One of my fondest childhood memories involved visiting my grandparents on our family farm not far from Richmond, Virginia. There was a universe of interesting and informative things to do there, including interacting with the animals, fishing, gardening, and finding centuries old artifacts left by generations of ancestors. Most importantly, I enjoyed visiting with my grandfather and grandmother, the latter of which cooked amazing meals featuring farm raised produce, eggs, butter, ham, chicken, venison and more. On a roll.
Everything featured on the table was excellent, with the exception of sweet potatoes and beets, which I happily fed to the hogs following meals. Among all these fine foods, the most memorable were the rolls. Never store-bought, frozen, or brown and serve, my grandmother’s rolls were made from scratch with active yeast which allowed them to rise to truly prodigious heights. Ever superior to her excellent biscuits, their aroma wafted across the fields calling famished farmers (and young helpers) to dinner. I remember the experience of those remarkable rolls like it was yesterday, and I look forward to enjoying them once again in heaven.
The Ingredient; Yeast
The ingredient that made those rolls so incredible was yeast, also called leaven. Yeast can take an ordinary lump of dough and turn it into all sorts of delectable breads and rolls. It has the power to change something small and insignificant into something large and powerful. Jesus used leaven as an example when talking about the thoughts and actions of his opponents, the Sadducees and Pharisees. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6,12)
A Slow Infection
Jesus warned about the false teachings of the religious leaders of his day who expounded their opinions and traditions as truth even when clearly contradicted by scripture. He was concerned that the deceptive doctrines of those in authority would slowly infect and control the thinking of those who heard them. Like yeast, teaching contrary to the Bible invades the thoughts of those who hear it and grows in the mind, becoming dominant over time. Consuming the yeast of false teaching encourages many to believe things that are not supported by the scripture, poisons their minds, and keeps them from receiving everything God has for them.
Satan uses the yeast of deceptive doctrine to keep people in bondage. Pulpits and the airwaves host some who proclaim that God uses sickness and disease to teach us or punish us, that it is not always His will to heal, and that He wants us to live in economic uncertainty and poverty. The Bible contradicts this teaching in many places, notably 3 John 2, which says “Beloved I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth” Others use their religious authority to proclaim that homosexuality is not a sin, and that God at times is confused and puts women in men’s bodies and men in women’s bodies. This falsehood is exposed by Genesis. 1:27 “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” and “For God is not the author of confusion..” (1 Cor 14:33) A purported s statement by Pope Francis that there is no hell, while retroactively denied by the Vatican is problematic at best, since Jesus Himself spoke of hell and eternal punishment.
It’s What’s Inside That Matters
I would have eaten my grandmother’s yeast rolls no matter what was inside. And I would have been totally unaware if they contained something harmful. When we hear teaching in church and on television, we should always make sure that what we hear is consistent with what the Bible says. Paul addressed this in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 ‘Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.”
I always enjoy good teaching. I still enjoy a good yeast roll. I just want to know who made it and what is in it. I hope you do too!