on our part. So we’ve got a part in removing the leavening from our lives, that’s what the Days of Unleavened Bread picture, we put the sin out or off of our property, but we would not know what spiritual leaven is without the standard or the Word of God. You and I must put forth the effort, but we realize that it is through the power of God that we become unleavened and by His spirit.

So brethren, the Bible is very clear that we’re to put out the old leaven and the leaven of malice and wickedness and that we are to put on the leavening of sincerity and truth. So let’s try this year to avoid the mark of the yeast.

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