The

SUSQUEHANNA SENTINEL


November 30, 2003


"BEWARE OF THE LEAVEN"

After refusing to work a miracle for the personal satisfaction of His critics, Jesus "left them, and getting into the boat again, departed to the other side. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat. Then He charged them, saying, 'Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.' And they reasoned among themselves, saying, 'It is because we have no bread.' But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, 'Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not yet hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?' They said to Him, 'Twelve.' 'Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?' And they said, 'Seven.' So He said to them, 'How is it you do not understand?'" (Mark 8:13-21).

Jesus was disappointed that His disciples did not understand His figurative use of the word leaven. Of course, as a general rule, we should always expect a word to be used in its literal sense unless there are valid reasons for giving it a figurative application. But the fact that Jesus had recently worked two outstanding miracles of multiplying a small amount of food to feed vast multitudes of people should have been reason enough to convince His disciples that He was not concerned with their having a shortage of literal bread. When Jesus warned them about the leaven of Herod and the Pharisees, they should have realized His concern was not with physical food.

Jesus had previously used the word leaven to suggest the idea of a pervading influence. See Matt.13:33 and Luke 13:21. Since the events of recent days made it highly unlikely that Jesus was concerned or disturbed with a shortage of literal bread, and since the Lord had previously used the word leaven to suggest the idea of influence, His disciples should have more readily grasped His meaning.

In Matthew's account, we learn that after Christ had rebuked His disciples and reminded them of the feeding of the 4,000 and of the 5,000, they understood. "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.' (Matt. 16:12).

On a later occasion, Jesus again warned of the leaven of the Pharisees, which in that context, He explained "is hypocrisy" (Luke 12:1). So, in reality, Jesus was warning His apostles not to be unduly influenced by the teachings and practices of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Herods. The pervading influence in our lives should be God ruling our hearts through the influence of His word. 

--Clarence R. Johnson


WHAT IS TRUTH?

NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TRUTH.

Only the truth can make men free. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" Jno. 8:32. Error will only further enslave, but truth makes men free! THE WISE MAN SAID, "Buy the truth and sell it not" Prov. 23:23. Truth is supreme in its value. We can afford to pay whatever it costs and when once we possess it, we cannot afford to take any price for it. The importance and necessity of it should be always exalted in our hearts. 

THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR TRUTH. It can be replaced only with error. Nothing else is "just as good as truth." Yet even in spiritual matters that concern the soul, we are often told that we should accept a substitute for the truth for something else is just as good. 

TRUTH IS ALWAYS CONSISTENT. It is never out of harmony with truth. There is no contradiction in truth. Whenever an apparent contradiction seems to exist, it is because we do not know the whole truth. There are two not correct answers to the same problem or question. When there is a variance, both cannot be right. 

TRUTH IS ALWAYS NARROW. Every kind of truth is narrow. Mathematical truth is narrow. Two and two make exactly four - no more, no less, and whoever says they make anything else is wrong. There are thousands of numbers that two and two do not make (error is broad) and only one that they do make - truth is narrow.

SCIENTIFIC TRUTH IS NARROW. Under ordinary conditions at the sea level, water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, just that, no more, no less. There are thousands of temperatures at which water does not freeze. Suppose a man should say: "I am very broad in my scientific beliefs. I am not one of your scientific bigots who insist that water freezes at just 32 degrees, and that all who think differently are wrong. No, I admit that water freezes at 20,25,30,32,38, and 40 degrees, and at any other temperature he believes water freezes. I am broad in my science." What would we think of such a man? 

HISTORICAL TRUTH IS NARROW. A given event took place in one particular way. There are thousands of ways in which it did not take place. It is the business of a jury to so consider the testimonies of the witnesses, each giving his impression, that they can determine just how the event did take place. Suppose a professed historian should say: "I have very broad views of history. I abominate the narrow bigotry which says that a given event took place in only one particular way and that whoever says differently is wrong. I believe that the event took place in a hundred ways, and just so a man is sincere, it does not matter how he believes it took place." 

GEOGRAPHICAL TRUTH IS NARROW. There is but one right direction to London from where the reader sits, while there are thousands of wrong directions. If you point toward London, you must point in one definite direction. If you point in either of a thousand other directions, you are not pointing toward London. Suppose a man should say: "I am not one of your geographical bigots, who say that there is only one right direction towards London, from where he stands, while all who point in any other direction are wrong. No, indeed, I am broad in my views of geography, and any way a man chooses to start is the right way to London, if only he is honest; and whichever way he starts, he will get to London just the same." What should intelligent people think of such an attitude? 

HOW DOES IT COME TO PASS that what is recognized as the most arrogant nonsense in all other realms, is greedily swallowed when it come to the realm of religion, where truth is most important? Whether a man be right or wrong in mathematics, in science, in history, in geography etc., is of comparatively small importance, but his character and his eternal destiny depend upon his being right in religion. Only the truth has the power to make men free form spiritual bondage. 

WHILE TRUTH IS NARROW, it does not follow that anything is truth because it is narrow. One would be just as narrow if he affirmed that two and two make five and nothing else, as to say two and two make four. We may be narrow and still be wrong. Narrowness alone does not establish the truth. But if we are broad in what we believe to be truth, we are certain to be wrong. Truth is narrow, and hence belief of the truth must be narrow. 

--Roy Cogdill, Simple Bible Studies


THE POWER OF ONE

It is hard for us to realize the difference one person can make. We may even excuse ourselves from doing what we can by saying, "What can I do?"

To illustrate the power of one, just $1 put in a savings account drawing 2.5% interest in 1776 would be worth $220 today, or putting $1 a month for 40 years in a savings account drawing just 2.5% interest would be worth about $820 at the end. To translate this into people terms, think of the power of one when that one was Andrew. He led his brother Peter to Jesus, John 1:40-41. This also led to compound interest! Peter had more potential than Andrew. He along with the other apostles reached 3,000 on Pentecost with the gospel, Acts 2. Later we read of 5,000, Acts 4:4, then "multitudes." The Lord alone knows how much came from the efforts of one - Andrew.

The Bible abounds with illustrations showing the power of one:

One man called NOAH saved his family and mankind from the flood.

One young man named JOSEPH saved the Egyptians and his own family from famine.

One man given the name MOSES delivered his people from slavery and delivered God's great law to them.

One woman named DEBORAH rose up and delivered her people when no worthy man could be found.

One man DANIEL made a difference for his people.

One woman called Esther delivered her people at great danger.

One woman known as Mary the sister of Lazarus anointed Jesus and left a memorial in the minds of good people.

One called 'the son of man' or 'Jesus Christ' made one sacrifice for sin so that all might be saved.

Make no mistake. Your presence is important! Your opposition to evil is vital! Your visits and good works are necessary. You are needed as a member!

--Robert W. Goodman, La Porte Messenger, June 20, 1993


MORE INFORMATION...

Clarence R. Johnson
Evangelist
Phone: (717) 361-6212
E-mail: clarencejohnson@comcast.net

Building
30 Apple Avenue
Marietta, Pennsylvania
Parking at 19 West Walnut Street
Phone: (717) 426-4537
Click here to see location mapped

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 463
Marietta, Pennsylvania 17547

Meeting Times
Sunday
Bible Classes 9:00 a.m.
Worship Service 10:00 a.m.
Evening Worship 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday
Bible Classes 7:00 p.m.

Web Site
http://susquehannachurchofchrist.org

To Request Bible Correspondence Course, Send Email To:
biblestudy@susquehannachurchofchrist.org

Those who worship God must worship in Spirit and in Truth

John 4:24