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Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Transformed Life

Matthew 13:33 (ESV)
33 He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened.” 

Yeast is often a symbol of sin in the Bible. This is not the case in this parable. Here, yeast is symbolic of  the kingdom of heaven.

Other "kingdom of heaven" parables emphasize the growth of the kingdom and the value of the kingdom. This parable reveals the transformation that the kingdom of heaven has on an individual.

Yeast does not grow. It permeates the flour. Its natural course is to fully inhabit the flour over time. The kingdom of heaven also permeates the individual. It starts small but has an amazing power. It changes the person completely.

Somehow people think that they can claim their salvation in words alone. They believe that they can say that Jesus is Lord and go to heaven without any change no matter how much time has elapsed since they supposedly became Christians. Let's put this to the test using this parable.

Let's suppose that I say I have put a bit of yeast in a cup of flour and left it in a reasonably warm place. I come back three hours later and the flour hasn't risen. What would I conclude? That there was no yeast in the flour or that the yeast was dead.

The kingdom of heaven is never dead. So, the only explanation for someone who hasn't been transformed by the gospel is that they never really had the kingdom of heaven inside them in the first place. It doesn't matter what they say. They were either transformed by the kingdom of heaven or they are depending upon the lies they are telling themselves.

Yeast will make dough rise. It doesn't make a decision to make the dough rise. It is the characteristic of yeast that we can count on. Thus, the kingdom of heaven has the "natural" characteristic of transforming the life of the person who contains the kingdom of heaven.

This transformation will eventually totally change the individual. In fact, it must change the individual. The question for many is how will they know.

The transformed person will possess the fruit of the Spirit. This person will be characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. This person will forgive every person who has wronged him. This person will be filled with the Holy Spirit. This person will abide in God's word. This person will obey the written Word of God and the promptings of the Holy Spirit. And this person will do these things even if no one else is watching because he has been transformed fully by the kingdom of heaven.

Still, it is a total transformation. It does take some time. Maybe that's why Paul wrote "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)
The Christian needs to confidently say, "I am not perfect but I am being transformed by the kingdom of heaven within me."

So, are you being transformed?


Anthony Chia said...

If I have not confused or jumbled up my sciences, I believe the yeast is, in the process, feeding and growing and multiplying. It metabolizes and produces a gas ( carbon dioxide, I think) and that is what causes the dough to rise. So, the yeast does grow and multiply in the dough, but it is the gas produced that raises the dough, not the increase in yeast as such, although of course, with more yeast from the growth and multiplication, more gas is produced, and so, over time, the dough rises. This of course does not negate its place as a metaphor of the Kingdom of God. Only thing, it is a mistake to say "yeast does not grow".

Kingdom of God is NOT dead, and so, when we say the yeast represented the Kingdom, it has to be taken the yeast in question or used is live yeast, not dead. And so, when it is said that yeast is put into the dough, and after 3 hours the dough has not risen, we cannot say the yeast was dead in the first place, and we also cannot say no yeast was put in, unless it is all a "someone claims to have put the live yeast in"! I am not saying, there cannot be such a scenario of someone untruthfully claims he or she had put in the yeast, for any number of reasons, maybe, he or she spilt the yeast on the floor before he or she could put the yeast in. But really, prima facie, it is the yeast has been put in.

Putting in or NOT putting in the yeast is a simple task, nothing complicated about that. It is the same with coming into salvation, we don't need a lawyer or even a pastor to craft out the Sinner's Prayer. At the height of my recent years' "anointed man of God" season (oh, how I missed that, Lord; not praises of men, but the working with you), people come to me (I am not the pastor or a pastor!) to accept Jesus. I mean people bring people to me, or when I was ministering and I asked if they would accept, they would. It is only at a later stage, that I drew up a sample Sinner's Prayer and posted it on my blogsite. At that time, in my leading of people into salvation, I think I made sure the gist of things were confessed! Even now, I don't doubt any of those, were invalid or that God did NOT put the indwelling Holy Spirit into any of them, because of my imperfect leading or they were dubious (I suspected not then).

We can cite another parable, the parable of the seeds or sower. The seeds were sown in the parable, and so, we take it at face value, and so, we don't go into, "were the seeds sown or NOT sown?" Yah, we don't get plants all the time (like this dough does not rise). The seeds are also NOT the problem (like the yeast is not the problem). But the soil is the issue (and so, the dough maybe the issue).

Entering into salvation is like an initiation; I mean if we keep doubting other people's initiation, then are they to do it over and over again, the initiation?! I mean we can ask for forgiveness on-going, but we don't go round, suggesting, "Maybe, you should do that born-again stuff all over again!"

When read of wolves in sheepskins, that is a different story; they are wolves, only in sheepskins; they are NOT sheep.


Anthony Chia said...

Cont. From above

So, am I disagreeing with you? I think we should be able to agree that we don't cast any doubts on the yeast or seeds, or the handler (the woman) or the sower. Rather look at the dough (or flour) or soil. What I am saying, just as the seeds are actually scattered on the soil, the yeast is in. What I am saying, certain soil hampered the seeds' growth; certain dough, the yeast's. Think about the different soils of that parable, and think about the dough of this parable. If the dough does not rise, the yeast is not the problem, certain conditions is not conducive in the dough, maybe the temperature. For example, when the soil is too shallow and the sun's heat gets to it, the seedlings die; similarly, when the temperature is too high, the yeast dies or its growth is retarded.

If you are sure, no yeast is put in, yes, get the yeast in, but have you considered you said it, the yeast is NOT dead; would you help condition the dough, rather than condemn it (sorry, a strong word). It is one thing to hit at a person's doctrines, and even criticize the person's seemingly bad character, but it is another to doubt one's born-again. I may hit at overly grace teachings, and so, un-namingly criticize their preachers and teachers, but I don't judge if they are born again or NOT; I don't doubt their born-again.

The yeast-dough is but a metaphor. Yes, if the dough after 3 hours does not rise, you can't really get it to rise in the next 3 hours; I cannot imagine how, and I don't know how, but it does NOT the Word and the Holy Spirit (the yeast is alive, not dead, this we don't disagree, and this aspect is within the purview of the metaphor and parable) can no longer transform or change the person, later on, in his life. Do not forget if you are wrong about the person's born-again (NOT he NOT born again), the Word (some, at least) and the Holy Spirit are in him, and has NOT given up.

You are right in that God's will is to complete that which He has started in a born-again, but precisely, because you and I, understand we are NOT arrived or perfected instantly, we have to be careful NOT to insinuate in any way, the Holy Spirit is NOT at His job or NOT know best what is to be done.

I don't know how to put it, maybe you should consider moderating your posture on this; maybe you can talk to God about this comment.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

The seed and the yeast are two different parables. The seed speaks of the growth. The yeast speaks of the transformation. Each of the parables on the kingdom of God had a different emphasis.
The Expositor's Bible Commentary (p. 319) says, "If there is a distinction between this parable and the last one, it is that the mustard seed suggests extensive growth and the yeast extensive transformation. The yeast doesn't grow, it permeates,; and its inevitable effect, despite the small quantity used, recalls Jesus words in 5:13."