Phungus of the Pharisees

spiritual blindness

Mark 8:14-21 Beware of Fungus – spiritual blindness
• Lets recap for a sec-bunch of miracles, confrontation, now going back across the lake
• The disciples are going across the water, realize that they forgot to bring any of the extra bread
• Jesus uses their forgetfulness to teach them a few lessons.
• Maybe the disciples are slipping. They are in the miracle business now and probably feeling pretty good about themselves. Multiple miracles and hanging out with Jesus all day.
• But Jesus brings them down a notch.
• This can happen to us very easily. We begin to think of ourselves in pretty positive light. Begin to think that we are better than most and forget where God has brought us from
• Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith
• Title of Today’s message- Beware of Fungus

I. Take Heed
• What is leaven? 15 Then He charged them, saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” Leaven is Yeast
• I bake bread. Its something that I do. Rolls, bagels, pita bread, When I make the bread, The yeast is dry, but when I add water to it, it activates it, throw in some sugar and the bacterium does its work It puts off gas, and the bread starts to rise. It doesn’t take much yeast to spread through the whole dough. Within an hour a lump of dough can double in size.
• It “ferments” and grows and the only thing that stops the process is the extreme heat of the oven, where the heat kills the yeast.
• The Bible describes leaven as sin, evil and wickedness. It paints the picture of corruption
• 1 cor 5:6 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.
• We are to lay aside evil and spiritual corruption and live for the Lord.
• The idea here is that a little sin is like yeast or leaven in our lives. When we tolerate sin in our lives, it will soon infiltrate every part of our lives.
• The tiniest bit of sin in our life will grow. It really doesn’t take that much for it to grow either
• Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

• Sin entered the world through one man, and now we see the effects of worldwide sin upon the world- Think of all of the pain, lawlessness, criminality, words, thoughts actions, fleshly activities that exist- all because of ADAM- SIN SPREADS
• This is why Jesus warns against the Sin of the Leaven of the Pharisees so deeply
• He KNOWS the effects of sin- he KNOWS what Sin does to a person- so he WARNS against it
• Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
• If you know something will KILL you you should STAY AWAY FROM IT
• Lightening storm- show up at the school- literally hundreds of people walking inside, go out to the bleachers- here’s grandma sitting on the aluminum bleachers-
• She didn’t want to have to walk back and forth- I get it- but LIGHTENING KILLS- why take the chance? Why tempt fate?
• When Jesus says “TAKE HEED” he means it!
• 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
• Romans 6:11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
• How do we take heed and avoid the the fungus of the Pharisees spreading into our life?

• 1. Beware of the Pharisees
• Luke 12:1 “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
• The Pharisees were religious men, but their religion was external; it did not change their hearts.
• They claimed to love the Lord, but they were nothing but religious fakes and phonies.
• When they infiltrated the lives of those around the, like yeast, they corrupted those lives as well. They were getting people to change the outside without be regenerated
• In Matthew 23:15, Jesus said it like this, 15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
• Jesus is warning His men of the danger of having a hypocritical heart.
• It is very easy to get cold and distant from God in our hearts. It is easy to pretend that all is well with the Lord on the outside, when on the inside, we’re dying
• Its easy to act one way outwardly and inwardly be an empty tomb!
• The worse one than lying to others about our spiritual condition, is lying to ourselves!
• We tell ourselves that we are farther along than we are and that we are doing better than we are- we pretend that we don’t have need of God and need of his grace-
• We’re afraid what others will think and what they will say
• READ Luke 18:9-14 We compare ourselves to others and think we’re doing good
• In this passage today- Jesus is warning us- DON’T BE A HYPOCRITE
• Don’t say something on the outside and on the inside be something different
• Make sure your mouth matches your heart- don’t become a pharisitical hypocrite
• Beware of the Herodians

