Posts Tagged ‘Transformed’

Matthew 13:33 – THE INCREDIBLE HULK AND YEAST – Part 14

Yeast and the Hulk

I’m thinking THE INCREDIBLE HULK! When Bruce Banner gets mad, he is transformed into a huge, out of control creature (I can’t help it. I have a grandson who loves cartoon characters and he always wants me to play the bad guy or the monstrous guy. I don’t know exactly why. I guess it’s the muscle power or maybe just the mass. To my grandson I’m incredible in all kinds of ways). I have always wondered how the hulk gets all his muscles. They just balloon from nothing. Just add a bad attitude, and you have instant bulk. TRANSFORMED!  

She leaves a lump of dough on the table as she goes about her household chores. The yeast begins to convert the sugars into carbon dioxide. The dough begins to expand and form tiny bubbles or gas pockets. Hulk type muscular formations begin to balloon from the dough. Just add yeast and it is TRANSFORMED!

When the dough has risen she breaks it into pieces and forms each loaf, leaving them to rise again. The yeast will die when she bakes the bread but the air pockets will remain. All she needs now is Vegemite and the transformation could be complete.  

Jesus also used this illustration (minus the incredible Hulk and the vegemite). He said “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough”” (Matthew 13:33 NLT). 

Many seem to have a problem with this parable? The trouble is that whenever yeast is used figuratively in the Bible it is usually speaking about “the bad guys” and the influence of sin, hyprocrisy, or their false teaching, (1 Corinthians 5:6-8, Galatians 5:9, Matthew 16:6-12, Mark 8:15-21). Yeast has been regarded this way ever since Israel was asked to sweep every bit of it out of their houses before the Exodus (Exodus 12:39).

Does the woman represent false teachers, the yeast represent their false teaching and the dough represent the Church? The IMPLAUSIBLE HULK. Just add false teaching and the Church is TRANSFORMED!

Jesus warns in Matthew 16:6 (NLT) “Watch out! … Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees” Galatians 5:9 (NLT) says “… This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!” Clearly yeast is used in a very NEGATIVE way to describe the teaching and hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

Sin has certainly infiltrated our world, transforming the original dough. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23 NLT),” but Jesus says “The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast…” The only way that sin and the Kingdom of Heaven are alike is in their ability to INFILTRATE AND INFLUENCE the world.

To say that yeast is ONLY spoken of as defiling would be a FALSE ASSUMPTION. Look closer. In each passage it is the PERVADING nature of the yeast and it’s INFLUENCE that is being emphasised. Perhaps this is the only place in the Bible where yeast is likened to something good.

A similar analogy is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NASB95) it says “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a THIEF in the night.” but this is not saying that Jesus is a thief. In every other place in the Bible stealing is spoken of as a sin, but here it is simply speaking about the ability of the thief to come UNEXPECTEDLY. A thief comes unexpectedly. Yeast has INFLUENCE.

Inherent in a small amount of yeast is the ability to completely transform a batch of dough. Not some flat pita bread existence.

Maybe you think you don’t have much to offer God. A small boy with some fish and bread probably thought the same way, but he offered God what he had and God made a miracle out of it. The disciples said in effect “We don’t have enough.” He said “Here, take what I’ve got!” and under the authority and rulership of Jesus it fed 5000, with some left over (Matthew 14:13-21).

When the Kingdom of God infuses my thoughts, my words, my actions, and resources then God can do something INCREDIBLE through me. He wants me to live a life enlarged by the muscles of His Kingdom purposes. Dream big! Live big for Him! “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NASB). I am “filled with all the fullness of God…according to the power that works within me” (Ephesians 3:19-20). Incredible impact and influence!

The Kingdom of Heaven transforms my life when I respond to the authority of Christ. I am changed incredibly when I accept what He has done for me on the Cross, where He paid the penalty for my sin.

The world will never be the same (Acts 1:8) as the gospel continues to TRANSFORM lives. Inherent in this parable, like yeast permeating dough, is the ever insistent invitation of Jesus to you today to be transformed, not by the kingdom of darkness, but by the Kingdom of Heaven.

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 13:24-26 – Part 9 – TOXIC OR TRANSFORMED?

Wheat and Tares

He didn’t look much like a missionary to me. He was built like a tank in terms of muscles. Not the way I pictured a missionary should be. He should have been skinny from lack of support from his home church, with an old brown cardigan. He should have had an expression that indicated that he was near to a breakdown or had experienced one already.

This man however spoke without the pious tones I expected and without trying to make me feel guilty for not packing my bags and taking the next plane to deepest darkest Africa to preach to a lost tribe of pigmy cannibals for the rest of my life. “Here I am Lord, send me” wasn’t even his theme.

What he did do was to open up God’s truth in a way I had never heard before and I found myself inspired to study my Bible and apply it’s truth to my life. I found myself wanting to go into the world and represent Christ. I was shocked! I think I had Bangladesh in mind at the time.

I was reminded of this incident when I read Matthew 13:24-30. Jesus tells another simple parable about a farmer. He has already shared a story about sowing good seed on different types of soils in Matthew 13:3-9. The farmer in this parable is also sowing seed, but this time the seed doesn’t represent the MESSAGE of Christ but the SERVANTS of Christ. Jesus the farmer is sowing FOLLOWERS of Christ into His field – the world.

Even before the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus was sending disciples into the world. In Matthew 10:5-18 (NLT) “Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “… Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! …Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. … this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about Me…” 

Someone said that the greatest mission field we have today is in the Church. Matthew 13:25 (NLT) says “But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.” WEEDS sown amongst the wheat. Apparently there’s plenty of weeds in the Church. Titus 1:16 (NLT) says that “Such people claim they know God, but they deny Him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.”

It is called “Bastard wheat” because in its early stages it cannot be distinguished from real wheat. “When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew” (Matthew 13:26 NLT). I’m sure Jesus was looking at the Pharisees when He told this parable.

According to Matthew 13:39 Jesus says that the weeds are those who are not followers of Christ, and He lays it on the line by describing them as belonging to the devil. Prophetically they are people down through the ages who have not given their lives to Christ. They have not believed in Him and His work on the Cross for them. The Kingdom of heaven, Christ’s rulership, is not present in their lives. They therefore belong to the other kingdom. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) says “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

The miracle is that any seed that Jesus touches is wheat, born again, a new creation with all the potential to make a difference despite the opposition we may face in the world. The invitation of this parable is to assess from whose hand I have been sown into the world? Is what I contribute going to end up being toxic. Weed or wheat? Pharisee or follower of Christ? God bless you as you respond to the touch of Jesus today. Are you TOXIC or TRANSFORMED?

Pastor Ross

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