We may not have fully deleavened yet
Warning: most of us probably are not really deleavened this week of Unleavened Bread. In this blog I am going to write about the hardest deleavening, the kind that takes profound commitment. Even those of us who think we’ve carefully deleavened our homes probably have left the most important deleavening undone. Oh, I’m sure we put out the leavened products, cleaned out the toaster, remembered to empty all the vacuum cleaner bags, and even cleaned out the cars and garage and got it all off-premises by Friday the 6th of April. We know that Friday evening this year began the high day called the First Day of Unleavened Bread. But for most of us, we still have the most important deleavening to do. In this blog, I’ll explain “the more difficult” deleavening in 3 sections. No, I don’t mean the leaven that is even in the air. It’s much, much tougher leaven to get rid of than that. Don’t misunderstand me. We also physically deleaven at this time of year. But our Master teaches us to beware of certain leaven. In Matthew 16:5-12, you’ll begin to see what I mean. He told His disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” But he wasn’t even speaking of bread products. He was warning them of the teachings, the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees if you read through verse 12. The Pharisees were the ultra-strict sect from which we get Paul. The Sadducees were primarily the priests who governed the temple precinct.
We know that later on there were Pharisees and priests (Acts 6:7) who became believers. We can also read, however, how some brought with them their previous biases and beliefs (Acts 15:5). All of us probably are bringing baggage with us from our church upbringing. These doctrines tend to change, add to or take away from the word of God and what Scripture says. We are not to add or remove one single thing. Many of our teachings give a false premise that lead to error and take us away from the pure truth.
For example, we’ve been perhaps indoctrinated against anything that smacks of the “sacred names” movement, so we recoil against someone teaching that our Creator has a name – YHVH, commonly written as Yahweh, and HE says He wants the whole world to know His name. In fact, in the covenant scripture in Jer. 31:31-34, it is stated the whole world will know Yahweh (not “the LORD” in the original Hebrew). The majority of Christians do not know the name Yahweh or use it, but they substitute “Lord”. I have two detailed sermons on this vital topic (see October 2011 on this website).
So what have YOU been taught that is adding to, or taking away from, what Scripture actually says? Maybe you have been taught we don’t need to keep Yahweh’s appointed times or His sabbath. Maybe you think Yahweh got it all wrong, changed His mind and concluded His own commandments were not such a good idea after all. Really?
Whatever it is, it’s highly likely there are some lingering crumbs of the leaven of false teaching still lurking in our lives and homes.
Second category: Another time, Yeshua said the “leaven of the Pharisees” was hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). Most understand hypocrisy as teaching or professing one thing but doing another. Unless one’s perfect, unless you always follow through perfectly with what you say you believe, I guess all of us by that definition are hypocrites.
So I find it interesting that Yeshua gave the negative sides of these words: false doctrine and hypocrisy. In contrast, Paul emphasizes the flip side of the same things. Instead of false doctrine, he says truth. Instead of hypocrisy, he says “sincerity”. Focus on verse 8. Notice HOW we are to focus our feast.
1 Corinthians 5:6-8
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
So as we go through the week of unleavened bread, be thinking about how real, how sincere, we are. Unleavened bread: what you see is what you get. No airy puffiness. Flat, humble, small. We need to be “for real”, genuine, nothing fake about what and who we are. And how faithful are we to the word of God? Remember Yeshua says Father wants to be worshiped in “spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24), just like Paul, right?
Now the hardest deleavening of all.
1 Cor. 5:7 --PURGE OUT, get rid of, the old leaven, SO you CAN be a new lump, since you are unleavened. What does that mean? When you were deleavening your home, did you try to remove the leaven from the loaves of bread? Of course not. You can’t. So what did you do? You chucked it all out. Then you went and bought or baked fresh, new bread that was unleavened bread.
This is the hardest deleavening to do. We still try to pick out the sins in our lives one by one as we try to “unleaven” ourselves. Leaven is most often used as a picture of sin. We can’t un-sin ourselves, or unleaven ourselves. IF we could, that would become our own righteousness by our own works, and we could boast (Phil. 3:9-11; Eph. 2:8-10). When we deleavened our homes, we threw out everything leavened. We gave it all up. We have to do the same thing with our lives. We have to give up the old self, the “old man” as Paul calls it, and bury it in baptism. We are supposed to crucify the old self (Gal. 2:20), so people see a real change. The life they now see is not the old “us” – but should be something we’ve never been before. We’re demonstrating the power of the resurrection of Jesus living inside of us.
Paul says later in Colossians 3:3 that “you died. Your life is hidden with Christ in God”. In verse 4 he refers to “Christ OUR life…”
But even after we have thrown out the old leaven of our old lives, most of us find we really haven’t given it all up. Just like real leaven, sometimes we find some ugly leaven sitting in plain sight. Sometimes we just aren’t ready to really give up everything we know isn’t up to the image of the perfect standards of our Master. Well, it’s time we do. It’s time we wake up and chuck it. I preach to myself first and foremost. It’s time.
Every Passover, we renew our commitment to let Him in. We wash feet, partly to picture accepting our need to clean off the dirt we picked up on our walk over the past year.