Complete Sermon Notes

Beware of the Leaven – Who’s Truth is True?

​Matthew 16:​

5 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”

8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

  • They quickly forgot about God’s past provision.

  • Leaven: a substance that is added to dough to make it ferment and rise; the leavening agent produces gas that becomes trapped as bubbles within the dough.

PART 1 – LEAVEN IN DOCTRINE:  DOCTRINE…”what is received and believed” LEAVEN…something that permeates in order to change.


It’s Been a Few Years, but …

Why don’t you mention ALL religions?

  1. Because they’re all tied to this: Christianity is built primarily on two foundations: Jesus is God and the inerrancy of the Bible.

  2. A little leaven often resembles the main dish

(Cf. Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin)

KEY – We are encouraged to be at peace with all men, even with those who have different beliefs. But the Bible also encourages us to boldly and confidently present a scriptural basis for truth and compare differences…to be peacemakers but not religious negotiators.

The Inerrancy of Scripture.

  • Roman Catholicism promotes submission to the teachings of the Pope, bishops, and sacred traditions that often supersede Scripture. Traditionally, followers are not encouraged to read the Bible but to lean on Papal interpretation. The title, “Vicar of Christ,” implies that the Pope has the same power and authority that Christ has over the church.

  • Mormons refer to the Bible, but look primarily to the Book of Mormon despite the fact that no geographical locations mentioned have ever been found (cf. 8th Article of Faith). We know where Jerusalem is, but we do not know where Zarahemla and Bountiful, nor any other location, are located. The challenge with believing both the Bible and the Book of Mormon is that Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith cannot both be right—they contradict each other at every turn. Mormon doctrine teaches that the inspired words of their living prophets become scripture; thus, superseding the Bible.

  • Jehovah Witnesses, through The New World Translation, claim that their version of the Bible is scholarly and more accurate. However, the translators were not biblical scholars or theologians. David Reed, an ex-Witness, says that the New World Translation came into being in 1961 for the sole purpose of eliminating the deity of Christ. They also believe that Jesus and Michael, the archangel, are one in the same. A LITTLE LEAVEN designed to mislead.

Historical Christianity is built on the written word of God alone. The Protestant Reformation was a return to the Word of God. Many who challenged Rome were killed because of this. The Bible is our infallible rule of faith, being sufficient to give us the sure knowledge of the Gospel: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). We cannot add or subtract.

Redemption Through Christ Alone. . . Bringing in Leaven

  • Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary was free of sin. She is a co-redeemer to assist in redemption. A bumper sticker reads, “Can’t find Jesus, look for His mother.” Instead of teaching believers to rest in Christ by faith alone, Catholics often promote Mary worship and works to “merit grace.” Catholics remain dependent on the “Church,” even after death, to relieve suffering in Purgatory. Although sins are forgiven periodically in Confession, the punishment still remains. PRIESTS ARE NOT MEDIATORS!

  • Mormons believe that God was once as we are, and is now an exalted man, and that men can become gods LIKE GOD. The prophet Joseph Smith refers to this as “the great secret” (Times and Seasons 5:613; Aug. 1844). Some try to backpedal away from this, but Mormon doctrine teaches it. They also assert that God’s marriage partner is our mother in heaven; we are their spirit children; good works are necessary for salvation. If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration of truth, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670).

  • Jehovah Witnesses believe that salvation comes through works and not faith alone. Jesus Christ was a perfect man; a created being like us. According to John 1:1, in their Bible, Christ is “a god,” but not “the God.” They do not believe everything that Jesus claimed about Himself. The New World Translation and the Watchtower tracts systematically set out to eliminate evidence for the deity of Christ. A LITTLE LEAVEN…

Christianity teaches NO ONE, OTHER THAN JESUS, plays a role in redemption –  Any time we minimize Christ, we are on very dangerous ground. Historical Christianity believes that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. No one comes to the Father except through Him (cf. John 14:6). He is not a “god”; He is God. We are totally forgiven when we repent and confess Christ as Lord. No punishment remains (cf.Romans 3:24-25).

God the Father was never like us and we will never be like Him. This dangerous view exalts man and minimizes GOD. If a person claims that a “messenger of light” appeared to them with new truth, we should point them to Paul’s words, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).

Christ is the only Head of the Church. We do not need an additional mediator or priest; Jesus is our mediator and Priest (Hebrews 4:15). We do not need to belong to any Church, or Society, to be saved. We do NOT need other writings that supersede the Bible. Again, salvation comes through Christ alone: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

  • We can stand before God because our sin debt is paid in full…no intercessors, mediators, penance, or works can add to Christ’s finished work on the Cross.


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