James McMickin preached: “The two leavens”
We do not need the leaven of the Pharisees or of Herod. Jesus fully fulfills the Abrahamic Covenant (He is the Messiah), the Passover feast (He is the Lamb) and the feast of unleavened bread (He is the Bread of Life). All of these were given and were to be observed, as a foreshadowing of Jesus.
When the people prepared for the feast of unleavened bread, they swept the house completely to ensure all the leaven was cleared out. In our text we read “take heed”, which means pay attention/discern. And we read “beware”, which means to watch out, as one would for a rattlesnake. A little leaven, will leaven the whole lump.
The two leavens to discern and beware of:
The first leaven is found in Galatians 5:1-9 (Pharisaical leaven)
The Galatians had allowed the Judaizers to sneak in; which were those who were forcing the Mosaic Law on the Christian Church. If you use anything but God’s Word as your yardstick, you are in danger. Pharisaical leaven/legalism will kill a church. It’s stealthy, stiff, starchy and strict. It will put people in so much bondage that they can never be free. There can be no adding to the Gospel (ie. “If you don’t measure up to my standards, you’re not a real Christian”). The Judaizers were saying “you have to keep this law, you have to do this and you must do that”. The Pharisees were all about cleaning the fish before they even caught it. Let me make it clear to you…there can be no additives to the Gospel. Watch out for that “self-rising” flour/bread. Being too much self-involved is what spoiled lucifer. All you need is the unleavened bread of Jesus Christ.
The second leaven is found in 1 Corinthians 5 (Herodian leaven)
When sin takes place in the church, it needs to be rebuked and admonished; and done only by those full of goodness and wisdom from the Lord, who will do it appropriately. You cannot ignore sin in the church. The leaven must be swept out or you’ll never see a revival. The Corinthian church was winking at incest. They were puffed up with that self-rising flour and were infested with Herodian leaven, which is the exact opposite of the Pharisaical leaven. Herod was as loose as a goose and this leaven causes an anything goes mentality and “I can do it my way” thinking. Their cry becomes “judge not…judge not”. It is this kind of leaven that is most prevalent in churches today.
There can be no leaven in a true revival. No legalism, but you must keep it clean. Wickedness and malice can be leavens unto themselves, but are usually found mixed in with the other two. Purging ourselves of the leaven takes the light of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (the Word of God), shining in to the corners of our lives.
We are looking for true revival where people learn to walk in the light, being judged by the Word of God. People falling all over the place, stacked up like cord wood (slain in the spirit) doesn’t equate a true revival. All leaven must go. “Search me, oh Lord and see if there would be just one little grain of leaven.”