2. Beware the Leaven of Herod
• In Matthew 16:6, in Matthew’s account of these same events, Jesus calls it the leaven of “the Sadducees”.
• The Pharisees were the religious conservatives of the day while the Sadducees were the religious liberals.
• They were worldly and secular and they joined forces with King Herod in compromising with the Romans. These people, both the Sadducees and the followers of Herod, are often called “Herodians”. The leaven that infiltrated their lives and teaching was materialism, worldliness and compromise with the world.
• Jesus is warning to not to get caught up in the quest for more of the world’s goods or more of the world’s favor.
• James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
• James describes being a friend with the world on par with being married and sleeping with someone who isn’t your spouse
• Pretty challenging isn’t it?
• We’re just passing through! 1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
• not indulging of this world’s sins or being caught up in the desire for more of what this world has to offer. Being focused on the things of God and not on the things of this world!
• Putting God first in EVERY area of our lives- There are too many people who play being a Christian. Refuse to serve, refuse to tithe, refuse to flee from sin, refuse to submit to God
• Sit in church and try to appease their spouse or friends and think they are pleasing God!

• Hebrews 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?
• This is what many people do- They choose to go against the scriptures- deny that God isn’t God that the Bible isn’t true and they come back around to his grace and want to bathe in it
• NO- The Bible makes clear!
• 2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord.
• As far as material things are concerned, we are to seek our treasure in Heaven and not in this world, Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
• Jesus is simply telling His people, regardless of the age in which they live to beware of hypocrisy, worldliness and compromise.
• The leaven of the Herodians is a desire to live like the world, and be like the world and have what the world has
• Its about having a heart that desires the things of God and not the things of this world
• James 1:15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
• He tells us that if we allow just a little of those things to exist in our lives, they will infiltrate every area of life, just like yeast infiltrates an entire lump of dough.
• It is a simple command for the people of the Lord to be clean, holy and different.
• the Lord hasn’t changed His mind about this matter! He still expects His people to live different!
• We should have desires different than the world. We should have different lives than the world

2. So how do we take heed, and stay away from the leaven of the Pharisees and herod?
• One- Don’t look at things physically, look at them spiritually
• The problem with these disciples is that they are looking at their circumstance.
• We only have one loaf? What are we going to do?
• This is the heart condition of so many Christians- look at spiritual issues with physical answers
• The disciples hear the Lord’s warning and they immediately misunderstand what He is trying to say. Their minds are so focused on the material, physical world that they cannot see the spiritual side of anything.
Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
• Its not even about the bread- but these disciples hear what Jesus says and immediately look at the physical world and assume that’s what he is talking about
• He is merely using the leaven found in bread as a metaphor, as a symbol of evil. They are so thick-headed that they can’t grasp what the Lord is trying to tell them.
• Two- Don’t have a hardened heart, closed ears and eyes
• This is the main issue- the disciples hearts were hard and Jesus tells them there is a way that they can overcome this condtion
• V 17 Is your heart still hardened? 18 Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?
• Soften the heart, open your eyes, open your ears, remember what God has done.
• The Pharisees saw what Jesus could do and they refused to believe. The disciples were with Jesus when He performed many of His miracles and they even saw Him multiply miniscule amounts of bread and feed multitudes. They still couldn’t understand that He could take care of them.

• We can become spiritually ignorant if we are not paying attention to what God is trying to speak to us
• We can lose the meaning of what he is trying to say to us
• This often happens when Reading the Bible and hearing preaching we assume many things
1 it doesn’t mean what it actually says
2. it doesn’t really apply to me
3 I can understand or choose to not understand therefore I am not accountable to it
• The Lord will try to get us to understand His truth and we just keep on failing to get the meaning. That’s why we aren’t any farther along than we are right now.
• This is why many people do no grow spiritually- they miss the meaning
• Think about Church- Same thing every week- Sing, give, video, preach. Leave
• So accustomed to the process we forget to understand that God is moving in the midst of the service Our hearts have become hardened to the things of God-
• Every sermon that you hear is an encounter with God speaking to you!
• I spent time with God this week, got a word and am sharing it with you for your benefit!
• People will be like “this song again” you can sing the same song a thousand times, hear the same sermon a thousand times and God can MINISTER if you’re paying attention!
• The disciples never seemed to get it. They were so focused on the material world that they failed to see the spiritual work of God in their midst.
• We need to pray that God will help us to look beyond the material to see the spiritual. We need His help to grow beyond our spiritual blindness.
• Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.
• Acts 9:18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.
• Let the scales come off our eyes! Let us see our spiritual blindness!
• John 9:39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.”

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