Message of the Month: Beware The Leaven (Yeast) of The Pharisees
 
World Evangel Monthly Newsletter (February 2019 Edition)
 
leaven
 
February 2019 Newsletter

Message of the Month:
Beware The Leaven (Yeast) of The Pharisees

 
 
 
 
 

"Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the      prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance,
and through the Son he created the universe"
— (Heb 1:1-2 NLT)

 
 
 
 
 

WHO WAS A PHARISEE IN THE FIRST CENTURY?

 

Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees"
— Matt 16:6

A Pharisee was a member of the sect of the Pharisees—an organized society of Jews who claimed authority in interpreting the Scripture and setting rules for the observance of the Law in daily life.[1]

The disciples were confused when they heard the Lord Jesus Christ warning them to beware of the leaven (yeast) of the Pharisees. Shortly after that admonition they understood that the Lord was not referring to the yeast (leaven) that enables the dough to rise but to the doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt 16:12).

 
 
 
 
 

 

WHO ARE PHARISEES IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

Church denominations, ministries, pastors, general overseers that claim authority to interpret the Scriptures and set the rules of behaviour for their followers/members are the Pharisees of the 21st century.

They are enemies of the gospel of Christ because they have usurped one of the functions of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the ONLY TRUE INTERPRETER of the Scriptures just as the Lord was the ONLY TRUE INTERPRETER of the Scriptures in the 1st century.

"But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is,
the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you
of everything I have told you."
— John 14:26 (NLT)

 
 
 
 
 

 

WORLDLY PROSPERITY PASTORS: THE GUILTIEST OF ALL THE 21ST CENTURY PHARISEES

Just as the yeast makes the dough to rise (increase in size), so have the doctrines of these 21st century Pharisees increased into gigantic loafs of deceit that are hindering believers in Christ from accessing the gospel once for all delivered to the saints. 21st century Pharisees have raised, and will continue to raise, pastors and leaders who are worse than they are. Imagine what awaits future believers in Christ who are likely going to rely on their successors for guidance!

"What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees.
Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!"
— Matt 23:15 (NLT)

However, of all the 21st century Pharisees, the guiltiest are the worldly prosperity pastors and general overseers. Their claim to be Pentecostals (A Holy Spirit inspired and led Movement that started in Azusa Street, Los Angeles in 1906) is specious. They have nothing in common with the 1906 Pentecostals leaders.

The 1906 Pentecostal leaders were selfless: They gave their lives for the cause of the gospel of Christ (many sold their belongings and some left their comfortable existence in the USA to take the gospel to some of the inhospitable places on earth): They gave their all; they did not take. The gospel proclaimed by, and the ethical practices of, those 1906 Pentecostals (unlike those proclaimed by, and the ethical practices of the organized churches and organizations) were akin to those of the early church.[2]

Azusa Street Mission's motto in 1906 was the restoration of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. It believed in the inerrancy of the Scriptures—"old time repentance, old time conversion, old time sanctification and old time baptism with the Holy Ghost which is the gift of power upon the sanctified life and God throws in the gift of tongues."[3]

On the other hand, worldly prosperity preachers are selfish: In promoting greed (worldly prosperity), they mutilate the Scriptures while ignoring teachings on the true prosperity (being in God and doing God's will), servant hood, suffering in Christ (Phil 3:10), holiness and righteousness. Their glitzy lifestyle says it all!

Worldly prosperity pastors and general overseers have turned Sunday services into money making ventures; Sunday services are more about collecting tithes and offerings than worshipping God. No wonder, their followers have come to believe that the more they give to their churches, the more they will be blessed by God.

Offerings collected in the early church were for the poor and the needy. But today, offerings are used to support the extravagant lifestyle of worldly prosperity leaders, payments for adverts for 'healing crusades,' (The Lord never advertised and the early church never advertised miracles, signs and wonders), erection of new buildings, and etc. Let us look at one of those Scriptural verses that they use and which their followers have swallowed hook, line and sinker.

"You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich"
— 2 Cor 8:9 (NLT)

Paul's exhortation to the Corinthian Church for those who have more to share with those who have less has been misinterpreted by worldly prosperity pastors.

"Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it.
In this way, things will be equal"
— 2 Cor 8:14 (NLT)

The rich in 2Cor 8:9 has nothing to do with worldly prosperity. If it was so, the richest persons on earth should be followers of Christ.

Followers of Christ are rich because :

  • We have been saved from the kingdom of darkness.
  • God's righteousness has been imputed to us even though we did not deserve it.
  • We have the promise of Eternal life—a gift so great; it dwarfs everything on this earth. One saved life is greater than the whole earth—"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? (Mark 8:36).

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."
— John 10:27-28

 
 
 
 
 

 

CONTEND FOR THE GOSPEL

Telling God's story is for every follower of Christ. Part of that telling is contending for the gospel once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

Followers of Christ cannot be bystanders while false teachers mislead their brothers and sisters—exposing the yeast that has polluted and continues to pollute churches is for all of us.

I plead with you to do the following after reading this newsletter: Go into your closet and cry to God confessing our blasphemies (we are all guilty) and pray that He uses you to be that light that shines in your family, church, and generation.

"And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments".
— Dan 9:4-5

 
 
 
 
 

SHALL WE PRAY

Father God, forgive us for our blasphemies, greed and cowardice. We have failed to speak up when false doctrines are preached in our churches. We have feared and respected human beings more than you. Open our eyes to see Jesus crucified for our sins and who is pleading with us to help save our neighbours from eternal death by preaching the unvarnished Good News of the Kingdom, in Jesus name, we pray, Amen.


(All Scripture quotations have been taken from the New King James Version unless where otherwise indicated).


FOOTNOTES:

[1] Bible Works
[2] Ikechi P. Ihejirika, Stewards of the Kingdom (IN: WestBow Press, 2014), 52.
[3] The Apostolic Faith, 1.1( September, 1906), p.3.

 
 
 
 
 

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