20. Then Jesus told another story: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast. How?
21. A woman had a large bowl. She poured in flour. She added
ingredients, mixed, and made dough. Then she put in the yeast, kneaded
it, until all the dough rose."
Today we need some bakers to help tell our story,
those of you who have experience making bread.
How do you make bread?
First you mix together everything that goes in the bread:
Oil or butter
Maybe something to make the bread sweet --
sugar or honey
Maybe something to give the bread a special taste
like fruit or SPICE.
Plus one more very important thing: YEAST
Mix all that together,
and then you put in a pan and bake it, right?
No, you must knead the dough
and then let expand a little.
Then you punch it down and knead it again.
Then you put it in the pan and let it expand again
so it fills the pan.
Finally, when the dough is ready,
you put it in the oven and bake it.
What makes the dough rise like that?
The yeast is a living thing that grows, increases, and spreads.
The Bible often uses yeast as a picture.
The old English word for yeast is "LEAVEN."
Remember the PASSOVER story --
when Israel escaped from slavery in Egypt.
God told the Jews to make their bread a special way, how?
That made the bread flat and hard.
That's why we sign "Passover" like "cracker."
Why did God tell the Jews to leave out the yeast?
First, they needed to cook in a hurry, no time to let dough rise.
Second, yeast in bread became a picture for sin.
Sin spreads, touching many, many people,
the same as yeast spreads to all the dough.
Every year, part of Jewish preparation for Passover is
removing everything that has yeast from their homes.
That is a picture for removing sin out of our lives.
That is a negative picture for yeast
that we see in the Bible,
both Old Testament and New Testament.
But here Jesus uses yeast as a positive picture.
He said: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast..."
"A woman had a large bowl. She poured in flour.
She added ingredients, mixed, and made dough.
Then she put in the yeast, kneaded it,
until all the dough expanded."
The Woman = ?
If we look at other stories that Jesus told, that begin this same way, we can guess...
|Flour in the large bowl = People in the world|
[The New Testament Greek text says that the flour measured about 1/2 bushel.]
When the woman put in the yeast,
it spread to the flour in the bowl,
making the dough rise,
making the bread soft,
making the bread taste good.
The Yeast = ?
What is one thing that God wants to spread to all people?
His love? Yes.
How did God show His love to all people in the world?
God love the world, how?
He gave His only Son.
Everyone trusting Him will not become lost,
but they live forever.
This is the wonderful about how Jesus took all of our sin,
and accept all of our punishment.
On the cross Jesus paid our debt, and He forgives us.
The Bible calls that wonderful story "The Gospel,"
the Good News.
|Yeast = Gospel, the Good News about Jesus|
How does God bring His Gospel to the world?
The Bible, yes. His Word.
But who brings His Word to people who don't-yet know Him?
We also are like yeast in the world.
God wants us to give a positive influence to other people.
Most important, God wants us to introduce people to Jesus.
That makes His Kingdom expand,
the same yeast makes as dough expands.
Now, when you make bread,
you put yeast in the flour and water,
and you make that yeast spread through all the lump, how?
First you mix it,
then you knead it.
That kneading is hard work,
smashing and folding
smashing and folding
and smashing again.
Imagine that the dough could talk. What will the dough say?
"Stop that! That hurts!"
But if you don't knead the dough, the bread will be lousy.
Now translate that to our story today.
God is like the woman who makes bread,
and we Christians are like yeast in the world.
How does God make us spread in the world?
In Acts chapter 1, Jesus said,
"When the Holy Spirit comes in you,
you will get power.
Then you will witness (tell people) about Me
(1) in the city JERUSALEM
(2) spreading out through the country JUDEA
(3) spreading to the next country SAMARIA
(4) spreading to the whole world."
happened, in Acts chapter 2, Jesus His Holy Spirit to His
Disciples. Their attitude changed. They were afraid no
more. They became bold to tell people about Jesus.
Where? In Jerusalem.
Did they spread, as Jesus said?
A little, yes.
Peter and others traveled around JUDEA.
A few other Christians went to SAMARIA
and told them about Jesus.
But did they spread to the world? No.
They focused on only telling their own people about Jesus.
How did Jesus make them spread out to the world?
Saul and other religious leaders who hated Jesus,
they arrested Christians, beat them, and killed them.
Many Christians escaped from Jerusalem to other countries,
where they could live safely.
And in those countries, they told people about Jesus,
and the church expanded.
When the religious leaders in Jerusalem tried to destroy Christians, they made more Christians.
When they tried to make the story about Jesus stop spreading.
But their persecution forced that story to spread.
Long ago professional fishermen hated starfish.
When they threw out their nets and pulled in the fish,
if they found any starfish,
they cut apart the starfish and threw it back in the ocean.
They thought that way they killed the starfish.
Each cut-off leg of the starfish grew into a new starfish.
When the fishermen cut apart the starfish,
they made more starfish!
...the same as persecution against Christians
makes more Christians.
That has always been true, since Bible times until now.
That is how Jesus "kneads" His Church,
to make them spread.
Maybe you remember one African leader named IDI AMIN, president of UGANDA.
He was really mean. Christians suffered much.
one American magazine reporter went to visit Christians in Uganda, he
was impressed. The reporter told one pastor there,
"Wow, your people have a strong, exciting faith.
I wish Christians in American could become like that!"
The pastor answered,
"Really? Do you really want persecution?"
God wants us to act like yeast in the world,
spreading His love in Jesus Christ to other people.
But if we fail, and don't act like yeast,
if we keep the Good News about Jesus secret,
then what happens?
Our story next week will answer that question.